@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Don’t Dream It’s Over
Do you keep track of the days anymore? Just enough so I’ll know what days I have to work. A remote job I couldn’t be more grateful to have at the moment. The year 2020 is officially a wash and I don’t have expectations of it being much more than a kitten hanging from a tree on a poster in a basement reading, “hang in there.”
The humans keeping me the sanest are wee ones with little grasp that what is happening now will gravely impact their future, my niece (2) and nephew (5). And much love to my cousins in the field who work in health care and law enforcement.
Maintaining activity and creativity has been the focus, constantly thinking of crafts to do… a delightful endeavor for an imaginative family. As for me, I’ve been moderately medicated for years so that might be saving my life as far as weathering anxiety at the moment. Generally, I’m okay, till I think of even the near future and underlying panic is hiding just under the surface has it’s voice… what the hell are you going to do when this is over? How are you going to take care of yourself? Live performances are done, you are done with this comedy fantasy of yours. Stop being so vain on how unessential you are. A Crowded House song plays in the background of life’s soundtrack, “hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over.”
Day to day, the news won’t stop pointing fingers when there is plenty of blame to go around. We’ve all made mistakes. That’s all life is. One mistake after the other. If you’re going to fuck up, you might as well enjoy the process. Though my chief regrets aren’t from things I did or didn’t do, it’s from not cherishing certain moments, for being preoccupied when I should have just been in my body, right there, with who or what was right in front of me.
New York City, home, is compromised and afraid. “Don’t come back, yet” they say, friends and family. “Stay where you are.” We are the fortunate, the ones who are healthy and must just remain still, even if it feels like luck took a permanent vacation.
Too much time to reflect can lead down windy roads and roads that were never real, all the “what ifs.” All the possible outcomes. All the stories of the parallel universes. None if it matters anyhow. Sometimes I find solace in how little any of this will matter, no matter how grave it is now. Sometimes it’s truly devastating.
But we can create new dreams. Because we can create. Because we’re scrappy and motivated and drawn to beauty. Even though thoughts of morbidity and worst outcomes loop in the mind like the teacups ride at Disney World, and the dizziness fuels a desperate drunk, these eyes are not without the sight and ability to recognize that despite all this ugliness there is connection, love and wonder. Adventure in the face of adversity.
Renegades, Dad and I went to a beach. We had to park far away, a good half a mile walk to the ocean. Stupidly, I didn’t wear sandals and a half a mile in the Florida sun barefoot on black asphalt resulted in third degree burns on the bottom of my feet, later to blister and ooze. It was still worth it to me. The crystal water so warm it doesn’t shock the system at all when you wade in. A shadow moves through the water. I freeze. To my hearts delight, it’s an adolescent sea turtle, about a foot long. He swims towards me, young and unafraid, circling me, for a brief moment gifting me of an ecstasy, a pure present moment, the whole world faded away in the background. It’s just me and the sea turtle now.
“Dad!” I exclaimed with the such excitement from my own inner child, recalling how my brother mocked me for jumping up and down on a beach when I saw a sting ray earlier this year, “look, it’s a sea turtle! A sea turtle! Right next to me!”
The sun shines bright and warm. Mother Ocean glistens with gentle waves. Pandemic or not, there’s no place I’d rather be.
The current state of reality is far from over, I fear. Revelations will come to each of us, for some quickly, for some slower… revelations you’ve figured out before but have forgotten, revelations of your true self and others, realizations of what’s important, and a (hopefully) heightened sense of empathy. History, however, has proven that humans have relatively short memories. Maybe it’s better that way.
For my friends and fans who are unfamiliar with depression, a very strange thing happens when you’re in the throes of a down phase… you end up suffering some temporary amnesia. I’ve gone a week only to “open my eyes” and though I had been working and getting things done, I had almost no memory of doing anything, waking or sleeping, eating or conversations. It’s probably the thing about depression that scares me the most. How the mind can switch levers in your brain without your say.
When it’s over, all this madness, I think you will look back at this time with a fuzzy memory. It’ll blend like water colors together. It’ll feel like strange dream. I promise you. Remember this: a wasted day creating and laughing isn’t a waste at all. You can still live your life. Time matters. People matter. Nature matters. Nothing else. Don’t forget.