That Discomfort You’re Feeling

Understanding the stages of grief is a start. But whenever I talk about the stages of grief, I have to remind people that the stages aren’t linear and may not happen in this order. It’s not a map but it provides some scaffolding for this unknown world. There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.

— Scott Berinato, “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief

167// Beat the Sun to Rise

I had a late start due to a late end to the day before and an anxious night tossing and turning but I still managed to get a 20-minute jog around the block in before heading off to work.

Having to beat the sun to rise in order to get a little exercise in is a drag, but there really is no better way to start the day. The world is so quiet and the ordinary streets around me are so beautiful under the mix of twilight and artificial light. I’d planned to workout in the garage every other morning, but I love these scenes so much I might end up jogging much more often.

The work day was a lot quieter than I expected it to be. It wasn’t my turn to teach CPR and First Aid, so I hung back in the corners and helped clean and complete paperwork instead. I won’t have to teach again until Friday and then after that I won’t have to stand in front of another class for nearly 3 weeks. After just one week, I already need the break.

While staying out of the way I managed to get a little work done on a personal essay I’ve been turning over in my head for a while. Of course, it’s growing into something entirely different from what I meant for it to be. I’m trying to decide whether to wrestle it in or let it be free.

By the time I got home, the day had exhausted me. My health is in a gradual decline and naps are required at regular intervals now. The doctor has ordered me back up to the original doses of medications I’d been trying to taper off of for months now and the constant worry about how bad things might get this time is only making matters worse. Two steps forward, another two back. Progress never lasts, but neither do the setbacks I suppose.

166// Brainstorming Day

During the quarantine my wife and I developed a morning routing of waking up around 7:00, going for a 45-minute walk, coming home and eating breakfast together, usually bagels and lox, and then separating to tackle out individual goals and projects for the day. I’m so happy we’ve held on to the habit at least for the weekends if not the week days.

By now she’s already off to grocery shop and to pick up supplies for her new “weekend project”. Since we are still coming home early from work most days (for Covid-19 reasons) these “weekend projects” no longer need to be confined to Saturday and Sunday only. This week she’s putting in a new shelf behind the couch complete with “hers and hers” outlets and mood lighting. I’m excited!

As for me, it’s understood between us that I will tackle the little day-to-day chores like the dishes and the meal prep and work on my writing.

And that is exactly what I’m trying to do now. I’ve broken down my essay writing schedule over the course of the next week. All I have to do today is choose a topic, question, or argument, decide on direction and goals, and jot my ideas into a document. That is, it’s brainstorming day.

Tomorrow will be research day where I find useful quotes, read other works on the subject, mine my own memories, and put together an outline. For three days after then I just write as much as I can. At the end of the week I will edit and schedule the post. My fingers are crossed for a new piece come next Thursday.

164// I’m Hurt

I thought today was going to be a good day. I got through my first CPR class as the official instructor yesterday without any major mess ups or gaffs and I figured today would be even smoother but almost from the beginning it has been awful.

I don’t want to say too much about what happened because it may result in an awkward HR battle and some serious consequences but I will tell you at least that during my class today while trying to enforce our workplace mask policy, someone who doesn’t believe coronavirus is a serious or even real threat and was infuriated by having to wear a mask vented his anger, frustration, and quite possibly disgust by spitting near me.

The incident happened quickly and I’m still processing my emotions. I’m furious. I’m afraid. I’m sad. I’m hurt. I blame him. I blame my superiors. I blame myself. I feel sorry for myself. I think it’s a big deal and I want to believe it’s nothing. I want to let it go and I want to take this is far as I can.

Most of all I’m shocked. I’ve read about this happening to other people but most of those stories were about customers, not fellow employees. I’m shocked too because I do my best to always be professional and kind when I’m training people. I’m hurt because too often my kindness is taken for weakness and between my male coworkers and I, I’m always the one that gets the push back and has to work harder for respect and compliance.

After work I sent an email out to just about every one of my bosses across all locations to explain the incident and to establish my boundaries. For my part I will be much more firm when explaining the policies and the consequences of our precautions and I will not tolerate for a second anyone skirting or refusing to adhere to them. I also ended by asking that the man who did this to me be reprimanded in some way. I don’t need an apology. I need documentation and consequences at the very least and I won’t let this go until that happens. I need him to know he didn’t win.

But all that will have to wait until Monday. Until then I’m going to order my favorite Mexican comfort food, drink a couple of hard ciders, and spend time with the one who makes me feel safe. I’m going to take time to take care of myself and prepare for a war.

The Week’s End // Coronavirus Edition

This week has been overwhelming, to say the least. A lot of us have been away from work, friends and family, and a lot of us have been working overtime to keep society moving and to care for those most in need. The weekend is on the way now, and my hope is that all of us get a chance to rest and to catch up.

I know we’re all tired of hearing about the coronavirus but I felt it was important to do my part this week by sharing a round up of thoughtful, informative, and trustworthy articles and information on the rapidly spreading virus and our current situation.

