I’ve been restless lately and a bit depressed. I have a lot on my mind.

I imagined things would be so different after the vaccinations began. I pictured a summer of fun and connection to my fellow human beings. Not what the summer of 2021 has turned out to be: A time of great division with large numbers of my neighbors eager to dismiss experts and believe nonsense and obnoxiously mock those of us who are trying to do the right thing.

This week I interviewed a local doctor and actually had to ask the question, “Should human beings go down to the local feed store and ingest a deworming product meant for horses to treat COVID-19?”

For months, some media personalities such as including Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham have talked about how these products could be used as a treatment, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send a health advisory warning doctors and the public about the “rapid increase” in prescriptions for the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, along with an increase in reports of severe illness caused by the drug to poison centers.

Perhaps I am misguided to trust scientists who’ve spent careers studying infectious diseases to know what they are talking about, but vaccines have done a pretty good job protecting us against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. Freedom unpaired from responsibility is anarchy. What doesn’t kill you mutates and tries again.

Seeing so much disinformation shared online makes me feel alternately sad, angry, exhausted, exasperated, and about a million other emotions. A good friend of mine is not only hanging on to get an organ transplant while in late stage liver failure but someone infected her with COVID as a bonus. I’m praying for her to get a new liver and get well from this plague.

This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration certified the Pfizer vaccine as safe to use, so the folks who’ve been using that as an excuse to not get vaccinated need to get with the program. These vaccines are the key to ending the pandemic and getting our lives back to normal. I’m tired of wearing these masks again. And I shouldn’t have to, not when we have a safe and effective vaccine that could end this damn scourge!

DeKalb Regional Medical Center has experienced a 33% increase in patients testing since June and has reopened their designated wing of the hospital to prepare for an uptick in cases. If the disease continues to get opportunities to spread, this gives rise to even more infectious variants that will potentially compromise existing vaccines and antibody therapies, posing an imminent threat to those who have already been immunized. That’s going to happen if we keep giving this virus opportunities to mutate. If we don’t return right now to getting vaccinated and using preventive measures like wearing masks, hand washing, practicing respiratory hygiene, and social distancing, we aren’t going to get this under control and it is going to get far worse than it is today.

I also pictured this summer as a time when I would travel to all the places I wanted to go when I stayed home during the pandemic. But I haven’t really gone much of anywhere. Who has the time or the money? I planned a trip to Disneyworld with my daughter, but she bailed on spending a week in Florida with dad due to Florida crawling again with COVID. Which is devastating to my morale. I needed that vacation.

The cancellation of my vacation has freed me up to spend plenty of time watching the heartbreaking tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan. We knew full well going in that Afghanistan was a mountainous, landlocked country that would be damn near impossible to tame. Some of its past invaders include the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, the Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan, the Sikh Empire, the British Empire and various Persian empires. The Soviets spent a decade in the 80s trying to install a secular and socialist government, which we armed the religiously motivated mujahideen to rise up against – a ploy that succeeded in causing the weary Russians to a humiliating withdrawal in May 1989 but also created a vacuum for power among Islamic warlords that came back to bite us in the ass when Osama bin Laden organized Al Qaeda to attack America for keeping a footprint in the oil-rich Middle East. Arrogance and swagger led us to assume that we could do what so many had failed to before us.

Briefly, this summer, it felt like I might find love, but that obviously wasn’t meant to be. Honestly, I feel happier when I don’t even think about trying to get into a relationship. Who has time for all of that? I’m tired of the games and the ghosting. I’m going to focus on realizing the best possible version of me. If that isn’t good enough for somebody else, they can go jump in the lake!

I have plenty to keep me busy. A lot on my plate, both at work and in terms of photography. While I am happy to see my work finding a wider audience, I do get discouraged about how little control I get to exercise over my own product.

When I pictured life “after the coronavirus,” I imagined I would be busy all summer doing photo shoots. But they’ve become so complicated to set up. I miss the simpler days when I could just call up a model and go do some pictures on little notice. It seems like it takes an act of Congress just to set up anything. Very discouraging.

I haven’t slept well lately. So much on my mind. So much to get done and so much I wish I could do but can’t. I feel exhausted nearly all the time and the life I imagined is, for now, eluding me.

On top of everything else, I learned last night that my dog died. I call him “my” dog because I owned him when he was birthed on my living room floor. I lost him in the divorce. Lil fella was the runt of the bunch, but he lived 11 years.

I don’t know what the point of this blog post is, really. Perhaps it is just a reflection of how troubling things feel. Please say a prayer with me that things get better.