Covid has made wearing masks a necessity—a requirement—but I’ve been hiding behind one for years. Oh, wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. I should probably explain an awkward truth. A truth I didn’t even know existed until the pandemic swooped in and put us all under house arrest. You may want to sit down for this one.
Sitting? Okay good.
Here it is. And please don’t judge me …
I’m enjoying the pandemic.
Phew. I said it.
And now I hear the gasps.
I thought we had an agreement. You weren’t supposed to judge me. But wait. I’m sitting alone as I write this. Perhaps you’re not judging me. Maybe the gasps come from the voices that exist inside my own brain. Here I am, asking you not to judge me and as it turns out, I’m judging myself. *head down in shame*
The pandemic has caused so much pain … so much disruption. And yet here I sit, putting a spotlight on the bright side of chaos.
“But why are you enjoying it?” Asks one of the voices in my head.
It’s a question I’m afraid to answer. The simple response comes with a shrug. “I enjoy the solitude.”
“Is it the solitude or the simplicity that you enjoy? You haven’t worn pants in two years,” pipes a voice from another corner of my brain.
This makes me wonder if maybe the pandemic has released my inner lazy. Some of the passions that made me who I am … who I was … have gone dormant. Things like going to the gym … Meeting friends for drinks … Discovering new restaurants … Travelling …
Instead, life has turned into a series of groundhog days where I get up and commute to my desk. It takes a whopping 9 seconds. Some days I don’t even brush my hair and my blow dryer has atrophy.
“Yes,” agrees one of the voices. “Let’s give credit where credit is due. If it wasn’t for those virtual client meetings, you’d wear nothing but men’s over-sized sweatshirts. Every. Single. Day. And when was the last time you wore a bra?”
I have no response to this. It’s true. My laptop camera is set up so that my face and shoulders fit nicely in a frame that doesn’t show my bunny slippers.
“And it’s not like anyone is missing you. You have “us” and the characters from those stories you write,” another voice is happy to point out.
This is true. When you’re a writer, even in solitude your days are filled with conversations. But is it possible to have too much solitude? As humans, don’t we need contact with other humans?
Now it’s the voices’ turn to shrug. They don’t have an answer because they are not humans. They don’t understand “needs”. I could ask the characters from my stories but then I’d be taking them away from the narrative they’re trying to tell.
I look down and see Jed, my dog, sleeping under my desk and it occurs to me that I can’t even ask him. He doesn’t want me to need other humans. He’s content. He likes me home. We’re like an old married couple that have grown into a routine of routines.
This is when I realize that the gasp I heard after my confession wasn’t a gasp at all. It was a sigh. Perhaps it’s time to leave the confines of my covid prison and those pesky voices and have a real conversation with someone who’s skin I can touch, as opposed to the flat faces I see on my screen.
And there’s my answer. Like the covid tests, the line has fallen under positive. The answer is yes. There is such a thing as too much solitude.
Who wants to meet for a coffee?
An award-winning humour blogger and the author of SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood (Cynren Press). Mona writes about everything from parenting to birds pooping on her car (on purpose!) to how much her kitchen hates her.