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.

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.

151// Celebration

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.

150// I Hope

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…

149// Easier and Easier

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.

148// I Feel So Powerless

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.