The irony of my quarantine life

A few years ago, I spent an entire year in isolation due to fear.

Back then, there was nothing to fear but what anxiety was doing to my body. My stomach was in knots and twisting and squeezing to send me into bouts of pain, and acid reflux scarred my esophagus on a daily basis, sometimes all day every day. Coping with anorexia added to this struggle, and I spent a lot of time speaking with my alters and spirit guides — we wrote down almost all of our conversations at the time. They were my only company some days.

Now that I’ve overcome all of it, I’m in isolation again, but not by choice. This time there is a real fear I don’t have any control over, and my anxiety is just on the precipice of falling back into old patterns. My alters and spirit guides are with me and support me as they always have, but Depression is blocking them out due to a lack of mental energy. This is not good for me or them.

I’m introspecting on all of it; the irony that I’ve been through this song and dance when there wasn’t a real threat, and here I’m reliving those awful years again as they come back to haunt me. My stomach problems are coming back and my energy levels are low, and my agoraphobia is back. I’d overcome all of this just to be challenged by it again due to the pandemic keeping everyone inside.

When all of this is over, I will once again have to relearn how to be a person as I did those few years ago. I’ll have to teach myself, again, that it’s okay to leave my apartment. Most importantly, I’ll have to remind myself that I still carry some of the progress I’ve made. While this quarantine has set me back quite a few steps and undone what I’ve accomplished with my agoraphobia and anxiety, I have knowledge I didn’t have before.

I worry for those who have mental health challenges right now. I hurt knowing that people with problems like mine will be affected by this quarantine long after it’s over. Nightmares. Anxiety attacks. Fear of the outside. Fear of people. Trying to regain a sense of positivity again. It’s going to stick and we’ll have to go through exposure therapy all over again.

But we can do this. It will be safe again and we’ll conquer these beasts that we’ve had to face down before. I may not feel that sentiment while typing it, but I have to think it, say it, and look forward to a day when it will be true again. One day I will be able to grab my backpack and leave my apartment to go to the coffee shop downtown I love so much, and I’ll continue where I left off.

This is a pause. Life will resume again. It has to.

©2020 Shane Blackheart

Something calming for anyone who may need it:

Excerpt from a WIP: The Elite Among Them

This is a current work in progress, an urban fantasy with more of an erotic flair. The idea was given to me by the dream muses, so I noted it down when I woke up. That was last month. It’s all spinning into an interesting story that I hadn’t anticipated. This is a small scene. A quick side note: Myrdin is gender-neutral, so I’ve used ‘they/them’ for their pronouns. ‘Divus’ is the name for my race in this book.

Myrdin turned the book over in their hands, the bedsheets beneath it still a crumpled mess. The comforter reeked of their sister’s fever, and the book’s material itself was human drivel better left as fodder for their fireplace.

A ball of flames sprouted forth from Myrdin’s hand, fingerless red gloves avoiding the sparks that ate the book alive. It reflected in the round brass glasses on the Divus’ face before it was mere ash upon the bedspread. “Of course, it would be her,” they mumbled as they left the room. It wasn’t the fact that their sister was a resurrector that bothered them, but the idea that she had the nerve to get off and discover herself through human filth. Humans existed to serve those higher than them in society and nature, and the Divus were well above and beyond. The fact that their families were paid for their service was generous enough. Myrdin smiled darkly.

At least there was a way to get their own sort of stress-relief.

The black marble greeted Myrdin as their heeled footsteps crept from the red bedroom. A young human male, about nineteen years old, greeted them in fear, his head turned down to face the floor. “Hello, master. How may I help you?”

Myrdin grabbed the young man’s jaw and jerked it upright, their golden eyes glowing with mischief as the human dared to make eye contact. “It’s ‘how may I serve you,’ and you are never to look me in the eye again, understand?” Myrdin took delight in the whimper that came from the boy and tossed him aside. As the dull thud of a body hitting the floor met their ears, they left the pathetic creature to whimper in the dark.

Myrdin quickly made their way through the estate they and their sister shared, and then crossed the dimly lit lobby to reach the other side of the expansive building, the judge awaiting them as they’d discussed. Myrdin tapped a black staff against the large doors to the judge’s quarters, taking a brief moment to fix their short, wavy red hair that fell just slightly over their brow. When the doors opened at the will of their owner, Myrdin slipped inside.

“You’re certain Amaranth is a resurrector?” The judge waved a dark hand to close the doors once more, throwing them into near darkness as Divus often preferred. His eyes glowed ice blue despite the lack of candles, which was quickly fixed as the judge gestured toward a few candelabra in the parlor.

“Positive, Nuvian. Her bed told as much.” The sounds coming from behind her door had drawn Myrdin closer, and as they’d approached to listen, it was more than enough of a confirmation before the soiled sheets were found. “Have you already contacted the elders to convene?”

“Yes, I sent the message this morning.” Nuvian adjusted his black and gold robes as he leaned against a desk. “Is she prepared to go through the test?”

