What does it mean, that I am dancing the pandemic-languish? To languish means to lack vitality, to grow weak. It also means to fail to make progress or fail to be successful. The outdated meaning is to pine with love or grief, to assume a sentimentally tender or melancholy expression or tone.
Yesterday I told my good friend that I was languishing. It seemed to come upon me rather suddenly, over the past couple of weeks. I didn’t know exactly what the word meant when I said it, but I felt what it meant. I wasn’t depressed, sad, anxious, angry, bored, or stressed. I was languishing. My understanding of the word ‘languishing’ has been, until now, archaic. I pictured a femme fatale, reclining on the settee, waving her fan ever so delicately in front of her mournful face. She would then sigh with a pitiful show of melodrama, and breathe out the words, “Oh, woe is me.”
I surprised myself when I used the word to actually describe how I was feeling. I am certainly not a femme fatale. And I’m not feeling sorry for myself. But the reality is, I do lack vitality. I do feel weak. I am failing to make progress and quite honestly, I am also pining with love and grief. The pandemic is at the root of all of these feelings.
The lack of vitality is two-fold: First, an infection long undetected, and secondly, stagnation – being unable to do the workshops and presentations that I love to do – to connect with humans! This weakness of mine feels like a mental weakness, but also an emotional weakness, a vulnerability. I have been working hard to complete projects, but now, with covid, the completed projects are on hold. ARRGH! This frustration eeps out of me, causing me emotional discomfort. If only I had antibiotics to cure this malady!
I’m pining with love and grief, the way you all are. I can’t get in my car, travel a couple of hours down the road, and give my siblings a great big hug. I feel sad about that. I can’t imagine the joy I would feel to walk or sit with a friend and have a coffee.
I think of all of you out there, perhaps languishing in your own way. Goals that go unmet, relationships that are only virtual (and aren’t we all tired of that, but grateful for technology at the same time?).
I am fortunate that this languishing is lessening. I believe it is decreasing because I made a plan for it to decrease. Movement creates movement. Every day I sit in the sun for half an hour. Every day I do my online exercise class and go for a walk in the beautiful park nearby. I know that if I move my body, I will also move my emotions and my mental state to a better place. It’s worked before, and it’s working now.
We are moving ever closer to that day when we will again join each other in physical space, seeing not just smiling eyes, but smiling mouths as well, feeling one another’s energy and joy. When we need to, we will be able to comfort each other with hugs, sharing our tears and our laughter. Until then, just know that it is okay to languish for a bit, and that the languish dance will soon be done.