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Zozobra: The Unofficial Offical Word of 2020

Let’s face it…our anxiety has anxiety.

[Credit: Topher McCulloch/Flickr]

It has been quite a week this past week. The U.S. election is finally decided and yet there is still this underlying feeling over being overwhelmed; overwhelmed plus if you will, that’s what I’m calling it. For many, it is a time to breathe a huge sigh of relief that the orange dictator has been fired and has an expiration date. All of the awful things he spewed out last Tuesday night thought really shows how dangerous another four years could have been. Not to mention the stress of the pandemic. 2020 has been and still is one for the books and not in a good way.

So with all of that going on, still can’t pinpoint exactly how you’re feeling? Well, we’re all experiencing Zozobra. This is a form of anxiety where one cannot quite explain one single viewpoint. Zozobra, however, is not a new term. It is one that is rooted deep in Mexican history since the country has gone through many periods of rebellions, revolutions, corruption, and dictatorships. Looking to Mexican philosophers gives lots of insight into what Zozobra really feels like and the lasting effects it can have.

What Does This All Mean And How Is It Relevant In 2020?

Zozobra means anxiety in Spanish but is described as having the feeling of not having solid ground to stand on and feeling out of place because of this. Emilio Uranga describes Zozobra in his book Analysis of Mexican Being.

Zozobra refers to a mode of being that incessantly oscillates between two possibilities, between two affects, without knowing which one of those to depend on … indiscriminately dismissing one extreme in favor of the other. In this to and fro the soul suffers, it feels torn and wounded. The telltale sign of zozobra is wobbling and toggling between perspectives, being unable to relax into a single framework to make sense of things.”

Emilio Uranga

Zozobra is difficult to understand fully because it “is that its source is intangible. It is a soul-sickness not caused by any personal failing, nor by any of the particular events that we can point to” ( 2). This begins in the soul of a society and when that is ripped out from under people, there is a lot of self-doubts that grow as this time goes on. Americans now are beginning to understand this and seeing just how important the soul or foundation of this country means and what it actually truly means.

Uranga also talks about how people will put on a brave face if you will and mask the anger, hurt, confusion, and pain that they are really feeling in order to feel this sense of belonging and being like the others. He says that communicating with others who feel the same way as you are critical in realizing that one is not feeling this all on their own. This is a key way to help each other heal and begin to regain some form of normalcy.

Hang In There Everyone!

2020 has not been easy. It has tested us like we never thought could happen. It has also allowed us to find strength that we didn’t know we had or sometimes just letting it get the best of you and completely falling apart. We will get through this though. It’s not going to be easy or quick but we will get past this. We have to help each other out, listen to the science, wear our masks, wash our hands, and social distance. We cannot let fear drive our actions and keep letting the virus win. We are stronger than that.

With the holidays nearly upon us, check out how to de-stress your holiday meal!

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Hi! I'm Amber. Cars, food, TV, books, and writing are all things I enjoy. Put me on a beach somewhere and I'll be the happiest version of myself. Thanks for reading my articles, enjoy! :)

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