Sunday, April 19, 2020

Quarantine 2020 Real Talk

I used to write all the time. I found writing to be so therapeutic. I kind of miss that.

It's currently April 2020 and we are going into week 6 (I think?) of the COVID-19 quarantine here in Colorado. I'm not going to lie, this past week has been hard.

There have been phases to this thing. The first week, after we rushed home from London with Mila the last day before the UK travel ban, I think we were all kind of in shock. We just tried to enjoy our days and surround ourselves with home comforts. It was our spring break and so it seemed like we were kind of in a relaxing mood anyway.

The second week became a little more real, as kids started remote learning school and I watched my job as an event coordinator for an indoor trampoline park crumble before my eyes. When you get paid for booking kids' birthday parties and school field trips, you are not in high demand during a worldwide pandemic. All of our parks shut down and I was furloughed. My kids didn't need any aid from me for school, so I tried to figure out what my new daily schedule looked like. It has mostly looked like lazing around in the morning a bit, cleaning the kitchen, doing whatever free Zoom workout I can find between the hours of 12 and 2 (or going outside on the days we didn't have a blizzard), eating lunch at 2 or 3, showering by 4, then making and eating dinner, followed by arguing about what movie we would watch together at night. On occasion, there would be Zoom meetings with family members or my young women class and presidency, which have been huge comforts.

I also found myself overwhelmed with the urge to create. I love to be creative and I'm not often granted the time to do it. When so many things in my world felt like they were disappearing around me, I just wanted to make new things to make up for it. This mostly manifested itself in silly little videos I could share with friends and family to hopefully bring some cheer to their day. One video took me the better part of a week to put together, and I really enjoyed that. The twins and I came up with a short movie script and started filming that as well.

This has mostly been what the first month of quarantine looked like for me. Then week five hit and something shifted a bit. As an introvert, I can find great peace in being cut off from the outside world with only my people. Gone is the anxiety about having to measure up, to perform well, to accomplish daily public tasks at an acceptable level. The dark flip side is one I've only really had to grapple with this past week. And that is, along with my small levels of social anxiety, there is a deeper anxiety that manifests itself when I don't make social connections with people in real life. I start to believe that everyone I love and adore has actually forgotten about me, and worse, holds contempt for me. I understand that this is not rational thinking. I know. It's purely emotion, and I can't explain it, but it's been weird and not fun. I have cried myself to sleep this week over a text that wasn't responded to. I'm sorry if this is not the fun, positive, upbeat side of me that you have come to know over the years. I am just trying to work through all of these strange manifestations of completely irrational thought.

Another hard part of this quarantine for me is home church. I don't like it. It turns out that I need real church. In my present situation, I am responsible for 100% of anything that happens in my home that is church related and it's not easy. It has been lonely to see so many people celebrating church at home when it is something I dread. I am happy for people that get to have a positive experience, but I am just being honest about how it has been for me.

I worry about my junior. My heart hurts for the seniors this year and their pain and loss is validated. But I have a high school junior whose future was greatly impacted by this chain of events. He worked for three weeks, harder than anyone I've ever seen, to teach himself to play volleyball so he could get a spot on the high school volleyball team. He made the team, played one game, and it was over. Simultaneously, he was going to be one of two long jumpers on the varsity track team this season. He was hoping to achieve personal records that would possibly qualify him to get some sort of track scholarship for college. That possibility is just gone now. There was not one track meet, zero chances for new personal records.

I do feel the need to point out the highlights of this past week. I miraculously connected with two of my best friends that I haven't heard from in twenty years. Re-establishing these friendships was so important to me and something that has been missing from my life for a long time. I am grateful for that light during this time. I am grateful for people who are there for me every single day of this. I have a group of friends here in Colorado and we have been texting recipes, memes, news articles, exercise ideas, and words of comfort since this began. I love them. One of them sent me a hand-written card in the mail and it made my whole week! I am grateful for a few good friends who don't live nearby who have allowed me to burden them with any thought or complaint, no matter how big or small. One of them is dealing with the stress of the pandemic on top of her husband dying of a terminal illness and STILL makes time for me. The fact of the matter is, we are in good health and have lots of good food and Ben is still working and Kenya is maybe the happiest dog in the world, having her pack home all the time. I have good kids and they are being mostly kind and helpful. Ben was in a pretty bad bike crash the day before Easter, but the fact that his best friend that was with him is a doctor and that he is alive and healing well is also a huge blessing. I got to see m adorable Young Women in a Zoom activity this week and their happiness and positivity is inspiring and contagious! We are mostly good and getting through this! We will get through this and we are truly all in this together.

In conclusion, if anyone needs someone to talk to or needs to complain or be sad or just needs a listening ear, I am here for you. I really mean that. Please text or call or dm me or whatever. You matter to me and I want to be there for you. Chances are that I've already been thinking about you and worrying about you as it is. All my love to you and yours. You can do it!