When I was a kid and assigned a chore I detested (all of them) I griped and whined until my father would say “Aw, quit your bellyachin’.” At a certain age I learned it was better just to stuff it, stop bitching and get on with it. That way I didn’t suffer the 1950’s version of “grounding,” which was GO. TO. YOUR. ROOM. My room offered nothing in the way of entertainment. Even the windows were so high up on the wall that I couldn’t see outside from my bed.
Stuffing it became my way of dealing with unpleasantness and anxiety for the rest of my life. Several times, like a worn out teddy bear, the stuffing would leak out and I’d spin into a panic attack or a doom and gloom mood that lasted a week or longer. The stuffing is coming out now.
Let me say that I am extremely fortunate, so far, to have remained virus-free. I have friends who are suffering serious effects of coronavirus so I feel guilty bitching about how my life has changed since early March. Nevertheless, the last 4 ½ months have affected me in ways I couldn’t imagine.
The first few weeks of social isolation were glorious days of napping, reading, painting and sewing. I was feeling free from the pressure of “have to” meetings and volunteering. I was Zooming with extended family whom I rarely get to see — feeling blessed that these people share my DNA and are so bright, accomplished and varied in their world views.
But, now that we’ve been at this a while I can feel the anxiety bubbling up. I’m a grand worrier. I worry things to the worst possible conclusion. At Publix I worry whether someone has touched and rejected the very avocado I am now testing for ripeness, or the person going the wrong way on the X or arrow aisle is going to breathe in my face. How about when on my walk? Is the guy running past me at excessive speed shedding sweat, drool and God knows what else into my air space? AND, what about that damn squirrel in Colorado with bubonic plague?! Could it be the Black Death headed east?
Michelle Obama, I totally get your “low-grade depression.” This week I have been in the doldrums. My casual survey of friends suggests that I’m not the only one feeling low. I think I’m facing the reality of this pandemic. In March I thought this would be over by now and maybe we would return to normal in September. September approacheth and I know we will be living this way for probably another year or longer. So it’s time to quit my bellyachin’ and move on. When there are bad days I give myself permission to go with it. Stay on the couch. Finish the Anne Cleeves mystery. Thumb through YouTube for silly videos. Let John “cook.” (Yay, UberEats.) Or, heck, nag the grandkids to send me videos of what they are doing right this minute. Who knew there is such a thing as apple nachos?
Though I love making masks, I initially wasn’t keen on wearing a mask. Now I’m used to wearing a mask every time I go out and become a real bitch when I spot someone without one. (Kinda like I was with smokers after I quit the habit.) I have an assortment of masks hanging on the gear shift knob – for any mood . Maybe today I don’t feel like red plaid, but the yellow polka dots call to me. Can the Publix person see that I am smiling behind my mask? I put on a great big grin so that my eyes scrunch up and show the smile. I hope. Or they think I’m a maniac.
I’ve let my hair grow white. Some people don’t recognize me with the new hair and the mask. Maybe I can get away with being a little sassier and no one will know it’s me. Hmmm, this photo has me looking pretty glum. Michelle Obama’s depression picture was much prettier.
Just acknowledging that I feel blue makes me feel better. I went through my camera roll and found lots of reasons to be grateful. I’ll share.
I am grateful for grandkids who can still act like silly little kids even when they are teens.
I am eternally grateful for this guy who just goes with the flow of my moods. “Yes, dear.”
Thank God for fabric. Satisfies my sense of touch and sight. Washing and ironing new fabric is almost more fun than the actual construction of a project.
Little projects are satisfying because I can see the finished product very quickly and that brings me joy! The lump is an iphone stand.
The addition of two babies to the family (grand/great niece and nephew and one on the way) have made me smile more than once. This is DJ. He lives in Jakarta with his parents.
This is Hazel. She lives in Minnesota.
Watching the Dragon capsule return to the Gulf of Mexico entertained me for the best part of a Saturday afternoon. We spent many years living on the coast in Indialantic, FL and never missed watching a launch. That habit has not left me. Even though I’m an hour west in Orlando I still run outside to look for the launch vapor trail and wait for separation. This splashdown was so spectacular and I’m happy that NASA photographer Bill Engalls caught this breathtaking moment.
Sharing anxiety sure helps. Thanks for listening. I feel much better. You may email me your bill for services rendered.