Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Isolation Tango

So, like most folks, I have been working from home and staying home in general since March 17th. I think most of the initial anxiety, paranoia and confusion I was dealing with has passed. I am finding a pattern in my weeks. My sleep has begun to suffer, though. I just wake up at odd times and can’t get back to sleep. My restless leg syndrome is annoying af and sometimes painful, too. So I stay away from the OTC sleep meds because they all use the same antihistamines which trigger the RLS. Rinse, repeat. I really struggled at first, not with staying home, but with the uncertainty of it all and I convinced myself that I would lose everything (job, home, health, all). So far I have remained ever-grateful and count my lucky stars every damn day for retaining my full-time employment. Many close to me have not been so fortunate. At first a lot of what I was struggling with had nothing to do at all with the pandemic and everything to do with past long stretches of unemployment and how badly that has affected my mental health previously. I had to really push myself to not fall into old/bad habits while also allowing myself some room to breathe. It’s a lot. Everything felt so scary and heavy, not that it doesn’t now, it’s just different. 

Every weekday I get up about 8:30 am and feed the puggo. Then I make my coffee and boot up the laptop for work. I have a small back patio/yard that I have a lil’ box garden and patio furniture in and I have been making small improvements to. I have ideas and plans and seedlings and soil, but I need containers and right now getting things shipped is tricky. My ex-husband gave some buckets for me to grow my tomatoes and peas in. Actually, he was the last human I saw in person. We both had masks on and it was only in his driveway, but still. Wow. I’ve done bucket tomato plants before, so I’m feeling optimistic about that. I really wanted to do a vertical garden of strawberries, but those containers or even the components are expensive. So I nixed that idea entirely. I haven’t bought my strawberry seeds yet and perhaps it’s too late now. I’ll have plenty of tomatoes!

A few weeks ago, I started to cook and bake. I haven’t honestly done much of that in years. I made my first banana bread in over a decade, it was absolutely riddled with walnuts! I made a lemon cake without icing and it was perfect and so comforting. I’m not big on frosting or icing in general, but a nicely made cake is delightful. I made the best lemon bars I’ve ever had in my life! I will have to make more soon. I made carnitas tacos and refried beans from very close to scratch (didn’t use dried beans). I made my first Dutch Baby! I was so proud! I have a tendency to always want to add or do “One more thing!” when I bake and cook and thus had an odd but still tasty fail with another lemon cake I added fresh strawberries to. They sank and the bottom was perpetually soggy. Meh. I think tonight I will try for a chocolate cake. I like simple. I also made some other amazing things that were fun and easy like white sangria and a killer iced tea last week. 

I struggle to use all of my produce each week unless I really plan out my meals, and let’s be real, that is not always doable. I can’t read. Well, I can read short bits of things, but after about three minutes my brain wants to give up. I had to stop reading literature for pleasure. I’m now reading a book on CPTSD and healing from childhood trauma. Well, a few pages at a time, anyway. I go out on my patio at least once a day to simply get sun on my face and to breathe in a good bit of fresh air. There’s a whole row of big lovely trees behind my building that line the border of the property. It’s not much but it gives a nice ambiance and a little bit fresher air than the parking lot would. I have days where I feel like I can just be outside in my Paradiso de Patio (I gotta make a sign, darn it!) and it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t matter. And then I have days where even being outside in my tiny yard feels unsafe and that the world will find a way to destroy me. Good times. Ha-ha!

I’ve become much more of a tea drinker than I have been since I had my cafe and 12 organic teas to choose from on the daily. Ha-ha! It’s so odd to me but I’m actually enjoying this cheap Celestial Seasonings Chamomile with Vanilla. I had an urge back in March to get some teas and I ended up with 5 types that I like but that chamomile is just hitting me right lately. I tell myself that it actually helps to keep me calm because my anxiety is like a roller coaster ride I never bought a ticket for. But hey, last night was fresh sheet and fresh dog and freshly shaved legs night so you know we slept great! Ha-ha! I also hit a point with my insomnia that I started to lean into my seemingly endless supply of espresso and over did it one day to where my heart was racing and I felt high. So…TEA! YAY!

I have found that I have about 3 really productive days each week, usually two together. Saturdays are a crap shoot, if I do the dance class I love most I usually get super emotional but in a good way, it’s a release and we all need that! Plus a bunch of local fat community attends the class but I’m usually the only one with their camera off and I feel weird about that. I know it’s a safe space. I have done the class and been on camera before. I think it’s due to my house, like I have sooooo much trauma and shame and fucked up baggage about the outside world seeing my inside world, regardless of the actual state it’s in at any given time. Also I’ve been feeling disconnected from myself in a few ways. I know this happens and long stretches of isolation just fuck us up in ways we can’t predict or control. I have taken a lot of dance classes since the shutdown began, but most I only do once. The CFO at the company I work for has a niece who just got certified to teach BollywoodX classes and I was fortunate to attend the first one. I even emailed her ahead of time to ask if it was okay to keep my camera off. I noticed that the only other person in that class that had theirs off was the CFO, so that’s awesome and hilarious, he’s cool. The class was super fun but the warm up was like five seconds before she ramped waaaay up! She had so much energy, she must be like 19 yrs old, I swear. But I kept up! Also she didn’t do any count offs. Like, 5-6-7-8…none of that, and I am not used to no counts. Good to get out of that comfort zone and I love learning new modes of movement.

