I Surrender

There is so little I can change in this moment — I can only keep trying

Yael Wolfe
May 17, 2020 · 4 min read
Photo by Leonard Okpor on Scopio

I surrender. I have half the energy I had pre-pandemic. Maybe less. I’m lucky if I wash the dishes and make the bed. I can’t keep all cylinders revving like I used to. I can’t create as fast and beautifully as I once did.

I surrender. I have a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings. I fear running into a pushy neighbor while on my morning walk, having someone chastise me for continuing to quarantine even though our county has reopened, having to explain why I don’t want hugs right now. (I mean, I do — but I don’t.) And the days feel like they go downhill from there. I am still excited to work on my projects, but in the midst of that, I am alone. So alone. For the long run. And I hate that. I dread facing that each day.

I surrender. I cannot seem to keep up with my friendships anymore. It takes all my energy just to compose one email or answer a text message. I fear losing the opportunity to get to know the new friends I’ve made recently just because I can’t seem to get up the energy to correspond with them. I’m terrified of losing my close friendships, especially with Sunny and Frank, because talking to them on the phone or Skyping them feels exhausting. Will they be able to have patience with me through this time of separation? I guess that question is irrelevant because no matter the answer, I can’t do any better than this.

I surrender. I won’t be able to access my little woodland the way I used to. I know I can’t change that. I will have to settle for long retreats there with longer periods of separation between.

I surrender. My days with the owls seem to be over. I only saw them once this season. And no babies, so far as I could tell. I feel untethered without my yellow-eyed friends. But what can I do?

I surrender. My family is like a set of tectonic plates in this pandemic. Lots of drifting away from one another, then crashing together in conflict. Everyone is going in separate directions when just a couple months ago, I felt so close to each person. Now there are boundaries everywhere. Separations. Indefinitely.

I surrender. I have lost my sweet Alex. Due to circumstances outside my control, it might be years before I am allowed to see him again. My heart is shattered. Every day, I feel this dark cloud above my head. All of that love, all of that time together…lost like a puff of smoke in the wind. Like it never happened. And I cannot do a goddamn thing about it.

I surrender. My health problem flares up for days and then almost disappears. And then flares up. And then disappears. I don’t know what medical steps to take from here, in the middle of a pandemic. How urgent is this mystery ailment? I don’t know what to do.

I surrender. My county has reopened and I’m afraid it’s too soon. Has something changed that I’m not aware of? Did the virus go away? Did we get a vaccine? Restaurant patios are crowded with people, elbow-to-elbow. The grocery store is even busier than it was before the panic buying started. And no one is wearing masks. I’m terrified we’re going to see a spike in cases and have to lock down again. Terrified that a second lockdown will erupt in gun violence, as protesters recently promised. But what can I do?

I surrender. All I have wanted these past few years was to heal my body, heart, and soul. I have worked so hard to become more intimate with people. To expand my definitions of love. To explore my sexuality. And now I cannot even touch another human being without worrying about compromising their safety — and mine. I have to wait for this to run its course. For a vaccine or for whatever solution is coming. There is nothing to do but wait.

I surrender. I’m hauling ass on this hamster wheel. And going nowhere. Treading water. Working so hard just to stay in the same place. And there’s nothing I can do about that.

I surrender.

© Yael Wolfe 2020


I will write until I’m free.

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