What even is a body?

This post is inspired by a thought I had today: what even is a body?

So, I tested positive for COVID-19. Reading this, you may think that to be largely unremarkable, given that we are over two years strong into this pandemic, but to me, well, it took every bit of strength I have not to freak the fuck out.

I have OCD. It does not manifest itself in the stereotypical ways portrayed in media, but I do struggle with severe health anxiety. It’s not that I’m a germaphobe or an agoraphobe; it’s that ever since the beginning the of pandemic, if I felt the slightest sore throat, sniffles, aches, etc., my body would threaten to shut down on me. I completely panic, no matter how calm I look on the outside. For the first three months of the pandemic, I had chronic chest pain. I would accidentally convince myself that I couldn’t breathe. It was so concerning that I braved going to the doctor to get checked out. The cherry on top of this is that now, this COVID-19 anxiety has spread and puffed out in my life, turning into a general health anxiety I never experienced before. Anything can happen: an aneurysm, a heart attack, a blood clot. My body is so on guard that it does way more harm than good. I know it’s not logical. I blame COVID-19.

My fear has been bigger than myself. My greatest terror was bringing COVID-19 into my home, where there are high-risk people. I have sacrificed so much of my life to keep them safe simply because there was no other option to me. I could not be the reason why my family got hit with this potentially fatal illness.

Welp. I was finally getting to the point where my nervous system was realizing COVID-19 is here to stay. You’re vaccinated, still cautious, and doing everything right. It’s time to loosen the reins and enjoy yourself and your life in a way that you have not since March of 2020. Deep breath in… and out…

And then I tested positive on Monday. Heh, life, am I right? I am just so grateful that it was a mild case, and that in terms of my family getting sick, I think we’re in the clear so far. It could change, but I’m choosing to remain positive (poor word choice there maybe) and fight my worst-case-scenario demons away. As much as I know it’s not my fault, it sure as hell feels like it, but the silver lining is that moving forward, now that I’ve had it, maybe I’ll be, well, not petrified.

When I saw “positive” on my phone, I thought, Well, fuck. I feel like I’ve been having that internal dialogue about so many things lately. I thought that I could schedule another COVID-19 test five days after testing positive to see if I’m negative, but my mom told me that once you test positive, you can still test positive for 90 days. What is that about? Okay all you science people reading this; don’t come at me. I’m just saying. What even is a body?! I won’t be contagious, but it’s still in me? A reminder? A fuck-you-human-race? A meaningless meandering of a virus? I’m just the vessel, the one who is not in control but carrying the bully, so what really matters? When it comes to bodies, how much is really in our control? What is going on in there? The answers might seem obvious, but this question has me reeling right now.

I’m no philosopher, but I am a poet, so I am impacted by this new development in all ways: physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. My plan is to keep recovering, to keep doing my best to stay calm, and to keep encouraging myself to see not the bright side, but the better side of this ugly thing that is the pandemic and how it has been affecting my wellbeing.

If you still share some sort of anxieties around COVID-19, you are not alone. This may be something that will stick around, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not scary. I’ve been feeling like I’m in an alternate reality because the thing that I’ve fought so hard to avoid is actually happening to me. But I think we can all find strength in the moments and obstacles that make us feel better equipped against such a persistent enemy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: