It’s hard to write about things in the moment. I’ve attempted to document my thoughts and experiences throughout this pandemic. But it’s not easy to dwell on that which we already dwell too much on even if I know the writing will be therapeutic.
I’ve been the most absent from this blog this past year. When there is little life being lived, there is little, it seems, to write about. And yet this year has been tumultuous – 2021 even more so than 2020.
I did write a lot of fiction though. And I’ve had more than one story idea. I am at least thankful for that. My stories have helped me escape, and in a lot of ways, they’ve kept me going. Pandemic depression is so unlike any other depressive bouts I’ve experienced. It’s scary, too.
Fears, doubts, anxiety, loss… 2020 is not a year I’d prefer to re-live. Back when COVID-19 turned our world upside down, and it seemed we were experiencing A Westworld of Our Own, I wrote:
I think that is what I am grieving now – for the person I once was and for the possibility I once envisioned for myself. That person cannot exist in 2020. She is gone.
It is true. The person I had hoped to be in 2020 never was. But the person who came out of 2020 was a lot more whole than I gave her credit for. And that is because of people like you – family, friends, and peers.
I came out of one of the loneliest months of the year joyful and hopeful. I learned that I often feel lonelier in a crowd than I ever do alone. Routine saved my sanity. And so I start 2021 feeling loved and supported.
That was my year. Norm, my eight-year-old black and brown tabby, has his own recap. Continue reading
Last week, I was summoned for jury duty in a state I haven’t lived in for 10 years. I learned that Norm might have cancer (fortunately, it was only hypercalcemia, although that’s another long-term adventure in and of itself).
These are strange times indeed.
October is usually my favorite time of year, but for the last month, I have been drowning in low energy and apathy. The momentum is gone. And I’d like to say I’ve spent this time in isolation developing my next novel or setting up a new side hustle. But no, I can only say I’ve spent these last seven months watching a lot of tv, completing a few puzzles, and discovering some new hacks for DIY nail art.
When my mental health reached its lowest, I gravitated towards my support network and discovered they, too, were at their lowest. Nobody was going to come out of this pandemic unscathed. I felt hopeless then. But then my behavioral health training kicked in. While I could not control my external environment, I could control my internal one.
Norm and I reached a breaking point this week. Apparently, six months together is our limit. My new surround sound was the trigger.
But that being said, I know I’ve been absent from this blog for a bit. I’ve still been writing though – there is something oddly satisfying about focusing my energy on horrible time-travel fiction and dystopian romance.
I won’t lie. June and July were rough. I made it five months and 11 days without touching another human being. This wasn’t intentional. But I was unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on how you look at it) to start off the pandemic single and severely distanced from family. And given that I’m high risk, most of my friends didn’t want to put me at risk. I respect that, but it took its toll.
I’m okay now. With the summer heat index taking a dive, it’s become more plausible to see friends outdoors again. And that helps. But I’ve also come to really enjoy my “me” time. I’m going to need some serious re-training to ever be as social as I was pre-pandemic.
And by spending so much time alone, I’ve come to value certain things about myself as well as develop new coping mechanisms to survive in this new world. So, I thought I’d break my blog hiatus and share some of those fun finds with you. Continue reading
Today is my 11-year anniversary with Type 1 diabetes. This week has been a rollercoaster (though I am amazed at how much I can accomplish on so little sleep). Apparently, I’ve been holding in a lot of stress. Shocking. But bodies are perceptive that way (blood sugar levels included).
I haven’t seen a familiar face in four weeks (excluding video chats). The time has surprisingly gone by fast. But even if I am enjoying my newfound freedom and the productive self-isolation sessions, there is something missing beneath the surface. And that subtle ache pulls at me – materializing in my nightly, often anxiety-ridden dreams and blinking at me through the sun slants of the window pane.
I am not quite whole. I have felt broken before. And at times like these when I need to be reminded of my own resilience and feel empowered among circumstances outside of my control, I consult my favorite cinematic moments – scenes that are not necessarily award-winning but still inspire me and encourage me to find the strength to carry on.
Many of these movies (spoilers ahead) focus on a leader or woman (or sometimes that inner voice) overcoming adversity (often through innovative approaches) and subsequently inspiring others through their courage to stay true to who they are, follow their dreams and stand up for what they deserve. Continue reading
Yesterday, I left my apartment for the first time in eight days.
It was sunny and 68 degrees outside. I went for a run, passing the US Marine Corps War Memorial, the Netherlands Carillon – fenced off and under construction – and Arlington National Cemetery – the first time I’ve seen it closed to daytime public. I then found myself along the heart of the Mount Vernon trail, surrounded by bikers, runners, walkers and strollers taking in the calm quietude of the Potomac River and a view of the Washington Monument. You wouldn’t know there was a pandemic going on, except for patrols closing off the paths to DC and the cherry blossoms.
Eight days seems like a long time to be shut in a 700 square-foot apartment with a cat whose expression mirrors, “why are you still here?” But this past winter, I spent a considerable amount of time alone – re-conditioning myself to enjoy “me” time again, so that I could recharge and improve my overall well-being. Unbeknownst to me, that time alone conditioned me for such a strange time as this. In fact, I kind of wish I had more time alone. With all the virtual meetings, chats, and happy hours, I’ve rarely had time to myself.
But I wouldn’t change the wonderful network I’ve spent the last 33 years cultivating. So many of you reached out when all of this started, knowing I was high risk and making sure I was okay. I heart you for that. All of the diabetes blogs, commentaries, and posts I’ve read tell me not to panic. But that’s easier said than done. I am grateful I have a pet like Norm. When the anxiety starts to escalate, I stop what I’m doing and throw hair ties his way. His enjoyment of the simple pleasures in life eases my heart rate. Continue reading