Lots of people are brimming with excitement over the world slowly getting back to normal. People are heading back to restaurants, offices, and their social lives and hopeful for the future. If I were to describe my life, though, I wouldn’t really say that things have gone “back to normal” so much as I am “performing an elaborate cosplay of my pre-pandemic self”.
I’m not really the type of person who can experience a year of reality-shattering change and uncertainty and come out the other end of it feeling “normal”. What I am capable of is dressing up in a costume, and attending a scheduled gathering of people where we all show off our creative interpretations of characters we love. And for me, that character is the person who used to live in my apartment and walk around the city who also shares the same name – except I’ve aged about ten years, and my jeans are slightly different.
So when people say that their lives are “getting back to normal”, I just assume that, like me, they’re using “air quotes” because to me, “getting back to normal” means “entering a LARP where I am playing my early 2020 self in a fun, new game called our current reality”.
Maybe that’s just a “me” thing, though.
Sure, I’ve suspected that we may all be attending a large Con right now where the theme is “Pretend to be a Person”, but if that’s the case, it seems like everyone is doing a much better job than me. Am I not clued into the culture of this community yet? Or is this one of those things where I’m the only one at the party who decided to show up in a costume?
In that case, maybe things really are “back to normal” but I’m “incapable of doing that.”
But if there’s anyone out there like me, know that you’re not alone, and you’ll know that deep down, on the inside, you’ll never be the same person that you used to be a year ago. As for me, I’m still cosplaying that happy person from late Feburary – which is to say, I am Erza Scarlet in a dressed in like, a whoooole outfit. People have been asking to take photos with me all the time. It’s not so bad!