A personal mythology is an invented thing, a collection of experiences that reinforce who we think we are. It’s family and history, accidents and accomplishments, the stories we tell ourselves. The person I thought I was before COVID-19 and quarantine would probably not be impressed with the soft person in soft pants I am now, but I don’t have much choice about this. It’s officially been a year since I first showed symptoms and was hospitalized in 2020. I still have questions about weird lingering health problems, none of them serious, just enough to be worrying.
We have all been bent and damaged by this experience and I would like to think that I am improved from all the mending, like those broken Japanese ceramics fused together with gold veins, but I really can’t say.
At the start of quarantine, I was so sick that the first six weeks flew by in a blur. I have no memories except for the realization that I could not smell my dog’s warm and slightly rancid breath. I can only remember what I wrote and photographed. Now, a year later, my world still revolves mostly around my home and it’s all sameness and quiet space, although it’s also starting to change more, with people I care about being vaccinated and moving around more freely. A year of COVID-19 quarantine for me is mostly wanting to want to do things and wondering where the time went.
I wonder if, for every experience lost during the past year, did we gain something else? I would very much like to NOT consider this year a loss. What I am hoping for is a heightened sense of that which is directly, physically present, a connection to myself and those closest to me, to books and music and art and food. I would like to think that this year of quiet will make me a better human to go back into the world.