Earlier today, I asked my friends if anyone else feels like the world is imploding. If anyone else can’t concentrate because it feels like the world is breathing down their neck.
Surprise, surprise – everyone said yes.
But here’s the thing. What I really should’ve asked them is…does anyone else feel like there’s a rabid opossum inside of them?
That’s the best way I can describe it. On the outside I’m perfectly socially appropriate, perfectly calm and collected. But on the inside there’s an opossum that’s foaming at the mouth and shrieking and panicking about the state of the world. We’ve been in this pandemic for about three years now. Summer 2021 was supposed to be the end! The big celebration. Vaxxed, waxxed and ready to party. And yet.
January 2022. Everyone is getting COVID, it’s an exercise in futility to try and get a COVID test, no one really seems to know when this is going to end, and I went to the grocery store two days ago and they were completely out of chicken. Zero chicken left. Maybe that’s when the rabid opossum took up residence inside my soul. Because when I saw that empty grocery shelf, a little voice in the back of my mind reminded me of all of the zombie apocalypse movies I’ve watched. Like how one day there’s no chicken at the grocery store, and the next day a zombie horde has taken over New York City. Or something.
And I was like, dang, mind, calm down! But I can’t blame my subconscious. Because, honestly, the world doesn’t feel too stellar right now.
I’ve noticed something recently. Whenever I sit down to do some mundane task, the rabid opossum starts whispering to me. You’re ordering sushi delivery while we’re creeping towards 1 million COVID deaths? You’re writing a story while the world heats up like a faulty stove?THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS GOING ON, ELLEN!
Yeah, Rabid Opossum, I know.
It is very hard to be a normal human being right now, with a job and a life and an affinity for delivery sushi. It’s honestly a relief to know I’m not the only one feeling this, because I was worried for awhile. Whenever I hopped on a Zoom meeting and everyone acted as if our society isn’t totally bonkers right now, I felt like I was the weirdest person ever. Because while everyone else was going about business as usual, I was dealing with a rabid opossum reminding me that there’s no dang chicken left at my local grocery store because of supply chain issues. I felt like I was taking crazy pills, as Mugatu would say.
But after I realized I wasn’t alone, I realized something else. We’re all really, really good at suppressing our rabid opossums.
After all of my friends said “yes” to feeling vaguely rabid opossum-y, that became clear – because on the outside, they all seem perfectly fine. Going about their days, hammering down their opossums like it’s freaking Whack-A-Mole.
And I don’t know what I do with this new information. One of my friends asked me for advice – what’re you supposed to do when the world is bonkers and you’re supposed to function as if everything is fine?
LOL. Girl. I wish I knew.
I think that’s part of what makes the rabid opossum feeling so heightened. There’s a lot of advice going around right now about how to take care of yourself during this panini, but honestly reading it makes me feel worse. There’s something disconcerting about reading cutesy mental health articles tailored towards living in a time of global pandemic, global warming and intense social discontent.
I wish I could offer advice, but this is all I have. I’m an optimistic person at heart, and that part of me is still here. I believe that things can get better. But in the meantime, I’m just hanging out with my rabid opossum, hoping for the best.