By Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda
Where are my fellow “2020 is my year” trumpeters? Were we all just masquerading? The year, so far, is anything but the “glam” we hoped it would be. “We…?” You ask? Of course, “We” are in this together.
Just the other day, I was considering ignoring my WhatsApp messages. They are far too many, I thought. Now, I am eager to read and hear from many of the people I love, like, and that hopefully like me back. To be honest, even if they do not like me much, I am happy to hear from them.
One often hears people say that life is short; well then, covid might be proof of that now more than ever. I feel like the year is taking me back to school specifically to learn some manners – wash your hands, cough into your elbow etc. – some empathy, some virtual skills to connect with loved ones and such. It is schooling me on how fickle this life can be and how our routines are literally going to be the death of us. Not the virus – but our behavior. But maybe it will be our mental health that finally strengthens our hands to pull the plug on ourselves. I think my own mental health is needing some intervention at this point!
Every day for the last several weeks, I have woken up to find one update after another; there is a flood of viral news and the consequences are yet to be felt. Our good friend, death, waits at the door of many of our loved ones, if not our own.
“It’s like the flu,” they say. Is it really?
What do I know, I can barely name all the parts to the shell housing me! No, seriously. I learned from others that one of my eyes is distinctly smaller than the other – who knew? Then I went to the mirror and I just could not see what they were talking about. Years later however, when selfies were born, I learned for myself that cameras may have a vendetta against my littler eye. But back to the current situation – covid and the havoc it is wreaking.
My trips to the fridge – God, am I grateful for this privilege at such a time – are nothing to be proud of. In fact, every trip ends with me going to the bathroom to step on the weighing scale; my mouth is not doing me any favours. And my priorities are clearly out of pace with the realities of our world. It is not hunger. It is boredom. It is fatigue. It is burning energy but not really burning energy – it is not knowing what to do after I am done twiddling with my fingers.
I have considered deleting every news app and social media platform because I am tired. I just don’t know how to do this anymore. I am fatigued from the automatic updates from Google about Boston being shut down, Uganda’s Health Minister quarantining all who had travelled, President Ramaphosa shutting down South Africa, Museveni giving drunkards a talking down like children because this thing – this viral disease is not a joke. Let me just add that Ugandan drunkards have already figured out a way to keep drinking incognito.
I am finding myself increasingly unable to think straight, fatigued from the anxiety plaguing my mind and soul. But also, I am here – sitting at the kitchen table sipping black tea out of my favorite black mug, wondering, worrying, attempting to move beyond the virtual madness, which is reflective, in some way, of the ghost-like-streets in many parts of the world.
Will this end?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t.
Italy. Oh Italy! I weep for you.
I feel I should weep for my frail grandfather in Kinkizi (pronounced – chee-nchee-zee). If covid makes it there, that’s it. I suspect he will happily take covid; after all, he misses his wife and would much rather lay next to her six feet under.
Have I mentioned that I am tired?
Has some African brother released a corona song yet? You know it’s coming!
Somebody throw me a lifeline. Something – anything, to connect me to someone else, to other people, to you. I cannot be alone in this stupor, can I?
** I can appreciate that this is a difficult time for most people world-over. Hang in there. You’re not alone.
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