An Exhausting Blaze of Inner Chaos


There’s a nagging intermittent inner voice urging me to use this time wisely. Do more, learn something, get through that dusty pile of books so utterly indifferent as to whether I read them or not; some started, others half read, some pristine still and then something else shiny and new pops up, a must read bestseller. With one click and swipe it’s arrived and all I’ve done is made the pile bigger and added to the angst of the amount of things I’ve not read. How unwise I must be, how much more out there there is to learn, how I will honestly never get around to it all. Definitely not the feelings I am after in the current high riding anxiety state. All that is happening is me creating more work for myself and reinforcing a feeling of failure. An internal scream of frustration at me as to why if the book was so alluring at the outset why it becomes suddenly repellent once in the enclaves, along with the rest of the pile it’s in or on.

But alas with literally NOWHERE TO GO AND NO ONE TO SEE, there is nothing to now hide behind. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be trashing through the dusty pile nor doing all of the grandiose things I flippantly intended in the chaos of life pre-COVID. Except there is something indecipherable in the way - I think it’s a pandemic lockdown 3 related ailment called ‘can’t be arsed.’ Here and now as the new year starts, I’ve noticed a general life apathy pervading into every crevice like an invisible disease. Yes there is a vaccine but day to day until April apathy is in full swing.

Instead of actually knuckling down to the tasks I’ve concocted, I’ve also constructed a retort, a sort of defence. I’ve created more tasks! The first one is simple - it is to write a grand list of all the things that I am going to do. I’ve even mentally pondered how I might categorise and file them so as to really ensure that they get the green tick alongside them. Big ideas/medium ideas/small and doable ones with fancy separators and big chunky markers like beacons of hope in the increasingly fugue state that this lockdown is fuelling. And yet and yet I’ve not quite got around to even putting pen to paper to scribe that list and we’re in week what? I don’t know. The internal rebel in me is saying I can’t be arsed to count the weeks because what’s the point? It’s just another thing I need to do.

By the time I do get around to jotting these life changing ideas and tasks down, the inaction has started to creep its poison in - in the idleness the tasks that had such clarity at the outset have faded, their urgency is less, I’ve started to lose faith in the thing that was so believable at the beginning (like the new shiny bestseller that I don’t get around to reading) and with the self imposed convolution it rapidly dissolves into ‘oh what does it matter, it wouldn’t have made any difference to my life anyway’ and therein it trails off and extinguishes as quickly as it fired up and I’m conveniently distracted by the mundane lockdown terror list in a life half lived such as - what is for breakfast/dinner/lunch today or else you’re planning/cooking/clearing up breakfast/lunch/afternoon tea/dinner (delete as appropriate) or you realise you’re desperately low on bog roll and need to be organised and book a grocery slot.

Or perhaps your choice of mundane living is cutting up and sticking in pointless timelines from Twinkl or helping make a solar oven (yes, that happened today - it was pissing down, thanks), or wondering what you can do with the clunky illegible pieces of schoolwork scattered house wide whilst simultaneously feeling guilty about how much paper you are using for one child.

Comforted as Bill Murray was in Groundhog Day that really the only certainty is that tomorrow is familiar - you will get up, have to print off homeschooling sheets that you will throw in the bin 6 hours later, try and do some real work that means you can pay bills and keep a roof over heads (but to be honest that part of your life has become as clear as furlough rules), be asked about food and meals forthcoming A LOT, wonder what time is acceptable to crack open wine and how many bottles are acceptable to sink on a school night. Then perhaps when small feet have stopped you might try and find something to watch on the too many channels and options available but instead end up being really indecisive and utterly muddled and before you know it you’ve got repetitive strain injury on your thumb, feel really tired and need to go to sleep having watched nothing worth watching at all.

Oh the fucking mundanity of it all!

Lockdown 3 is revealing itself to be extremely tedious. The first time around we did not know what to expect. The fear factor and the feeling of doing it for the greater good of everyone was high. The prospect of spending more time with the ones we love was endearing, golden, novelty. Also it was around 30 degrees which meant the garden was another room and the intensity of the same people and their (annoying) habits seemed to dissolve much better when there was glorious sunshine and a rushed paddling pool purchase that did a wonderful job of distracting kids but a abysmal job of maintaining lawns. The second time there were presents, turkey and prosecco popping open around 11am to no raised brows. But life without the busy meaningless froth in cold wet freezing January? It’s a different scenario completely.

And now it’s obvious that with this forced time to sit back and take it in from a distance that life pre-pandemic was kind to the long lists of ‘undone.’ There was always a viable and valid excuse not to get around to it. The more pressing task of a busy life rushing here and there always took a majestic precedence - every day life ‘froth’ reigned rather than the rightful true essence. Something that we have come to now know in this tragic and long winded pandemic, as the most important things in life. The utter fragility of life, the importance of loved ones, being mindful of others, being together, the absolutely wonderful nourishment that is a hug or intimacy on a non sexual level - noted now in its stark and prolonged absence.

So why with the luxury of time that we habitually craved pre Covid 19 is there reticence and instead a drawing towards the comfort of the mundane? Perhaps because we can’t always answer life’s massive questions such as why we are here. The distraction and the safety and the being in control of little things is safety and security. The consistent daily pummelling of how upturned the world is amidst an aggressive pandemic is too stark and too unsettling. The turning inwards must be balanced. So rather than setting more tasks for yourself and creating unnecessary pressure to get through the dusty perhaps just look at it and laugh as you quaff wine at 2 o’clock and appreciate that we all need a big dose of frou frou and froth to keep sane in these dark days.

I’m off to dance like a twat in the kitchen.