Updated: Mar 24
Recently, my good friend, Kerri posted a meme on Instagram that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since. The text of it is as follow:
You’re not imaging it, nobody seems to want to talk right now. Messages are brief and replies late. Talk of catch ups on Zoom are perpetually put on hold. Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.
It’s not you. It’s everyone.
We are spent.
We have nothing left to say.
We are tired of saying “I miss you” and “I can’t wait for this to end.” So, we mostly say nothing, put our heads down, and get through each day.
You’re not imagining it. This is the state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together, but so very far apart.
Hang in there, my friend. When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don’t feel you have to apologize for being quiet.
This is hard.
No one is judging.
“NO ONE IS JUDGING.”
If you know Kerri, you know she’s one of the sweetest humans that will ever grace this planet. She posted this in the hopes of encouraging those who are feeling overwhelmed. She’s letting her friends off the hook. She’s telling us that it’s okay to forgive each other, and ourselves. That’s the kind of thoughtful and caring person she is. The kind of thoughtful and caring person I am not responded to this meme with, “Oh, someone’s judging.” I’m such a dick. I am, but let me serve up a little food for thought that may - or may not - make me look a tad less dick-ish.
We are tired - spent, even. We’ve run out of things to talk about. Zoom calls are exhausting. It hardly seems worth the effort to even send that text or email. Really? Or is it just that this is how we really are, and COVID has given us the excuse we’ve longed our whole lives for? I’ve always been somewhat of a minimalist in regards to relationships: a handful of trustworthy, close friends, and in day-to-day life: short conversations about the necessary, small talk is for bullshitters, less is more, yadda yadda. I would be lying if I said that in the early months of the pandemic I wasn’t thrilled that my calendar of appointments and events was wiped out in one fell swoop. It was thrilling, liberating. I was into social distancing long before it became a household term. I took a leave of absence from work - even less talking and bullshit. Score one for the antisocial. I missed my family and close friends, but we had always been decent communicators, so this wasn’t going to be an issue……right?
This isn’t a calling out to all of those deadbeats out there. I’m guilty of much of what I blame others for, I know. But, I’m sorry. I am judging your silence; it’s not f-ing okay. Do you know that in one solid year, twelve long pandemicky, socially distanced months, someone closer to me than most whose pronouns we’ll call “they, them, and their” has not once initiated contact with me, asked how I’m doing, or checked in in any way, shape, or form. Again, I’m not calling them out, but I’m doing the opposite of what my friend, Kerri is doing - I AM judging! Countless text messages and emails have gone to them over the past year: “How are you holding up?” “I’m getting Spidey senses - something feels like you aren’t doing well.” Warm and fuzzy shit like that, which each time has been met with fuzzy shit like, “We are ok,” “Doing as well as can be expected,” etc. Never did a “How are you?” follow. Not even once. End of convo. Well, okay, then.
While I would call us - them and me - close, we weren’t always. As an elder to them, when we were little, I failed miserably. We both know and acknowledge this. I was an outright abusive asshole. I’ve never stopped regretting or paying for this. They have never been one to hold a grudge, so I know they’re not angry with me over something. They just aren’t concerned. And that blows.
Do you have this person in your life right now? The one whom everyone else in the world is “not judging” and letting off the hook? I think we need to put people back on the damn hook. Enough of being afraid of hurting feelings or pushing someone into slight discomfort. Make the effort. You don’t even have to initiate, but at least reciprocate. It’s the decent, human thing to do. Yeah, like the meme says, “We’re tired of saying ‘I miss you.’” Guess what? Too bad. Say it anyway. Yes, the meme also says, “This is hard,” but is this Depression Era hard? Holocaust hard? Are we pulling apart old sweaters to make new socks? Are we watching our gardens 24/7 so our neighbors don’t steal the only food we’re going to have? Are we burning books to keep warm? Are we worried about being executed for our mere beliefs? Even in those times, people stuck close, because all people had was each other.
***Interjectory note here: This is not directed at the percentage of us who have lost whole families to COVID and those who are otherwise suffering, truly, in these days. This is for me, you, and all of those in our respective worlds.***
My Mom and I still talk semi-regularly, and yep, we don’t have much news to share, but we check in anyway. Check in on your loved ones. Some of us aren’t doing very well. At all —yeah, I mean me. Hey, it’s not biblical end times hard, but still, it’s hard. I love them - that person in my life I am close to, but damn, ya’ll, holla back. To Kerri: I really do miss you. And to the rest of you: Call ya motha!