It was a late start this morning, but after a long week of early exercise and hours spent at work, I felt like I deserved to sleep in a little. I almost wish I hadn’t though since the garage was that much hotter when I went to do my regular workout. I’m glad I still did it though. Breaking the chain would be devastating to my motivation right now.
This afternoon is my little brother-in-law’s graduation celebration. It’s going to be a small affair. Just my wife and I, her mom and dad, and her brother. We’ve got gifts, and cake, and hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. I feel so bad for him, and all 2020 graduates this year. It’s bad enough to miss something like a birthday but to have your once in a lifetime accomplishment and recognition pretty much cancelled and the celebration greatly reduced is so sad. We did our best, but I know it isn’t the same at all.
The celebration is over now and I’m back home and I just received a notification on my phone that there is a curfew in place for the city of Denver. I had thought that though there was destruction and clashes with the police downtown last night that it was minor. I had even laughed it off earlier this morning, but now I’m growing anxious. I’m safe. My loved ones are safe, but my community isn’t.
I’m afraid of the escalation. I’m afraid of what will happen to these protestors. I’m afraid they will be suppressed and silenced by the very police force and government they are decrying. I’m afraid nothing will change and people will go on dying and living in fear forever. I’m afraid in my fear I will do nothing.
The end of the week is here and I couldn’t be more relieved. I need a break from it all. I need a break from the who rest of the world.
The news is a lot today. I feel tense and useless. I feel a fear that encompasses the whole world and an anger that I don’t know where or how to direct. I am profoundly sad and though I don;t quite feel I deserve to use the term, there is something like grief trying to burst from my chest.
It’s strange to be of mixed race in times like these. To contend with your own privilege, your alienation from two communities, the hate you have for half of who you are and the hate you feel radiating down from half your history. I don’t know where my place is in all of this. I’ve never really known.
I do know how I feel and where I’d like to be but I’m not sure I’m welcome and maybe that is me being to sensitive, insecure, and self-centered. Maybe you aren’t given or offered a place. You have to find it. You have to make it.
I am one of the lucky ones though. My mother, my white mother, text me early this morning in full outrage over the murder of George Floyd and the heinous tweets from the president. I know she is afraid too. I know everyone is.
I thought about going to protest today or tonight, but I’m already seeing reports of tear gas so thick it’s hard to breathe downtown. I hope all the protesters stay safe. I hope that justice is served and that this time the world wakes up and make some long overdue changes. I hope, I hope, I hope…
Every day gets a little better. The morning workout started a little late, but it got done and though everything was pushed back, I still beat my coworkers in after all.
Work is easier and easier and I’m getting more and more used to the new way of doing things and my new role in the district. It feels good, but to be honest I miss the quarantine days of doing nothing at all. There is so much time and energy I’ve had to give up again. I’ve not been able to find a balance between what I want to give away and what I want to keep, but in time I hope a schedule, a norm, a rhythm will fall into place.
I miss writing though. I wish I had done more of it over the last few months, but all the uncertainty of the world got in the way. I’d like to learn to channel those emotions rather than let them bury me. I’d like to learn not to question and regret every choice too.
The evening was hard. I fell asleep after work again and when I woke up I was crunched for time to finish the cleaning and cook dinner. There was no time for a walk and just about everything that could go wrong did. By the time I sat down to eat I was sore and feeling very sour. Nothing is right, and nothing can be made right. I’m angry and I’m tired and I don’t know how to stop feeling this way.
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way in recent weeks and it feels like it’s growing more and more frequent.
For the second day in a row I have managed to drag myself out of bed and out to the garage for an early morning workout before heading to work. Day two isn’t much but it’s better than giving up after you barely did anything on day one and made yourself nauseous and had to stop. I think I haven’t been warming up as well as I should but I found a five minute full body warm-up that does the job and can be done two or three times on the cold or particularly groggy days.
The work day was easy. I had more energy than yesterday and made more progress than I have all week. I’m still working half days for now but starting next week I might move up to six. We’re doing our best to stay safe but it’s hard to get anything done when you only have four hours and much it feels like you spend half of them washing your hands and wiping down surfaces.
