(Silverdale, Washington; April 23, 2021) – The pandemic has impacted everyone across the globe. Our nation has been riven by fear, strife, super-spreader events justified by politicians and media pundits who preferred to advance a political agenda at the expense of safety, and the loss of time with loved ones…if not the loss of the loved ones themselves.
Single people got f*cked by society and government for the crime of not being in a relationship. When this started, I fully accepted the lockdowns were justified simply because we didn’t know what we didn’t know. Well, by the end of the summer last year (2020), hard data from Europe and our own CDC proved that indoor dining provided a vector for less than 1% of the viral cases, yet restaurants and (more importantly for a single, self-employed person like me), coffee houses were shut down.
I thought one had to be convicted in a court of law before the punishment of solitary confinement could be imposed?
Mental health issues have skyrocketed, driven by the natural fear a new virus will cause, but exacerbated to lethal levels by piss-poor leadership more intent on maintaining power than in doing what emerging data and experience indicate are the right things to do. Yes, I say that in a declarative mode because you have politicians and media pundits still trying to shame people for wanting to live a normal life. I’m vaccinated, but I’m told I have to wear a mask and not go out by leading medical ‘wise men on TV because it’s too dangerous?! Then what the hell did I get injected with a brand-new vaccine for?
Still, anger is not THE legacy I’ll take from Washington State. Nope; for me, for my story, the close of my time in the Evergreen State is a true Momentous Triumphant. Or, to put it more prosaically, the battles were dirty and I got banged up pretty bad, but, in the end, I won.
When I started at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, I was excited. I’d never gotten to the Pacific Northwest while I was on active duty, and my Navy career was heavier in the photojournalism and instructor areas, so the opportunity to be a staff writer and really hone those skills was wonderful! This was, truly, the perfect epilogue to my naval career (even when I started at Keyport, I never planned to be in civilian federal service for more than a few years).
Well, a number of questionable shenanigans in my department led to my deputy department head openly threatening me. A new department head then came in and 100%-disempowered everyone. When I wasn’t even allowed to post news articles on the command blog I maintained (news article from OTHER Navy sources, mind you) without my new department head’s express permission, I told them to pound sand. I hung on just long enough to complete my federal term, filed a major IG report, and left them in my rear-view mirror.
Shortly after that, my former best friend abandoned me because I committed the ‘crime’ of calling out his abusive wife on her sh*t when she tried to turn it on me. That was the right thing to do, especially in light of her final tantrum resulting in me having an (admittedly minor) burned hand. Still, I was reduced to only one set of friends in Silverdale…but the worst was coming.
My grandmother passed in October. She died of old age, not COVID, but there was still no way for any of us to get to Hawaii to lay her to rest…or handle all the legal requirements. My pop’s been having to do that from Florida by phone and email; he still can’t go see his own mother’s resting place.
But wait, there’s MORE!
A friend committed suicide in October after he split from his wife (she too was an abusive woman, and he noped out of there for his health and safety), but then COVID killed every job he tried to find. Isolated and alone, he lost his fight and left us.
My doctor neglected to note down a dosage increase in my antidepressant in December. The error came to light in January when I was suddenly knocked off an antidepressant for the first time since 2003. That foul-up threatened my life; despite my extensive knowledge of what was happening and why, I still spiraled deeper and deeper into an abyss of despair (it’s called a mental illness for a reason, you know).
My car got hit just last week by an idiot who fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into my lane. Fortunately, the damage to Sarah Jane (my car) was minor, but damage there is. To cap off the level of absurdity filling the situation, Mr. Sleeping-At-The-Wheel had the gall to looked affronted at me for laying on my horn and disturbing his nap (true story on the look he gave me when he woke up!).
My only consistent support during all of this came from my parents in Florida. Florida. Three-thousand miles and one continent away (my one set of remaining friends here in Silverdale were often unavailable due to one spouse encountering some serious medical issues himself, so I only hit them up sparingly as they had enough on their plates). The moral support was invaluable, but I still faced every battle alone…and won.
My victories may not be complete and unconditional, and they certainly weren’t nice and tidy, but I won. For the very first (and, I sincerely hope, only) time in my life, I did it all alone. More remarkably as I’ve been so isolated during all this; I didn’t just survive, I thrived. I now have two novels published. Not one; two. I’ve earned the ‘s’ now, the plural form: “I have BOOKS (plural) published.”
Living well is the best revenge if you focus not on showing ‘them’ up, but on living your best life for your own sake. Never give up; even if it takes you 30+ years to make your dreams happen, keep striving. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a great support network and community helping you move along. If not, then you have a harder road to walk, and that sucks, but it’s not enough to derail you unless you allow it. Even if you never achieve the financial success you want, you can still win the Game of Life.
1997’s Batman and Robin was not exactly the greatest flick ever filmed, but there is still gold to be found. The most moving performance was Michael Gough as he played a dying Alfred. When Bruce Wayne sits with him, apologizing for not being able to save his life, Alfred smiles and proves he’s still the sage and surrogate father who provided balanced humanity to Bruce’s personal war:
“There is no defeat in death, Master Bruce. Victory comes in defending what we know is right while we still live.” (emphasis mine)
Words to measure a Momentous Triumphant by!
# # #
Nathanael Miller’s Photojournalism Archives:
#nathanaelmiller; #sparks1524; #guerrillaphotojournalism; #guerrillaphotojournalist; #explore; #exploreamerica; #beautifuldestinations; #photography; #photographer; #gramslayers; #travel; #explore; #exploreamerica; #writer; #writing; #novel; #novelist; #accidetnaldetecive #isaacshepherd #murdermystery #mystery #sciencefiction #scifi #blog #blogging #writerscraft