Here, In November 2020, there is one thing I want to memorialize, to remember. And that is how exhausted I am. Every day. Exhaustion.
Slept 10 hours?
Slept 5 hours?
Just, all the time. Exhausted.
I thought something was wrong with me. It’s more than the usual blahs associated with time change and the fact that it gets dark at the unholy hour of 5:30 p.m. Physically, I feel good. Better than I have probably in years thanks to a workout routine that’s stuck for once.
No, this is a mental fog. Fatigue. Disinterest. Though not a depression. I understand why one would be depressed in our current state. I think the difference is that I want to do things. I want to write. I want to plan. I want to take on complicated plots and ideas. I do.
But I carve out some time, sit down, and fight for the hundred words that I manage to squeeze out. Why is this so hard? I scream into the void. The void answers back.
“Please. Stop. I am so tired of the screaming.”
So I do mindless tasks. Clean my house. Shell pecans. Tasks for which the most difficult decision may be ‘is this wall clean enough?’
Why? Why can I easily spend 4 hours scrubbing walls and baseboard and floors on my hands and knees, but 15 minutes ta the keyboard seems endlessly draining? It used to be the other way around!
Then I saw a tweet last week and it’s been burning a hole in my brain since.
COVID fatigue is a real & we’re all exhausted, but I suspect a lot is actually *decision* fatigue.— Ellie Murray (@EpiEllie) November 21, 2020
The absence of clear rules, information, and guidance means having to think through our every action to decide what feels safest. Good leadership would give us all a break.
This is what I do all day, every day. I look at the calendar, examine the case spread in our county and then make decision after decision after decision about how to navigate this as safely as possible. All while living under the terror of not only the possibility of contracting COVID, but spreading it to my family, possibly dying or losing a family member. Add to that the horror that is our Federal Government right now?
And you may think, why on earth would she want to remember this? Wouldn’t she rather focus on the family togetherness? They close knit bonds of quarantining for 250+ days with her husband and kids?
Yeah. It’s been great. <rolls eyes>
NO! I’ve been turned into (by my local, state, and federal government) the arbiter of COVID safety for my family. They ask if they can do activities and I have to run through a barrage of questions and extract multitudes of promises and threats and reminders about the catastrophic consequences of not following through. Mr. Quinn and I have endlessly debated the minutia of every. little. thing. we. have. done. Everything!
I have had to disappoint my kids and my husband so much. I have spent sleepless night agonizing over decisions that wouldn’t have been given a second thought in the before times.
MY KID HAS HAD TO TAKE A GAP YEAR BECAUSE OF THIS MESS!
I am so tired. I just want someone else to make some decisions. I want someone, anyone, in authority to say that this is real and that these things are safe and these are not. I want to not be gaslit by my social media feeds full of pictures of friends and family gathering without me inside restaurants and weddings and births. I want to stop having to be the COVID arbiter.
I would much rather put that decision making energy into my characters instead of feeling like writing my own romantic fantasy which right now feels like it would be best described as a heroine that just floats from activity to activity with no decisions to be made. Ever.