I am falling apart. I am losing my shit. I am lapsing. It is on 5th May, 2020 as I write this. I must also mention that it’s in the dead of the night, 00.54 to be precise. I would have also told you that I skipped my shower today, except that it’s a new day so that pushes my small misdemeanor to yesterday. Not that anyone is taking note.
I have put a hold on many things. Things like doing my laundry, filing my nails and braiding my hair. And I’m inwardly happy because these are the things that hitherto seemed to just waste my time. Time that would have been better spent doing better things. Things like more sleep, more reading, more writing or just more chilling.
When it all began, this quarantine business I mean, I was psyched. I was overjoyed, I was truly happy. I looked forward to the free time, the long days that are devoid of external interruptions not to mention the break from sickening human interactions. I simply couldn’t wait to get down to the business of doing what pleased my heart.
I had everything planned out. From assured weekly writing gigs, to workout routines that promised astounding results, to fresher reads. Besides, I really needed this time to detox, to rethink certain aspects of my life and to centre and find my balance.
I did well in the first month (or so I would like to think.) I finished voluminous books within hours, I wrote plenty of stories without seeming to run out of ideas. I pushed the limits of my body till I started seeing those results they’d promised. But now the fire is no more. It’s obliterated with no hope of coming back. And all that’s left is a shell of the person that was. The girl that wanted time alone with food, books, an Internet connection and nothing else.
Now staring at me is a dirty pile of clothes lying by the corner. Anyone can walk in right this minute, take a look at the pile, at me, at the pile again, a long one at me and hope that I feel guilty about it but I won’t. It’s been ten days since I last exerted myself with routines and my stories are just lying somewhere half-finished and very soon they will end up in the trash. I haven’t called people in days, I have been putting off replying to some messages for so long that I have started to feel the bonds weakening and the distance growing.
We went into hiding with so many things, so many plans, so many aspirations. And we soon have come to find out by ourselves how this life is full of surprises. How the universe has a mind of its own. How nature is supreme over us all.
Looking back, there’s a lot of my former life that I miss. A lot that I wish I could go back to, appreciate more,maybe hold on to and nurture. Things I’d taken for granted. People I’d ignored and put away. Apologies that I now wish I’d sent earlier, in time. Sorries that needed to be said without being requested. Appropriate and fitting thank yous.
It’s the thought of the banal yet joyful things that bring sadness to my heart. Like the childlike excitement that came with a stroll down the street to my favourite Mahindi choma stand,even though I hated indulging in roasted maize while in the city. It always felt like a betrayal. Like leaving your wife at home to come and meet your mistress. The willingness to share details of our day with such strangers who eventually became our bosom buddies. Ah, how I miss my mutura guy! I bet he does miss me on boot.
I miss how I’d bound up the stairs in Nairobi taking them two by two and bump into a child who would halt me with “Auntie, nigawie smokie.” Or the chatty neighbours who’d pop their heads around the door curtain to politely ask to swap playlists, or to ask if the water is running.
I lived for Sundays. How every other Christian would wake me with music that tugs at my sinful heart. The kind that seemed to remind me of my least used Holy Bible App let alone the last time i stepped in church( I obviously can’t remember.) If I had any dates, I’d make sure they fall on a Sunday. When the roads were clear and traffic a thing of yesterday.
It was a fast life that we lived. A life with no thought or reflection. A life of living in the moment in every sense of the word. A superficial and vapid life. A life of wanting and getting what we wanted without thinking if indeed whatever we wanted was good for us.
And now looking back at these things, we are forced to shift things about. To rearrange the rubic’s cube that is our individual lives. We have been forced to shake off some habits and pick up new ones. We have dug graves and buried certain tendencies, certain relationships and certain things that we held dear. We have cut off parts of ourselves and regrown others that we’d initially dwarfed. And we may or may not realise all these until we get back.
There have also been good days and bad days. Days when the sun came out early to shine and illuminate our faces vs days when the same sun remained shielded by dark clouds and dreary weather. We’ve had days where we’ve thrown back the blankets, swinged our feet off our beds and gotten down to time with family, work or simply living. And we’ve equally had days when we’ve pulled our blankets over our heads and turned our backs away from the morning light.
But if there’s one thing that this time in isolation has taught me, it’s that it’s okay to not want to follow up with plans, its okay to simply exist.
It is totally okay to want to sleep your way through this. It is also okay to want to drink or eat till you lose yourself. It is okay to binge on whatever it is without feeling the need to make use of this time. It is okay to tune out the world, to wallow, to embrace your demons.
But most of all, it is okay to not feel happy about having so much time to yourself. Because every human is different. And such drastic change can never be good to all.