My, oh my, what a lot has happened since my last message. This has been a time of intense change. Many people have been talking about the emotional roller coaster and I have to say I’ve had the same experience. When this first started I was much happier than I rationally should be. I felt confident and grateful in my situation: a great relationship with my husband, a plot of farmable land, a locked gate, and armed with plenty of knowhow on how to survive an emergency like this. I felt this incredible freedom from all the demands constantly placed on me by having to be places all the time. I was excited to spend time as a family unit as my husband stopped working and schools were shuttered.
Since then I’ve moved through all sorts of emotion as I watched the death toll rise and all the unforeseen effects that began to threaten our way of life. My husband was taken on as a radio producer which is his dream job, but he isn’t getting paid. Now he needed an office, quiet, and many hours by himself, leaving me with the job of keeping children fed and quietly entertained for hours on end and without my usual place to relax. Not exactly the vision of gardening and farm accomplishments that I’d hoped for.
My lower back tightened, and when I move through that, then my neck would be sore, or something else. I couldn’t find relaxation and the stress of it all was getting to me. I felt jealous of people who are getting to spend this time on their couch binge-watching and eating snacks. I felt like I was getting nothing done and struggled with how angry I got that an overhead light was on. (I get strangely emotional about lighting. It’s weird but it’s real.) I got sad that everyone I love to talk to wasn’t available after 9 pm to talk and that’s the only time I have because of my constant childcare duties. I even started to feel jealous of all the ladies with put together homes that I was seeing on Zoom. I temporarily lost sight of cherishing all the progress on various projects that I’ve made and the reasons my home is the way it is, i.e. I love old things and I’m super frugal, which means I don’t have a pretty shelf with only a fake plant and a candle on it or modern light fixtures or even a properly painted ceiling. But I love my uneven, old walls and strange antiques and I hate painting so…::shrug:: radical self-acceptance, I guess.
After two and a half weeks of not leaving my property, I went to my favorite grocery store. Everyone was wearing masks and staying away from each other. No small talk or greetings were uttered because it’s hard to do those things from behind a barrier. They were playing Leonard Cohan’s “Hallelujah” and I decided that as much as I wanted to, it wasn’t really the time to start sobbing into a bag of frozen dino nuggets. Instead, I stocked up on wine and goodies for Easter and made my way to the parking lot. The non-perishable groceries are still in my car waiting to be released from their own quarantine. Yesterday I got suddenly furious with my husband for sitting in the car too long after spending the day away. Fortunately, we didn’t talk about it and instead hugged it out in the hallway.
I’ve been wanting to write something on self-care, relinquishing control, vulnerability, and gratitude. It’s too big of a topic to handle; there are just too many things to say. I guess I’ll try anyway. Here’s my take on self-care and a bit of vulnerability too.
I’ve added daily yoga to my self-care routine. Adriene from “Yoga with Adriene” just released a new video called Yoga for Vulnerability. It was hard to see someone who had given me so much comfort and permission to indulge in self-love to be struggling just like I was. In the beginning, she starts in the fetal position, and says with undeniable sadness in her voice, “Here we are. We’re doing it.” Yes, Adriene, yes we are. We are doing it whatever it is.
We spent 3 weeks sort of doing whatever without a schedule, it was cool but I was struck with the feeling of how disappointed I would be if I let this time pass without using it productively. Earlier this week (after my husband had asked a few times) I got my act together and drafted a daily schedule. It has given us allotted time to do homeschooling, having regular meal times, have office hours, time to clean the house together and preserves “nap time” as quiet time, which is a two-hour block in the middle of the day that I use for self-care. I use this time to do what I want: naps, reading, having a bath, whatever it’s going to take to recharge. My husband has also graciously begun to leave the overhead light off in our bedroom so I can still have a place to relax away from the main centers of the house. He is getting the hang of his new job and we are settling into a routine that will help us all get what we want.
Oh and we watched Tiger King, pretty much the furthest thing away from self-care, but it’s been nice to feel included in the internet buzz. (Snakes stuffed with drugs?? How is this even real? Also are there any sane people who are obsessed with big cats? Because ya’ll need to chill.) It’s sparked some amazing conversations with my husband about human nature, motivation, manipulation, and ulterior motives. Interesting fodder for intellectual discourse found in an unusual place and that does totally count as something that recharges me.
I hope you are staying safe and sane during this strange, stressful, and vulnerable time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, I’d love to talk.