Love in the Age of COVID-19
Things are a little uncertain right now. The world is in silent chaos, with the only rage available for consumption found on feeds you can scroll through our phones. As far as I know, there are no riots in the streets yet and the only sign of true dystopia is the empty toilet paper aisles. The world is in a slow mental spiral and so am I.
Way back in my life two years ago, I was still telling people I was never going to get married, mostly because of the years and years of people telling me to change to attract a man, but that’s another topic. Fast forward to now and I am roughly three weeks away from my wedding. All was on track and the stress was minimal until this world wide pandemic’s shit hit the fan.
I tried not to freak out at first like the rest of everybody around me, but as the literal hours and small days rolled by, the panic only grew and my empathetic bones felt the weight of everyone’s worry. I started stressing.
I feel the stress in my neck and shoulders and sternum. It’s a stress I haven’t known since college, when my physical therapist told me I propped open my rib cage just a little from all the stress in my back. I don’t know if she was exaggerating or if that’s even possible, but I held on to the image to tell myself to chill the fuck out. My organs need to stay protected.
But this stress has the potential to get so much worse. Back then, I could find comfort in the arms of friends. Now I’m stuck at home, suffering from and participating in social isolation.
All the paintings I have been working on, the ones that were on track to make their grand debut at my wedding, are sitting around in my apartment taunting me. They’re reminders of the dread I feel over prolonging this wedding process even longer. Because that’s the stress in all this, not that I’ll potentially miss out on my “big day” or that my “wedding dreams won’t come true,” but that this insane and expensive process will have to go on longer than originally intended. I was ready to get it over with, to wear the heavy white dress and to finally see all the people who loved me and who chose to come celebrate with me. It was almost over, but now it feels like it will never end. For someone who doesn’t really like weddings in the first place, this is the worst case scenario: a wedding date that may never come, but that you still must prepare for perpetually.
Never ever was I the kind of person who dreamed and dreamed of the day I would get married. Because, as I mentioned above, I was convinced it wouldn’t happen for me and I was alright with that. But even in all my doubts and panics and thinking up the worst case scenario, I never thought a worldwide pandemic would wreak havoc on the planet just a few weeks before my oh so special day. But here I am, stuck inside my apartment with a million reminders of the wedding I may not have.
We talked about running to the courthouse and sealing the deal alone in the meantime, but the courthouses are closed now. There’s no one to marry us.
Being married wouldn’t change our lives much. We already live in sin and we’ve already built a life I am so terribly fond of. A wedding won’t change that and neither will some legal document. Realistically, all of that can wait and my casually giant wedding day won’t be hard to reschedule. It’s a special day, but in the grand scheme of the world, it’s really not. It can all wait.
Maybe some would see this as a sign that they shouldn’t marry the person they intended to marry or that the entire institution of marriage is a huge scam that this virus is trying to warn you about, but those thoughts don’t really have room to root inside my brain. I’m too busy painting even more signs to put up on the big day, whenever it may come.
Maybe it’ll all play out nicely. Maybe in three weeks the world will be cured and I will be walking down the dirt aisle in my incredibly large and location inappropriate dress, but maybe it won’t. I could think about this period of time as one great trial designed to test the relationship my partner and I have spent so much time building, but I’m not that narcissistic. The universe dealt us a bad hand, one that is comparatively pretty good anyway. And this is what I’m going to keep telling myself when the dread creeps in, when the sorrow from missing out on a day full of love and the people I love tries to overcome my sanity. I don’t have to compare my issues and my burdens, but it helps. Perspective helps. Love is not lost even if our wedding might be. The chaos of the world is a little more important right now. Love in the age of the coronavirus stays the same.