Feeling Scattered

We’re not supposed to live in a constant state of turmoil, fear, and devastation.

watercolor a lonely monarch butterfly on a small flower
Image created via Midjourney

On Friday, I woke up at 5:07 a.m. That may feel early for some but it’s late for me. Usually, I’m up closer to 3:30 a.m. and writing by 4:00 a.m. If this were a singular event, I might not think much of it but it has been a pattern for at least a week.

I’m bothered because the mornings are my time for myself. I usually have close to two hours of uninterrupted time and it’s been cut in half. Not only that, but I feel really unfocused and tired. As I was writing on Friday, I was making frequent mistakes — typing nonsensically and spelling words incorrectly.

I began to think something was wrong with me. I wondered if I was impacted by the longer days, with sunlight keeping me up later in the evening and resulting in the morning shift.

Then on Friday morning, I saw the breaking news that Roe v. Wade had been overturned.

And I knew the problem. We’re not supposed to live like this.

We’re not supposed to live in a constant state of turmoil, fear, and devastation. If I look back over the last few weeks, I’m sure my changed sleeping habits started after Uvalde. My mind races in the evening, making it harder to fall asleep. Sometimes I have nightmares. Or I sleep longer due to sheer emotional exhaustion.

During the day, I’m in a daze. I have to pretend that everything is ok — while I’m working, writing, and taking care of my kids. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even as it feels like the world is collapsing. We were listening to a news snippet on Saturday morning and I sat at the dishwasher with tears rolling down my cheeks. My oldest son saw me and gave me a hug.

I barely have time to react to one tragedy before the next one hits. I know I need to stand up for what I believe in, but it’s hard to find the energy when I’m being hit from all sides. There’s no time to absorb what’s happening and think about and plan for what comes next.

I’m grateful for the people who immediately turn to action. I’ll get there and I’ll be there. But I need a moment to catch my breath.

To hope is to give yourself the future.
And that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.

Rebecca Solnit