154// It Gives Me Hope

Work was as exhausting as ever. Nothing big or bad happened. No one bothered me or expected too much. No one was unfriendly or inconsiderate. I was just tired and longing for the days when I spent all my time doing whatever I wanted rather than what I had too. Still, it’s nice to see people I have missed and to know I have been missed too. It’s nice to have people ask after me, after my wife and my loved ones, and for me to hear that though I work for such a large district very few of us have been impacted by the coronavirus.

I made sure to take some time to put my headphones in and escape the best I could when I needed too. I’m encouraged by hearing so many of my favorite podcasters and commentators express support for the protests happening all over the country. I’m happy to hear so many make the distinction between the protestors and the looters and to call out the police wherever they incite the very violence they condemn. I’m hearing more of that talk creep into major news network reporting and I can feel this time that something significant is very different. It gives me hope.

Around midday I received news I would be teaching my first CPR and First Aid classes next week. I’m extremely anxious, it’s been a few months since I took my instructor class and I’m afraid I have forgotten everything they taught me, but I’m doing my best to breathe and to trust in my skills. Luckily I get to watch two on my counterparts teach for their first time before I do and can learn from their mistakes before I make the same.

This evening is my first “No TV Tuesday”. It isn’t strictly “no TV” since I still watch a show with my wife over dinner, but since then I’ve been in the creativity room. I haven’t been particularly productive but that wasn’t the goal tonight anyway. I only meant to make sure I could turn it off and commit to keeping it off all night. I spent some time sharing journal posts I hadn’t finished and drafting a few pieces I plan to write and in the coming weeks but social media got in the way of any more than that. I think next week I’ll need to put both my phone and brower into “focus mode”.

And now, as twilight drops and the cool breezes are begining to blow through the open windows I’m off to find a more comfortable place to try do some reading and not watch another episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender before bed. I downloaded two new ebooks I found for free today: Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? from Haymarket Books and The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale at Verso books.

Stay safe everyone.

153// On Edge

This Monday is turning out to be a rather quiet one. I think the tension on the news and around the city has trickled down into through our everyday routine and leaked between the individual relationships. We’re all on edge. It’s as if each of us is carrying a great weight or as if we full of emotion and trying to avoid exploding so we are avoiding one another.

This morning my wife brought up the idea of us joining the protests. I want to very much but, if I’m honest, I’m afraid. The rubber bullets, the tear gas (and my wife’s asthma), the police brutality, the fact that we are both women, the coronavirus, it all makes me want to stay inside where it’s safe but there are so many who are never safe and who need us to use our privilege, to speak up, and to show support. I think we’ll get there in the next few days.

For now, we’ve decided to pick some bail funds and charities to send donations to. If I can’t offer my time and presence I at the very least should offer my money.

Off subject, my results came back from the antibody test I did last week. I tested negative, but they stress that the test can be inaccurate. I weirdly feel disappointed. I had hoped for the best-case scenario: having been an asymptomatic carrier with possible immunity now. My wife is looking to do a test too, and it turns out the same company is offering testing to the general public nearby and as soon as my own insurance company offers the test I will take it again. Even if it offers me no peace of mind, it contributes to the public health data analysis.

Goals // Week 23: Some Kind of Normalcy

This week will be my third back to work and to some kind of normality. I’m easing into things and for that reason I haven’t really been pushing myself to set or meet any goals or expectations and I’m glad I had the foresight not to. These past weeks have been exhausting and there would have been almost no time or energy left to accomplish much of anything outside of basic self care.

This week I’m increasing my work hours from four a day to six and though there still might be nothing left of me at the end of the day for pursuing these goals, I want to try but with the compassionate caveat that my well being must come first. If I do nothing outside of work but sleep, shower, exercise, and hydrate that’s good enough for me. No regrets, no shame, no should-haves.

This week I will try to:

 Choose healthier alternatives. Every week I do a little better and this is the first week that almost no sugary sweets were purchased. (I couldn’t deny myself a little ice cream now that the weather is getting warmer but it, and any other sweets I manage to get my hands on, cannot be an everyday indulgence.) There are health goals to meet and my gut health to think about right now. This week I have dried fruit, fresh mango, cuties, and cashews to have in place of fruit snacks and chips. There should be no reason to give in to passing craving or moments of weakness.

Have one TV free evening. I’ve been watching a lot more TV since the pandemic began, but now that my strict quarantine is over I’d like to break the habit and spend my evenings doing other things. I’d like it to be the same night every week, Tuesdays perhaps, when I have no new episodes premiering and when I won’t have to stop whatever project I’m working on to cook dinner. That’s up to 6 hours straight that I could give to collage, writing, reading, or a free online course. Bonus: Give up one episode every other night of the week too.

Write my first in a series of 52 weekly essays. I’ve been wanting to start an essay a week project, but it never feels like the right time. When I’m ready, the ideas are hard to find and when I have the ideas life gets in the way again. Deep down I think I’m just afraid of writing poorly or failing to meet my own expectations, but it’s time to let go of that fear and begin. The first one is always the hardest to write. No mistakes have been made and if I never start, I’ll never have to face not being perfect but I need to let go of that hope too so I might one day be good.

Read. Every night I am supposed to turn off all screens 45 minutes before bedtime and head to bed where I read as much as I can before lights out. Lately I’ve been staying up too late watching one or three more episodes of mindless TV instead. I just bought a new cover and a few reads for the iPad I’ve repurposed into an e-reader and I have over 60 books left in my Penguin Little Black Classics book set. There is no reason I should still be two books behind schedule right now.

This week I will not lose the progress I have made over the last two weeks. I’ve been eating on a regular schedule, taking my medication every day, workout out every morning, and spending more time on self care than ever. I’m proud of myself for not letting anxiety or fatigue get in the way of these basic habits I’ve worked so hard to fold into my daily routine and make automatic, regular, and easy to do every single day. They are small, but they are the building blocks of grander goals. They are the foundation of feeling good and journeys to happier and healthier.

Photo by Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

152// Only Choices

This morning is an emotional one. Nothing seems to be going right and everything is hurting my feelings. I so worked up and so down I just want to go back to bed for a while and try again in a few hours when I’m calmer, stronger. That isn’t an option though. There are no do overs, only choices, and though I can’t always choose how I feel, I can choose to do things I know will make me feel better.

The to-do list is long, but that’s okay. I always feel better after knocking out a few chores and projects. I have no hopes for any writing getting done and I think it best I not set myself up for failure and disappointment by putting those expectations on myself.

Today just breathing and being a good partner to my wife will have to be enough.

I’m somewhat worried to return to work tomorrow. The news cycle has been overwhelming these past few days and my anxiety and anger is at a level where the wrong word from a coworker on the subject could push me to explode. I’m an opinionated person and I work with other opinionated people and we as a group are from varied and widespread along the socioeconomic levels and points along the political spectrum.

I’m of the philosophy that if you force me to listen to your opinion, you will have to listen to mine. I can turn any discussion into a debate and more often than not I am more informed and more passionate than my opponent. People don’t like to engage with me on these kinds of issues and that is just fine with me. I have better places to expend my energy, anyway.