The most uncomfortable thing about the pandemic has been living with Fearful Me. I never liked fear. I can’t even enjoy rollercoasters, speed or horror stories as entertainment. I’ve evaded fear with plans, efficiency, aggression.

Because fear paralyses me, I’ve been scared of stopping & never being able to start again. The hardest thing of 2020-21 has been losing the motivation to move, courage to rebuild, confidence to believe anew, strength to uphold. These are contingent on my constantly moving. When I’m scared, I’ve acted. But for 2 years, I’ve been frozen. There’s only this far efficiency can get you when it comes from desperation. I haven’t felt safe since Mar’20.

This year opened with the thing I feared the most. COVID entered the bubble of our home, my life that I’d so painstakingly protected by 2 years of prisonlike discipline & ascetic isolation. My parents tested positive – my recurring nightmare since they had years of health issues even before. How I wondered, through 2020 & 2021 would I cope if it hit them? Without the doctors, hospitals, specialist advisors & my own forms of coping like swimming & performance?

When the axe fell, I bled for but a day & it was an awful one. People I turned to for help (after supporting them through these times) cut me off. As if the virus is transmitted through phone lines. It still twinges though I know now what fear they sit in to do this to me. But I tested negative, an event that gave me grim, angry determination to see it through. Then a friend called offering to send me food. Then another & another. I didn’t actually avail of any of their help. But they made me feel supported. It helped me put one foot in front of another.

My parents tested negative yesterday. I almost can’t believe it’s over. My world looks different in just two weeks. I’ve been Fearful Me through this entire new year. And you know what? I survived it. I’ve cried a few times, I’ve been bitter-angry, floated in despair. I don’t think any of us dares think of what 2022 will be like. They say the last mile is the longest. Let’s hang in there. Scared but together. Stay safe, my world. Stay loving & hopeful.

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