There are days I’ve tried to just cruise along and behave as if it’s a normal day. I’ve worked and cared for my family and done my chores. I’ve walked and written. I’ve locked myself alone in a room to work on my thesis, shutting the whole world out, pretending it was all ok. It’s not OK and I’m not OK.
The summer before my third semester in the MFA program I attended a reading in the evening by one of the mentors, Tom Paine. His reading was comprised of poetry and visualizations with graphs about the global environment crisis. There was no trigger warning, but that’s my trigger. About two poems In, I began to cry, tears just welling up in my eyes and flowing down my cheeks.
By the end, I was a hot mess of snot and weeping, still trying to keep myself inconspicuous in the back row. I’ll admit, I don’t remember any of the poems. I was overcome. I was deep inside myself, grieving for the planet.
In another life, I’d probably be some big-shot on the cutting edge of efforts trying to stop global warming. I’m not saying I’d be a Ted Kaczynski , but I’m not saying he’s wrong either. Drastic measures are needed as well as a wake-up call.
But I’m not Ted, or a legislator, or even a person heading effort in my local community. I’m a nobody who gets angry when I can’t even get my kids to follow our household recycling rules, or water conservation suggestions, or requests to take walks outside to see what they are missing. So angry.
But that’s not my aim today. Not my point. Today I’m writing about how I’m not coping well with this pandemic. Three days in a row I ask Alexa the news and three days in a row, I end up standing in my kitchen in tears.
There are thousands of people dying in New York and they are out of resources. The people wouldn’t heed the warnings, would not comply with requests to stay home and now it’s too late. The shelter in place is now in place, so it’s official but it’s too fucking late. Much too late and it makes me sick.
Yes, they have dense population and we don’t, but people are social creatures who want to be together. Unless you mandate rules be followed instead of merely suggesting guidelines, people will just ignore it and go their own way.
Thousands of people are sick and stuck on cruise ships with no where to go, that’s sickens me.
Florida is locking down tighter now too and, again, I feel it’s too late. All those punk kids on spring break a few weeks ago have dispersed. But to where? The answer is everywhere! There is nowhere to hide.
So I can’t help listening to the news and crying apparently and I feel helpless. There’s nothing I can do but follow the rules and take care of my family, mandating my children follow the rules. That’s it. Except for perhaps trying to tend to my own mental health. Which is a constant struggle.
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day and I had so much anxiety I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t work or go outside or even just sit on the couch and relax. Literally I could feel my heart race all day and each time I tried to focus on something it just fell off the rails as soon as I thought about it. I wasted the whole damn day.
I should also mention that I had to go to the grocery and followed the house rule of wearing a mask. I would have felt ridiculous but I wasn’t the only one. Still, it made my heart race and I had to get in and get out as quickly as I could.
Twice I tried to start writing for this blog and twice I failed to string two paragraphs together. In the morning I worked through a few meetings and then late in the afternoon I had a meeting with some of the top editorial staff of the Los Angeles Review. Forced, in a sense, to appear to be at the top of my game in order to not come across as a Mickey Mouse Mess. That and the meeting to follow lasted like two hours.
When I was done, I was exhausted. It did not help that I had been up since 4AM. When it was finally over, it was late and I was sick to my stomach and could not eat. I tried to have a glass of wine and it just sparked a headache. I melted into the couch and Jim played a few episodes of “Tiger King” for us.
I sat in that vegetative state for about 1.5 hours and then slid to the bedroom. There, I self medicated with a sleep aid and just let myself be taken over by the drug. I really didn’t care. I just wanted relief from the broken engine that my brain has become.
This morning I’m attempting to proceed my normal routine. Yes, I did dishes and listened to the news. Yes, I cried. Yes I’m currently walking on my treadmill (6.5 k steps so far) and trying in my tiny little iPhone SE (that’s equivalent to the size of the iPhone 5S for those who are into that sort of detail). It’s tiny by today’s standards and I do a lot of back spacing and fixing auto-correct mistakes.
After this I have to work for a few hours. After that I’ve got to check in on the home-school situation and just how badly the procrastination has become. After that, perhaps there will be time for me to collect my thoughts about possible submissions this week and do a few of my to-do items for the GLR. We’ll see.
For now, times up. I need to put my game face on. The kids are asleep and Jim is at work and the house is quiet. It’s just like any other day right?
With Peace and Love,