The First Thirty Days.

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April 12, 2020 – 30 days of living in quarantine. 30 days since I rode the bus and train to my office. 30 days I’ve spent unexpectedly living with my partner.

I think about all that has happened, as I sit crossed legged on my couch, waiting for the sound of the tea kettle to signal that the water is ready. I had way too much wine last night, and it feels like a good day to detox.

I can remember feeling very much out of control and angry in the beginning. I’ve mentioned previously that I am recovering control freak, one who manages her anxiety with structure and rituals. I was struggling to understand how to create a new structure for myself, a new normal.

My therapist sent me this article The Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief and it really helped me frame the feelings I was experiencing.

I had plans for 2020. I planned to visit my grandfather in Nigeria, for the first time in 25 years. I planned to go to Spain to celebrate my sister’s 21st in June. I never thought that it would be months and months until I could see my family again. I missed my weekly yoga classes, my weekly afternoon walks with my coworker. I missed my friends.

Reading this article made me realize I was experiencing stages of grief. In some ways, all of us are grieving something. The year started off rocky, with the passing of Kobe Bryant, a trash ass Black History Month, and now most recently, COVID-19. Everything fell apart in a span of three months. That is a hard pill to swallow.

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I think what has been the most sobering is trying to supervise and educate aspiring social workers during this pandemic. Now I’ve worked through some disasters myself. I remember doing home visits during Sandy. At the time I didn’t think of the gravity of that experience; I simply did my job. Years later, as I wrap my mind around what implications this crisis will have on all of us, the task of educating feels way more urgent. A few of my students are actively recovering from coronavirus. A few have already lost family members and friends. Still, they want to know how to navigate this, they want to learn tools to manage themselves and their clients. It has pushed me to think more critically, about what ‘disaster preparedness’ really means. Not just for this country, not just for my profession, but also, for me. As we move into the second month of isolation, I feel calmer than at the beginning. In some ways, I’ve taken better care of myself this past month, than I ever have in my life. That’s pretty fuckin crazy.

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I don’t know how long this quarantine will last. Everyday there are new changes, new predictions. But I know what has helped moved me forward. FaceTime calls with family and friends, a consistent yoga practice, reading, and having a loving and supportive partner. I pray that we all collectively get through this together.

You have an opportunity right now- not to necessarily become better, but maybe to become more settled, more whole. Maybe you’re being given a chance to quiet everything around you, so you can hear your own voice.”- Brianna Weist

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