A couple of months ago I talked about how living through a pandemic is all about uncertainty and how I didn’t know what I was really counting with the daily drawings of my hand. I could have been counting the days of our “lockdown” or “sheltering-in-place,” but that was an externally mandated restriction that had very little to do with my own relationship with the pandemic. (It’s also fluid; after “opening” a bit, we are now looking more toward “closing” again.) This series is much more about an internal process than any local restriction.
Many times since I wrote that post, I considered quitting. Although my hand continues to be an interesting challenge in terms of rendering form, let’s face it: I’m tired of it. Just like I’m tired of washing my hands, tired of disinfecting knobs and counters, tired of wearing a mask, tired of continually thinking about “it” before I do anything. Tired of anxiety. Tired of grief and disgust.
That’s when I realized that the hand series has become a metaphor for my personal endurance. It’s a symbol for the pandemic itself. Many times since March, especially after hearing about the COVID-related deaths of acquaintances or other horrible, unbearable news, I have sat down to cry and wondered how I will keep going for however long it takes. And the answer is always the same: I must.
For me, “however long it takes” will be the day I feel safe again to be with other people, masked or not, and feel free of fear (at least of this virus). The day I am vaccinated for this novel coronavirus will be that day.
I’m not giving myself an easy out anymore to simply stop out of boredom or tedium. I’m saying it out loud here as a commitment: Whether I’m tired of it or not, challenged or not, interested or not, I will keep drawing my hand every day until I’m vaccinated.