I promise that if I post a round-up next week, it will be about anything but this pandemic, but for now, here are some interesting things on the coronavirus outbreak I found around the web this week:

Ballet dancer and performer Ashlee Montague of New York wears a gas mask while she dances in Times Square as the coronavirus outbreak continues in Manhattan, New York City, on March 18, 2020. — The Atlantic, Photos of the Week

1. “‘The Plague’ isn’t trying to panic us, because panic suggests a response to a dangerous but short-term condition from which we can eventually find safety. But there can never be safety—and that is why, for Camus, we need to love our fellow damned humans and work without hope or despair for the amelioration of suffering. Life is a hospice, never a hospital.” — Opinion | Camus on the Coronavirus Bonus: What We Can Learn (and Should Unlearn) From Albert Camus’s The Plague

2. “The Centers for Disease Control recommends we all take steps to clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces in our homes. Below, we get into the weeds of how long the virus might last on surfaces, which disinfectants may kill it, and the steps you should take to keep clean.” — How to Disinfect Everything: Coronavirus Home Cleaning Tips

3. “But social distancing is really better characterized as physical distancing — the social part of it just needs to become more virtual for the time being. Social solidarity has never been more needed.” — Coronavirus: Why social distancing is a thankless task

4. “No one would ever wish for a pandemic to create this scene, which is inextricable from an unfolding financial collapse, extreme social isolation and an untold cost in lives. Yet as leaders grapple with how to heal society in the wake of this extraordinary crisis, and prepare for a future that still includes climate change, it might offer an image of what is possible.” — The Mobility Impacts of Coronavirus

5. “This is not the last major outbreak we’re ever going to see. There’s going to be more outbreaks, and there’s going to be more epidemics. That’s not a maybe. That’s a given. And it’s a result of the way that we, as human beings, are interacting with our planet.” — Why COVID-19 is hitting us now—and how to prepare for the next outbreak

6. “The novel coronavirus is affecting more and more people every day. Businesses are closing. Jobs are on the line. The Red Cross is running low on blood supply. Fortunately, there are ways to help ease some of the burden for others.” — Coronavirus pandemic: 6 things you can do to help Bonus: Go to smile.amazon.com and choose a charity to support with a small percentage of anything you buy.

7. “So now isn‘t a time for panic, but it is a time for preparation—to be ready for weeks or even months when much is shut down.” — Preparing to shelter in place for coronavirus: A printable guide to what you need at home

8. “All over America, the coronavirus is revealing, or at least reminding us, just how much of contemporary American life is bullshit, with power structures built on punishment and fear as opposed to our best interest. Whenever the government or a corporation benevolently withdraws some punitive threat because of the coronavirus, it’s a signal that there was never any good reason for that threat to exist in the first place.” — The coronavirus is exposing the arbitrary, cruel realities of America’s rules.

9. “Hence, today, there is almost no sphere or arena of American life in which the values of predatory capitalism don’t predominate or monopolize. Because society is made up more or less only of predatory capitalism, only those values can ever be expressed. Not even in, say, media, not healthcare, not education — which, in other rich countries, because they are not run for profit, are arenas in which softer and gentler qualities can be expressed, like decency, reason, dignity, purpose, meaning, belonging, truth, care, mercy.” — The Origins of America’s Unique and Spectacular Cruelty

10. “That said, the president and his administration are responsible for grave, costly errors, most especially the epic manufacturing failures in diagnostic testing, the decision to test too few people, the delay in expanding testing to labs outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and problems in the supply chain. These mistakes have left us blind and badly behind the curve, and, for a few crucial weeks, they created a false sense of security.” — Peter Wehner: The Trump Presidency Is Over

Brad Montague (via swissmiss)

Have you read, watched, written, or posted an interesting or inspiring thing this week? Has something on the internet made you feel strongly, think deeply, or see the world in a new light? If so, drop a link in the comments, we’d love to check it out!


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

079//366

After many long months of winter the first day of spring is finally here and in true Colorado fashion it is also the first day of snow we’ve had for nearly a month. Rain was falling softly when I woke up, but within a couple of hours the flakes were falling and the snow was beginning to stick. The wind is blowing hard now, and it’s clear we will stuck inside for at least the next few days.

My wife woke early and figured with the virus spreading and now a snow storm hitting it might be a good idea to head to the grocery store and pick up a few things, or whatever we can find. We’re growing increasingly worried about a “shelter in place” order and increased panic buying from the public. We’re worried the supply chain being disrupted and being our one-two week store of food running out before society stabilizes.

Since it was early, she was able to bring home toilet paper, cereal, and a little meat to freeze in case, but she said there wasn’t much and the trip was somewhat nerve-wracking. I’m hoping we won’t have to go back out again until sometime next week. 

Other than that, we are doing fine. We’re bored. We’re eating too much. We’re sleeping too much. Our nerves are growing a little frayed, but we’re fine. I think as soon as the weather turns around we’re going to go hiking. I’d like to go hiking as much as possible during this time of social isolation. Immersing myself in nature feels like the only salve for this never ending anxiety and fear I feel now.