Tag Archives: isolation

Finding new support styles

 

I thought I wasn’t the type to lean on people, but I found myself reeling when that support was lifted.

We are not islands. Why rely on yourself when you can make other people responsible for your health and sanity? They are usually happy to help.

Here is how I’m regaining my balance.

 

 

Old habit: running with a friend

New habit: scheduling remote exercise with a friend

 

I am not especially reliable, especially where exercise is concerned. Having made a promise to a friend is one of the few things that get me out there and moving, and I’m always glad when I have done it.

When isolation began, I really foundered in this area. I was afraid to go outside, I was too depressed to get moving. Exercise videos on youtube were a lifesaver. Doing a video alone is painful and grating and you’re relieved to be done. Doing them with somebody else on videochat makes it hilarious, and you want to do more.

Now I’m pushing my friends to schedule exercise time with me. It’s good for them too, they love it, I’m sure they’re very grateful (heh). Even just going for a run while keeping the phone to my ear and talking to somebody else running, is oddly comforting and connecting. We could both enjoy the beautiful things we saw outside, and describe them to each other. Proximity being no object, I can now run with a friend who lives in Kansas City who I rarely get to see. I have a feeling I’m going to keep doing this even after lockdown is lifted. I have more workout companions than ever!

 

 

Old habit: making cookies with my sister

New habit: making cookies with my siblings over Facetime

 

It’s nice, because more of my siblings can get involved this way. It’s fun to just set your phone on the countertop and get out your ingredients, compare recipes, show off your freshly baked cookies, eat them together.

 

 

Old habit: walking to a cafe and getting a treat

New habit: making myself a special beverage

 

It’s just as gratifying to sit down with your own cold-brew coffee or iced chai latte. There’s a little work involved, but think of the preparation time as a luxury. You don’t get annoyed at the work involved in drawing a bath and lighting up candles, do you?

 

 

Old habit: brush then floss

New habit: floss then brush

 

Yeah, this has no bearing on the topic. It’s just something that I learned. Apparently, if you floss BEFORE you brush, then the gaps are opened up between your teeth, and the fluoride from the toothpaste can get in there and work its magic. This assertion is still being personally tested by me, but it makes sense. Once upon a time, I didn’t believe in fluoride, and my teeth rotted. Now I believe in fluoride. I pray to fluoride every night, I perform the fluoride ritual, and it answers my prayers. In fluoride there is strength.

 

 

Old habit: eat all the bananas as fast as possible

New habit: once they are at perfect ripeness, bananas can go in the fridge

 

Yes, 80% of my coping habits are food-centric. Hush.

 

 

Old habit: spending an entire Sunday with my sister and her family

New habit: calling somebody at least every other day

 

In order to get the same quantity of people-hours into my week, this is necessary. If I skip too many days in a row, I find myself drifting.

 

 

Old habit: when the walls are closing in on me, get out of the house

New habit: turn into the woman from “The Yellow Wallpaper”

 

There is a squirrel in the walls. I have been battling it for months but I’ve been driven to new levels of insanity by its scrabbling and nibbling right above my head. If you see a crazy lady in pajamas stalking her roof with a knife, look away.

Headphones help. Fantasizing squirrel murder helps. These are not healthy strategies. I’m still working on this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Bleakness

 

When there’s something you can’t hold

When what you are is not allowed

When the people you know best aren’t real

While the real people don’t know you at all

When your soul has gone off

Like a brown avocado

And the only thing in this world that feels right

Is the knife in your hand

Breaking the rules

Unleashing hell

Blade scrapes bone.

By another’s death

You acknowledge your own existence

You are alive

For a moment.

But what is left to fill

The countless minutes between stabbings

Except bleakness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

AC

 

She exhaled. The air froze her breath, turning it to mist.

She turned, her high ponytail bouncing, and headed towards the fridge.

In her home hung icy stalactites. The floor was slick as a rink.

She cracked off an icicle as she passed through a door and picked her teeth with it.

Once this room was stiflingly warm, full of chaos and arguments and pets and children and steaming meals. Every blanket was a shared blanket. There wasn’t enough house to go around.

Now things were much better.

She checked her fridge and swore to herself. There wasn’t enough milk for her to make the ice cream. It was already time for another grocery run?

Grabbing her keys, she put on a visor and sunglasses, a light shawl, considered sunblock but decided against it.

When she opened the door, the sun hit her hard, even through the sunglasses. She took a deep breath of conditioned air before heading out. Her mantra would get her through this: only five minutes, only five minutes. Then she could be back home, making ice cream, enjoying the cold dark quiet isolation of her safe, safe house. With any luck, she wouldn’t have to talk to a single person.