Pa**emic priorities kept.

Weird Habits I still give a shit about.

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.

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.

What do you mean you don’t hear anything? [Art by Kelly C Flanagan]

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.

“LET’S RUN AROUND!!!” said the dog. [Art by Kelly C Flanagan]

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.

7. Playlists help me shift my mood.

I have curated a playlist for every feeling. I might think,

Titled “Mix tape 4 U” [Art by Kelly C Flanagan]

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.

And you will see me smiling wide.


Kelly Flanagan is a memoirist in Washington, DC. She has an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins & is concluding an MFA at University of Baltimore.