There's No Way I'm Getting Out Of This Unchanged
I can't definitively speak on anyone else's quarantine experiences. I just have a hunch that this slow, homebound time; this stoppage of regular life as we know it, seems to be pulling out a lot of previously unacknowledged struggles and inner lessons for us to face.
Some things I have been forced to learn so far:
1. I Can Choose A More Productive Option Than Worry.
I can't help it sometimes. Worrying is part of my template. But it has never, in any instance, been helpful. At best it has wasted my time and good brain space. At worst it has amplified all my problems, even built problems I didn't actually have. Now I'm dealing with all the speculation and misinformation in the news, reevaluating my relationships, my talents, my income streams (or lack thereof), and worrying about so many things out of my control. I understand now that long bartending shifts in busy restaurants suit me because, however exhausting, they are an escape from the things I worry about when given too much free time. Now, in my home space, I have to get more creative. I have to be a lot more forgiving. I have to focus in on the smallest joys and tiniest laughs, and busy myself with a rotation of activity: journalling, cooking, cleaning, writing blogs, dancing, movies, half-ass workouts (I was never very motivated outside of class/training), music, and books. It simply doesn't help me to watch the news willy-nilly, or to scroll through Twitter at random. I don't look at my phone for the first and last few hours of the day: it's gamechanging.
2. Shane & I Are Different In Ways I Didn't Notice Before, & I Like It.
We've spent most of the past five years in and out of endlessly separate schedules, typically working toward different goals in different peer circles. We have different movie tastes and workout regimes. He's sweeter. I'm more savory (in taste AND personality). He can sit and watch Youtube how-to vids for hours on end. I don't like to sit and watch anything until around bedtime. Shane hates journalling. I need to journal to survive. :) Shane is a night owl. I am a morning person, unless I stayed up too late...then I'm just an involuntary sleep-in.
Shane has more confidence and ease and trust in his own flow. I need structure, and well-talked-through plans and to analyze sh*t all day like it's my job (I don't know if I need to--I just always am). I like to do the dishes immediately. Shane waits until the end of the day, or the next day, which is intolerable to me for some reason. My default reaction is sass, which quickly gives way to fiery know-it-all-ness. His default reaction is silliness, followed by patient redirects. We have truly spent the past 5-6 weeks getting to know each other's brains and habits. It has been challenging, and beautiful, and strengthening.
3. I'm Still Dealing With Worthiness Issues, Introvert Fears, & False Starts.
I'm still scared to put myself out there. Still hesitant to work on myself and stuck in comparative mind for most of the day (the old: "why start now if I'll never be good enough?" debacle). I'm still easily overwhelmed by the "should's" of the day, which have only eased a little since everything had to close. More than ever, I'm aware of how I'm passing the time, and constantly judging myself for it. A few moments a day are regularly spent paralyzed, feeling like I'm not doing enough to help the world, not doing enough to promote my work, not doing enough to build my skills. Worthiness is, clearly, one of my repetitive life lessons. It unfolds with more detail and honesty each year, and all this time at home gives it a lot of emotional fuel. But my days are flush with love and kindness. Projects still make their way to me even in lockdown (I have another acting shoot with CreatorUp, 2 articles for Dance Plug, and a voiceover session for a film this week :O). Friends reach out with improv challenges, music recommends, and longwinded conversations that fill my heart to the brim. My life is utterly humbling, and underneath all those worthiness woes is an infinite well of gratitude for this exact moment, in all its unexpected glory.
4. My Health Is Woven So Intricately With My State Of Mind.
More time to think about it, and more ruthless taunts in the media, have meant more focus on the state of my health. I'm making up new recipes and avoiding most workouts. I'm not even looking in the mirror as much. But I've noticed my energy is better when my mindset is better, and that makes sense. I learned from a physical therapist that every cell of our bodies reflects our conscious and subconscious thoughts. It can be harder to feel healthy when we've been forced to worry about it more every day. I've noticed a correlation between my exhaustion levels and how recently I've been to a grocery store (that sh*t is draining amiright?), and also how much fresh air and nature appreciation I've afforded myself. It's a fresh patch of my never ending health journey that I'm trying to navigate with care.
I have more lessons to share... perhaps grounds for a Part 2 segment tomorrow! What are you learning about your home, health and relationships? Are you going deep? Facing traumas? Keeping it light? Are you taking extra good care of yourselves? I recommend it. It's a sensitive time and we all need a little extra empathy.