I’ve been having this weird feeling lately that I’m not really living in my body. An awareness of me watching me, observing my own life, is a strange sensation. So is this the Covid Conundrum? Social isolation may be isolating me from myself. Do I need personal relationships to have a relationship with myself?
Earlier this year, I could walk into “my coffee shop, my home away from home, my office” and be greeted by a familiar face who asked me if I wanted my usual chocolate and raspberry scone. Albeit on a transactional level, they saw me, they knew me and vice versa. Pleasantries were exchanged about the weather and the news while my coffee was being dispensed. My table was occupied—by me. I had boundaries. I wrote and I worked and life was good. Maybe the best aspect of my coffee shop was the friends who joined me there for coffee. I told them to meet me at my office and they knew what I meant.
As the world began to open up after lockdown I had to make difficult decisions. Did I feel safe in particular settings and would my friends understand my limits? Several times I had to cancel plans to get together because I was overwhelmed by fear and stopped by a strong belief that the situation was not safe. Friends had different comfort levels and I wanted to be like them, but I had to trust myself. I questioned my decisions and their decisions too, and I began to feel like I was becoming judgmental of myself. I compared myself to others and began to watch myself navigate the post lockdown world and see how I appeared to others. Why wasn’t my comfort level with being out and about the same as some of my friends? Did they know something I didn’t know?
So now it looks as if vaccine could be widely distributed in my risk level in early 2021. The end of the long experiment of Covid isolation and social distancing will produce unknown results. I know I can’t drop my Covid identity immediately, and I’m not sure what changes the year long Covid world has produced in me. I’m afraid I won’t recognize myself and I doubt I will be able to slip back into my old roles and life with ease. I’ve changed and I won’t be the same as I try to fit myself into the new me. It will be interesting.