I've lost something that I loved. Well, I think I have.
I know I'm not the only one. I'm actually very fortunate. This has been a hard year and I have lost less than other people. But that doesn't stop me from feeling sad. Feeling a deep sense of loss that is so profound that if I access the feeling I fear that I might sink totally into the angry dark sea inside that covers it. I have to survive from one day to the next, to function and enjoy things. The way I do that is to keep the sea deep inside. It is there, but it is covered by stones, grass and trees so I can't always see it.
I would associate this depth of feeling with a tragic death or terminal diagnosis. Losing a partner in a car crash or finding that your cough is cancer and you have 6 weeks to live. Catastrophic events.
I feel stupid and petty. I have only lost one relative through the pandemic - which was expected and not related to the pandemic. It was also a relative that I wasn't all that close to. That is not what is making me feel so dark inside.
Before the pandemic, I was a dancer. I danced most nights of the week, modern jive and modern blues mainly. A few months before the pandemic I was severely anaemic and I didn't have the stamina to keep up with my dancing. I still went, but I sat and chatted a lot. I got to know my fellow dancers a lot better.
Then the UK went into lockdown and dancing stopped, along with almost everything else. At the time I write this (early July 2021) dancing hasn't properly started back - it should in the next few weeks.
That should be good, right?
During lockdown, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knees. I have had trouble with them for a long time, but it got much worse in the last year. Before lockdown, I would walk everywhere. Walking was my primary form of transport. I would walk before writing to give me ideas. I would walk because I enjoy walking. I would often walk to my dance classes!
Now, I can't walk much more than a mile without having to sit down. I have to plan where and when I walk to make sure that I can get where I want to be and back without being totally incapacitated.
And I don't know if I can dance.
Through the early days of the pandemic, I adjusted to a world without dancing by not thinking about dancing. The same with the cinema, pubs, cafes and restaurants. I looked at the here and now - focussed on what I was doing, what TV series I was following, what I was writing and what I was cooking. In the main - it worked. I didn't think about what I couldn't have. Pre-pandemic there were things I couldn't have - a hot tub, a luxury yacht, chocolate without weight gain! This was the same. The things I wanted were not possible so they ceased to exist.
Now though, dancing is restarting and I am having to move the trees aside (I'm not one for deforestation), clear the grass and move the rocks to look at the dark, deep scary sea. I do not like it. It makes me feel scared and uncertain and shows me the beginning of a life that I don't recognise as mine and really don't want.
I'm scared that I might dance and hurt myself or my partner. I'm scared that I might not be able to dance. I'm scared that I might only be able to dance a small amount. Might that be worse than not dancing at all? Those fears are understandable, but deep in the dark sea inside a spiky sea urchin is a fear that I don't understand. I'm also scared that I will be able to dance. But dancing is what I want to do, so why should I be scared of that? I have tried to rationalise it but it isn't working. I have decided that it is just an emotion and a lot of my emotions are not logical. They just are.
This is how I feel. Rather, this is how I feel at the moment. I am scared, life has changed dramatically over the last year and, now the vaccines are doing a good job, life is about to change again.
My life is changing as well - in ways I'd prefer it wasn't. Change is hard. and we feel the way we feel.
I'm going to continue with life. Keep my dark sea until it decides to flow elsewhere. I'm going to take one step at a time - quite literally. I will go back to dancing. I have friends there and it will be nice to see them again. I will do what I can and I will learn my limits. I'm sure that I will make mistakes, hurt myself and overdo it, but that is part of readjusting. I might need a stick to help me walk. I don't want one, but I will get used to it. That's how life goes.
If I take life one day at a time - one step at a time, I will move forward.
I don't know where I will get to, but that is what makes life interesting, isn't it?