What do we do now?

I haven’t posted in a long time, and for a good number of reasons. The shutdowns have beat me up mentally. The breaking of routines, the extended time home, the financial concerns…its all taking its toll. I’ve been facing some pretty bad depression along the way, and I’ve had more than one change to my meds. Anybody on meds knows that that’s a lot to deal with on its own.

I’ve been looking for positives. I really have. Some people are like “oh enjoy the time with your family,” and I do, but that’s not enough to carry through. As an artist, people are saying “work on art, try to do commissions,” and I do, but that’s not enough either.

Most of the coping strategies people suggest, or that we feel may be correct in this situation, miss the mark. They all operate on the concept that if we just make it through this inconvenience, everything will go back to normal. The problem is, normalcy is dead. I mean, things haven’t been normal for a long time, but we could still operate the same way we always did. But this? This has pushed us past the point of no return, and things will never be the same.

That’s a massive blow to our psyche, and it’s really difficult to accept. Add to that the uncertainty of day to day, how so many of us don’t even know how to pay our bills, and it can feel debilitating. How do we move forward from here?

The first thing I suggest is to do your best not to worry about what’s ahead. I know that’s way easier said than done, but right now we’re dealing with so many variables contributing to so much uncertainty, and almost all of it is completely beyond our control. When you worry and stress over things beyond your control, it only makes you feel helpless and small. Most of our actual concern needs to be directed towards things we can affect.

Instead, we need to look at today. What can you do today to make the most of your situation? There’s no one simple answer for everyone, or even an individual. Your personal needs in a time of crisis can change from day to day, or even hour to hour.

Maybe cleaning your house will make you feel better today. Maybe a giant plate of pancakes will. That’s me today, btw. Maybe you have a hobby that you could use to make a little extra money. Write. Paint. Call friends. Sleep in. There’s no single answer.

But the answer is clear. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Work if you can, but be kind to yourself. Spend time with your family, but give yourself space. Eat food. Take showers. Read books.

I’m not claiming any of this is easy. I’m having a hell of a time, and plenty of fuck all days. I was completely down for about a week, and absent from all social media, including Instagram. That’s a big deal for a guy whose career hinges on visual presentation. Shit, I don’t think I’ve been off that long since rehab.

My arcing point is that we’re on the precipice of a massive societal shift. There’s no fighting it, there’s no petitioning and protesting that will return things to normal. A virus doesn’t listen to pleas and bargains. Since normalcy is gone, we have to accept the current state, and guide it however we can.

And no matter how bad it can seem, we have to always remember that none of this is the worst case scenario. There is always something worse. The worst case scenario is that you die, and if you die, then you can’t possibly care that you got the worst because you’re dead. Anything short of dying is victory, and there is hope as long as you breathe.

Don’t give up. You’ll make it through, and find your way in this ever changing world. My heart is with everyone during this struggle. Lean on each other for support.

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