it’s been eight weeks since you looked at me

I haven’t gone into the office since March 12. 58 days of this new way of life.

They say it only takes 21 days to form a habit. So why does all of this still feel so wrong?

I crave new experiences, and yet find myself rewatching familiar shows and movies, picking up books I’ve already read. The uncertainty of our current world is so discombobulating, confusing need and want.

There is time and there isn’t. There is quiet and there isn’t.

I have found solace in online writing workshops like Undercurrent, in the meeting of creative minds fighting to make magic out of exhausted fear and loneliness and joy in each other’s presence on a Friday night.

Where do you go when you can’t leave home?

My doctors have asked that I stay inside except for doctors’ appointments that can’t be done virtually. The combination of my conditions, plus concerns about continued mysteries around my inflammation markers, make my hematologist especially worried about my susceptibility to the virus and the complications that might come from contracting it. If I wasn’t already afraid, I definitely am now.

I try go through the day focusing on what I can control. Wake up, fix hair, eat breakfast/drink coffee, change clothes, log into work. Try to remember to take a lunch break, but often forget. After work, try to write or read or work on one of my secret projects, but if I lay in bed and watch reruns of Schitt’s Creek instead, that’s okay, too. Weekends are trickier, with all those unstructured hours, so I am trying to log into write-ins like the ones Barrelhouse is running or find other organized events that keep me focused. I schedule time with friends, if we can make it work. I let myself sleep.

Some days I am better at going with this flow than others. Some days, I lay in bed listening to true crime podcasts and feel tears pricking my eye line for hours but can’t cry, and can’t not cry, and can’t move because that might make me cry, so I do nothing except lay still and breathe and let the words wash over me as I drift off to sleep in the middle of the day.

If I have learned anything so far, it’s this:

  • I have to just keep trying new things to find what works and what doesn’t.
  • I will have bad days and I need to accept that.
  • My disabilities are not instantly better or cured by working from home—their management is just different.
  • Virtual appointments are weird for everyone, and we are all still learning how to make them work.
  • Everyone deserves grace, now more than ever, and granting it to others brings a little back to you.

I hope you are finding your way through this strange time. Share your coping strategies and fears and joys in the comments.

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