Cold showers in March
Water cold like ice is splashing on my squinted face, running over my burning cheeks and my tensed up shoulders. Numbing my skin and my thoughts.
It’s the 27th of May 2020, and I’ve got home from my friend’s house, where I’ve been quarantined for the last two weeks after we returned from a skiing trip to Italy. “Quarantine” wasn’t a common word back then, and the fact that the government “highly recommended” us to not leave the house remained absurd the whole time, awkwardly sitting with us on the breakfast table, like a guest you invited in out of politeness and that now refuses to leave.
It was already on my way home that day, that I realized, that coming home wouldn’t turn everything back to normal, that it wouldn’t make me feel right and fine again. Every meter I got closer to my home screamed at me with mockery, laughing scornfully at my upwelling panic. “This is real, this is your real life and it’s not changing just because you’re getting home”.
My hair still soaking wet, I pull out my notebook, carelessly watching the empty white pages curl under the water that drops upon them.
“In the last hour my mood changed every 2 minutes. I’ve started to panic, took a cold shower, cried whilst showering, chatted and laughed with some friends on Skype, thoroughly cleaned my room, then cried again. I don’t think that this impulsive mood change is normal. Or healthy. But nothing is normal right now. Since two weeks ago, the world stands still. Closed shops and schools, crashing market prices, empty shelves and streets. I’m sorry, if this sounds overdramatic but it’s hard to stay sane, when your life suddenly appears to be a science-fiction movie, a black mirror episode, you didn’t asked for. The Summer 2020 should have been the freest summer of my life, but instead, it’s burning in front of my eyes.”
At 5pm, I go to bed and sleep for 16 hours.
That was the first day I really realized, that this pandemic was real, that it wasn’t just a bad dream that I would wake up from.
It was the day I stopped watching the news for an entire month.
It was the day “home” as the abstract construct of safety, normality and comfort collapsed. It vanished under the weight of something big and scary, something I couldn’t control. I felt as if I had swallowed the blue pill from “Matrix”, now being forced to see the uncomforting, unpleasant truth.
It’s August the 9th. I’m sitting in a café down my street, drinking a black iced coffee to escape the boiling heat that hangs between the houses like heavy cloth of wet laundry.
My mind is fully caught up in the recent past. Maybe most of the things I’ve learned in the last six months come naturally with growing up. With graduating. With moving out.
I guess, one of the important things that the weeks of unstableness have taught me is that I have to rely on myself. But also, even more important, that I actually CAN rely on myself.
Becoming your own best friend can be a hard and scary process, but when you’re willing to accept, that you’re the person, you will get the closest to in your entire life, who knows and understands you better than everyone else, when you start to really like yourself and to trust in your own decisions, opinions and thoughts, it frees you in a way nothing else will ever do.