Pandemic journal: Week 10

Week 10: May 18-24, 2020. Theme of the week: freedom.

Monday, 8:33 AM

I was telling TR & CA, during mending circle, about my worries over being preschool board president — that my best might not be good enough — and T pointed out that my standards are probably higher than most people’s. She told a funny story about doing a task for her partner, meticulously and thoughtfully, and partway through he said, “Hey, so you’re doing this, like, 1000x better than I usually do… maybe you can just do 2x as good a job.” I need to put that on my wall or something. It’s an incredible thing to have grown up with these two women, all of us perfectionist and self-conscious and highly sensitive, and watched them grow into leadership roles at work, and be able to drawn on their experience now.  

On Saturday, E asked how I was doing and I said: way less sad than in the previous weeks. I said I’ve been weirdly productive and couldn’t think why, and then it hit me, oh, ofc, it’s because I wasn’t depressed! 

Tuesday, 8:13 AM

A thought on leadership: yesterday in dance class I asked a question, and when the teacher heard it she said, “Great question. I’m so glad you asked that,” which is what she says to almost every question but she always seems to mean it. How lovely to greet questions not with the insecurity of “oh no, I didn’t explain it well enough” but with an attitude of, “thank you for giving me this opportunity to do even better.” Because she is an excellent teacher.

I don’t have any preschool stuff on the roster for today (no meetings, nothing anyone is waiting on) and that feels such a relief after the week I’ve had — which is probably a taste of how the rest of the year will go! The work has been sneaking up on me and if I’m not careful about setting boundaries, it will take over. I don’t know exactly how to allot time for it because I don’t know how much time anything takes, but Friday I was in preschool tasks or meetings 9-7 and that is unsustainable!  

Yesterday I was super frustrated with Owl, pretty much right out the gate, and that didn’t subside till after dinner when I took time to myself, listening to music and watching John Oliver. E said during that time Owl talked basically nonstop for 2 hours. I hope E didn’t feel too taxed. I really needed that break. 

Saturday, 9:29AM

It’s Memorial Day this weekend and we haven’t any plans, which makes me both relieved and a little morose. Sheltering in place is a hell of a way to live… all the days blurring together even when there’s so much that’s good and evolving and meaningful contained within them… which reminds me, I haven’t left the house since… a week ago, maybe. 

Sunday, 8:47 AM

I am tired still this morning, not so much sleep-deprived (though I am that) but just tired. Muscles are sore, from action and inaction both: the dance classes, the long stretches of sitting at my desk for writing or for preschool meetings. My mind is tired. The pandemic goes on and as the momentum and energy build for reopening, so too does the chorus of voices cautioning that reopening is dangerous, irresponsible, unequal, and futile. As always, I wonder how long I can continue like this. When does mild burnout, a slow (or not so slow) slide toward full burnout, go on for so long that it becomes a kind of burnout of its own? Yesterday MC reminded me that self-care can look like nothing, and I remembered RESTING IS VITAL WORK — but it’s still true that doing nothing is the hardest thing for me. (It’s an amazing thing to have friends who are therapists!) 

RESTING IS VITAL WORK watercolor painting

Yesterday we had our family Zoom and for a little while it was just me and A. I appreciated her frankness in asking me if I’d been depressed and telling me she had been (pandemic-depressed, not clinical). Later TY texted me that she and AX were on the avenue and asked if we were home; we ended up having a distant catch-up in front of the house while almost all our neighbors passed by in turn. It was lovely to get both face-to-face interaction and that sense of communal life. 

Sending loving thoughts to undocumented people.