Well, 2020 finally broke me. I’m overwhelmed, worried about COVID, stressed about the election, climate change, immigration and poverty, and disillusioned to learn Ellen DeGeneres is an actress. It feels like someone shook Pandora’s Box 2.0 like a maraca, releasing sadness, greed and hubris.
I started this column dozens of times, but it feels like my funny is numb. I’d begin writing but devolve into an angry rant where I’m pounding the keyboard like a furious Elton John. I’ve gone feral.
During yoga, I asked my students for advice on how to find my funny. They suggested sharing recipes for Doomsday Survival beverages like Meltdown Mimosas and Disaster Daquiris. I’m afraid if I start researching drinks, I’d sober up around Groundhog Day. (If there is a Groundhog Day in 2021.)
I’m run through a gamut of feelings, enough emotions to create a second or third generation of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs. I start each day with Hangry then work my way through Weepy, Lonely, Screamy, Worry, Panic and Gloomy. My husband never knows which Peri he’ll bump into when we pass in the hall. It makes everyday discussions a bit wobbly.
Hubbie: What sounds good for dinner?
Me: We’re on a spinning planet, slowly moving toward the sun where we’ll be consumed like a fly in a bug zapper.
Hubbie: So . . . enchiladas?
Americans are resilient, right? We’ve been through tough times, right? We’ll come together and make the best decisions for our country . . . oh, who am I kidding?
I started screaming at the moon every night like some kind of demon weredog. I’m sure my neighbors are terrified. (Sidenote: I hope someone who’s been living in a bunker since Y2K finally emerged this year to see if it’s safe to come out. Joke’s on them.)
My meditation practice has become a slow descent into madness.
I zoom in close and watch my grandkids teach a disinterested dog to roll over. I see myriad kindnesses in my life like chocolate, warm blankets and Disaster Daquiris. I zoom out and witness this beautiful world with its billions of people just doing the best they can. Compassion is abundant.
I talk to the trees (literally). I smell pumpkin spice (everywhere). I hike through gorgeous canyons, watching leaves release their grip on branches and freefall to the ground. The stillness settles my thoughts.
I don’t know if you’ll read this before or after the election. I don’t know if we’re facing martial law, a presidential coup or (finally) an alien invasion. But I know optimism feels better than despair.
We can continue to Catastrophe Scroll though vile social media posts, created by friendless trolls with no sense of humor and a serious case of ringworm, or we can turn off our phones and relearn what “community” means.
One day soon, we’ll have to acknowledge the friendships we’ve lost, the unnecessary arguments we waged and the times we refused to back down. It will be a political hangover of epic proportions, especially if you’ve been drinking Calamity Cosmopolitans.
Those who follow my social media platforms know where I stand politically, and it’s easy to look at the rage in the world and point fingers at The Other Side.
I can stop the blame game, but I won’t stop calling for equality, justice and inclusion in places it doesn’t exist. We must remember that Hope remained in Pandora’s Box. It’s our job to nurture it.
This column was originally published in The Davis Clipper