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.

30 Days Done

As I’ve said before, every January I try to do 30 straight days of Yoga with Adrienne. I love that she does this every year and it gives me an opportunity to build momentum for the year ahead of me. Today marks the end of January, thus I have done yoga for 30 days straight. (31 days really, because I did yoga on the 1st of the month too, even though her 30 days doesn’t start until the 2nd)

I feel accomplished. I feel like I can do this year right. I have a lot of things planned for this year, some big changes are coming that haven’t been announced yet, and I am pumped. I want to step forward with confidence. I may not get it all right, but I can do it. I am smart and I am capable.

I am setting goals for myself to make myself a better person, inside and out.

What goals are you setting? I’d love to hear them.

Balance

Life is a lot about balance. You balance work and home. You balance chores and relaxation. Balance the things that need to be done, like homework, and the things you want to do, like watch Netflix or read a suspense novel.

I feel out of balance sometimes. My kitchen is cluttered because someone was working on our pipes. The work is finally finished now, but we haven’t put the effort into putting things back to normal. My living room is cluttered because every time we open a piece of mail lately, every time I open a piece of mail, it gets set on the coffee table instead of in the trash, where it most like belongs.

My room is cluttered because it always is. Nothing’s changed there.

But I don’t feel like doing anything about this, at least not right away. I’d rather do something interesting, or at least that lets me procrastinate longer. I forced myself to do the dishes today. It literally takes only five to ten minutes to sort and load the dishwasher. I finally put away the clothes that I pulled out of the dryer two days ago. Again, that couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes. So why do these tasks seem so daunting sometimes?

I understand the concept of balance. I understand what needs to be done. It just feels like a lot sometimes. Most of the time. But I really want to learn balance this year.

How long is 10 minutes?

The biggest thing about Alabama in the summer is that it is hot and humid and being outside is hard, especially if you don’t get into a routine early.  I’m not going to make excuses as to how or why, but I, once again, failed to get into a routine.  Thus, running or biking when the sun is out is just not a wise decision.  I want to be active, but I don’t want to die.
One thing that I’ve incorporated into my life over the last couple of years, but definitely even more in the last couple of months, is yoga.  I’ve been trying to do yoga for 20-30 minutes every day that I can, which, luckily, has been most days.  I do Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, in case you’re wondering.

Today I went to the next video on the September playlist and it’s 41 minutes long.  I’ve worked out for longer than that many many times in my life before, but I’ve felt weak lately.  I’ve felt that I can’t do much.  I’ve felt overweight and out of shape and so many other things that probably aren’t true.  But we all tend to perceive ourselves differently than we actually are, don’t we?
So I almost skipped the 40 minute video.  Because ten extra minutes just felt too long.  I felt too weak.  I felt like I might feel too tired afterward.  But then I thought about how I usually feel after I do yoga.  Unlike other workouts, when I do yoga I just feel good.  My mood boosts in a different way.  My body doesn’t feel like I’ve done a hard workout, it just feels… I don’t know… good.  I told myself to do the 40 minute video.  It wasn’t hard.  Those ten extra minutes weren’t even noticed.

So I wonder how long ten minutes even is.  What else could I do for ten minutes that I might not even notice?  Could I do ten extra minutes of cleaning?  My house would look that much better.  Could I spend ten extra minutes outside with my dog?  Maybe when it cools down.  Could I spend ten minutes writing, so maybe my mind might be clearer, like it used to be?  I decided to find out.

What could you do for ten minutes?

That Was Today?

Today, I have done seven minutes of yoga.  I have watched far too many episodes of Parenthood.  I have washed dishes.  I ordered Chinese food.  I walked my dog.  We cuddled too.  Now we’re sitting on opposite couches.

You know what I didn’t get to do?  Go look at the sun.  Because I don’t have eclipse glasses.  I did get to see the little crescents through a colander.  And all of the photos my boyfriend sent me.

It’s just strange that this is a monumental time in my life.  It’s the only chance I have to see it.  Two seconds was long enough I think though.  Because the idea in my head is more exciting than the actual event.

It was just nice to have a day off I think.  That’s all I think.

Body, Mind, and Soul

We are told to love ourselves.  We are told to stay healthy and eat right.  We are told to exercise.  We are told to go to church and to find a good community.  Because all of these things are important.

But I think we get too focused and forget the main point.  Love yourself.

I set a New Year resolution to go running and do yoga four times a week.  And I’ve done great.  My mileage is up, and I am stronger.  I look better.  I feel better.  But I’ve also been opening at work almost everyday and not sleeping the best.  So some afternoons I’m just tired.  And the last two or three weeks I’ve felt almost under the weather, but not quite, so I’ve napped, and then not felt good enough to go out on a run.  My boyfriend tells me it’s fine, and that it’s good to give myself a rest, but instead I beat myself up over it.  It depresses me that I’m so tired, and I’m so tired because I’m depressed.  I keep feeling like if I miss a day of exercise, I will be fat.  I’m terrified to lose my routine again.  It’s like I forget why I’m doing it in the first place.

I want to be healthy.  And it’s so easy to just focus on one realm of health.  It’s so easy to focus on clean eating and an exercise routine, but then forget to nourish your mind and your soul.  It’s easy to get caught up in a mantra of a having a healthy mind, but neglect your spirit and body.  It’s easy to beat yourself up if you miss church, so you focus only on that, but forget that your body is a temple and your mind a control center.

I am one, whole person.  I have a mind, a body, and a soul.  (Some would say I am a soul, but that’s beside the point.)  I’m not going to get fat if I occasionally skip a run because I’m exhausted.  My happiness is just as important as my appearance.  And no one hates me, especially not God, if I want to stay home and sleep in on the occasional Sunday morning.  Church is for community, not salvation, anyway.

Love yourself.  Body.  Mind.  Soul.

Resolving to be Stronger

I’ve started running again.  My favorite human and I decided to make healthier choices in 2017, because that’s a cheesy thing that people do, and we’re gonna do a 5k together in May (or we’re planning on it).  So I’ve been running a couple miles four days a week and doing yoga everyday and eating healthier.

Last week I was tired.  I went on one of my longer runs and I wasn’t super motivated, but I knew I had to do it.  I needed to get this run in.  Not long after I started my run, I looked across the street, and coming up the sidewalk, moving the opposite direction that I was running in, was a man in a wheelchair.  He was alone.  And I thought to myself, if he can do it, than I can finish this run.  And I did.  I was motivated.  Because I am strong.

I needed new jeans.  I went to Huntsville with a friend and I was looking for a size for in a certain wash and cut.  I have been wearing a six, but I know that I can fit into a four, so I wanted a four.  I was being loud, in a comical way.  We were digging through the piles of jeans at Old Navy, because I wanted that size four.  I then overheard the girl shopping next to me ask the attendant for help.  She couldn’t find a size 18 short in the color that she wanted.  And I felt bad.  Because I was complaining about not being able to find a four.  I never did find the four, so I had to buy a six anyway.  But they are loose, so there’s that.

I’ve been thinking about how everyday is a new day.  It doesn’t matter how much you eat on one day, you still need to eat enough calories the next day.  Your body resets.  If you mess up on Monday, that doesn’t mean that Tuesday is going to be bad.
A lot of people think that 2016 was terrible, and they’ve given up on 2017.  My roommate has already given in to drinking, when she said she didn’t want to this year.  It’s still the middle of January.
But I’m not giving in.  I’m resolving to be stronger.  Failure will only motivate me.  Doesn’t matter whose failures they are.