Perhaps I’ve been fooling myself into thinking the isolation and lifestyle changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have had little impact on me. Maybe this intrusion into my day-to-day life has actually had more of an impact on me than I thought. Or maybe something else is causing mood-storms so fierce that lightning bolts escape my eyes and mouth whenever I open those orifices. The way I’m writing about it seems that I’m making light of my moods, but I’m not. I’m distressed at my anger. It can be a raw, harsh, almost indescribable anger than bursts to the surface almost without provocation, responding like a cornered animal striking out against a deadly predator about to swoop in for the kill.
I don’t understand it. I am an introvert and I enjoy my time alone. Solitude sustains me. So why “enforced” solitude would trigger such visceral reactions is a mystery to me. Not that explosive outbursts are outside my realm of experience; I am more than capable of emotional flares. But lately it’s as though I’ve been actively on watch for something, anything, to set me off. Something to give me justification to attack.
But not this morning.
This morning I feel reasonably calm. The reason for the serenity may be that I’m just tired. Maybe I’m worn out by my own internal firestorm burning so intensely the flames doused themselves with water or sucked up so much oxygen the fuel could not burn. Whatever it is, I welcome it. My arms welcome it, though they and the other parts of my body feel weak as kittens. My muscles are sore from tensing, releasing, tensing again. This morning, when I feel my muscles begin to tense, I deliberately stop them; simply to avoid the pain, not to control my thoughts. But controlling my thoughts would be good, inasmuch as they are responsible, in large part, for the rages and the weakness. This morning, only the sorenesss and weakness remains. The rage is gone. Permanently, I hope. Forever banished from my mind and body.
I must realize, though, that if social isolation had any role to play in stoking the fires of anger, the fire is just playing dead. It can come alive at any moment, fueled by white-hot burning embers buried deep inside me. Maybe they always have been there, just waiting for the right moment to burst into full flame, consuming every scrap of fuel until all that’s left is ash and soot.
I’ve used the word “ash” too many times lately, referring to the residue of fierce fires. This morning, I awoke to find the fire extinguished. The ashes are buried in a muddy mess, a thick soup of formerly molten emotions awash in a slurry of the dry dust of anger mixed with a flood of tears. Perhaps a bit overly dramatic. I can be that way sometimes. I can carry emotions like a badge or a shield, depending on circumstances.
My chore now is to rinse away the mud and polish the pristine marble that’s left under my feet. Polished marble. Who knew that was what waited for me beneath a thousand layers of sediment, left there during the period of rebirth after the flood.
And, after a pause, the fire came alive. All it took to set the world ablaze was a tone of voice that suggested my stupidity knows no bounds. The volcano erupted, spewing clouds of pumice and sharp rocks into the stratosphere. The volcano exploded into my bloodstream; I could feel the molten rock throb at my temples and I could feel it course through my arteries and veins like pressurized hoses filled with blood heated to the boiling point. I’m sure they came close to rupturing. I have to get out of this pressure-cooker, at least for a while. I have to give myself time and permission to release the steam and cool the vessel.
Part of the process necessarily involves looking inward to find the detonator, the fuse that catches fire easily. What amplifies a minor imbalance between positive and negative charges into a lightning bolt capable of knocking out power to the entire Midwest? Negative judgments normally do not spark forest fires, tsunamis, and nuclear force winds; something unnatural is at play here.
Suddenly, I feel incredibly tired again. I will try to get some more sleep. Maybe that will get the good vibes going again.