“Probably not.” Myrdin’s hand flexed at the memory of the last one. It had been the first time they’d seen such a performance, and at the touch of their own hand. It was ironic their sister was next to be confirmed.

“You don’t have to perform the test this time, I’ve already—”

“I’ll do it. It means nothing to me.” Myrdin waved a hand as if it were all trivial, which it was.

Nuvian lowered his eyes in silent judgment, the creases on his face from age showing where they normally did not. “She’s your kin.”

“And what does physical touch mean to most of us?” Myrdin threw up jazz hands. “Nothing. This is for the greater good — to continue our lineage. There’s nothing intimate involved.”

“It’s the principle of the matter. It doesn’t mean you’ll be stepping down permanently as an enforcer.”

“It’s my job, I’m doing it. End of story. Now…” Myrdin clapped their hands, their staff reclaimed from where it had balanced itself on the floor. “Our next step is to let Rydel know if he doesn’t already. I’m sure Amaranth confided in him first.”

“They’re close already?” Nuvian smiled. “That makes this much easier, doesn’t it?”

“Kind of. I know she admires him, but not in the way we need her to.” Myrdin twirled their staff again, unable to stand in one place for too long. “Although, it doesn’t really require a romantic connection, does it? They’ll just be going through the motions to fulfill their duty.”

“I don’t think it would, considering.” Nuvian genuinely hadn’t the slightest idea. He’d never entertained physical intimacy due to being infertile and asexual like most Divus, and he couldn’t claim to understand any of it. Sex included. It was a word — a sound upon his lips and nothing more. “It would be ideal to produce more than one child, however.”

“Ooh, we could make it an event!” Myrdin made a sound of glee and threw up their hands. “Put on a show!”

“Have them… perform publicly? That seems inappropriate.”

“It’s a rare event. How many resurrectors have you come across?”


“Exactly! It’ll be a celebration, a welcome to the new Divus child we haven’t seen in ages.” Myrdin tossed their staff in the air and caught it again, finally stilling their pacing to look Nuvian in the eye. The elder’s long black hair had finally started to gray. “This does call for a celebration, doesn’t it? Maybe they’ll give birth to another savior!”

Nuvian sighed and approached the front doors, setting a hand on the curved handle. “Let’s just contact the others first. We’ll have Rydel present for the test and when that is all said and done, we can move forward with further plans. It should ultimately be up to Rydel and Amaranth how they proceed, but we’ll discuss this further at a better time.” Nuvian opened the door and stood aside. “Good evening, Myrdin.”

More to come.

©2020 Shane Blackheart

The story is set in the 80s, and this song holds a theme for it:

To be released into the ether directly after writing

Catching anything to make a coherent thought in my buzzing brain right now is a feat.

So far this month, a pandemic has broken out that is expected peak around the time I’m supposed to get top surgery after a two-year fight.

I fell into a bipolar mixed episode — mostly depression — that has lasted nearly a month. The crescendo has finally reached today.

My grandpa died the other day.

My new insurance denied a prior authorization for my testosterone I’ve been on for over a year. If I have to skip it, the mental side effects will be a nightmare. Not to mention the return of a certain monthly visitor named Red that I’m not prepared for and haven’t seen for some time.

After all that, I have no idea what to do with myself.

I’m already struggling to keep my head above water. Now I’m drowning, and I have to stay strong. As it is now, I can’t even go out for a distraction. We’re isolated because of the social distancing and quarantines from COVID19.

As I paced around my apartment hyperventilating, hands shaking to where I could barely hold my anxiety medicine without dropping it, I couldn’t access my coping skills. The volcano inside me was going to overflow, and I knew it would scorch my skin. One thing, however, shone through like an epiphany through it.

Write. I need to write.

It was my spirit guides and alter — Byleth, Daro, and Lestan — breaking through my moment of catastrophe to protect me again, reminding me that it was okay to take my emergency medication for moments like this and that writing was my best distraction. It hit me like a light in the dark as I agreed with them. It made everything come to a drastic, deafening halt.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to focus on the novel I’m currently writing, so I opened WordPress and stared at the blank page, not knowing where to start.

I didn’t want sympathy. I didn’t want to look like I was fishing for sympathy. But I needed to get something out and send it off into the ether, and posting something to my blog is like releasing it. As with my first book that deals with some trauma I experienced myself, writing it out and releasing it into the world is how I heal and deal with things. I suppose people will have different opinions on that, but it doesn’t matter to me.

There’s blood-letting, and then there’s what I call ink-letting. The one put too many scars on my skin. The other is just metaphorical bleeding onto the page — my heart cracked open like an egg to let the dark stuff stain the white, and for other eyes to, most likely, judge. Either way, it’s no longer in my hands or in my mind. It’s gone. Let go. Scrawled across pages that can be sent far from me into the open.

I write for myself first, as I did today. I write what makes me feel better, what heals me, and what takes me away from this reality where things and people happen to make me want to disappear.

My stories help me disappear. It’s the safest way I’ve found to do that yet.

©2020 Shane Blackheart

My music for therapy today, and inspiration: