Pa**emic priorities kept.
Ok to start, I have had weird dreams. A lot of weird dreams throughout the pa**emic. I lived days I never imagined, and I dissociated while staring at various glowing rectangles. I zoomed, I swiped, I masked.
And now, I’ve started noticing the weird habits I created to handle the emotional insanity. My loved ones were obviously my top priority. But while I move into reintegration… I am slightly disturbed at how much I still need my weird coping mechanisms. Here are my weird things. This has been my personal mantra for surviving city solitude during pandemic times. ‘Ere she blows.
1. Accepting our shared destiny to wear mom jeans.
I didn’t think it would happen to me. “I have planned for this!” I keep telling myself.
When I have three kids as a forty-something, I will know how to spot mom jeans and avoid them like hellfire.
Alas. I no longer care about what I’m wearing. And now that mom jeans are upon us… I’m more or less fine with it. The uglier the better. Gone are hips, waste, and thigh. Endless jean fabric is here to stay, destined to be scrunched at the hip with an awkward belt. I think we may have veered too far astray on this one. I’m beginning to worry about the human condition.
2. The sound of trees.
I still rely extensively on short nature hikes. Touching the malleable mud near the depth of trees during isolation brought tactile relief. I listened to the strength of the wind through the branches, and watched roots spreading out and into the earth. I too rooted. Tried. Fell. Grew. There are ups and downs, but my path is organic like the branches’ whispers. [Like yesterday when they told me not to eat fusilli noodles.]
3. Obsessive control over light hue and dimness.
If this is a disorder, I have it. Please add it to the running list. At midday, I require bright, blue-tinted light. This continues until I need a softer touch as the sunset dims my windows and my apartment saddens. When I finish the tasks I choose to do in my day, I sit and reflect that: I choose my life. In the reflective, soft-yellow glow I reaffirm my choices or decide new routes. All the while, I trust in my awkward black Amazon lamp with nine-settings. It shipped for free. So I welcomed it into my home and in turn, it has brought me nothing but blessings and love. [Ignore Amazon purchase while reading #4.]
4. Wearing accessories may or may not be real.
If earrings are worn in the forest and no one sees them, were they really worn? This is the dilemma of humanity. I believe I am wearing the earrings because the silver posts irritate my earlobe and add color to my reflection. I like to think about the craftspeople who made them, working with the wires, colors, and patterns. I think a lot more about workers now. I purchase ethically sourced products as much as I am able. I wear the earrings for me even if no one sees them. Besides, the trees tell me I always dress nice, and that they appreciate my on-trend style.
5. Petting other people’s dogs is a GIFT and not an expectation.
No matter how small of a puppy, how spotted, or how furry, I do not have the right to go around touching him — no matter how much that puppy smiles at me, how joyfully he prances down the sidewalk, or how often he suddenly lies down in the middle of his afternoon walk.
We need to respect and gain consent to pet puppies.
We need positive consent from both pet and pet owner. When I get to meet a puppy face to face, it is a sincere honor. Think the golden rule here. Also think golden doodles.
6. Knowledge of neurotransmitters is critical for managing daily rage cycles.
I have realized it is critical to understand my body while I cycle through rage-fear and cry-sleep. These common mood states can hit at any time, triggered before you know it. I have given the cycling stages names to better understand them. The hierarchy order is as follows: acute, semi-rogue, tangential, incidental.
It’s important to know rage-fear can show up differently for people. But if you track your “dopamine-noradrenaline-psychotopular-ramalama- ding-dong” cycle, you can maneuver your light hues and dimness to calm and ground yourself.
7. Playlists help me shift my mood.
I have curated a playlist for every feeling. I might think,
Okay, I’m moving toward a mindset of relaxation. Bam! Playlist.
I want to write. Bam! Playlist.
I want to ruminate on my pre-2020 breakdowns to stop thinking about whether I have the common cold — or — a murderous virus. Bam! Playlist.
8. Chopping vegetables is not yet canceled.
Dicing, mixing, salting. Somehow these things are a newfound tool for relaxation. I struggled to cook before. I mean, I was fine at it. I was good for a side dish at a party or a boring weekday meal to microwave at work. But now, I know peppers are oranger than my highlighters, redder than permanence, yellower than the street signs. This process has become a pastime now. Chopping up plants in the sunlight of my kitchen table.
9. I am history.
I am history, and now I know it. Looking back, our current era will be lumped into other eras that kids try and fail to memorize for whatever “school” becomes. It’ll be right on the list next to the industrial revolution, dark ages, iron age, and Renaissance. Maybe some future person will read this blog and ask themselves what “vegetables” are.
Even so! Now that I know I am history, I’m going to make things a lot more interesting. I might start by getting a dog and hunkering down for the long haul of our living history. Either way, I will see you out there…
And you will see me smiling wide.