Isolation isn’t just about COVID. Isolation can be about being separated from people by more than a glass window.
I am a reader. I take more of a scholarly approach. I read everything. I read all media stories showing different interpretations on the same argument. I seek out differing opinions on a subject to see what everyone thinks. I try to look at all sides. And then I want to talk about it. That is until this last election.
I have found this way won’t work this time. Either I am for or against. Either I vote for love or I vote for hate. There is no discussion. My different perspectives are suspect, I am part of the problem because I see both sides. I always considered myself straddling the line between left and right. Now I am expected to pick a side or I am just the enemy and part of the problem.
My friends. My family. My co-workers. I respect their views but can’t relay my own. I have to stay silent because raising a differing read on an incident or person or subject is not allowed.
There is no longer discussion or debate. Either you are on one side or the other. And I don’t know how to function. My process is no longer welcome or tolerated. And it is incredibly isolating. I feel alone and the effect is polarizing. I found myself gravitating to media that gives me comfort and it’s something I have to fight in order to keep deep thought alive.
But it’s hard, it’s sad, it’s painful. And it is isolating.
Something to keep in mind.
Someone I knew suddenly died last weekend. She was a co-worker, an acquaintance, a friend to all. She collected friends like squirrels hoard nuts for winter. And not just for the quantity of friends. They were all about quality, every single one. She remembered things like birthdays and work milestones. She loved to talk to them, inviting them into her life which was an open book. If you spoke of trying to find something or do something, she was hot on the trail on your behalf. These are the memories she has sown.
You may wonder why I don’t call her my friend. That’s because I don’t collect friends, I collect acquaintances. I get that about myself. I am not warm and fuzzy, nor prone to sudden hugs. I have given more hugs this week than I have in months, and those were primarily spent on my daughter who sensed the ripples from this tragedy.
This week has had the effect of throwing a full box of hearts up in the air and watching them fall, redistributed in a vastly different pattern. Some are angry at her and at the world. Some are sad and inconsolable. All are following the process towards healing in their own way. I am introspective, taking out my customary method of attachment and turning it over, revising and reflecting on changing how I inscribe actors into my life’s story. It could be part age along with this traumatic moment in time that has me opening and renewing a part of myself, although I have never been one for regret and I don’t think that will change. But I do believe this is a pivotal moment for me, shifting my nature to change the angle of my perspective
I won’t be someone who will, for example, research and churn out almond milk for a co-worker who mentioned her anxiety about her son who is lactose intolerant. I applaud and cherish those that can go that deep. But I will be someone who has lunch with a friend just to talk, help out when one needs to move, and not pass up those invitations to get together.
Now is the time for me to collect some friends. It’s never too late for personal change and that is her legacy to me.