My Thoughts On a Crisis

The world is going through sudden pandemonium. And apparently none of us saw it coming. Even though we’ve been warned. Even though we’ve been writing books about it and making movies about it and scaring each other with it for years now. Because we never expected it to really happen.

Everything is changing, but I almost feel as if nothing has changed at all. My routines are still the same. I’m still alone all weekend because I don’t have any friends and my husband works weekends. I still do yoga most days. I still take my dog on walks and deal with her anxiety when there’s too much going on outside. I still go to work. I still buy things only in the amounts I need.

But life has still been thrown off kilter. I take public transit to work because it’s cheaper than filling my car up with gas every week. On Friday, I was one of the only people on most of my buses. I’ve been told the freeways feel empty. Everything is being closed or cancelled. And my company’s sales dropped by 50% in two days. Which means they can’t afford to pay all of their employees unless we drop down to four days a week. On Monday we’ll find out if more days need to be cut. Which means I’ll lose money when I’m barely making it as it is. Which means the review and raise my offer letter promised I’d get a month ago most likely aren’t ever going to happen. Which means I’m once again questioning every decision I’ve made in my recent years.

I sometimes wish I’d never moved to Alabama. I was making good money before that move. I was stable. But I was wild. I was going out and drinking and trying things that I once said I’d never try. I was staying out late and getting up early and working two jobs. But I was having fun. I was also in my early 20s. I’m not in my early 20s anymore.
I often wish I’d never quit my job at Starbucks. I had good benefits. I always knew I’d get hours. I had friends at work that I enjoyed talking to and listening to and hanging out with outside of work. I had stability. If this pandemic had hit then, that large corporation would make sure I was taken care of as a valuable employee. But I was depressed. I didn’t feel heard by the other supervisors or by my manager. I tried for months to quit that job. I didn’t have weekends or evenings off. My back always hurt.
I sometimes wish we hadn’t moved home to California. My boyfriend turned fiance turned husband wouldn’t have been screwed over by someone I was friends with in high school. And he wouldn’t have spent six months feeling depressed and isolated because that’s what small, shitty towns do to you if you’re not ready for them. Half my stuff wouldn’t still be in his dad’s basement or in random places in my childhood home. I would still feel like I could make it on my own. But I’d still be dealing with Alabama weather, Alabama wages, Alabama politics and everything that goes with that. I would still be told by old, slow, southern women that I talk too fast and be hated when I apologize and tell them I’m from California. I would still be homesick.
I wish I hadn’t quit my graduate program. I loved that program. I loved the people that came with it. I would be almost done by now if we hadn’t left. I would have a sense of purpose. I would know that I’d be actually stable in the future. Because I chose a program here and went through the process of writing essays and getting more letters of recommendation and getting accepted so I could finish only to be riddled with so much anxiety and stress and depression that I decided it was better to wait longer. Or maybe not go back at all, because I want to be in another program that is actually good where the professors actually care and where I actually know what is going on. I want to be part of program that I’m excited about it. But I’m not excited about much these days.
I quite frequently wish we hadn’t moved to San Diego. We didn’t have the money saved for this move. I feel so sunk in the hole that I’ll probably never get out. I don’t know anyone and I have no friends. Covered CA keeps fucking up my health insurance and has now cancelled it without telling me. I don’t make enough to keep myself afloat. I am struggling worse than I have since my mom died. I 100% don’t know how I’m going to get through this. But I know that I will. And I know that my partner is happy. I know that I did this for him. I know that I have someone to spend my life with and see everyday, and not everyone has that. I know that we’ll take care of each other. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. We’re going to be okay, eventually.

So our world is sick. Actual insane (most likely white ladies) are buying up every roll of toilet paper, bottle of hand sanitizer, and non perishable food item on the shelves in literally every store. These people actually plan to never go outside again. Sucks for them. But you know what? The world is still turning. Most of us will survive this. We’ll someday get to say “remember when?” And hopefully this will open our nation’s eyes to how much we need healthcare reform.
After days and days of rain, the sun came out today. I got to feel it on my skin and was reminded that very soon it will be warm enough for me to spend hours laying on the beach. Because I only live a mile from the ocean.

Go outside, even if it’s only for a minute. Take a breath of fresh air. And then go read a book, do some yoga, watch a movie, binge some netflix, pet your dog, and kiss your partner. Take this chaotic time and turn it into a time to remember what peace is like. Remember what stillness is like. Remember what it’s like to not feel the need to keep up with everything going on. Take this as a time to hit reset for a little while.
Remember what the sun feels like.

Overestimating

Only once in my life has a stranger asked for my number.  This may be partly because strangers don’t often approach other strangers, not like they used to.  I’m also not very approachable anymore.  And I usually am friends with a guy before he wants me number.  But I digress.

The summer of my fifteenth birthday my parents took me and a friend to Knott’s Berry Farm.  My friend and I got to go on rides all day while my parents did whatever they did for the day.
We were in line for one of the roller coasters when I saw this guy further back in line who had beautiful blue eyes.  They drew my eyes to his face instantly, so I told my friend how cute he was.  We kept making eye contact until it was my turn to get on the roller coaster.  I was wearing a neon green tiger striped shirt, so when I was all buckled in he yelled, “I like your shirt!”  And then the roller coaster took off.  I had never had someone do anything like that to me before, so I was confused, but also a little excited that the cute boy had talked to me.
When we got off the roller coaster we skipped off to another ride, and then decided we should see if we could find the cute boy again.  I saw him from a distance, and instead of being normal and cool I yelled, “Look, there he is!”  and pointed at him.  In my embarrassment, my friend and I ran away.  Later he saw us and he and his friends did the same thing to us.  Eventually his friend came up to me and said he wanted my number, but was too shy to ask me himself.  His name was AJ.

AJ and I texted or talked on the phone on and off for a couple years.  In this time I gave my life to Christ.  AJ asked me why I would want to love a cruel God.  He believed that God took away his family and had caused all the bad that he knew of.  As a new Christian, all I could say was an abbreviated testimony and that I wouldn’t be alive if not for God.  He told me he was a Satanist and that Satan loved him and cared for him.  Basically, Satan took the place in AJ’s life that God has in mine.
One of my youth pastors at the time, when I told him AJ was a Satanist and I didn’t know what to say to him, my youth pastor told me I had to stop talking to AJ and delete his number.  He said AJ might be praying to Satan for me, and that could negatively affect my life.

This guy, Bob Goff, wrote a book, Love Does, and in that book is a chapter called “Catching a Ride.”  In this chapter Bob says, “We talk about satan way more than the Bible ever talks about satan.”  He refuses to capitalize the “devil’s” name, because that is “giving him too much credit.”  He says that some people, when they sin continuously, start to believe that they cannot quit because they are under satan’s power.

I’ve realized that a lot of people give satan too much power.  He is a manipulator, but he is not equal to God.  We act as if satan and God are of equal power, but one is just good, while the other is bad.  I don’t think this is right.  We overestimate his power.  If we sin, it’s because of our fallen nature, but we tend to blame it on satan.

I think that’s all I have to say about this.
I regret that I was not a better witness to AJ, and instead cut him out of my life.  I know that God is so powerful, and I would not have become possessed by staying friends with him.  Ugh.  Regrets.