The Pandemic was challenging for people for all sorts of reasons. I understand that. Since social restrictions were lifted, many people have been making the most of the chance to socialize freely. I understand that.
…I have noticed something different. People I never used to socialize with before the Pandemic, they seem to be trying to get themselves an invite into my little nest…and also into my relationship. Maybe that sounds odd. But I cannot tell you how cautious I am with my security, and how discreet I am about my movements with Jack.
I think that what has perhaps discombobulated me is the change of job coinciding with the lifting of restrictions. All these new people, and also former colleagues who would like to see me outside of work. They want to meet my other half too. Which strikes fear into me. I Also, some of the people I have been teaching online during the Pandemic, they seem to want to now do group things – like going Nandos (which lacks appeal despite being able to recall that about eight years ago when I did go there, I think they had some kind of bean burger that was not terrible).
The Pandemic provided greater freedoms for Jack and I. Being able to walk around with a facemask making it harder for people to recognize Jack. Being able to stay at home and cosy up together instead of attending public events. It has been lovely. My safe zone includes trusted friends and colleagues who have known the two of us for years, and all of whom treat Jack in a very normal way.
Now…well, I am feeling more exposed, and the whole being in a goldfish bowl – and this notion that others want to stare in, peer in, leer at my inner world. For some reason…I just don’t feel very safe.
Does this have anything to do with remembering that for over two years, hundreds of people became over-interested in my personal life, in my connection with Jack? Does it have anything to do with thousands of remarks, scores of photos and the many rumours that circulated?
I don’t want to go through that again.