I am, to begin with, feeling better. It’s been a long couple of months, and I don’t think it’s over entirely. However, I seem to be back on an even keel, having dumped stressors off my plate with wild abandon until things… got worse. There’s nothing like having the prospect of Very Bad Things to give you perspective on your own minor complaints. I do best, always have, under demand. Not, you might note, under pressure. No, I need a deadline (a meaningful one) and I need to be needed.
So. Back to the blogging. It’s going to be frothy, most days. I’ll be doing this most mornings before work. This morning, on a weekend, I have my coffee and my happy lamp shining on me pretending to be sunshine and hopefully fooling my brain, and I’ve warmed up with my MGC post. Not to mention my Youtube live chat last night. I started doing the video chats as a way to connect without writing essays, and I’m finding they feed my soul in ways I had forgotten I needed. I’ll continue those, every Friday evening at roughly 7:30 EST (time is negotiable, I’m open to suggestions, with the caveat that it cannot be before 5:30 pm EST on a weekday).
My sister and I were chatting (which is, of and in itself, a marvelous thing that has been a blessing of 2020) and one of the things we touched on was this: you can be hungry for people. If 2020 taught society nothing else, I think it has shown us how much isolation is bad for the human psyche. As far back as late Fall of 2019 I was researching the effects of isolation on a person. Most of the studies, at that time, had been done on the elderly. As you age, you tend to come adrift from your social group. Friends die, family moves away. When this happens, the human body begins to deteriorate. This last year has shown us this is true, in horrific ways we will likely not fully understand for years to come.
Staying connected, then, is not only a matter of mental well being, but of the physical as well. Your brain will literally break down under the influence of loneliness. I’m not going to let that happen. Not to me, not to any one of you reading this. If I can reach through the screen with my words, and my voice, and my face, I’m going to give you a cyber hug and hold onto you. I’m…
I’m not superwoman. That’s another lesson from last year. I spent November and December struggling mightily. But if I can do some small service to my friends, and family, I will. The videos? I learned that listening to my friends Old NFO (who writes as JL Curtis) and Lawdog on their twice-weekly chats made my face smile and my heart sing. Which bothered a certain crusty old gentleman who likes to think of himself as a curmudgeon when I told him that. However, it’s a natural and normal thing. Voices are, after all, our first interaction with other humans. We begin to listen while still in the womb. We only start to see faces after we emerge into this cold hard world. The human voice is the most basic, normal, joyful thing we can attach to, when we are afraid and alone.
There’s people out there.
Which brings me to why I’m not on Facebook much (and only that for the writing group and art group) right now. Even with serious curation of my newsfeed over there, it’s unmanageable and, well, you can’t reason with the mob. You can talk to an individual person. Which is what I’m doing right now. Hi! Come comment on posts! Let’s start a rational dialogue about… any topic under the sun.
I’m on MeWe, and that’s like moving to the kid’s table from the adult’s table. Where the ‘adults’ are, there’s a lot of drinking and anger and politics and bleah. Over at MeWe? We’re having long chats about trucks and goats and gas mileage and apple butter and the best concealed carry belts and all manner of whatever. It’s a lot like the old chatrooms where six conversations were going on at once, and if you don’t keep up it’s wildly confusing but also amusing and just juggling all of them at once is a great way to hone your brain.
Why? Because I enjoy having good company, and I am literally not allowed to have any human interaction outside my own house IRL. That was a direct order from my boss this last week. It’s… unpleasant. But I can’t change that. What I can do is speak into the void. If voices come back out at me, we can talk about learning how to knit. ‘Cause as I said in the video chat yesterday, that’s my next goal. If I can find time around work, and writing, and art, and all the other things have in front of me at my art desk. Like the polymer clay I got with a Christmas giftcard.
Speak with you soon. In text or video. Remember: you need voices in your life. Don’t let the silence fall over you and smother you with loneliness.