I still go into the office once a week to process the mail so they can pay bills and such. I have to really mentally and physically prepare for this trip every damned week. I can’t say that it gets any easier. My heart will start racing before I even leave the house. I have a whole routine so I make sure things are the same so I can be sure they’re cleaned the same too. With the roads nearly empty, the few cars left drive either 30 in a 65 or 100 mph period. It’s terrifying! Luckily I don’t have too far to go and what would be a nearly hour long commute now takes me 15 minutes, tops! My struggle currently is still about getting used to wearing a mask. I’m claustrophobic af so the sensation of having my mouth and nose covered is awful. Also having specific past trauma regarding airway restriction isn’t fucking helping! Grrrr! I have an N95 left over from the wildfires awhile back and that is what I use. I bought a cloth one on etsy but it is both too big and too small on my face somehow. I ordered some more in different styles to see what works best but this is going to get expensive since you can’t return these things. I want to believe I can find a style that works that I can get used to and live with. I sit at the front desk when my office is open and I want to model the correct protocols, ya know?

I am an office manager and it is my responsibility to source all of the PPE for my company for when we return to office life. This responsibility has had me waking up in a panic sometimes. The amount of information about new protocols, disinfecting offices, and space planning is astounding. What’s more is that most of it is absolute bullshit and you find that the moment you scratch the surface or ask any questions. I would say that most if not all office managers are natural skeptics. Ha-ha! But who can you trust when no one truly knows or has dealt with this on this scale before?! It’s maddening. And what is an office manager without an actual office? This is on my mind constantly. I have order requests in with one of the largest buyers of such things out there, but it’s up to my boss and other executives to approve and direct and I am swimming in insecurities about my role as far as the long run. I know it’s not as bad as my mind often wants me to believe that it is. I know I can handle this. But that doesn’t always help when the anxiety beast it breathing down my neck. Music helps.

One thing that has helped me tremendously is giving myself permission to use my imagination at all times. Seriously, after the first week I was like why am I not making the most of every moment?! I started singing to my doggo again and dancing in my kitchen while cooking or waiting for things to boil. I will sing along, fully belting it out, with nearly any song that tickles me at any given time. I did my own weird-ass version of a ballet inspired non-striptease on my patio (I didn’t actually undress, just pretended). It was fun! I don’t know what it’s like to have to isolate with other people, so I have no advice for you there outside of good communication and boundaries. Isolating alone, however, is like having your own one-woman show…well if you want it to be, that is. It all evokes my early childhood of solitude and solo play before my siblings were born. Other kids had imaginary friends, I always had an imaginary audience. No matter what I did, in my head at least, I was doing it for an audience. I’ve tapped into that again and it’s magical! You won’t see me doing any viral dance moves or challenges on tik tok, but you might catch me acting out scenes set to my favorite songs. 

Also a lot like my childhood is the amount of time watching my television. I really do need to get my Wii and DVD player set up, I just never bothered. At least then I could watch some old faves not yet on streaming services and play some fucking Mario Kart! Oooooh! That would be good for the old soul. Well this one anyway. I have Hulu’d and Netflix’d and IMDB’d and all of the other streaming things that aren’t Apple or Disney. Yes, I know The Simpsons are on Disney now, but I have the best seasons on DVD and they play reruns every single day on at least two different channels. I even got HBO streaming through my amazon thing for a limited deal. I have watched it all it feels like. But then something comes out with another season, like Kim’s Convenience or Ozark or Dead To Me and I lose myself in it all over again. I still watch my usual shows, too. The Daily Show and Late Night with Stephen Colbert are my weeknight staples. I love The Conners (but whoa very emotionally heavy lately, still love it), the Goldbergs, Blackish, Mixedish, and alllllll the cartoons! Cartoons will get me through, that is the truth! I’ve gotten into some new cartoons like Victor & Valentino (So cute!) and the reboot of ThunderCats, but it’s been good ole Spongebob that’s been a bright spot most days. Who’d have thunk it!

As for company and contact with actual humans, well, it’s mostly been through text. Which I prefer, honestly. I have a couple of friends who give great memes! And I’m always snappy with a gif. My bffs did a video happy hour once that was fun, I wore a pink wig with cat ears. The company I work for has been doing them too but I super struggle because you’re just sitting there on camera, along with everyone else, and it feels so forced and gross to me. I’m an introvert and I refuse to feel bad about it. I’m okay with being misunderstood and getting called weird. “I like being weird! Weird’s all I’ve got. That and my sweet style!” Maurice Moss, The IT Crowd, “Are We Not Men” episode. 

I said last year that I would not be dating in 2020. Who knew it would be so easy?! Ha-ha! Truly though, while I did say that and meant it, I really wanted to focus on dating women this year and well that just ain’t happening. I suck at it enough as it is to not have to try to deal with the quarantine stuff on top of it. Plus no one wants to actually have a conversation and that is a deal breaker for me. I already have the best company there is anyway, my puggo! He’s been such a sweet snuggle bug. He is the reason I get out of bed in the morning and not stay up all night. He makes me go to bed at a reasonable hour, though that changes day to day. Sometimes that means 10:30 or 11 pm, sometimes by 9:15 he’s calling it a night and trying his best to insist that I do as well. It’s hilarious!   

You’d think with all this “extra” time on my hands that I’d be writing like a woman possessed, but I really haven’t had a single idea to write about. So I give y’all this silly update about me. To those who actually read and care about me and the few who even reach out, thank you so much. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know, it makes a difference, I promise. If there’s anything you’d like me to write about (should we do Tank Top Tuesday submission posts again? What else?) or post other things here, please do not hesitate to let me know in comments or email me directly: notblueatall@notblueatall.com or if you need an unbiased ear to talk or vent to, I’m here! I’ve been posting a bunch of things on this blog’s facebook page, not my own content but other interesting and often related content. Check it out, follow/like it, or not. I’ve thought about trying to do videos and things but I’m just not sure what people even care about right now as far as those go. So lemme know! Or just tell me what is keeping you going during this isolation tango we’re all doing. 

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I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

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