The thing with this. The thing with this confinement is. The only thing, really, if you think about it, if you really, really think about it, let go of all the noise and look at what it all boils down to. The thing is. Where do you put it all?
The plans, the passion, the drive, the momentum, the yearning, the hugs, the all-encompassing hunger for life, for more in life, the future that is possible as long as it doesn’t come, as long as you are still working on it and dreaming, dreaming big, dreaming huge, dreaming the dreams you strive for every day and that keep you alive, that keep you hopeful because there is still so much you can do so that someday the dreams are no longer dreams but reality and then new, even bigger, even brighter dreams take their place. Where do you put it all?
We are only skin. That is all that keeps everything within from spilling all over the floor and the sky. Where do you put it all?
When you feel your skin is turning to paper and it is about to tear up, when your chest is so tight you can’t breath, when all you want to say chokes in silence before it’s even born, when there is a quiver in your core that needs a fulfilment, and it grows and grows until all the junctions of your body are about to shatter to sand. Where do you put it all?
For some time I’ve been fine. I am fine. I am fiiiine. I have this all under control. I am locked up with my family, I can pay my rent, lots of shit has gone down with work and projects but I am fine because so many people are doing so much worse. People that need to work but can’t and therefore can’t make ends meet. People that are in danger of seeing their already precarious life go down the drain completely. People that are in the front line working in dreary conditions, risking their lives and the lives of people they love. This is no holiday for many, most. I feel privileged, so privileged. It’s no holiday for me either, but still. I feel thankful.
And then the rumbling started. The rumbling within. Where do you put it all?
I have started dancing in my room. I say dancing but there is this desperate, feral aspect to it, as if by putting really loud music and jumping like a maniac I will create an alternative body. By sheer force of will I will dance so powerfully, I will lose control so masterfully that from the tips of my fingers and the wringing of my muscles I will expel it all like the trickling drops from a wet towel, I will soothe it and tame it and shape it and contain it and put it elsewhere. Put it out there so it’s not inside living with me every second of every day. Because gee, where do you put it all?
I bumped my head against the wall one day, and tripped over and fell ungracefully on my bed and laughed at myself and kept dancing because what else was there to do. This is the level we are dealing with. Or I am dealing with. Where to put it all.
There is this obsession in the Internet these days with boredom. So many people are so bored because they can’t leave the house. Therefore the creative, proactive spirits of the world offer them more options of things to do so they are not so, so bored. Maybe they don’t have enough books to read or shows to binge or movies to watch or pilates sessions to follow or bloody puzzles to build an altar for or flour to bake or wine to pass out to. Or they don’t like any of the above because they are outdoorsy people or they normally work such long hours that they haven’t really developed another way of spending their time or they don’t have particular passions or hobbies or work and family and life, that needy and overbearing bitch, keep them so busy that they just never had (or wanted to have) any time to be left on their own. So come on, hurry, offer them something to do to pass the time without being left alone. With their thoughts. With their dark clouds and winding passages. With themselves.
Yes, let that sink. That’s what’s happened. Many people have been left alone with themselves. Even if in confinement with others. They. Have. Been. Left. Alone. With. Themselves.
Quite a mouthful to handle. For many. Probably for most. We just don’t realize it a lot of the time because we are so goddamn busy and, if we are not, we will find the way to be or to pretend to ourselves that we are.
So yes, I don’t think boredom is the problem we should be worrying about. Even accepting that we are not all in the same boat and that we all need different things these days, I still think boredom, or lack of things to do to occupy the time, is not the thing we should be focusing on.
Speaking of boats, yes, we are not all in the same one. Socioeconomic, class, gender, race, etc. analysis of this whole situation that we find ourselves in and the massive systemic issues it has unveiled (or not so much unveiled as painfully confirmed) is a whole other can of worms I don’t even want to get into here and now, so I won’t, but please let’s just stop saying we are all in the same boat, we are simply not. The privilege pyramid of the world is more alive than ever, as it always happens in times of crisis.
Going back to the reason why we need the distractions, though. Ah. That we should focus on.
Where do you put it all?
Where do you put it all when it’s just you and you have nowhere to go, no one to cling to, no productivity to fulfill, no dreams to act on, no loud music and (comforting?) small talk in pubs.
Inside the four walls of your home (or the sun-exposed 20 if you belong to that 1%) there is still so much you can do and also so little and they both live together in a tight, possessive, fierce embrace inside of you and where do you put it all?
How do you even begin to understand how to separate that embrace, tell them oi, that is a toxic relationship right there if I’ve ever seen one, fuck off already, find someone that is good for you and stop messing around with my sanity. My sanity. My God, I can feel it slipping away when I spend 1 hour staring at the ceiling daydreaming about sensuality because I am so horny and where do you put it all or when I obsessively scan the Instagram (the Instacrap really, that disgusting, narcissistic beast we all struggle with like that bad friend that undermines us and loves drama but we can’t quite or won’t shake off because they feed something else in us, something nasty and vain) looking at the lives of people whose career is more successful than mine which I normally (more or less) successfully avoid cause I am working on it, I am going somewhere, I am on. The. Move. But suddenly it’s inevitable because I have nowhere to go and hello, depths of my soul. Hello, humongous wings of my immense frustration and desire for more. Where do you put it all?
But then again, ying and yang and whatnot. Opposites always coexisting, it’s just about learning how to balance it all out. All you can be doing and all you can’t. All you want to be doing and all you don’t have the willpower to do. All that you are thankful for and all that causes you pain. All the things that could be much worse and all the fuck it, I don’t care, this still sucks. The guilt. The lack of gentleness towards yourself. The overindulgence. Where do you put it all?
Oh and also. What if, secretly, deep down, a part of you is ok with this? Because being confined, being banned from doing anything by a greater power, allows you to not have to make excuses for all the things you should be doing and are not, for all the procrastination and postponing and ignoring. For not doing better. Do better. Be better.
And maybe nothing I just said, all his unfiltered vomit of words, makes sense to anyone else but this is the thing. This is the thing with this confinement. You are trapped inside of yourself and your own space and you have to learn to be ok with that and accept a different rhythm to life and your own soul and to still understand everyone else with empathy and generosity when you can’t even be generous to yourself and you don’t even know where to put it all. Because seriously. Where the fuck do you put it all?
By Oihane Rodríguez