Saturday, March 21, 2020

uncertain waters

In many ways, self-isolation is not much different than a typical weekend for me.  I prided myself on the ones I didn't have to leave the apartment.  The weekends I craved whenever something interfered..a lit event, social things, work.  I was stingy with these weekends, especially when I spent all my time at the studio and in the library. If I had social obligations or date night plans, they usually happened Friday night (if not usually late Thursday. If I was alone Fridays after I got off work, I usually luxuriated in take-out  and streaming movies or shows.  I'd order Chinese or Thai, or  a giant pizza I'd eat most of then snack on the rest through the weekend.  Saturday, I'd get up late, make breakfast, drink a lot of coffee, and then tend to writing business I didn't get to in the week prior. I'd do some cleaning  maybe later in the day, get groceries delivered every other week, take a nap, watch more on Netflix. I'd actually cook dinner, which rarely happened during the week (which was a mix of salads or frozen entrees microwaved or thrown together when I got home after 11pm most nights.) I'm not a fancy chef, but I made the things I like--pasta with meat sauce, parma rosa, fried rice, fajitas or tacos.  Or some of my mother's go-tos--ghoulash, tuna & noodles, or homemade pizza (becuase you can never have too much pizza).  Then I'd usually curl up on the couch or in bed for more movie-watching.

Sundays were similar, though I once devoted time to art, but now usually more likely chapbook things I can't get finished during the week.  I'd watch You-Tube vlogs while I worked --plus size fashion, thrifting, #vanlife, horror & supernatural focused. Sunday meals were usually soup, chicken, made with thigh-meat to be nice and fatty.  Noddles, baby carrots, red onions, mushrooms. Sometimes chili.  Something I could throw on the stove and not really tend to. (I actually got a crockpot for X-mas, but haven't really given it good run yet.)  In the off hours, I was writing blog posts, reading journals & articles.  Some more cleaning.  Since my weeks were sort of hectic at work, sometimes I would double down on library projects that required a little more concentration & prep time than was allowed.

I would still engage socially, via e-mail,via texting, via my regular Sunday night phone call with my dad (once the Sunday night convo with my mom).  I never felt especially isolated.  There was a time, when I spent more time going out, depending on friend group dynamics, more time in bars or at readings, but most liked being at home to all other things, no matter how enjoyable. Outside of a few stray writing friends I saw on occasion, my closest friends were also co-workers, so we saw each other at work and then retreated to our own introvert bubbles on the weekends. I've struggled with loneliness, as I've written about before, which has nothing to do with people around me and everything to do with the loss of my mother. But on the whole, I feel like isolation is a regular and comfortable feeling for me, so it's been hard to wrap my head around the fact that I find this particular instance so uncomfortable. I still text and write to people, even talk on the phone.  I still interact on social media and correspond with authors and library co-workers, all of us working from home.  This would have been my dream scenario had you asked me in the crazier parts of my life. So why do I feel so disoriented and strange?

It might be anxiety, not about staying in my bubble, but what happens outside of it.  That uncertainty goblin.  I like to think I have control over my circumstances, the circumstances of the world around me, but I feel entirely adrift at this point. There is nothing I can do to calm the waters, so maybe I just need to be more comfortable drifting.  That ocean that threatens to swallow us, but still we float.   My occasional moments of feeling overwhelmed by all I need to do have been replaced by being overwhelmed with those uncertainties. I'd trade these feelings for all my bitching about having too much work to do.  Too many obligations.  When this passes and whatever is on the other side, someone slap me when I say I am overwhelmed because I'm only now beginning to really feel that emotion and this is worse.

I've been trying to mitigate by the "one day at a time" mantra of thousands of self help programs. To have a plan and a course of action. Today, I will think no further than bedtime.  Because there is still a lot to do from the inside, of course.  This last week has been an adjustment period.  A period of shock and panic. So today, I got up around noon.  Made coffee and a really good omelet.  Then set down to write this blog, and maybe later, finish the lib guide I've been working on in short bursts. I will make dinner (I'm thinking homemade pizza), sweep all the floors, watch some more of AHS: Apocalypse.  I will try not to worry about this month.  Or next month. Or how long this will last.  What will be lost becuase of it.

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