Pandemic journal: Month 6 (August)

Weeks 21-24: August 3-30, 2020. 

Week 21. 

Theme: spaciousness / do less.


Owl is now sitting on me, which means I feel like screaming and yet they still want more of my attention. The constant interruptions make me unwilling to give them even a single minute, though I know it’s what they need. Yesterday I felt hunted because they followed me from room to room insisting on being with me. Nothing helped until E got off work and put them on videos and I wrote for an hour or more with KK while listening to soothing soundscapes. 

I hate this. 

What I need most right now is more time where I do nothing. I’m such a doer, even when I decide to relax I make plans and structures around that when really, all I need is to block off the time and do nothing. That’s all. 

Owl is talking to me.


This morning AS said it’s not fair my hair always looks so soigné. Soigné!


I baked cookies yesterday and it was such a huge batch I ended up driving them around to friends while also doing errands. It shouldn’t have been as draining as it was, but I already felt slow and stupid and instead of falling asleep, Owl just talked the entire time. 2h of driving and navigating and stopping and starting and fielding Owl’s comments and ofc constant vigilance about hygiene. I came home totally spent — though I think Owl enjoyed it. 

Miso chocolate chip cookies cool on a wire rack

When I dropped off W’s cookies, she said our phone call on Tues was pretty much was the one good thing in her day. 

I also spent some of yesterday reading about Beirut and crying. 


Yesterday in our regular vid chat SD proposed something different: an hour at the beginning to talk just to Owl, one-on-one without me. I was so touched. No one else has offered this (except Owl’s sitter), and S was so clear about expectations, I really could just walk away and not monitor their interaction. It was such a gift. 

Trees, rocks, and cloud reflections in the still water at Crab Cove in Alameda

Week 22. 

Theme: ask your body.


I haven’t written since Friday, mainly because my back hurts at spending time in my chair.

Kamala Harris has been named Biden’s VP. I hope they win. It’s too ghastly to think of another 4 years of this. 


Not only did SD talk to Owl again yesterday (for 45 min!), but we also exchanged absurd fantasies — everything from desired ice cream flavors to a very elaborate COVID-is-over celebratory scenario involving choreographed dancing and sharp haircuts and jumpsuits. Also S does an incredible whale imitation and I laughed till I cried. 

Pale yellow-green-red peaches in a paper-lined cardboard flat

Week 23. 

Theme: this moment is sacred.


One of the things I was so grateful for at the beginning of SiP was that my body felt great. Now it’s the opposite: I hurt all the time. And why shouldn’t I, in month 6 of pandemic?! Why shouldn’t I! 

There are fires all surrounding the Bay Area and the air quality is bad enough now that I don’t want to open the windows. In fact, this morning I started setting up to do my journaling outside — and then discovered a fine layer of ash on everything. 

On Monday I talked to R and realized how absurd it is that I haven’t been icing my back. I have no excuse but that I haven’t wanted to spend time doing nothing! Which seems… really… when I’m lamenting that this is the longest my back has ever hurt, and I’m finding myself unwilling to take even 20 minutes to lie down! There is a connection!!! 


It’s much cooler this morning, and seems less smoky, but my throat feels dry and itchy and I’m coughing a lot. Our apartment is too “porous”, as HB said of hers; I’m sure whatever is outside is coming in; there was ash on the window seat yesterday in spite of our closed windows. 

Yesterday in therapy we explored my resistance to rest. We left it at a slightly unfinished place and afterward I sat and thought it over, teary but not actually crying, and remembered an insight from the week before: I can’t treat Owl with the tenderness and care befitting a precious being if I don’t treat myself that way. And that requires, first, recognizing that I am a sacred being, already and always — there’s no need to do anything to make that true. So I did the thing, after our session, that’s on my bullet journal every week that I almost never actually do: take the evening off from devices and really, truly rest.

I’m not sure how I will reconcile the amount of preschool work I have today with this vision of myself as sacred, but I’ll figure it out. 

Light-skinned adult hand next to a tiny paper heart crayoned pink

Week 24

Theme: essential intent 


Wow, this has been a hard day for self-regulation. I’m having trouble even focusing enough for journaling with KK, and I’ve kind of fucked myself over by denying Owl my devices, but I don’t know what else to do when they used both of them without permission earlier in the day. 


It’s amazing how free and blithe I feel on the Wednesdays that I don’t have a preschool meeting! 

E says I try to juggle every ball and most people just let most balls drop. 

I’m reading this book, Essentialism, which is all about focusing energy on our top priority (singular!) in order to be more productive, more aligned with our own purpose, and better rested. It’s a little businessy (and I’m side-eyeing a guy writing this book while his wife raises their four children; what does she say about all this???) but I still appreciate it. 

Of course it’s very easy and pleasant to mull this over while it’s quiet and cool and I’m alone and uninterrupted! Yesterday was hard yet again with Owl. I did not feel like a sacred being; I felt like a tired, slow, frazzled, out-of-patience human at her limits. 


The clean air didn’t last. I’m having pie for breakfast because really, it’s called-for. What a miserable thing this is — and I say that knowing we are safe (as much as any CA resident can be right now) and so are our family and friends. 

A slice of peach pie on a plate


We all slept in this morning — till 9! But of course now I’m very late to writing and there’s a lot of interference of the usual noisy and Saturday mental variety: trying to figure out how to cram too many desires into not enough time. What I really want is a feeling of leisure and spaciousness, which I associate with having the time to do all the things I want and need to do — but I can also find/access that feeling by doing nothing. 

I went to drop some pie off to W today. It took a couple of days to make that encounter happen and I felt embarrassed for trying so hard. E said: you think it’s embarrassing that you want to see friends, after being stuck inside for 6 months?! 


I just read a lovely essay by a queer Asian American writer, about why goals feel so impossible and irrelevant right now (because we can’t picture a future), and the difference between solitude and loneliness, per Hannah Arendt (solitude is self-sufficient but loneliness is the sense of there being no “you” against/among whom “I” find itself). It helps so much with the despondency I was feeling just a little while ago.

I have to say, even though I’m luxuriating in all kinds of privilege, it is really hard the way the days all blur into each other and we never get a change of scene or a change of people, so to speak. It is a very strange world where I can order a lipstick to arrive tomorrow, food to arrive in an hour, get books and movies and music instantly, video chat with anyone anywhere… but thousands of people are dying and the government can’t stop it (or won’t). We live in a dystopia. 

Black and white #BLM mosaic affixed to a concrete wall in Joaquin Miller Park

Sending love to truth-tellers both public and private.