I’m a talkative person by any standard. I love talking. To people I know, to people I don’t know, anyone and everyone. I can talk about almost anything. I consume an unhealthy amount of media and so I never run out of things to talk about. Just to give you context,I spent the entire day yesterday researching how we size our garments. Interesting history there, but I have to write a blog post on that as part of my fashion course anyway, so I am saving that for later. I do that a lot – spend a lot of time researching things that interest me. These are rarely, if ever, relevant to my life. I just like to know things. And whenever I am not actively looking for things, I am still consuming a lot of media passively. In all its forms. There are the books I love to read. I read a total of five books in August (not counting the many, many YA fantasy novels I devour, provided they can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited). I watch movies all the time. I’m on social media for the better part of my day. I’m obsessed with watching YouTube videos. Because I have such an unhealthy level of media consumption, I’ve become a repository of trivia. I can talk about my favourite fictional characters, cooking shows, podcasts and the ideas people discuss in those, till my jaw starts to hurt. But I have been steadily running out of people to talk to.
For the last two years though, ever since the pandemic hit, I haven’t really had anyone to talk to. I don’t mean that in a dramatic sense. I live with my family, and I usually talk to them at meal times. But it is tiring for them to listen to everything I have to say, and quite frankly, boring for me to have to contend with such few opinions. I want people to disagree with me. I want to learn something from people every time I talk to them. I don’t like talking to people who have had the same experiences as me – except when I need to vent. Or at least, I didn’t like it. Now that I have no access to actual human interaction outside of blood relatives, I see what a privilege that was.
When the pandemic first started people didn’t really take it seriously. None of us thought this was going to last as long as it did. For most of us, myself included, it seemed like nothing more than a well-deserved, state mandated break from work or school or whatever else our obligations might have been. The losses since then have been unending. There have been real and measurable losses all of us suffered – the loss of a loved one, of a job or a source of income, amongst others. But there has also been the psychological impact of being isolated for such a long period of time. I didn’t take all of this seriously at first. The human loss, the economic loss, yes. Those things I could see happening around me. But coming across reports of how people aren’t faring too well in isolation – because of the loneliness – I didn’t take that as seriously. I didn’t think this was something that could really affect me. I just took it to be one of those things people always talk about but doesn’t happen to anyone. I had my family, and I had a fairly comfortable existence even in the pandemic. Plus I had access to any and every form of entertainment I might need on the internet. What could possibly get me down? A lot, as it turns out.
I have people around me, but I don’t have access to people I would really talk to. Like any other self-respecting young adult out there, I only talk to my family when I have no one else to talk to. They’re great, but they aren’t really down with entertaining you at all hours of the day. Not in the way your friends, or other people around you are. If I had to – I can only compare it to how people describe hometowns in movies. You know the story of how a kid grows up in a small town, leaves it for other more exciting places, and then comes back. While our hero is happy to be back in said hometown, they really cannot fathom living here for the rest of their lives (at least this is how most of them go). They’ve outgrown it. All of us outgrow our families to some extent. And for the last two years, our growth has been stunted. Yes, we have access to all this technology and we can reach out to whoever we want whenever we want. I still don’t though. A part of the reason why I think I find it hard to call / text other people in my life is because that part of my social etiquette is still stuck in pre-pandemic times. When we didn’t really worry about the next time we were going to see our friends, so we reached out to them rarely. At least, I know I did. And now, even though that is the only way I can talk to most of them, I hesitate to do it.
The less I talk to others, the heavier my head feels with all the information I keep forcing into it. This blog is one of the ways I can let some of it out. I talk to myself as I type so that it feels a little like a conversation, albeit one sided.