The thing about time, I think, is as it passes we don’t notice we’re changing. Inside, deep within the echo chamber of our inner voice telling us the stories we like to hear (rehashing what happened, who said what, what went well or not, and who’s to blame) we think we thought the same way yesterday, but we were different. That’s why I journal. I don’t often read back. I just write my own now. But whenever I do read back, I can see my own story evolve and change and I’m reminded of what I used to think before my mind changed. And I can see the ebb and flow, the sine wave of my emotional state, the good days and the hard times. They come and go and come back again.
I remember as a little girl the first time I realized that what went on inside my head was my own. My secrets. I could keep them in or let them out, and no one else could control that but me. I also remember realizing this is true for everyone, and if I had a storyteller in my head, so did everyone else. And I wondered and pondered what the heck everyone else thought about all day long.
These days nobody keeps their thoughts inside. We blog and tweet and purge our souls in stories and pictures on social media. We share every opinion. That makes them harder to change. If you dig your heels in, draw a line in the sand, you’re stuck right there.
When you show your hand, your feet are cast in cement. The spotlight is bright. There’s nowhere to hide.
When I was small, I was labeled as shy. I thought that was ridiculous and offensive. I listened and decided what I thought about stuff, but did not feel the urge to share or argue my point with anyone because even as a small child I knew opinions and feelings were real and personal and not to be debated. See, I have a strong opinion on opinions, and I developed this deeply held conviction after about six rides around the sun.
You’ll be surprised to learn, after almost a decade of blogging, that I carefully keep parts of me to myself, thank you very much. I hope you do the same. If you’ve been reading for the last 98 weeks, you’ll know I have strong opinions on this pandemic, especially the mishandling of it. I’m deeply devasted by its destruction, empathetic to those who suffer, and disappointed by my fellow humans’ blatant misunderstanding of how to survive a global contagious virus. The sticky virus leaps freely from one unvaccinated human whose feet are stuck in the cement of their voiced opinion to the next unmasked epicenter-of-the-universe human who demands the freedom to die or kill others. My mind has been changed by this pandemic. When I glance back at TWL posts from last summer or last year I’m reminded of my own journey of fear, guarded optimism, and angry realism as I check the case numbers each week. If this hell ever ends, I may publish the whole damn thing so our grandchildren’s grandchildren can learn from our mistakes.
As noted last Tuesday, US COVID case numbers appeared to drop in the last week–certainly due to fewer tests during the holiday. Your neighborhood Debbie-downer warns: brace yourselves for the numbers next week.