Life In The Apocalypse 3. Thursday March 26, 2020

Discerning Daddy

Today’s record, GoGo Penquin, A Humdrum Star, Deluxe.

I woke up feeling discouraged today. And horny.

I keep thinking, this has to have meaning. I have to find a way to allow what is happening in the world to change me.

I’ve been meditating a lot. Jerking off less than I would have thought. I bought a bike and try to spend an hour each day riding it, exploring new neighborhoods. I go for walks. It’s nice to be out, even if at a distance, seeing the world, knowing that all of you are out there too. I try to smile and say hi. I read somewhere that saying hi, that smiling, is good for the immune system. Either way, it makes me feel better.

And I’ve been writing.

I set a goal for myself: I will read two new books a week and I will spend less time on my phone.

But today I woke up feeling discouraged.

“I think things are going to go back to normal sooner than we think,” my friend texts me from San Francisco. She is married with two kids. The four of them quarantined in their two-bedroom apartment in the Mission.

“I hope so,” I write back, but what I am really thinking is: what is normal? What does that mean exactly?

“By your birthday for sure,” she texts. “God, it has to be all over by then don’t you think?”

My birthday is May 8. And I don’t know what to think.

“I think this is just going to be what it is.” I say to her when she answers her phone, deciding we needed more than just texting.

“I don’t think I can live like this,” she says to me. “I have no space. Nowhere to go.”

We are silent: the two of us breathing.

“Sometimes I could just run away,” she says. She says it softly. “Sometimes I think I could just run away and leave them all behind. Does that make me a bad person? A horrible mom?”

“No,” I say.

“What if I did it? Would it make me a horrible person then?”

“You won’t do it so it doesn’t matter.”
“Remember when we were in College and we would eat mushrooms and wander around the Lower East Side and the Village? And we felt so free. So limitless. I want that feeling back.”

“Let’s add it to the list of life in the age of coronavirus goals,” I say, and we both laugh.

It’s so easy to be sad. To be afraid. It’s so easy to struggle against what is happening: to deny it even as the rising tide of it seems to be growing. It is so easy to say it’s just a conspiracy.

It would also be so easy to just sit on my couch and watch Netflix and jerk off to Pornhub (they’ve even made their premium videos free during the crisis…it’s an endless cornucopia of gang bangs and bareback loads).

And yet I can’t help it: I need there to be meaning to this. I need it to have an impact. I don’t want to resist what is happening. I don’t want to slip into denial so I can just go back to normal when this is over.

When I found out I was HIV positive I remember thinking, “This will change me. It should change me. I want it to change me.” When Jon died I refused let him just slip away, to allow the sadness of it to destroy me, instead I demanded it have meaning. Because if I could find the meaning in what had happened then I could find a way to not just survive but to grow.

I want to do more than just survive this. I want to live. I want to experience. I want to grow.

And some days I will wake up discouraged. Some nights I will be so wrecked by anxiety and fear I can’t breathe.

But then I will get out of bed. I will read and write and drink coffee and then I will get on my bike and I will ride through the empty streets, saying hi to anyone I see. And I will eat lunch with my boyfriend and I will reach out to my friends and my mom and dad and brother, I will send dirty jokes to my nephews, and search for pink and sparkly headphones for my nieces and I will say to myself: this matters. This will mean something. This can change us if we let it. Even in all the fear and loss and pain this can be an opportunity.

If we let it.

Check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Your support means everything.

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