Those two words, I don’t know when I’ll ever hear it.
Such meaning brings about a tear, just imaging what that may feel like.
Stop reading this, and take a moment, close your eyes, and imagine:
Swimming Pools, Roller Coasters, Movie Theaters, Concerts, Shopping, Camping.
Performing, Game Nights, Traveling, Bar-be-ques, Birthday Parties, Dating.
Kissing, Holding Hands, Whispering Into Ears, Hugging Tightly.
Breathing, Smiling, Laughing, Crying, Happy….--Together.
Yes… --I know, it’s hard. Hard to imagine such a far-off distant instance.
I don’t know what to feel regarding this normalization of this new norm. I would like to say I’ve been okay so far, which is usually my go-to response whenever I catch up with a friend, though sometimes my deep lows catch up with my somewhat high highs. I’m not the first person I’m sure who has expressed this notion. I apologize if this comes across too negative, as my patience has been going up and down with each passing day, so I’m doing my best in keeping my head held high.
Earlier in the year, my friend Liz recommended that I write down my feelings into a diary, a book, whatever; just so I could feel better. Ironically, she recommended this so that my confidence would improve whenever I performed on stage, yet it has been a bit of a Godsend in getting through this nightmare. I would write poetry, thoughts, script/play/dialogue/monologue piece ideas, etc. It’s not completely filled, and sometimes I’m sad that it’s not even close to midway, or that I’m not as productive as my mind imagines I should be. Some days I just don’t feel like writing, sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball, listen to my playlists and hide. But lately, I’ve noticed my interest in writing has been more frequent than in the past. Sometimes I have to stop whatever I am doing, and quickly write it down, so whenever I go to work, I carry a satchel with me: containing my water bottle, a charger, pens/pencils, white-out and my book. I’ve never felt so comfortable being so vulnerable in sharing my inner thoughts.
Self-reflection during covid has had me learn so much, I’ve now come to terms with the open wound I’ve neglected to heal all these years. It is no secret how much I keep to myself, doing my own thing, staying under the radar, and when I do choose to appear, it’s usually for a good reason. I realize now the pre-Covid Andy overworked himself with all these gigs/projects/performances to drown out all that raw inner hurt. Based on a work in progress, I know now that I can learn to be a better man than what I was yesterday, for myself, for my family, for my friends, and for perhaps...that special someone/partner/friend I hope to meet someday. I see post-Covid Andy, or even now-Andy, opening up, trying, attempting, …--dating. I see him confident with what he wants, I see him making no self-sacrifices just to measure up to another’s ideals, I see him being okay with rejection so that he can quickly move on and live a life that brings him happiness. I feel he is ready to open his heart to that special somebody, to take a leap, even when he hides in his shell. The difficult part is in taking that chance, and it has to be said: that fear, that emotion is very real, it’s valid, and I completely understand it. It’s scary, yes, but what is life worth even living without a little risk? These days, you go outside without a mask and it’s a risk. I believe in not having regrets. I don’t want to be old 50/60 years down the line and regret the chances I didn’t take or letting that someone slip through my fingers. I’ve missed out on so much growing up, I cannot afford to miss out on anymore. Admittingly, all this self-recovery has been quite a homecoming to this person I’ve always known was always there; it was just a question whether I had the courage to allow him entrance to this... “Now”.
I’ve talked with some close friends; we seem to share this mutual fear of losing everything we’ve taken so long, so many chances at building towards. Our old lives come crashing down because of a virus, so we retreat, we feel so helpless, at times we feel so alone, and we’re not sure of anything anymore, except for that one pillow we can count on flooding our tears with. It’s taken a bit of time, but I’ve come to accept my old habits, beliefs, my old life has extinguished. The life pre-Covid is long gone and burned away, but from those ashes, comes a strength, a deep inner-enhancement long overdue in it’s arrival. It will happen for all of us, it will most certainly happen for you so please embrace it, take the reins and don’t look back.
Understand this, take this with you: You don’t have to smile in front of me if you don’t feel like it, you don’t have to pretend all is okay just to keep up with a facade of positivity. Take it from somebody who knows how to keep their emotions close and is constantly working on opening them up: I know what you feel, I can see it in your eyes (zoom hides nothing), I feel your hurts too, and I have no solutions or answers to cure you of your problems. What I can provide is somebody you can openly vent with: your anger, sadness, frustration, stress, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm let it all out because I feel them too. Life has been placed on a “hopefully'' temporary pause, we’re making due with what we have, and it certainly helps that soon Biden and Kamala will remove that malignant orange tumor from the White House. The most important thing now is that we are alive, we are staying healthy, and that we are all important in this universe… Never Forget That!
I truly do look forward to being able to greet you again, like it all used to be before: in person. What truly a homecoming that will be. I never thought I would miss just merely hugging another human being, to miss being in their presence without worry, to share experiences without cloth or glass. I don't know what I will feel or think, when that particular Today, Comes At Last.