There are a lot of rumors flying about the next school year. Some are saying that depending on whether there is a spike or surge in Covid-19 cases it’s possible we may not start on time. I’ve heard there are even districts that are thinking of starting early in case we have to shut down again in the winter. There is talk of unpaid furlough days and severe cuts to hours. It’s all very scary but I’m trying to remember that for one, I am one of the lucky few who will be paid no matter whether we shut down again or not, and two, none of this is knowable or within my control so worrying is useless.
Spent the afternoon after work cleaning the house and avoiding social media. I cleaned the kitchen. Made coffee for the rest of the week. Washed our masks. Cleaned out a bag each of waste and trash from the basement and the garage. I’m doing anything I can to to keep myself offline. I’ve seen the videos and read reactions of anger from both sides. I know where I stand but in yet another situation where I feel so powerless and vulnerable I have to step back to keep myself from being overwhelmed by grief, anger, and fear.
For the second time in less than a week they have shut the water off at my workplace and I have opted to go home early. I just don’t feel comfortable being there when I know I won’t be able to wash my hands as often and neither will my coworkers. It worked out great anyway because I needed to head to our west location free Covid-19 infection and antibody testing was being offered.
Before the shut down my wife had a nasty respiratory infection. I didn’t think much of it at the time, even though her symptoms were pretty bad. Now I wonder if she had a milder version. It’s possible, and it’s possible I was asymptomatic after being exposed. It’s much more possible she had a more common infection, and I didn’t get sick because we were careful to keep her in another part of the house and to disinfect high-touch areas even then.
Either way, I would like the peace of mind of knowing whether I may have any immunity or not, and whether others may have been put at risk or not.
I was home in time for lunch and spent the afternoon trying my best not to take a nap. It helped to stay at the desk, to make a list of the things I needed to do, and to have my wife sit across from me and work on her own projects to motivate me. I still have hours left to fill before bed time but as long as I stay well away from the couch or the bed I should be fine.
Going back to work means having less time in the morning to check the news or keep up with social media. After lunch I logged into Twitter and was quickly overwhelmed. I’d already heard about the confrontation in Central Park, but the stories seemed to have reached every corner of the internet, and then I saw the video of George Floyd being restrained by police officers. It hurt to watch. I’m still hurting. With everything that’s going on, you’d think the world would be coming together, but instead I only see more and more hate every day.
It isn’t just these incidents. The videos of protesters calling for us to accept more death and of essential workers and concerned citizens being spit and coughed on is weighing on me too. This amount of hurt only brings more hurt because every time we hurt one, we hurt the whole and when we kill one we kill a part of the whole we can never bring back. I wish more people knew that.
Today is a much better day. I haven’t felt this good, productive, and focused since last Friday. I still didn’t get out for my walk but I spent the morning clearing out space in the garage and moving in our old elliptical machine, my weights, and a yoga mat to make a dedicated space to work out. I think having spent the last few months cooped up into just the four main rooms in the house makes knowing I have a new place to go to move my body really exciting.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up a full 45 minutes early to head down there and do what I can of a small work out. I’m still trying not to push myself too hard, but I’m also trying to make an impact on my weight, energy levels, and muscle tone.
After lunch I took another one of those too long and too deep naps I’ve gotten into the bad habit of slipping into. I was initially angry with myself for losing so much time again but the truth is I need it and though I don’t know exactly why it’s good to just listen to my body right now and give it what it needs.
I’m glad I did too. After I woke up my mood was greatly improved and Iwas able to get some cleaning done, prepare for work tomorrow, do some small self-care things, and finish readingWoman Much Missed by Thomas Hardy. It feels good to do the hard things that you know will make you feel better instead of the easy things you know won’t. I wish I had the willpower and the good health to do it all the time.
The holiday is an afterthought, I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t care about our fallen solders or because I don’t love my country or my freedom enough. It’s just that there is so much else on my mind. I’m grateful to every solders sacrifice, but the feeling is overshadowed by the gratitude I feel for those making sacrifices right now. I hope the fallen and their families can understand.
And anyway, and the unofficial start to the summer is no longer the celebratory time it used to be. There are no backyard barbeques, no pools or amusement parks opening, no festivals or events to look forward to. Summer will not begin for a very long time, if at all.
