A Pandemic Life Lesson That I Hope Sticks Around When This is Over

A photo of two girls from behind. They are sitting and looking at a bright carousel, one has her arm around the other. They have pink and blue hair. It's a warm picture of friendship and connection.
Photo by Luis Quintero.

Like most/all humans, I live with a handful of persistent insecurities. The ones that, no matter how good I get at recognizing them and setting them aside, manage to don new disguises and sneak their way back in on the regular.

A big one for me is a nice, deep-seated fear of abandonment and rejection from my friends.

This one can be so easily triggered, it makes me feel like life is one of those boobie-trapped caves in Indiana Jones.

A friend sends a text that ends in a period instead of an exclamation point when confirming our plans, thus sounding like they may not be excited to see me? Razor blades jump out of the walls! They are busy and thus not proactive about reaching out to me for a little while? Pile of rocks falls from the ceiling!

They talk about moving away, even just theoretically? GIANT ROLLING BALL OF DEATH CHASES ME OUT OF THE CAVE.

Generally, after that first razor-blade-dodging moment of fear that my friend is leaving me forever and probably hates me and I never mattered that much to them in the first place, I am able to regain a teensy ounce of perspective on the whole thing and get over it. But if I have been feeling particularly insecure, glum, or lonely at the time, then the sense of being alone may overpower my greater reasoning for longer than I'd like. (Which is at all, really.)

So you would think that during a global pandemic when I have been trapped alone in my apartment for untold periods of time and many of my friends become even more distracted by their daily lives (because their daily lives involve kids who they now are stuck with 24/7), that my insecurities would turn into a fire that burns my heart to pieces.

Guess what???? THEY HAVEN'T!!!

I was shocked - SHOCKED - when I realized that this pandemic has finally given me the perspective I needed all along on these micro-rejections. (I realize that they aren't rejections at all, as that implies intentionality, but I like the term micro-rejections, so I'm going with it.)

All of a sudden, everyone is dealing with SO MUCH. Life is weird, everything keeps changing, all of our routines have been upended, and it has made it more tangible than ever that other people's decisions are... wait for it... not about me. (GASP!)

Suddenly, the basic fact that other people are living whole entire lives of their own with complications and issues and distractions and fears and concerns that have nothing to do with me has become incredibly real.

During my normal times running through the Indiana Jones Cave of Insecurity Traps I try to remind myself of this, and my success varies. Now, it's obvious, not just to my brain, but to my heart.

Sure, I have still passed a couple of evenings staring at a message I sent to a friend, willing those little grey WhatsApp checkmarks to turn blue, wondering if I will live like this FOREVER, but what else am I supposed to do with my time???

This is one thing that I hope sticks after this pandemic ends.

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