The struggle is real.
There are many models that talk about dealing with crisis, trauma, and grief. Depending on which model you prefer, there may be four, five, seven or any number of stages to recovery from crisis/trauma/grief. After reading through a number of websites today, I have come up with my own stages.
- Oh, crap!
- Why bother?
- Heavy sigh.
- Into the void.
- WTF? – I think we have all been here recently. It’s that moment of thinking, “Wait! Have I stepped into the plot of some weird dystopian novel?” Or even, “When did Stephen King start writing the plot for the real world?” When all of this started, I remember thinking that it was just overreaction and hyperbole (LOL – see how I referred back to my post from yesterday there). Then suddenly you walk up and find yourself thinking, “WTF is going on?”
- Oh crap! – This is that moment of realization when you figure out that it is not all hyperbole. This is a real thing. You are sent home from your job and told to work remotely. Every day, you get conflicting information but the aggregate is that you figure out that you are going to keep working from home for a very long time and that things are not going to go back to “normal” any time soon. You discover toilet paper shortages and the absence of fast action yeast along with a dearth of things like flour, sugar, butter and fresh vegetables. It finally dawns on you that this is a real situation and not some weird Hollywood plot.
- Why bother? – I spent a great deal of time here and still lapse into this state from time to time. This is when you think to yourself, “What’s the point? If we are all going to die then why should I care about continuing to update the spreadsheet for accounting?” I keep dipping into this energy with regards to live performances. I think to myself that if people are not going to be comfortable in a space with strangers, then the live event industry is dead. I have no job and no hope of ever being employed again. What’s the point of even trying?
- Heavy sigh – I suppose this would be what psychologists call “acceptance.” Here is where I finally heave a great big dramatic sigh and say to myself, “Well, I can’t change the situation so I can either give up and curl up into a fetal position and cry or I can take a deep breath and start to think of options.” This is where I mostly am today. I don’t love this. I don’t even like it a little bit. But since I cannot change it, I have to think about options. How will I move forward as the director of a performing arts center in this new world?
- Into the void – this is the next phase, the one I have not entered quite yet. It’s that movement into the unknown that is looming in front of all of us. We don’t yet know what “authorities” will mandate about public gatherings or what will happen with a vaccine. We don’t really know what people will feel about going to live performances in August and beyond. We are soon going to enter this unknown zone – this void – and it’s scary and daunting and often makes me want to just give up. But it is my only choice. I have to either give up or move ahead.
As I think about these not-so-scientific phases of my own personal grief/crisis process I see them not in a linear fashion at all. It’s not like I am moving from one cleanly into the next and then onward. I started in the first one and then added the next and so on. Instead of thinking of this in a linear fashion, I look at it as Venn diagram of the first four phases, with the overlap of all four being the fifth phase.
I flow back and forth among them all, but eventually I will find myself at the center where all four circles of the Venn diagram overlap. That center is like a black hole. We don’t know what is on the other side of a black hole. All we know is that as you approach it, you get sucked in faster and faster until you have no choice but to surrender and let the gravity pull you in.
I don’t know what’s on the other side of this black hole I am approaching, but it certainly won’t be “business as usual.”
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.