You know how when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a breakup, or the loss of a loved one -- how grief comes in waves? What I tell myself at the peak -- or should I call it a valley? -- of a grief episode is that someday the waves will slow; someday they won’t be as frequent; someday, someday, someday. Even as I’m feeling wretched, I cling to the hope that someday the wretchedness won’t be quite so wretched, that the sharp edges will dull.
Something I’ve been thinking about on-and-off since the pandemic started is the grief we all must feel, individually, especially if we’ve lost someone to COVID, and/or to the ineptitude of this government; and our collective grief for our old way of life, the freedoms we enjoyed and maybe took for granted.
A grief wave took over me this week. I try to stay off the news (a privilege I acknowledge) because I get very mad and very tired; but it was my best friend Max’s birthday and I didn’t even see her. I just sent a gift via courier. My other friend had a personal crisis and the best I could do was speak to her on the phone.
I know, logically, if I really wanted to, I could meet them. I could put on a mask and make sure they wear theirs too. We could get tested. We could make sure to stay outdoors. We could take this and that precaution, all the actions that mitigate the risk as best we can. And even with all of those, we could still get COVID. At every decision point, we have to accept that the risk is still there even if we do everything perfectly. For a lot of people, life must go on; we have to accept that this is our life now. I haven’t *not* accepted it… but I’m still so mad and sad and tired and stressed and depressed and anxious. It’s only the level at which I feel these emotions that varies. I hate it here. “Sorry I don’t have a better update!” is something I emailed to some coworkers this week about a project I’ve been trying to nudge along, and it’s applicable as I write this newsletter too.
I had a terrible migraine Saturday night; it hasn’t been that bad in at least a year -- and I know it’s because I worked so hard on Friday that I missed dinner. (Note to self: eat frequently, bawal talaga magutom) At some point I thought “If I get COVID and one of the side effects is migraines like this, would it be preferable to just die?” But then I thought, “But if I die then I can’t ever watch BTS in concert.” So you know. Motivation to keep living. That is not nothing!
Sorry I don’t have a better update. Things are pretty grim. But hopefully this grief wave passes soon and it takes longer for the next one to come around again.
Enjoying newsletters started by my friends in recent weeks/months. I love longform. I miss blogs, especially the halcyon LiveJournal days. There’s an ease with newsletters arriving in your inbox, no effort to be made other than reading at your own leisure. I love that every person has their own unique writing style, their own voice, their own thing they want to focus on. (In my case, it’s more of a mix of personal mood diary + stuff I find interesting) Check them out: Aia Arkoncel’s “Hello Dear Void”, Kax Uson’s “This Buena Onda”, Ail Ty-Africa’s “A Villager for Izzy and Ez”, and KB Meniado’s “OK to BE”. I could name at least five more friends I’d love to read in newsletter form. If any of you reading this are thinking about starting your own: I miss you and would love to read what you think about anything. Seriously!
Reading on the Kindle was bearable during my epic migraine. I couldn’t watch anything on the TV or laptop, nor could I chat with friends using my phone, but I could read. Thank God! I’m still on Leigh Bardugo’s series (series-es?) in preparation for the Netflix series “Shadow and Bone” coming out in April. I finished two books in two days.
Eating Cheetos mac and cheese, sent by Den. MASARAP!! if you like Cheetos. It tastes like how you imagine Cheetos mac and cheese to taste. Haha! I posted on Facebook and some friends were able to find it on Shoppee after. Go try it!
Celebrating J-hope’s birthday by taking a leave and just vibing in the group chats all day, eating Korean food and listening to his music. This is my plan for all Bangtan birthdays this year. Not like we’re using the leaves for a long vacation, anyway...
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Yours from afar,