Pandemic Archive


By Maria Norseth Garli . . .

In the beginning of the first of the pandemic years, I stumbled into a crisis. An identity crisis, an existential crisis, a crisis in my marriage, in my motherhood, in my body and soul, a crisis that reached its first peak at the initial lockdown here in Norway, which was in March of last year. There were many peaks to follow throughout the rest of that year. Today, I have reached a point of acceptance and of internal understanding. I even feel a strange kind of gratitude towards the fact that my journey through (in)sanity was accompanied by a pandemic. This crisis, when all of our everyday lives were turned upside down, somehow opened us up, made us invite people in. I guess many of us were (and still are) desperate for some kind of human touch. If not physical, then at least in an emotional or even spiritual way. I believe that was what saved me. People who, like me, were lonely, sitting at home in solitude, longing for a connection with other human beings. As this world crisis seems to linger for yet some time, I am pretty confident that my crisis is over. You see, I have a special gift, a super power, which went missing for a while. Now it’s back. That’s how I know. Crisis over, super power back greater than ever. This text is first and foremost addressed to myself but maybe it can also give some comfort and/or hope to some of you who are reading this.

I know why I am who I am. Events, stories, history, dreams, words and sounds. I know everything, I understand everything. I was gone for a moment but now I’m back, with a greater sense of wonder than ever. I’m not crazy and I’m not that different from everyone else. And what if I am? I am good. I am a great person. Anyone who gets to cross my path is lucky. My mind, with its weird, hovering thoughts, is a goldmine. If you get to know me, you are rich. I am warm, caring and kind, sharing of myself to the ones who will give back. I’m open, for the most part, about most things. Open to thoughts and ideas, I walk other paths than those usually walked. I walk the path with my name on it. Why should I be afraid to be myself? The world is a richer place when I am truly myself. That is my responsibility.

I have made up stories about how my words and thoughts do not make sense, that they are not worth anything, that I am not credible, that I am too demanding and take up too much space. The stories have not appeared out of nothing, but still they are untrue. I need people in my life who can accommodate my whole being. I am worth the space. My words and my thoughts are valuable because I am honest and curious and have an insanely strong capacity for wondering. I have the ability to see beauty in what is not usually considered beautiful. I have the ability to find magic in simplicity. I have the ability to give others space to be themselves. Those who come to love me will be changed for ever. In all kinds of time.

I have been afraid that I will not dare to feel love for another human being again. Now I know it’s just nonsense. I have so much love within that I can fill an entire world. If anyone wants my love, it will make it all worth it. I do not claim to be better, wiser, stronger than anyone else. But I am good, I am wise, I am strong.

Why should I be afraid to be me? An ordinary, unusual, strong, vulnerable, confused, safe, childish, grown-up, emotional, rational human being? Those who think I am too much need something else than me in their lives. I have this power in me – a belief in something bigger, in that everything is connected, that it is the same, that it is all and nothing at the same time – a force of nature that does not rest but that drives me forward and makes me unable to stop, even when I try. It is not in me to give up. If things do not go the way I want, hope or long for, I will find another way, a better way, a different way, a way that leads me to the same stars.

When I was a little girl I wanted to become an astronaut. Guess what. I am an astronaut. I am already out there. I see the whole picture, the connections, I see the curvatures in time and space. I am confident in myself, and I like to let my mind play among solar systems and in parallel universes. I do not understand how that can be wrong? I do not fit into the constructed realities of this world. I do not want to be cast in the same shape as “everyone else”. Because even though we are equal, we are also different, with different stories and hypotheses and dreams that we carry around and nurture. Diversity, in all editions, is a prerequisite for development. Diversity is the sustainable reality. My kids are safe and well, even if I dare to think intricate multi-existential thoughts. I share oxygen with all of earth’s creatures – humans, insects, trees, plants. We are all connected to each other in a way that is neither measurable nor calculable, but which is not difficult to see at all if you open your eyes, your heart, lift your head, breathe the air everyone has touched, and which has touched everything, let it fill your lungs and travel in the blood to all parts of your body, let all the tiny molecules and atoms and all the spaces in between (which are not voids, but full of waves, rays, energies, vibrations, threads, connections, movements ) travel at infinite speed through your body, and in a nanosecond everything that has been, that is and that is to come, has traveled through you.

I will probably stumble and fall many times, but now I know – without a doubt – that I will get up again, and again. I am invincible, immortal. We will all get up over and over again. We are all immortal, we are connected with everything. We are stardust.