The weather has turned gloomy and cold outside and my mood has almost no chance of improving from yesterday. I still haven’t found a way out of this funk. I’m still irritable and down. I’m on the edge and everything feels like too much, or not right, or bothersome. I don’t want to do anything but not doing anything makes me feel, at best, guilty, and, at worst, angry, with myself and whoever happens to be around.
A lot of it might be because I skipped my morning walk. I forgot how much I need the fresh air and the perspective during these times. The little route around the neighborhood is a kind of walking meditation now, especially since I make sure not to take my phone out or put my headphones in. Those 20 minutes spent unplugged front the world mean more than I realized.
Then again, maybe it isn’t the walk, or maybe the walk is only part of it, a symptom of something much bigger.
Maybe I thought going back to work would help, and it turns out that having nothing at all to do but sit at home and go to work is worse than just sitting home. Maybe giving over all my energy and capacity to my coworkers and our simple duties left me with nothing for myself. Maybe the combination of isolation and loneliness coupled with increased fear and anxiety may just have pushed me over the edge of hopelessness and melancholy.
Maybe I’ve lost a sense of importance and purpose of my job over these past few months. My work is not essential and with everything going on the risk hardly seems worth it right now, for any of us. Maybe I’m a little angry too at being asked to come back before there are concrete answers about the virus and the future.
You ever have a bad day but can put your finger on any one thing that happened to make you feel that way? Today was one of those days.
Nothing feels right today. Nothing is what I want or need. I don’t want to do anything and I don’t want to do nothing. I don’t want to be left alone, but I don’t want to talk or be touched. I’m tried but I can’t sleep. I want to eat, but not because I’m hungry. I want to feel better, but I’m stuck in this perspective and I can’t see any way out.
I was able to knock a few things off of the weekend to-do list, but it was a battle the whole way. From my morning walk, to taking care of the pets, to cleaning and cooking, and even in leisure I fought myself, ridiculed myself, made deals and manipulated myself to try to elicit some change, some motivation, some better version of myself I knew was buried.
I may have won a few battles, but the war feels like a lost cause. So, I accept the facts in front of me. It’s a bad day then and there’s nothing left to do now but wait until tomorrow and hope.
We’re starting to check people’s temperatures as they enter the building at work. It’s strange to stand there, hold your breath, wonder and worry for the three to five seconds it takes for the thermometer to register your temperature and for your coworker to let you know whether it is safe or not for you to be there.
We’ve been doing our best to keep our masks on and to keep our distance from each other, but it isn’t always easy. We’ve spread out the filing and the equipment so we don’t have to hover near each other for what we need and we’ve reduced the number of seats in our classroom. Every door is either an entrance or an exit, and soon lunches will need to be taken outdoors.
I’m actually beginning to get used to wearing a mask all day. I might even be starting to like it. At first it was awful, but now it makes me feel protected. I feel like I’m doing the right thing, even if it is uncomfortable and sometimes anxiety inducing. More than that, it feels safe and not just because of the virus. It’s the same reason I wear thick-rimmed glasses and let my hair fall in my face. I like to be hidden.
There’s no telling how long these precautions will be in place or whether things will get better or worse, but the rumors floating around aren’t comforting. There is the budget, of course, I won’t even get into that, and talk of not all kids going to school on the same days and a limit to the number of kids that can be on a bus on a time. These are going to be some very big changes and we are being asked to be patient and wait until at least July 1st before we expect any concrete answers.
It is still surprising how just 4 hours back at work can exhaust me not just mentally but physically. Almost every day this week I have needed to nap for over an hour after returning home. I really hope it will start getting easier soon. I’m losing a lot of time I could be using to read, or write, or listen to podcasts, or even clean my house, all the things I have been doing since the quarantine began. I’d like to make time for them still, even that time must be greatly reduced.
At least I’ve been keeping up with the evening walks around the neighborhood. Even when I don’t think I’m in the mood or when I don’t think I have the energy, within minutes of getting out there I feel good. I never regret it. I wish I was seeing some difference in the way I feel or my weight on the scale but it seems no matter how much more I move I still seem to gain.
Starting next week I’m going to move our old elliptical machine into the garage and track my meals, snacks, water, and coffee intake. There is a disconnect somewhere and I mean to find it and start making some progress.
It’s a question of less and more, I am sure. Less of the bad options and more exercise. Less excuses and more willpower. Less letting my emotions control my consumptions and more mindfulness in every meal and movement.