A year. 365 days and a bit. That is the point that is almost upon us regarding the experience of lockdown in South Africa. It doesn’t feel all that long ago, yet it feels like it has been ages at the same time. It also celebrates the first anniversary of my Abbreviations, with the post titled “We can all use a little change”.
Little did I know…
Professor Jules Hilbert: Perhaps you should keep a journal. Write down what she said or something. That’s all I can suggest.
Harold Crick: I can barely remember it all. I just remember “Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would lead to his imminent death”.
Professor Jules Hilbert: What?
Harold Crick: Little did he know…
Professor Jules Hilbert: Did you say, “Little did he know…”?
Harold Crick: Yes.
Professor Jules Hilbert: I’ve written papers on “Little did he know…”. I used to teach a class based on “Little did he know…”.’ I mean, I once gave an entire seminar on “Little did he know…”. Son of a bitch, Harold. “Little did he know…” means there’s something he doesn’t know. That means there’s something you don’t know. Did you know that?
Stranger Than Fiction, 2006.
This film is one of my favourites and my mind often goes to films for creating links and connections to what is experienced in therapy; and life. Here it is used more for a bit of comic relief and pointing out the irony of my first post, not to mention the second one.
Little did I know that we would not experience a little change, but actually quite a lot. A disorientation. A new normal. If it is a new normal? Is it maybe time that we now accept this lockdown, Covid-19 world, as normal?
Like any process of loss and grief, the world experienced the stages of shock and denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance; in response to this pandemic.
Acceptance can take on many forms and possibly even need to take place more frequently than the forms it can be found in. For if acceptance was a once off process, there would be many industries settled with their first attempts at a product or service and little to no progress. I possibly would not have been able to type this on my laptop, as the type writer would have been sufficient or even better still the paper and quill.
Acceptance is difficult.
Shock and denial, that’s easy.
Rebelling is even better.
To rebel is to resist control, authority or convention. To rebel is to show or feel intense disgust for or resistance to something. Shock and denial can be passive. Rebelling is active. This has been a year of rebellion.
By no means has the past year been conventional (more Covid-tional than anything else). It has been full of challenges, changes and mishaps. Even some joys. The year itself can be seen as rebellious, (which might be a topic of future Abbreviations if we explore themes of eco-grief and eco-anxiety), in context of the years preceding it.
Within this rebellious year, we have rebelled. We have looked at it with intense disgust, the rules and restrictions being placed, no wait – forced onto us. The forced changes. The new expectations. We have showed resistance. Resistance to the virus but also at times to the authorities that be. Resistance to the change and not willing to accept the situation for what it is.
With this resistance comes resilience. A capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. We are tough and flexible.
If up to this point you have associated the rebellion to something negative, I would like to refer you to the “Rebels of the vine”, Black Elephant Vintners. For they are not rebels without a cause, but rebels with purpose. They strive to break the norm, to go where others fear, and to do the undoable.
It is this form of rebellion which I speak of that fosters both resistance and resilience. And it might also serve a purpose in acceptance.
For there are certain things that, no matter how great the rebellion against it or resistance shown or resilience afforded; are not in our control. Never has and never will be. The more it is pushed, shoved and beaten, the clearer it will become that it can not be pushed, shoved or beaten. That it is constant. Stable. Out of our control. And this can only be learned and accepted with first questioning it and then rebelling against it.
Is this new normal, and the acceptance of it, only possible when becoming a rebel in remission?
Remission implies the diminished experience or even total disappearance of signs and symptoms of rebelling. This too, would be an active process.
A choice to be made and acted on. From my limited experience and knowledge of something like cancer in remission, there is usually some sort of treatment that precedes it. It doesn’t often just happen, but rather requires an active engagement with it. It too would involve the stages of grief and loss. Acceptance once again becoming prominent.
Maybe it is time to accept this rebellious year and situation for what it is; that our rebellion has shown what can be controlled and what not, what is doable and not. That we have gained in resilience, experience and knowledge.
To accept what can be fought and when the fight is over.
Rebel in remission.
Until the situation requires a new revolt!