This Cognitive Dissonance

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll know that I don’t write about current events that much. I figure there are enough people out there who are better at that than I am, and thus I mostly stick to writing about ballet.

But today I’ma write about Coronavirus … again.

I’m in a weird place with this thing. On the one hand, I’m healthy AF, young, and on the surface I look a lot like someone who could easily be walking around like, “Eh, I don’t need to worry about this that much.”

 On the other hand, my respiratory system—which at the moment, knock wood, is only mildly annoyed about the horror that is tree pollen—is a gigantic baby that freaks out completely at the least possible provocation.

Like, I’ve had pneumonia five times. 

FIVE. Times.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had bronchitis.

Ordinary ‘flu knocks me flat for 2 weeks, minimum (this is why I get flu shots, y’all … well, that and herd immunity).

And every novel respiratory illness that comes down the pike carries with it the potential for serious career setbacks or worse.

And yet.

I’m not a chronically ill person who *feels* sick most of the time. I’m a chronically ill person person who feels great most of the time, with occasional bouts of shattering illmess, some of which are terrifying.

So right now I’m walking around in the world (or, well, in my house, mostly) with part of my brain not even really thinking about this whole COVID-19 sitch, and another part occasionally going, “F**k, what if someone brings it to D’s work?”

 D, btw, works in healthcare. He’s a physio, but currently works in a nursing and rehab facility, so there’s a real chance that such a thing could happen.

This doesn’t mean that I’m constantly panicking, or indeed panicking at all. Panicking won’t help. But it does mean that I’m using a lot of energy talking to my brain, trying to remind it that we have plans and stuff for things like this. That sometimes bad things happen no matter how well you plan, and that we need to stay rooted in the here and now because panicking now won’t help if something does happen.

And though it’s mostly working, my head is still in a weird place sometimes.

Anyway, life is uncertain, and the only constant is change. I’m not the best at actually practicing Zen, but I do find that even if the tools are a little rusty because you keep forgetting to actually use them, they’re still there in the garden shed when you need them, and rusty tools are better than none.

So, anyway, that helps with the cognitive dissonance a bit, as does giving myself room to feel uncomfortable.

Such is the weirdness of this mental place that it’s very hard to write about.

Also, I’m super tired, so I’m going to close here for now.

Oh: we also bought an electric jellybean—I mean, a Nissan Leaf 😊 It’s actually quite lovely and the interior is very roomy (you could fit about 5 dancers in it and still have room for a large dog behind the rear seat). I quite like it. This one’s a 2013, so the range is pretty decent. D plans to use it as his main commuter, since he works close enough to be well in range and can charge it at work. It’s a cute little car and comfortable to ride in.

A red Nissan Leaf sits on the tarmac in front of a few other cars.

It’s bigger on the inside.

About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2020/03/16, in #dancerlife, adulting, adventures, health, life, mental health and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. We parallel again Asher.

    Like you I’ve got a long history of respiratory illness. Like you the flu knocks me for a loop (my last two bouts came with free added pneumonia). Like you I worry about what Covid-19 means for me, my loved ones and my society.

    Here’s where I should probably get all Buddhist on you and talk about dukkha and anicca; how suffering arises from our attachments to that which is transitory and ephemeral – including our lives. But that’s kinda up there in the clouds and I think we’re all feeling down here in the muck right now.

    But like you, I ain’t neurotypical and I can’t fake it. Like you I’m often acutely aware that others don’t seem to think or feel the way I do. Like you I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling very isolated and alienated.

    But if there’s two things I’m pretty sure I have in common with the rest of the human race they’re suffering and inevitable death. Times like these make me feel like I’m human. Like I belong. That helps a lot.

    So getting back to the Buddhist stuff (you didn’t really think I’d binned it, did you?) my practice has shifted in the last few weeks. Not so much vipassana and samatha. A lot more metta. That helps too.

    I suffer. I’ve suffered. I will suffer. Even more than love, suffering is the basis of the compassion that makes me one with all beings. Covid-19 helps keep me aware of that.

    • Thank you, Cabro 💜 This is, in fact, exactly what I needed to hear, and it means a lot to me.

      I’m trying to remember where else I recently saw mention of metta in this context—or, well, it was something on Twitter, but something I only caught in passing and can’t quite remember and never found my way back to (ha: I see you there, ever-changing stream). It obviously stuck a little bit, maybe only enough to work as a priming effect, but hey, that’s enough.

      So thank you again.

      I’ve found that the funny thing about the Buddhist stuff is that you can’t bin it even if you try … It sneaks up on you (I also find myself thinking about that flight ages ago in very bad weather when I found myself whispering the three refuges to stay calm and [lol] grounded in the now. The flight was, eventually, also grounded, after much aerial acrobatics … I’m burying myself in this analogy which suddenly seems like an extremely pointed message from the Universe 😂).

      I guess maybe it’s like that idea that even if you stop believing in the Divine, the Divine doesn’t stop believing in you: you can stop being a Buddhist, but a buddha-nature continues being you anyway (that’s clunky AF, lol).

      But, yeah: this is a moment for shifting the focus to metta, and for awareness of suffering to prime lovingkindness, and thinking about that seems to help.

  2. Hello Asher. Stay healthy! Your jelly bean is cute. m

    • Thank you!

      Alas, we would up having to swap the jellybean for a different car. The battery wasn’t quite up to D’s daily commute, so he would up taking a VW Jetta TDI instead. Still gets about 40 mpg, so it’s pretty good in terms of fuel economy, though not quite as good as an electric jellybean 😁

  3. Hello Asher,

    I’m still lurking around here from time to time.
    Had my first only ballett class yesterday, via zoom. It feels a bit like methadon- good but not the right stuff…

    With your flues – I had this last winter, too. The reason was very simple – Vitamin D level was in deep red emergency zone, K2 can help, too. Dancers are not very much in the sun in summer – and which sun after autumn?

    After fixing this I had this winter nothing besides a very mild cold for a day every now and then.

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