Sarah is the stepdaughter of Amanda Sherlock, who wrote yesterday’s post. Reading her words, I can well understand why Amanda referred to her as “beloved” when she introduced us to each other via email. Her writing bridges the divide that we too often think a great difference in age makes uncrossable.
Masks and Mirrors
by Sarah Biklen, Nipomo, California
Sometimes I feel as though nothing has changed and other times I don’t recognize the world around me; I wonder if I’m dreaming. The man in the pickle section eyes me frustratedly as I, trying to make a call, unknowingly impede his ability to maintain a six-foot distance. The employee outside wiping down cart handles gives me a look of compassion and understanding. He lets out a muffled, “Have a great night!”
“Thank you!” I call back, my voice stifled by four layers of quilted cotton strapped to my ears.
What I realized today is that masks conceal us while also drawing focus to a feature I believe tells a lot about a person’s inner state—the eyes.
Sometimes I stare into the mirror trying to connect with myself. I almost always end up in tears, seeing the frightened little girl who takes residence in my heart and soul staring back. She begs for love. She begs for acceptance. Can I give it to her?
Shelter in place in some sense feels familiar. I tend to isolate. I love my room. My sister asked me the other day where I hang out at night and I said, “Usually my room.” She couldn’t understand how I withstood being alone in a room for hours. (Practice, I thought to myself, years of practice.)
At the same time, shelter in place has disturbed my rhythm immensely, bringing both joy and pain.
I work from home now and truly enjoy it more than commuting to and from an office. Lay out in the sun and sip a fresh smoothie on my lunch break? No driving? These, among others, are perks I relish as a remote employee.
On the other hand, the person I spent the most time with before we were forced apart decided recently they did not want to continue our relationship. Seeing them was something I was looking forward to—a light at the end of the tunnel. Now I’m refocusing and suspecting I am always at the end of the tunnel, bathed in glorious light. I live in the light.
I am sitting on my bed writing this. Later I plan to video chat a dear friend of mine (we play games and take quizzes together for fun). I feel disappointed, scared and deeply grateful. I’m familiar with reserving lots of time in my schedule for reflection and I will continue to work on the most important relationship of all: my relationship to myself.
I wish nothing but the best for every living and non-living creature on Earth and trust we will take care of ourselves and each other to the best of our best abilities. Some call it faith, others trust. For me, it is a feeling of unbreakable safety and support. May we be blessed with this feeling during these uncertain times (and always).