A few days ago, I looked down at my phone and saw that it was 11:11. That’s supposed to be some sort of sign from the universe, that the universe is looking out for you, or that you should take a minute and reflect on all the things that you are thankful, or some shit like that. Usually, when I see 11:11 on a clock, I do just that, take a minute and reflect on all that is good in my life, but Saturday I looked down at the phone, took a screenshot, and said I’d reflect later. I didn’t reflect later that day or the days after; I just sat on my couch that has been molded perfectly to the size of my bottom and felt sorry for myself. It has been a rough few days for me, and I know all of you are dealing with the same thing, but today, we are talking about me.
I have never been that person who has struggled with mental illness, never, but last night I was so in my head I couldn’t find a way out and I was sure I had the virus, I was just waiting for the symptoms to show up and I was scared. I went to bed, scared. When I woke up this morning, I pushed that feeling in the way back of my mind, but it was still there, nagging, pulling at the strings of my sanity. So, I made a cup of tea, and while I was waiting on the water to boil I went through my email. There it was, staring me in the face, an email from my grammar check app, gently reminding me that I haven’t written any words in a long time. I cursed out loud in my kitchen at my phone. As the tea kettle screamed abruptly bringing back to life, I thought, “Well Gina, writing on your blog has always made you feel better in the past, so maybe you start to write again” I said back to myself “But life has never been weirder than it is right now so why write things down?” Again, answering myself, because this is what this quarantine has done to me, I talk to myself more than is possibly healthy and more out loud than I really should, because it often elicits a response from my husband something along the lines of “huh??”.
So I poured myself a cup of tea, sat on that butt-shaped hole on my couch, and started typing. Let me explain first and foremost why I thought I had the virus yesterday. Because I’m sure most of you are thinking if you are staying at home, how could you have possibly caught the virus? Well, last Thursday, my husband and I were all alone in a warehouse, well with a truck driver. We were all practicing social distancing while loading up the truck with pieces of the set from the last tour I was on. It was a project that there was never enough time for consolidating everything in one warehouse instead of three different ones. Neither my husband nor I wanted to be doing this task, but we knew it was the best time TO move that stuff, so move it we did. Until there was an accident, long story short, my husband sliced the top of his finger off, well not really off, it was there, bleeding all over the warehouse floor and was being held on by a thread. My biggest fear of this virus was playing out in slow motion before my eyes. “Gina call 911,” my husband yelled, which was shortly followed by, “I need to lay down; I’m gonna pass out.” So a trip in the ambulance and the hospital during a pandemic is NOT how I saw that day unfolding. Fast forward to yesterday, a follow-up trip to the doctors to make sure everything was healing the way it should after the surgery to put his finger back together, and I found myself standing in a doctor’s office without a mask.
The logical part of my brain tells me I don’t have the virus, but the part of my brain that is teetering on mental stability is still not so sure. Today I promised myself I wasn’t going to watch the news. I wasn’t going to look at the alerts on my phone, and I was going to do what I should have done on Saturday when 11:11 showed up on my phone, I’m going to take a minute and reflect on all the things I’m thankful for, starting with my husband’s finger that seems to be healing. I’m thankful for the internet that lets me get texts from friends with pictures of an elephant’s birthday party. I am thankful for texts from my sisters about how the quarantine has forced us to look at our necks that just seem to be aging at light speed. I’m thankful that my family is healthy. I am thankful that my chickens are healthy, getting paychecks, and obeying the social distancing rules. I’m thankful that I have a husband that thought way ahead of this thing and made us stock up food and essentials. I’m amazed when I look at him and realize tomorrow is our 15th wedding anniversary, and I am thankful I still like him.
There is a lot to be thankful during this time of uncertainty, but it is still a time of uncertainty, and that’s scary, scary for everyone. I’m trying to be patient and gentle with myself, reminding myself that this is something we’ve never been through, so there is no playbook to follow, just our instincts. So, please be gentle with yourself. Don’t listen to Gwyneth Paltrow who thinks we should take this time to learn a language, write a book, or some shit like that, do what works for you and if that means having daytime pajamas and nighttime pajamas, GREAT! If you want to have ice cream for breakfast, you should. If you want to run or exercise, then more power to you, and you should. Don’t let the pressure of having to do something force you into a space that makes you feel even more uncomfortable. Remember, the only rule out there right now is to be gentle with yourself because today is hard.