Pandemic journal: Day 46

Tuesday, April 28, 8:26 AM

Day 46 of voluntary social distancing, Day 43 of county shelter-in-place, Day 40 of statewide shelter-in-place

No theme, this week

Headphones, tablet, breakfast, journal atop a desk

Fuck, fuck, I was awake more than an hour ago but have just been frittering away the time — usefully, in fact, but I wanted to be writing. It is so hard to find focus and motivation these days… this was somewhat true even before, but now? So difficult. 

What have I done this morning? Felt like wearing more fitted clothes, went to the summer-clothes bin to look for some, ended up doing almost the full swap-out of seasonal clothing.  (Apparently day 46 is when I decide I don’t care, and post a video of myself dancing in just underwear, no pants. I definitely have more padding than muscle on my thighs but my legs look gorgeous all the same.) Then I stood outside in the beautiful air, and checked Facebook… 

Even when I’m doing all right myself, I feel the weight of so much other suffering. It’s intensifying my already habitual desire toward escapism. I read a lot of news and firsthand accounts yesterday, went down a BTS rabbit hole (ultimately unsatisfying), stayed up too late letting all of that into my head without pausing even a moment to process. After I finally took off the headphones, turned everything off, and went to brush my teeth, E started talking to me and I felt like I needed to burst out of my skin, turn my brain off, something. I got into bed and clenched and unclenched every part of my body, and then ran my hands over every part of my skin that I could reach, and that was grounding. But this morning I’m feeling that way again — that I can’t stand my own brain and I need to get out. 

—I just rescued Owl and some sort of cranefly-is creature from each other; I heard Owl saying, “Shoo! Shoo!” which they pronounce sort of like a more-sibilant “soo” and they ran from the room telling me there was a jumping spider on the rug and it jumped onto their papers, and they wanted me to look for it. Fortunately it wasn’t too hard to find or trap! — 

It’s helping to write… somehow pinning the thoughts to paper rather than letting them free-float around my head is exactly the thing.

Yesterday afternoon I thoroughly dusted and swept the foyer, dusted the kitchen baseboards and cupboards and drawers and under the rug, washed the rug and rug pad and all the bathroom linens, watered plants, did some bathroom dusting and washed the floors on hands and knees which I never do, folded and put away some laundry, did another 2 loads though I haven’t folded those yet, brought in the line drying (also haven’t yet put any of that away), cut my nails, made donations to several organizations matching restaurants/caterers to people in need of food, went to dance class (I actually forgot which class I was going to and was 15 minutes late; that’s the first time I’ve actually missed or almost missed something as a result of not realizing what day it was), did a little bit of tidying of the ghastly mess on the window seat… probably did some other stuff too though I can’t think what. Showered. Typed up a journal entry; I’m so behind now but who cares? And in the late evening, I did the hardest self-care I’d done all day: I couldn’t seem to tear myself off the iPad so I finally turned down the brightness, changed from K-pop to calmer music, and wrote my feelings into a FB post so at least I’d have a record of how I was feeling in this moment when it was so, so hard to go to bed. 

I’ll go take some vitamin D just to do another good thing for myself.

I was thinking yesterday in spite of my being checked-out a lot I do feel that I’m spending some quality time with Owl and we’ve had some sweet moments of connection and mutual enjoyment — not to mention of course they’ve really enjoyed being with E — so perhaps in the grand scheme I needn’t worry about them at all for this time; they’re playing and creating and learning and there will be time to make up socialization and more active gross motor skills but they only get their parents at our current state of “youth” right now. 

A 4-year-old's drawing of two creatures embracing
A coloring page Owl made for me. “It is you with me, the cat!”

Sending loving thoughts to new parents (especially new mothers) who are finding the newborn period so much more isolating, frightening, and alien due to the pandemic.