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Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Donkey, Disney Characters, and Deep(ish) Thoughts

Recently I've been the unwilling host to one of the worst of Snow White's seven Dwarfs, Grumpy, along with his lesser-known cousins Cranky, Scowly, Snarky, Snarly, Weepy and Mopey.

(Thank goodness Sneezy stayed home.)

I'm a happy, albeit hermit-y, person most of the time. So it came as a surprise to find myself veering from one unattractive Dwarf personality to another for the last couple of weeks.

I thought I should be sailing through the current morass of bleakness and shocking information overload without much difficulty. My routine has hardly changed under self-isolation. I'm still able go to work, as is my husband; our work can be managed without much face-to-face contact with clients. The rest of the time we do what we've always done -- stay home and entertain ourselves. We are still able to go outside for a walk, and we have a large yard to enjoy. We even have a backup box of unread books, which is almost as important to us as backup groceries.

But whether the feelings were sensible or not, there they were. I lost interest in little things that usually please me, and raged instead about the stupidity of humanity and the maudlin internet memes and the still very evident political divisions and how nothing will change about the world after the crisis has subsided. I felt bitter that some of the most polluting industries will be getting the lion's share of subsidies to help them stay afloat, that people's wasteful and selfish behavior will return to the fore when we are allowed out of our homes, and that once people leave self-isolation and start driving their vehicles again, world smog levels will return to what they've always been.

Eventually I decided my state of mind was not totally due to the failings and maudlin tendencies of humanity, although I still think the maudlin bit deserves some serious eye-rolling. I decided I must have been stressed without actually realizing I was stressed. After I worked it out, the Dwarfs more or less went up in a puff of smoke. (Is that an unacceptable mixing of fairy tale images?)

But the experience made me really ponder the long-range effects of this pandemic on populations around the world. Stressors such as fear, change, deprivation, the unknown, being eye to eye with our mortality, plus isolation and so many others must be taking a toll on people, whether they appear to be coping or not.

And how much worse it must be for those who have pre-existing anxiety, depression, OCD, loneliness, phobias, food insecurity, domestic violence, and so on. What will fear combined with isolation do to those already in pain?

And what about the many people of the world in war-torn or developing countries who already faced the daily possibility of death before this health crisis ever reared its miserable head? The last thing they needed was another threat to their safety and lives. Maybe those of us who have lived in peace all our days can more viscerally identify with their state of mind now.

I know my train of thought is hardly new or unique. Those who regularly tend to and work with disadvantaged folks of all kinds anticipated and have already experienced an increase in need.

How many other consequences have we not even dreamed of?

I wonder what our world will look like a year down the road. Two years. Ten years. Fifty years.

How long will the effects of this pandemic ripple through the future?

*****

I can't leave you on that note so here's a Snow White and Dwarfs funny for you:




And now . . . Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's off to work I go.


54 comments:

The Happy Whisk said...

Hey Jenny. That was once again a well-written and thoughtful post from you. I don't have much to add, other than to say thank you for sharing your words with us, and I hope that you continue to write. You write well. Good words. Keep 'em coming .

Susan Kane said...

One year, 10 years...we have no idea how this all will go. For sure, our children and their children will never forget it.

Marie Smith said...

I fear for the women isolated with their abusers. I appreciate my life more than ever! Take care Jenny.

Elephant's Child said...

Several of those dwarves have muscled their way in here too (and I am always clumsy).
Sometimes I think that being anxious and afraid are the rational responses to our world.
Just the same they are not welcome permanent lodgers so I try and dismiss them quickly.
While raging at stupidity and greed I have ALSO noticed kindness and warmth. Neighbours talking (from a safe distance), kind gestures becoming front page news...
I continue to revel in the natural world (and am glad that nature is finally getting a break, and choose to focus my energies there.
I also severely ration my exposure to the doom and gloom merchants.
You are not alone, and I am sending bucket loads of empathy and hope your way. And my way too.

John M said...

I hope this plague doesn't have a permanent affect on the people of the world.

only slightly confused said...

I too am a hermit-y type of person...indeed, I am an 'at home' kind of person. It did not surprise me to find that I did not mind being confined to home most of the time at all....what does surprise me is how agitated and nervous I feel when I have to go out for any reason. I have a feeling that a lot of things will be different when this is all over and the doors are opened and we can walk in the sunshine again....we will all have developed different outlooks on how we want to spend our time and our money and we will all have a greater appreciation for family and friends. It is going to be an interesting time.

kylie said...

yes, i am also in a good position with the whole situation and mostly feel unbothered but i do get snappy and i thinkit is that unacknowledged stress making me that way.

