There’s a tone some people have taken on when talking to me throughout both Lockdown season one and two. It’s subtle and I never expect it, but when it comes it really makes me question how the person sees me.
‘But anyway, how are you?’ they’ll ask, after we’ve discussed how they having been dealing with it.
The intonation of the ‘you’ indicates concern – perhaps even an expectation that the chaos for them might feel more like a crisis for me. The strange thing is, though, even though I am raising a young child alone through the strangest of years, for me this situation isn’t entirely unfamiliar; I’ve felt somewhat isolated for years.
This may sadden some people, but everything we read or hear relies on context: I’ve always needed isolation.
The love of solitude, ironically perhaps, is one of the reasons my relationship with the woman I married worked. We both needed the same things. Both noted as social creatures – maybe sometimes to the point where others might think neither of us could ever bear to be alone – we also often craved silence.
Our kind of quiet time might have been different to others’, though. Mine still is. I thrive off the kind of the sort of solitude that gives me the space to get busy doing the things that work, socialising and generally being around people disallow.
I can easily feel low when I know there are things to do that can’t be done; I can just as easily experience elation when I have chance to action little things things that have been building up out of my control.
Lockdown has taken away physical contact with many of the people I love, but it’s also given me time to find calm – and remember my own needs – in the chaos.
I’ve put pictures on the wall that make my house feel more like home. I’ve fixed things that had sat broken for too long. I’ve shed things that made life feel unnecessarily cluttered. I’ve found satisfaction at work. I’ve made time to stop and ensure my son is on track for the future.
This time round I’ve stopped drinking and exercised every day. I’ve taken time to write. I’ve learned to appreciate what has started to feel usual rather than craving what some might call ‘normal’.
So how am I?
I’m just fine thank you. My son and I are both doing well. Just don’t call this weekend. He’s pulverising something on his PS4 (wishing it was a 5) and I’m indulging in some self-(determined) isolation.