Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tucson, AZ: COVID-19 Unfolding, Part 15: Mind in Detention

Old jail. Columbus, New Mexico. April 2013.

There's a 12-step aphorism: Never venture into your head alone; it's a dangerous neighborhood. 

In this stay-at-home time, there are advantages to being an introvert queen in her queendom of one.  Especially a queen who has sufficient resources to stay in touch with family and friends via her phone and the internet, income to pay her bills and buy groceries, a vehicle to get to the grocery store, and power to keep herself cool as the Sonoran Desert heat ramps up.

The queen is also resourceful in finding myriad ways to amuse herself and in glamping her nest with soothing smells, sounds, and visual treats.

Nevertheless, there is danger in spending too long alone.

Old jail. Columbus, New Mexico. April 2013.

One's interior world can telescope with the loss of stimuli from:
  • Adventures in the outdoors - movies, dancing, hiking, museums, cafe lurking, meals with friends, family gatherings, new books, driving around, neighbor chats
  • Entertaining or provocative stories told to us by our friends and family
  • A diversity of news content
  • Tactile contact with others, whether platonic hugs, professional massage, haircuts, or sensual touch with a partner

Old jail. Columbus, New Mexico. April 2013.

One's interior world can shrink when every day: 
  • One is subjected to verbal and emotional abuse from a dry-drunk tyrant who drinks the teardrops of women, men, and children for his sustenance; and
  •  The media are the abuser's enablers - delivering every assault by eyewitness video, by written quote, by Greek chorus, by analysis - regardless of their so-called journalistic credentials, ethics, political or social biases, or revenue venality. In other words, none of the news organs gets to claim a higher moral ground on their collaboration in the abuse.  

It is not much different from living in a household with such an abuser, who is the center around which everyone revolves, always in reaction mode. Or in walking-on-eggshells mode, so as not to provoke an attack.

It is like watching, unwillingly, the video of that plane crash into the World Trade Center building again and again and again and again and again and again and again. [Trigger warning: This video is still so shocking; think carefully before choosing to click on the video link. I am not kidding.]

Old jail. Columbus, New Mexico. April 2013.

I've witnessed - outside of COVID - how some of us allow our worlds to become smaller and smaller, and we enclose ourselves in a dim cell, swaddled in fear and suspicion and darkness. But feeling safe, perhaps.

Old jail. Columbus, New Mexico. April 2013.

I don't intend to fall into that camp, whether it be in the time of COVID or as I age further. 

The light is what I seek. And this requires both decision and action on my part to keep it bright before me.

But glory be, some days are harder than others.

Art in the Park, Old Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson City, Missouri. February 2006.

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