Atara Vogelstein, LCAT & Founder @TherapyWalks
The Ramble - 2020
Working as a therapist in 2020 is hard.
Some would say working as a therapist in any year is hard.
Cue global pandemic.
Pandemic takes the stage. He/she is bright and ugly and amorphous. He/she/they has no form, no form at all, born formless.
“I come from Wuhan,” it says, barfing (starting to barf?). “A bat swallowed me and got infected and a man chopped me up. So I stung him. I loved the body of that bat. He was days away from dying.”
“Who are you?” we ask, an amorphous crowd, sullen + sunken + scared + angry. Faces white + brown, black, purple, green, bloated, sick, grieving. “What do you want from us?”
Client enters. Blank faced. Has a face? “Who am I?” “What do I want?” “What is happening?”
2020 can feel like a green goblin went from house to house and ate up all the children. 2020 can feel like anxious beasts are waiting on every corner, waiting to tear off our masks + yank us into reality. Reality suddenly looks burning, with another murdered Black man laying bleeding on the street. 2020 is heart wrenching. 2020 is vomit inducing. 2020 is suffocating. 2020 has us praying on our knees for forgiveness from a virus, a sin, a blemish no makeup no mask no solitary confinement can cover up. 2020 is hell on crack with sanitary wipes shoved up its butt. 2020 is a monster. 2020 is broken. 2020 is giving voice to the broken, the breaking, the unyielding chains around the throats + stomachs + groins of marginalized humans in America, un united states, presidential breaking / wreaking havoc on the minds of the uprorias, the devastated, individuals unbearing the yolk thrust on them for generations by the white man, the goblin, demanding they fold, pay, wash, dry, hang, sell, be sold, die, lose, ache, cry, yell, help, murder, drop your weapon, please, drop your weapon, I can’t - oblige - your demands - any longer - white man. Who, when we look, when we really look, resembles the giant, hulking, grimacing, foreign virus we all know too well. Racism takes many forms. Misogyny takes many forms. Oppression takes many forms. We are all exposing, exposed, risking, at risk, ranting, raving, away, murderous virus!
The boundaries are changing. How we live in our homes, who we let in our homes, body as home, body invaded, where is safe, who is safe, what is safety?
The virus begins to transform. “Let me out!” We freeze it. “Let me out!” We burn it. “Let me in!” We fence it. We imprison what we do not know. Colonize it, study it, theorize on it, distance from it, enemize it, anesthetize it, immobilize it, capitalize it, gain from it. 2020 is a shut down of Capitalism, a pause on ventures, airfare, travel. 2020 is buckling down, stepping back, evaluating. 2020 is new + not new. 2020 is famine + plague. 2020 is reformation.
The virus sits there - growing. Enjoying the spotlight.
I step away. Run - outside - try to teach my lungs to breathe again. World in panic : not out here. Out here sun, out here, grass, out here crickets, cicadas, flowers, leaves, warmth, spiders, things I fear + things I admire, webs of creation, of generosity, of intention, of spirit, of refuge, of necessity, of rest, of tranquility, of movement, of growth. Out here me + world + rhythms + air + senses + escape + moment + fleeting + fleeing + grounding + rebirth rejuvenation replenishing senses life air possibility danger safety wasps + foxes + bats + spiders + butterflies + dirt unknown. Body breathes. Body starts to surrender.
Wonder. Enter therapist. Client baffled. Client + therapist baffled. Lives lived living before, in 2020. Therapist listening. Living. We’re in this maze together.