The Barenaked Ladies sent out an picture to their fans – a black and white image of a felt board with the lyrics from their song Pinch Me.
I feel fine enough I guess/ Considering everything’s a mess
And isn’t that just the beast of living these days?
It’s no wonder to me that BNL, the quirky Canadian band of fully clothed men and my number one favourite since I was fourteen, would be able to encapsulate everything I’ve been struggling with.
We had our weird messy covid spring, that moved into our depressing covid summer, and now with an election like no other brewing in the country just south of us (like, so close on a clear day I can see part of that country), and covid cases increasing rapidly for a second wave that I hoped we would avoid, to the heartbreak that’s still going on in Beirut, on top of the ongoing anguish of the news we’ve pushed to the back burner because… how are we supposed to deal with everything?
Some people are online shopping. Some are forging ahead and bending the rules to meet with friends (or breaking them entirely and having parties… during a global pandemic). Some people are connecting with nature through long walks. Some are developing new talents, exploring hobbies long lay aside with renewed enthusiasm.
And some of us, at the end of a workday three feet from our couch, flop hopelessly down and stare at the idiot box hoping for something to drag our brain out of the hamster wheel of worry that we cannot drown out. Not with our favourite TV show, not with our favourite craft, not with our dog’s newest adorable antic. That worry that is present that echos like a drumbeat day after day, hour after hour on the hourly news break and push notifications should you turn the radio off. It’s all around us, all the time.
Everything’s fine enough, I guess.
But it really is a mess.
If I’m being honest, covid has removed my ability to be giddy. Heart pounding, enthusiastically giddy. Everything is just a bit too heavy these days.
Even things that I love still need extra time and consideration- did you remember your mask? Will you take that to go? Will you eat in your car?
And I’m not saying giddiness won’t come back. It’s just hard to feel effervescent when the world is the way it is.
I know it’s a bit woe is me, but I fought hard after a few difficult years to find my joy and my giddiness again – it’s doubly hard to take a pause on it again.
But I’m healthy and employed and have an incredible partner who is also healthy and employed.
So, it’s fine enough, I guess.
But there are moments where I’ll be able to stop doomscrolling for a second, put my phone down and my partner and I will share in a moment of hilarity of humanity watching the Murdoch Mysteries (me for the millionth time, him for the first). He’ll rub my legs and my dog will chase rabbits in his sleep, safe on his perch on my lap.
There are moments where, we’re both masked up and socially distant, and we’ll explore a new foodie store. I’ll accidentally buy a really, really expensive chocolate bar, and my partner will find a soda he’s never tried before in the glimmering cooler that looks like it’s out of a movie. And we’ll get the ice cream I wanted, the ice cream I followed for months on Instagram before finally tracking down at this wild and expensive foodie store that is like a moth to a flame for food lovers like me. And the ice cream is divine.
And there are moments, when meeting my friends at an outdoor movie, with the twinkle lights overhead and a pile of snacks on the socially distant table between us, where we’re laughing and swapping jokes like we do. And everything feels almost normal.
In those moments, not everything feels like a mess.
And that’s the duality of our lives right now. The news is bleak, and the options ahead may seem even bleaker. But there are those moments.
It’s scary, it’s dark, it’s a twisted version of the world I though I would be facing as an adult when I wrote about what I wanted to be when I was a kid. But there are those times when we’re able to forget how dark it all is.
It’s unprecedented, it’s unmapped, and it’s scary. But we’re surviving.
It’s scary every day. But we’re moving forwards everyday.
We’re all carrying this weight every day. We’re living our lives and trying to be fine when in reality, things are terrible and messy.
And yes even though we have been living with covid for months now, it’s still scary. The world is still scary.
And I think it’s ok to say that.
It’s ok to say it’s messy, I’m struggling, but I’m trying my best.
It’s ok to say I’m holding on to those moments of normalcy with a death grip because what else have I got to keep me grounded?
It’s ok to say I’m not really fine, everything is a mess.
Just because we acknowledge things are hard doesn’t mean we fail to recognize the heartwarming beauty of those moments.
I guess for me, a new 2020 lyric for Pinch Me might go something like this:
It’s all a mess I guess/but I really am doing my best.
Because I am. And you are too.