I quite honestly couldn’t tell you what day of quarantine this is. I know the date because it shows in my email and I only know the day of the week when it’s Thursday because Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week. The blur of time is strange because really all that’s changed in my world is that I’m not traveling for work. I have the same’ish routine, my work load is shifting a little more to in the moment, school is done, and I have a few new hobbies to distract me. As I type this, it would seem that nothing has really changed, and truly, it hasn’t….but it has.
I went for a drive tonight. There’s something to be said for feeling like I have a little freedom to step outside of my four walls and safely change the scenery for a bit. Road under my tires brings a weird mix of emotions over me, always has. I can remember wanting to throw my purse out the window after Ken died and go somewhere, anywhere, that I could be anonymous for awhile. I’ve driven 7 hours to have dinner with a friend and I’ve canvased 1600 mile over 6 days to spend time with “my” people. There’s a good chance I cried for half of those miles, just like I did tonight. As mile markers pass and exit signs appear and disappear I’m reminded that the objects in the rear view mirror are closer than I realize and that the past, no matter where I leave it, is part of me.
I’ve tried to keep the past from catching up with me in my mind for a long time. The thought of reliving intensely deep emotions and pain gives me lip sweat. In my mind, if I stayed in perpetual motion, nothing could catch me…not a person, not a memory, not one single feeling. That worked until it didn’t work and the realization that I thrive in an orchestra and not on the road as a one man band echoed across my thoughts until I acknowledged it. The idea of running to and from things feels like a life time away from this moment I’m in but, I didn’t really start growing roots until I moved to Omaha. The current state of the world has left me with no other choice than to feel settled exactly where I am and I think the roots I’ve kept neatly tucked away are starting to make there way to the ground where my feet are firmly planted. I would have never thought that possible…funny what happens when seasons change and your life’s garden find pockets of sunshine and a few good gardeners to help you pick through the weeds.
With being settled and the city outside my window at a crawl, you would think this would be the perfect time to get lost in a great book or hell, write a book, but I can’t stay focused long enough to pick one out or put strings of words together that would cover pages. I’ve realized that what’s driven me to write is being around people or having experiences that spark thoughts or leave me questioning what it’s all about. These four walls that I’ve become overly familiar with have left me with fewer external things to ponder and have left me to sit with myself, in an awkward silence some days, to understand a little deeper how I got here. I’ve lived life at 50 WTF’s per hour for a long, long time and this slow down has been as haunting as it’s been good for me.
I have some really great memories across my life. I get lost in thinking about times that brought me to the brink of bliss and I overthink on moments that pushed me to the limits of my mind wrinkled my soul. Each and every one of those has changed me, has shaped and guided me into a new version of myself. I’ve cowered as much as I’ve stood tall, I’ve moved forward with the anchor of grief tied to my ankle and I’ve taken 15 steps backwards when life felt too heavy. And, most recently, I’ve allowed myself to be a more vulnerable creature shedding fear and believing in the beauty of what life can and will be.
For all that I’ve learned during the last 49 trips around the sun, there are days I feel like the dummest smart person that wanders the earth. I literally know better and I know that repeating the same patterns over and over again gives you the same results. Why is it that some lessons have stuck with me and others I will review over and over again until I pass the test. I’ve given people reasons to love me and to hate me. I’ve been the best supporter and the crappiest partner. I’ve walked into situation with my eyes wide open and I’ve worn a blindfold over my eyes in an attempt to see things how I wanted them to be. I’ve extended forgiveness and grace to people who didn’t deserve it and given not nearly enough to myself. I am riddled with flaws and most days I wear them like a flowing designer gown on a runway. I’m wonderful, I’m shitty, I talk too much, I cry when I should’t and I laugh when I want to scream. But, I’m human, and, through it all, I’m here as the most authentic person I know how to be…raw and real….apologetic and armed for battle.
So what do I do with my foot ankle deep in a reflection pool and a head swimming with thoughts that border on regret and joy? From the solitude of my space I guess this time is about defining what’s meant for me and what feels like trying to pull a brush through snarled hair. Some of those things will be a mind set or an image I’ve talked myself into. Someone recently told me that everyone has a past and while I know that, it sat differently with me this time. My past just comes in a different kind of package. I’ve grown into the person I am because of that past. I feel messy and I feel overwhelming but that’s how I see things and someone else may see the cracks as places to put love. I’m as lovable as everyone else- I just need someone willing to sit down and untangle my knots of slippery string one by one.
It’s day 1,000 of quarantine from my perspective and it feels like it’s crawling but collectively, in hindsight, it’s tolerable in some strange way. I try to keep my thoughts out of rabbit holes and being available for other people is the only thing that truly feels good. Relationships of all kinds will be tested and emotions will continue to pass between “this isn’t so bad” to having 3 amazon packages delivered a day. I’ve become an optimist with a rain coat and believe that there are good things that can come from all of this even if it’s as simple as finding a forgotten appreciation for phone calls instead of texts or the way sunlight bounces off the windows. I’ve lived a personal life of mostly solitude camouflaged by travel and school for a long time and while being alone has felt good a times, it’s never felt right and tonight writing this is no exception. But, I know the people I love and care about are safe tonight and that I’ll wake up tomorrow and try to be a better version of myself than I was today, even if I’m stuck on a rinse and repeat cycle…..during a time like this, that’s all anyone can ask for.