I read an article yesterday about how the disruption to schooling means a whole bunch of kids who are already not well engaged with the education system will just never come back so thats one implication.

I have to say I am very interested to see where this takes us. Our world may be unrecognisable a year from now and as you say, the long term effects are hard to predict. There's no doubt in my mind it will absolutely decimate developing nations, which is always the way

Andrew said...

Very nicely written. Yesterday the dwarfs visited us. No amount of logic can keep them away. We should be better today.

dinthebeast said...

I used to get similar feeling just from following politics, where so much needless suffering is brought about for the basest of reasons, and that does still affect me some, but I find that the more I participate the better I feel about even the worst of it all.
I don't think things are going back to "normal" and if there is to be a major shift in the way things work, now is the time to influence what it will be.
Ordinary people are busy doing extraordinary things right now, very much like in the time of a major war, and times of major war, historically, tend to be times when "normal" gets changed up drastically.
I don't believe many of the nurses or janitors or grocery store employees or any of the rest of the folks out on the front lines keeping society running are likely to forget this any time soon.
Perhaps they (and all of us) can, by realizing who it really is that makes our lives possible, can claim a little of that power and change things for the better a little bit.
If we can do that, then at least all of this hasn't been in vain.
I hope you are feeling better, depression is nothing to mess around with.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

messymimi said...

So many questions, and no answers at this time. Uncertainty about the future is very distressing, isn't it.

Joanne Noragon said...

Jenny, I think little will change from pre-Covid9. Not unless nations with stronger leadership then ours can put better behaviors in place. A coalition of Canada and Germany, for example.

Susan Kane said...

We have never been part of something like this! And we will have it around us for a long time. Scary, but that's all there is.

Red said...

You asked some good hard questions that heed to be asked. as for answers we'll find out what they are when we get there. I for one am optimistic

Susan said...

It is good to reflect on the painful otherwise no one would try to make things better, however insignificant they might feel. My particular hope is the management of nursing homes will come under more scrutiny and new standards will become law. The care of the elderly has been hanging by a thread for far to long and now we see the outcome.

Bonnie said...

Excellent post Jenny and I do understand how you have been feeling. We are all going through a totally new to us experience and it is bound to have some negative effects on us. I think this is a time to be extra kind and forgiving to ourselves as we try to adjust to all these difficult changes.

I think this experience will change us all in some ways even if we don't see it ourselves. The longer it lasts the more likely we are to feel how it has effected us in the future. I am hoping for some positive changes like we will appreciate our loved ones and all the good in our lives a little more. Realistically there will be negative changes but I hope not too many. Take care Jenny.

River said...

I'm not well known for stressing out over things, I'm a serene take it as it comes type, but I too have been stressed without realising it. I woke up two days ago with a cold sore on my lip, always a sign that I'm stressed. So I went back to bed and took a nap, because that's a de-stressor, right?
I'm agreeing with you that people shouldn't go back to the way they've always done things, but as time progresses I suspect these hard days will be forgotten and the ease and convenience will take over again, for many.

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Deep(ish) thoughts. I thinke the cussedness of human nature will make us forget and return to normal in a year or two. I hope not.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Even the word “coping” has changed. Everyday, it is different for me and others.. New normal, change, and not knowing are what is spoken about now.

There are still moments of “Happy”.

Martha said...

Everything you're feeling is normal. It's hard not to get caught up in the collective angst. I have tuned out of most of the news, which intensifies fears and anxiety. And I realize that I do not have any answers. So I just do my part in making the world a better place. I'm the only one I'm responsible for. Sometimes it seems futile, little old me. But I remind myself that there are many 'little old me' others out there doing there part, too, and that makes me feel better. I hope you are having a good day today.

Steve Reed said...

I think we all struggle with this bizarre, scary situation in our own ways. There's definitely a heightened level of tension -- I feel it in my dreams and my sleep patterns, mainly. It will be interesting to see how much changes after this -- and how much doesn't. I suspect we'll mostly go right back to doing what we've always done, but who knows.

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Ivy.

jenny_o said...

Yes - I worry about the effect on children.

jenny_o said...

Yes, it's more than difficult for them, it's dangerous.

jenny_o said...

All good approaches, EC. Thank you and wishing you the same.

jenny_o said...

Not a permanent bad effect, anyway. A permanent good effect would be okay.

jenny_o said...

I wonder if we will be different or just the same old humans!

jenny_o said...

Those are both sobering thoughts - kids losing even more education and developing nations taking the brunt of the virus. Not good.

jenny_o said...

