“So fuck you / And your untouchable face / Fuck you / For existing in the first place.” - Untouchable Face, Ani DiFranco, 1996
So, I’m fine. High-level, I have a safe place to quarantine during the novel coronavirus outbreak, access to essentials, and May’s rent in a savings account. I am fully aware that broadly speaking, social distancing is easy for me. Who it’s not easy for is anyone working in healthcare during this pandemic, essential workers, or anyone with the virus. Lest ye think I have no sense of what’s happening right now, understand that what follows comes from a place of perspective and privilege, which is my very safe and clean kitchen table at 5 a.m. Yes, I write at 5 a.m., I start my days early because I prefer to read, bake, and then record my podcast, "A Single Serving Podcast" in the afternoons.
Being very vocal in my opinions of singlehood and maybe how it isn’t the worst possible adjective that can be used to describe a woman over 30, certain assumptions are often made. I’m an advocate for single women as whole, happy beings. There’s an odd and thoroughly bullshit notion in society that loving your single life somehow also means you don’t want a relationship. For me at least, that’s not true. I look forward to being in a wonderful relationship one day, I just refuse to be miserable in the meantime, and I refuse to settle for anything less than wonderful, because I’m not afraid of the alternative. Then coronavirus came, and now I just want a fucking husband.
The last time I went to Trader Joe’s, by the time I left the store there was a line outside to get in that wasn’t there when I walked in the door. That was March 12, according to my bank statement. I haven’t been back since because I’m scared to wait in line with that many people, and every time I walk the 2.9 miles there (and back) to check it out, the line is always there. When I got home from that last shopping trip, I had what I won’t call a panic attack (that came later, at the grocery store I now rely on that’s 3x more expensive than Trader Joe’s), but instead I’ll call it a depression attack. Can you have those? Are those a thing? I think they’re a thing, at least right now.
My depression attack felt like my heart had fallen into a very deep hole, and that I couldn’t retrieve it without help. Being 100% alone in my apartment, and in life, help wasn’t coming. I haven’t had an emotional episode like that in modern memory. It was the most alone, scared, and in need of company I have ever felt in my adult life. It was, in old fashioned parlance, a doozy.
Prior needs for partnership came from more ego-driven places. I’d wanted to feel valid, or less ashamed, and I thought a boyfriend could fix that. But this need? This was instinctual, threatened, terrified loneliness that needed a hug and an apocalypse partner and neither were available. I didn’t know how long I would be alone for, and for the first time in a very long time, I cared.
My depression was compounded by one incredibly inconvenient fact: I am perfectly happy being single. What does suddenly being very unhappy being single mean? I have to deal with the stress of a global pandemic, a failing economy, and an identity crisis? Fuck’s sake! There’s truly nothing this viral bitch won’t claw to ribbons. No but seriously did I break something? Does my emotional coding have a bug? Can you sprain your heart? You know that “Somebody sedate me!” moment in Grey’s Anatomy featuring my hero Dr. Christina Yang? I was literally living that scene. SOMEBODY HUG ME!
Except oh, right... hugs never happen in this house. Shit.
And friends, I’m healthy. Can you imagine me exhibiting even one of the symptoms of this asshole virus right now? I got an email yesterday from my health insurance provider sharing the stages and symptoms of COVID-19 paired with their recommendations regarding when to go to the hospital, and when to stay home. One of the symptoms that suggested you should go to the hospital? “Suddenly confused or someone is not able to wake me up.” I’m sorry, someone? Who is my someone? How the hell am I supposed to know if I have trouble waking up? The cat a) has no ability to communicate effectively with 9-1-1, though she can hold her own with the UPS guy, and b) doesn’t give a shit. Are you telling me this is a virus that requires symptoms to be observed in pairs?
I don’t know how much, if any, you’ve ever dabbled in “woo woo,” which definitely needs a rebrand, but I myself have spent the last year and a half of my life digging into schools of thought that exist beyond what I’ve previously known and accepted. Essentially I’m growing, stay with me.
Through my research into The Human Design System, my birth chart, and simply an accounting of all my life’s prior shitty decisions, I'm a person who needs to lead with her gut instinct. As someone who lived her whole life silencing her gut and letting her head drive, learning that I was meant to move through the world as a gut-led person felt like acquiring 20/20 vision via a pair of accurate glasses for the first time ever. I’ve been letting my gut lead me ever since and things are going kinda well, honestly. But COVID-19 is different. During a global pandemic, my gut doesn’t know its ass from its elbow, and I think that’s why a formidable need for a partner rose up in me. My sense of logic (that old chestnut) actually had a role to play here. In this situation, my head had to take over for my gut, and talk sense into my heart, so that all of my body parts could keep it the fuck together.
Logically, I know that if we all stay home, wash our hands, and remain calm, we will ride this viral wave and life will return to fully functioning levels at some point in the not-too distant future. I hope that on our path back to normal life, we'll just stay the fuck home so that people can stop losing family members to this nightmare virus. I hope my friends in healthcare are okay after this. I hope your friends in healthcare are okay after this. And in the grand scheme of things, I know that being alone right now isn’t hard — nor is feeling, or admitting, that for the first time I really don’t want to be.
We’re all going to be a little different from now on. We’re going to approach things with a different perspective, and evaluate situations with new knowledge and experience. I'm learning things I didn’t know about myself, and discovering needs that I didn’t think applied to me. One thing I didn’t know I actually really needed? A partner. And I don’t know why I’m surprised. Stranger things are happening every day.