Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

Well a lot has fucking happened in a week huh? I’m still drifting though now it’s more of a numbness edged with anxiety, something that flutters somewhere in my belly like some dying thing that my numbness smothers every so often. Not to death, just to sleep before it awakens again.

It’s a scary weird time right now, something new that we’re all dealing with, all coping with and in that way it should make us feel less lonely right? This collective distance, this attempt at coping that we’re trying to mend with group chats and videos doesn’t erase that we are separate, that we are still alone, still lonely and getting lonelier. Even someone like me who’s worked hard to befriend my loneliness, to not make them some scary consuming thing. But people need people, need interaction, need touch and it’s best right now not to have those things, but it’s difficult, maybe one of the hardest things we have had to deal with in a long while. I think about how good it will be once this is all over, because even though it doesn’t seem like it this will be over someday. Though I’m sure it will take longer than any of us really want it to.

And I’m angry, despite the numbness, or maybe I’m just jumping between my own stages of grief. Angry at the idiots who’ve traveled abroad for Spring Break and who will spike the number of cases, the number of deaths once they return before the borders close. And no, I’m not being a cynical bitch I’m being realistic, logical. Because when this first started I kept looking at the numbers hoping to see them go down, to see the deaths stop but they keep rising, will keep rising and it’s stupid to think otherwise. The numbers will rise and people will die until people keep enough distance to flatten the curve, until a cure is found, until this virus quietens down.

I am angry at the restless people who want a vacation, who continue to travel even marginally because they can’t handle this isolation, who complain about there being nothing to do. The people who somehow think they are feeling differently from everyone else and rebel in their own ways because they need to, because nothing and no one else matters but them. And I understand the restlessness because we’re all fucking restless, and we all want a goddamn vacation from this boring staycation, but guess what? You don’t get to do that. Or you do I guess, free will and all that. Because chances are nothing will hurt you and if you do get sick you’ll fight it off or pass it on to someone else. You are fucking indestructible, screw everyone else.

I am angry that I am social distancing and staying at home and doing everything I can to keep my immunocompromised sister safe when in reality I can’t stop a virus no matter how much I try. I can’t do anything, but I’m fucking trying.

I am angry and then I am numb, two extremes that fight with a new winner each time.

I’m having trouble writing, too angry to escape to somewhere fictional because so little of what I write is actually happy and I just can’t focus on putting pen to paper, to getting my mind into that creative zone. It’s the best time to do it but that part of my brain is locked to me, I lost the key, I need to find the goddamn key. Maybe it’s because all my writing is dead, all cancelled for the right reasons: my playwriting unit, HamilTEN, getting to read my story for the start of GritLit this year. All these things that kept me creative, excited, that gave me hope that maybe I had a chance is dead and maybe that’s selfish of me, to make it about me. I understand cancelling these events, I applaud them and am happy they were smart to do it early but that disappointment I tried to bury with logic still aches. It will die eventually but right now it is sore to touch. I try to keep it hidden.

So I’m having trouble writing, but I want to write so I’ve become a cliché and started journaling. Writing about my frustrations, my day, updating the number of cases and deaths with every new day I write. I hope that someday I will look at this angry ink and remember how bad things seemed and how they got better, how one day this blue and white notebook will collect dust and disappear until I find it in some secret spot and remember all this anger, this aching, this waiting for things to change.

But right now the notebook is clean, the pages blank, and the ink ready to stain them with my fear, my anger, my numbness as I scratch one letter after the other into something that is wholly mine.


2 thoughts on “Journaling in Isolation

  1. Nancy says:

    You are expressing what a lot of people are feeling Sarah. Thank you.


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