Pandemic Paralysis

The world has changed so fast during this pandemic I don’t even know what “normal” is anymore. My world has changed so fast that uncertainty looms over me day and night. Lately I’ve been feeling anxious, depressed even. Maybe it’s because I’ve come to believe that the future, my future is no longer mine to determine.

I’ve lost my job a few months into the pandemic and have not been able to find another since. Like countless other blue collars I have relied on family and government for support to maintain a sense of security. Even that sense of security is in itself a privilege, something countless others have yet to experience. At the same time, all I’ve been hearing from governments, scientists, and experts alike is one constant message — we are working hard to make this pandemic feel normal so we can get back to normal. That is, as I understand it, you don’t have much if any say in what is normal, that’s “our” job.

Personally, this “normal” increasingly feels more like a fight for survival where only a new, superior species of humans will come out alive, bloodied or otherwise. A realist may be more than happy at the prospect of battling others for a place in this new world, this new normal, and even thrive on the constant challenge to emerge victorious over others. Yet I’m no realist and have not taken the necessary training in order to antagonize others and ultimately dominate them.

I am more like a humble idealist, one who just simply wants to get by while contributing to the overall well-being of family and loved ones. An idealist who envisions peace without war, an idyllic life without partisan disruptions, an idealist of a bygone era, swallowed by a world that is blood-thristy for battle.

An idealist like me often settles for a simple existence but that does not mean we are not survivors. (It’s not easy taming the beast that is realism in order to foster co-existence). Often that beast exists within ourselves as well, and out of necessity we surrender complete control to it in order to make it to the other side, sometimes as something entirely new.

As my ability to have a say in my daily life becomes increasingly elusive, pandemic paralysis becomes more real. Yet that human spirit, the will to survive, always kicks in and gives me a hard slap on the head and says, “wake up. Stop wallowing in self-victimization like you have no privileges, fool.” Sometimes I listen to that inner realist, more often though I would smoke a joint just to shut it up. Maybe out of necessity, or maybe by my own volition, I haven’t smoked weed for a couple of weeks now. As a result, I have been hearing the voice of my inner realist louder and clearer each day.

Some may say this inner dialogue is but a form of meditation, and thus, good. Others may view it as simply psychotic. Whether if my inner dialogue is an act of meditation, or something that has been caused by external factors, or a bit of both, it is nonetheless real. A battle with the self during a global pandemic may seem naive but it may also be the psychological vaccine that is needed in order to navigate this new reality where everything wants to be normal while being almost entirely foreign.

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Here to not internalize matters of concern

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Ton Hoang Vu

Ton Hoang Vu

Here to not internalize matters of concern

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