The Pandemic Narrative – The Forces That Push Us Forward And The Ones That Pull Us Back

I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but there’s about 150 weeds behind me. I went on a rampage for roughly two hours straight, until they all eventually succumbed to their demise. It was odd, to say the least, because I’ve never really cared about our lawn before. 

This frenzy continued for two more days, for a grand total of six hours and roughly 300, reluctant at first – yet stood no chance once they met me – weeds. I couldn’t even close my eyes at night without being bombarded with a mirage of spider-like, claw daggers, that are the leaves of the dandelion. 

Just like their thick, dense, and incredibly sturdy roots, they were imprinted and imbedded in my brain.  

I even purchased an aerator. And seeded. And watered…on a schedule. 

Side note: I know all the benefits of dandelions and I’ve been a big supporter most of my life, but for some reason I was just craving some super soft, lush, comforting grass under my feet and between my toes this year. 

And the best thing was, I was really enjoying it – I was getting this incredible sense of satisfaction and this generous feeling of accomplishment. This push forward, – although somewhat random, extremely exhausting, marginally expensive, and completely time consuming – launched me into something really good. 

Fast forward a week and a half and I can barely get myself off the couch to spray the damn hose. 

The thought of having to care for something else, after caring for two little humans all day long, started to repulse me. How in the fuck did I think that adding more to my plate right now would be a good thing?!

And it wasn’t just the lawn. I had also bought and planted two trees and a couple of plants. Do you know how ridiculously complex it is to plant a tree? There was a whole page of instructions! No wonder our other tree died, we just literally popped it into the ground and hoped for the best. Now we have things like triple mix, stakes, mulch, and transplant fertilizer – never heard of it? – me neither. 

And the hose. My god, the hose. We’re those mangled up and twisted beasts specifically designed to make you want to rip your hair out? 

It was all just too much, ya know? 

And just like that I was pulled back – back into the easy, back into the familiar, and back into the comfortable. I thought to myself, this is a heck of a lot of work, and where’s my guarantee? How do I know my toes will be mingling with some soft, supple, gorgeous green blades of grass this season? How do I know my efforts will even be rewarded? 

Life’s interesting that way. There’s always these opposing forces that push and pull us into different directions; passion, energy and hope, as well as, apathy, powerlessness and doubt. And I believe that right now, during these pandemic times, these forces are even more polarized and more imbalanced than usual. 

There’s a lot of unsteady ground out there. 

It’s the force that tries to push me out the door every day for a walk, because it knows how good it will make us all feel, and the force that won’t let me out of my own head long enough, as I unconsciously devour another bag of honey dijon chips. It’s the force that feels motivated and proud when I do something creative and different with the kids, and the force that makes me curl in on myself, as I sit with guilt, while the kids watch their fifteenth episode of transformers.

“Rescue bots, rooooll to the rescue, humans in need, HEROES INDEED! Rescue bots, roooooll to the rescue, RESCUE BOTS!” – the theme song, imprinted and imbedded in my brain. 

It’s the force that’s optimistic about this pandemic eventually coming to a close, and the one that’s hopeful about the changes we will likely see in the coming months. But it’s also the force that wants me to continue to acknowledge how completely exhausting, utterly draining, and absolutely heartbreaking this past year has been, and it’s the one that has felt and continues to feel absolutely powerless. 

And for myself, regardless of what particular space I happen to be in – in the moment, it feels all consuming, and as though that’s all there is. Instead of a balanced dance where I gently float back and forth between both states, it’s like I’m catapulted, head first, into one or the other. 

The pandemic narrative has definitely drenched us with a theme of unsteady ground – in fact, we’ve been saturated by it. And it’s hard to feel balanced when that’s your starting point. 

This past year has been a good dose of powerlessness, mixed with a generous chunk of disappointment and doubt. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and there hasn’t been a lot of guarantees, and our efforts haven’t always been rewarded. 

With that being said, I went out and checked the grass the other day. I got right down on the ground, unwavering, and looked closely at the generous handfuls of seeds I had optimistically sprinkled into the dirt just a couple weeks before. 

I was hopeful. 

And there, just barely visible, right above the surface, were two little, tiny – yet strong – gorgeous blades of newly sprouted grass, making their way up through the unsteady ground.

And I immediately felt a sense of relief. 

Because at one point or another, whether we are expecting it or not, the narrative can change, and it can happen, just like that *finger snap*. 

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