I don’t know about you…

But this year I’ve felt more alone than ever before in my life.

Which is a big deal, because I actually lived alone for a couple years, in a country where I was gradually learning to speak the language but every time I left the house I had to turn on my “concentrate hard” and be prepared for all the “but wait, you’re not a Turk” comments from people when they saw my red hair and heard me speaking their language.

2020 has been a wild ride. (I refuse to use all the adjectives we’ve heard all year, so I’ll go with a Disney reference instead) 

And in a time when a lot of my friends are living in places that are still completely shut down, or who are choosing to stay isolated to keep from getting the virus or possibly sharing it with someone else, that isolation is very, well, isolating. 

But even for people like me, who go to Disney, church, and the doctor’s office on a regular basis and see people face to face, I still find myself feeling very alone.

 

It’s not so much actually not seeing other people. It’s the feeling that I’m experiencing something, or feeling things, in a way that others just don’t get. Like I’m the only one who feels this particular way about things.

Let me tell you, though: it’s a lie. 

And it’s dangerous.

When we think we’re alone, then anxiety can start to take hold, even on people who have never felt anxious.

We start pitting ourselves against the imagined “them,” the people who make it harder for us to get back to some semblance of “normal.” No matter how we feel about…well, about anything…there’s a “them” and “they” seem to want us to fail.

What would you think if I told you we are actually all in this together?

That we all want our country and world to get back to normal, that we all want to be able to stop living in fear again? 

It’s not just wishful thinking.

I have friends on every possible side of this. People who flat-out refuse masks, those who won’t leave the house so they don’t risk exposing the vulnerable population (or themselves) to the virus, and tons somewhere in the middle. 

I know several people who have changed churches over this issue and how their (former) church handled things. 

I don’t even know how many people have changed their schooling plans over this. 

And those who have gone through the virus tend to keep quiet about it during their experience, feeling like they’re going to be ostracized for it. (I read an article yesterday that said 1 in 27 Floridians have had the virus at this point. That’s a lot more people who are in the same boat than most of us realize!)

 

But all of those are categories with multiple people in them!

No matter now small I go, I could list more than one person or family for each category. 

You. Aren’t Alone.

 

Stop believing the lie. Stop thinking you’re the only one going through it this way. 

I’m not always a fan of spending time looking for people who agree with me. I think it can get dangerous, because it makes me start thinking the “other side” is even more crazy than I already suspected. 

But in this time? I think you should find places that help you feel less alone. News articles or podcasts that discuss things the way you feel is the most accurate. Not so you can bash those who disagree with you. PLEASE don’t use them for that. But so that you can be encouraged, knowing you’re NOT the only one feeling this way. You’re NOT the only one to take this path and make these decisions. And feeling less alone is an incredibly encouraging, empowering sensation during this time.

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