• sahalieangellmartin

I Simply Refuse to Be Perceived for One Week: Corona Coping Diaries


Long time, no see.


I haven't updated this blog since July. Instead, I've spent the last five months reading, worrying about the deadly virus, moving to a new state, trying not to catch the deadly virus, starting grad school, trying to assess my risk re: the deadly virus, and adopting a kitten.


To quote Vonnegut: so it goes. Poo-tee-weet.


Now, as I settle into my new routine of schoolwork, zoom class, and double-masked grocery trips, I alternate between feeling ghost-like and unavoidably solid. To be constantly worrying about the risk to my physical body while at the same time watching my presence in the outside world diminish, I've developed a new fantasy of reducing my impact in the world to nothing - a zero-immission existance. Here is the basic blueprint: I dream about going through one week simply refusing to be perceived.


Monday (I don't care what the calendar says - the week begins on Monday in my brain): No classes. I go running (this is, after all, a fantasy) and nobody I pass on the trail acknowledges me. I dive off the trail into the marshy woods by the river and stand there for a while. I don't impact the river's flow because it is larger and more powerful than I am. Later, I go to the grocery store to get food for the week. I push my cart the wrong way down the aisle while shoppers' eyes slide away from me. I load up my cart with low- and high-fat ice cream to fit my mood swings. I key in the code for cheaper tomatoes and get away with it.


Tuesday: I attend classes with my camera off. My microphone is silent. I watch everyone else's faces and lie tucked into bed and nobody knows how comfy and safe I am. I work on a paper that's not due for two weeks. I nap. I am content.


Wednesday: I'm restless but too sore to run again, so I go for a walk. I head to CVS and realize I can't smell any of the candles through my mask, so I buy one for the living room having to guess what "Twilight" smells like. The cashier can't tell me because he doesn't know I'm there. Even as I hand him my credit card, my face is blurred like a cheap documentary.


Thursday: I have class in the morning. I do not brush my hair. I watch myself as a black square and go back to sleep when it's over.


Friday: I shower for the first time since Monday and when the steam clears I still can't see myself in the mirror. I go pick up beer from the gas station and the attendant does not ask me about my weekend plans, because I don't exist and time doesn't exist and nobody has plans anymore.


Saturday: I take a self-care day for invisible women. I light my new candle in the bathroom and it smells like overripe plums. I take a bath and watch the water disperse where my thighs should be. I guess where my nails are and try to paint them black. I do laundry and make the bed with hospital corner tucks. I sleep too much. I cry a little. I watch Schitt's Creek.


Sunday: I prepare to be in the world again. I re-dye my hair and cut my nails and drink half a glass of water before my kitten sticks her foot in it. I wrap an electric blanket around me and heat my body back up, because you are never dead unless you are warm and dead, and it is painful to be in the world but wonderful to be held again.

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