Strange how the logic can't overcome this, isn't it?

jenny_o said...

I certainly hope the minimum wage earners come out of this with better monetary appreciation for their work. I fear they won't, but as you pointed out, one way to combat that fear is to try to make a difference. That's a good thought and makes me feel better.

jenny_o said...

It's like a big cloud blocking out the sun.

jenny_o said...

I'm hopeful that November will bring a positive change in leadership in the U.S. It is so very needed, now more than ever.

jenny_o said...

Succinct and true!

jenny_o said...

I will find my optimism again, I hope. My head tends toward being skeptical, though.

jenny_o said...

Yes! I hope for that, too. Even in the best nursing homes the carers are spread far too thinly and don't make a fraction of what their work is worth.

jenny_o said...

I was surprised to come to understand that it was affecting me, but I shouldn't have been. How could it not? You take care too, Bonnie.

jenny_o said...

That's what I'm afraid of too, River. And it is comforting to know that I'm not the only one this has snuck up on. Take care.

jenny_o said...

I agree on both counts, Charlotte.

jenny_o said...

Yes, and I need to be focusing more on those moments - I mean ACTIVELY focusing on them.

jenny_o said...

Yours is an approach I will steer toward, Martha. Thank you for reminding me that's the way to avoid hopelessness. I'm feeling mostly better, thank you. Take care.

Joan (Devon) said...

I understand how you are feeling Jenny and I'm sure there are many more people feeling the same way. I'm hopeful that people will change once this is over, but I doubt it. I am normally an optimist, but I don't feel optimistic about how we will behave as everything will still be in place waiting, for maybe a slow return, but a return nevertheless. I'll be so happy if I am wrong.

Take care and stay strong.

Diane Henders said...

Hubby and I both work from home, too; and other than the extra work of sanitizing the groceries, our lives haven't changed much. Being out in the country, we can go outdoors whenever we want, and we're deep in spring gardening. But even though our daily routine is still very similar, we feel the weight of the pandemic hovering over us. Every day we check the new case statistics, hoping for good news...

jenny_o said...

I've been hearing about all the weird dreams folks are having. It's interesting what lies in our subconscious minds.

jenny_o said...

Thank you, Joan. It's nice to hear from you. I hope you're doing well. I'm not optimistic either but at least my fury has settled down :)

Mr. Shife said...

I hope that this pandemic is a wake-up call to the world but I am afraid that we will be back to our "normal" ways in a matter of no time.

River said...

More commonly heard around here: "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go"

37paddington said...

Interesting reflections. Thank you Jenny.

jenny_o said...

It's like an invisible weight, isn't it? But everyone still feels it.

jenny_o said...

Me, too, Mr. S. I hope I'm wrong.

jenny_o said...

We do that here, too! It's just too good a play on words to pass up :)

jenny_o said...

I think a lot of folks are thinking the same things. Stay well, 37p.

LL Cool Joe said...

In some ways my life is very much what it has always been, but the big difference for me is always having someone in the house with me! As a introvert I'm finding that hard, also as a real home bird I think I'm going to find it hard going out again. The world seems a safer place in my nice house and garden.

baili said...

dear Jenny this was heavy one

i found hard to resist that flow of same rage waving within me to contact with your's
i think these are common feelings of sensitive hearts who want to see peace and justice rule everywhere ,industry owners always had their puppets in parliaments who are bound to secure their profits according to deals they were financially supported by same businessmen so no surprise for me ,world is in their hands now days ,i wonder about era when once again reformation will take place by some strong educationists and public will open eyes and will see some more facts ,i won't be here but i know it will happen eventually
as stay at home housewife i am happy to be at home and enjoying each bit of my day with my family by the grace of lord :)
i miss my son though but it is peace to know that he is doing fine there
this is great that you store not just food for belly but for soul (books ) :)
i love Disney characters because they have no boundaries in their adventures :)
stay blessed ,clam and healthy my dear friend!
hus!

jenny_o said...

Yes, I think you're right - when restrictions are eased, it will be difficult for those of us who are introverts to interact with the world again. I was thinking about that recently too. We're not the only ones, I expect. There are lots of introverts out there; they just fade into the background in normal times.

jenny_o said...

It is intriguing to think about a reformation in the future, isn't it? I won't be here either but I can hope for it. I'm happy you are enjoying your time with your family. A happy family home is a good place to be right now. I miss my grownup kids, too. Who knows when our families will be all together again? But we have to be optimistic and feel it will happen before too long. Hugs, my friend.