The Trauma that Lies Underneath COVID-19 Headlines.

published in Elephant Journal ·

It’s one of those perfect days when the sun is casting its brilliance and holding court in a crystal-blue sky.

The last hold of winter evaporates on my deck as spring is declaring its rightful, albeit late, place on the calendar.

It’s May, and it has been a long and strange transition from season to season. I am venturing out for my weekly grocery run.

I roll down the windows as Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” comes on the radio. I turn it up and embrace that amazing feeling of driving with the windows down for the first time in months, cool air on my face and all the promises of warm weather.

I pull into my grocery store with a peaceful feeling and a wide smile. I blissfully hop out of the car and soak in my surroundings—a worker with a mask on cleaning the carts off to my right, big signs screaming “Face Coverings Required Upon Entry,” and roped off areas ushering people away from doors once used as both exits and entrances, now closed off with arrows spaced six feet apart on the ground, funnel everyone into one entrance.

I am suddenly jolted back into reality.

I put my mask over my face, stifling my airway along with the unfettered joy I was experiencing, now replaced by anxiety rising within my body. The juxtaposition of these two extreme emotional states causing a small tsunami of upset inside my stomach.

I hate this new normal.

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