It Doesn’t Hurt, It Hurts All the Time
August 11, 2020 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Jess Zimmerman writes about physical and emotional trauma, navigating the fear of a pandemic amid the panoptic awareness of others' fear and loss and pain, and the strange ways that wounds and healing proceed, in the excellent It Doesn’t Hurt, It Hurts All the Time.
posted by cortex (13 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I was stunned and bewildered—”how could a dog betray?” I texted my friends—and embarrassed, a fat middle-aged woman in the emergency room in my bathing suit and flip-flops.

He texted a fat middle-aged woman who was wearing his bathing suit and flip-flops?

I try to make single sentences do too much, too. But this one got completely out of control. Sure, I’ve got aura and increasing pain and don’t have my headache meds with me, but even thus impaired I should not have had to spend as much brainpower as I did trying to untangle that sentence.
posted by Orlop at 3:09 PM on August 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Despite my wish that I’d been there to save the writer from that sentence, this really does feel like a piece of lively, thoughtful writing.
posted by Orlop at 3:13 PM on August 11, 2020

This was really good, and spoke to my experiences. Thanks for sharing it.
posted by biogeo at 3:25 PM on August 11, 2020

Jess is a woman, Orlop; she is writing there about feeling stunned and bewildered and embarrassed, and texting her friends while she sits in the ER.
posted by cortex at 3:35 PM on August 11, 2020 [12 favorites]

True to my experience too. Thank you for posting this.
posted by brainwane at 3:50 PM on August 11, 2020

That sentence hurt me too, you weren't the only one! But a brilliant essay, it does capture something about the fogginess of this time.
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:59 PM on August 11, 2020

That sentence worked fine for me due to the M dashes and and this was a great piece of writing.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 4:03 PM on August 11, 2020 [17 favorites]

As one of the people who simply does not seem to be able to peaceably hibernate, weeps daily for the loss of all the diner pancakes and drinks at bars and fancy meals, and cannot seem to muster any fear, only grief and frustration, this was a much-needed window (potentially) into the some of the folks I am in touch with.

I have had such envy for people who have fear of the virus to motivate them into behaving correctly, rather than having to simply follow what seem like pointless and arbitrary rules to a possibly pointless end. It's hard to maintain a set of habits when they are distasteful to you, provide no tangible results, rely on a framework that may or may not even be true given the passage of time (see: scrubbing your mail), and have no emotional urgency.

It's not comforting to find that it's actually no easier with The Fear than without. But I think I can be a better friend to the people who have it, now.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 5:13 PM on August 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

I could have written this. Everything about staying inside is how I feel.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:17 PM on August 11, 2020

This struck so many notes, and brought to the surface for me the idea of trying to process - in the trauma sense - the beginning of lockdown as if that was a period of time distinctly different from today. Which it is not for me, and won't be for months to maybe years. Is it even possible to do something about the trauma during the trauma while anticipating ongoing servings of the same trauma, indefinitely?
posted by Lyn Never at 5:31 PM on August 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Special Branch is an elite unit of the Grammar Police.
posted by thelonius at 5:34 PM on August 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

Is it even possible to do something about the trauma during the trauma while anticipating ongoing servings of the same trauma, indefinitely?

I'd like to think so. If it is, I think part of it starts with clearly naming it as a form of trauma in the way you've done here, Lyn Never, and in the way Zimmerman describes so well in the essay.

This brilliant essay was exactly what I needed to read to help me begin to sort out and grapple with a nebulous tangle of free-floating Complicated Pandemic Stuff. Thank you, Jess Zimmerman. And this, in particular, speaks to the zeitgeist:

"...the name of the game in 2020: things you didn't think could get worse got worse."
posted by velvet winter at 1:52 AM on August 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hoo boy, this is hitting home a whole lot for me. I've had a small spot on my shoulder that keeps tingling - not quite an itch - for a while and I assume it's something like an eye twitch, a physical manifestation of all of the feelings I am shutting away so I can just keep managing to do what I've been doing every week for five months now.
posted by SeedStitch at 10:37 AM on August 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

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