This was going to be the year. As a 40+ year old woman, I made plans. I was going to take up space. And change my fortune. And then COVID19 stay-at-home orders stalled me! At least that’s what I feel like it is.
I’ve been stuck for a while, slowly sinking and no one has offered a helping hand. No sticks offered to help pull me out, just self-righteous mantras of “anything you’re still in is a choice” and “if you wanted change, you’d make it happen” tossed to me as life preservers. These all make sense in general, but a one size fits all lifejacket, doesn’t actually fit any of us. It’s dismissive. It ignores the entire story. Yes, we all make choices. Yes, we all have autonomy. And yes, sometimes we choose certain situations over other situations. Kinda like voting; sometimes you just vote for the least-worst option.
It’s worth unpacking why we feel stuck. Is it a stuck that’s immutable? Is it a stuck that was self-created? Is this a new stuck? Are you stuck out of your own choosing? Are you stuck out of fear? Or are you stuck because of things outside of our control? Or is it all of the above?
Sometimes our prepared life plans do not move forward. It’s in these moments when we (or at least I) feel stuck. More accurately, it feels like sinking into an abyss.
Things may even look up in one area of life, and the sinking into quicksand considerably slows down. So instead of active sinking, you may feel suspended in quicksand if that makes sense. Not sinking any further down. Just suspended in mid-sink. Just still in the quicksand.
Of course, meeting with your therapist virtually (if you are in a position to do so) will help to unpack some of these stuck feelings. And on the day of therapy it feels slightly manageable.
But as life keeps evolving as we stay at home, the stuck feeling may grow bigger, and bigger and sometimes feel like you’re sinking deeper and deeper.
So how do we stop sinking in the quicksand?
I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer, but I do know these things:
- It’s okay to acknowledge you’re stuck.
- It’s okay to say that you’re sinking.
- It’s okay to tell people who are throwing you mantras instead of trying to help to fuck off.
- It’s okay to cry.
- It’s okay to be angry.
- It’s okay to be hurt.
- It’s okay to decide to make change.
- It’s okay to plan an escape.
Do all and any of these things. But you must remember one thing: quicksand is not real even if your situations are. You may be stuck, but you are not sinking. Dust off the dirt, and if all you can do is stand and be suspended, then you’re doing great.