I’ve crafted (then rejected) numerous blog posts, unsure why I couldn’t commit to any of my words. Social isolation and distancing myself from others is such a solid hobby of mine that I went pro this winter when I moved to the mountains on the other side of the country away from most of the people I love. If anyone had helpful tips to offer others in this most isolating of times, it’s me!
What gives, brain?
For those unfamiliar with my credentials, please know they are varied and vast. I gathered wisdom over many lonely hours in a blanket burrito with ambient Netflix washing over my blank face occasionally asking rude questions about my viewing habits. I’ve written many posts about my abysmal mental health, including this handy dandy guide on depression showers. I have the necessary expertise to help those new to moving through day after day after day and day after day after day after day only speaking to coworkers and/or staring at the wall for hours on end without moving. And yet…
Why were the words failing me when I could offer rookies to the hermit life some guidance in such uncertain times? Then it hit me. I feel weird cracking jokes and sharing tips I don’t need right now because I’m mentally and emotionally stable for the first time in my adult life. Whaaaaat….
Mental Stability is a Bop
As the world spiraled deeper into a pandemic, I stretched out tentative roots and settled into my new space. I managed to secure the most “me” house to exist a week before Seattle became the (now former thankyouverymuch) face of COVID-19 in late February. When the crushing weight of imaginary cement blocks began easing off my chest I thought it was my ability to thrive in chaos kicking in. I figured the new normal would settle down and I would go back to spending nearly every moment I was awake in a blind panic at some point. I did not anticipate that the ever-present weight on my chest might one day start to dissolve if I found my footing in a place I’m meant to be and started to realize those bricks might not ever come back.
In the three weeks I was able to explore Seattle, I felt Capital-H-Home. Not only because I loved so much of what Seattle had to offer, but because I knew Seattle was going to love me right back. The few local businesses I strolled into and the friendly faces I met before stay at home orders were issued collectively agreed I was made for this place. A friend from back home picked me up from the train station the day I arrived. Having lived in the Emerald City for five years now, she could not stop squealing as I shared my creative intentions and plans for the future. This friend offered countless words of validation rather than the concern or derision I typically encountered back East. The squealing might not have accompanied every conversation I had with people moving forward, but the conclusion was the same. Seattle and I were going to have an epic romance and the locals were pleased as punch to witness it.
Feeling safe at home and able to just be myself for the first time in what feels like forever is freeing. It is also supremely weird to experience a monumental emotional shift as the world is devastated by a global pandemic. I hesitate to share this as it seems wrong to do so at a time filled with such suffering and loss. But at the same time, I managed to exorcise c-PTSD demons piggybacking every encounter I had for 23 years. That is no easy feat and I hecking did it. Somehow. Someway.
Pause is a Privilege
I recognize that the sarcastic tone my writing typically takes is not the one needed to describe much of the collective traumas spanning the globe. At the end of the day, the people my posts will help most are people privileged with boredom on their couches. The luxury to search for jobs while living in a beautiful craftsman home with wonderful and creative people is not something every unemployed person has, but I am lucky enough to have that. Essential employees that must venture into the increasingly dangerous world with no protections make up the majority of Americans right now, so it feels obtuse of me to be my usual irreverent self these days.
Be that as it may, I still see many that are suffering from the damaging mental health impact of quarantine and I am an expert in forced isolation and solitude. I have something helpful to contribute, even if it is not the most helpful thing written right now. For ease of writing and being true to my voice I need to downplay and minimize things that are tremendous and traumatizing. It’s how I roll. So I’m writing this semi-serious post that I can link back to in each of my upcoming guides because their main purpose is to inspire a dark laugh or smirk. There are others writing extremely inspiring and helpful things, and I encourage you to seek them out. But know there’s still space to laugh at how fucked we are, friends. And I am just the person to guide you through that. Stay tuned.