I have read articles recently about how Shakespeare wrote sonnets and King Lear during the plagues when the theaters were shuttered.
I applaud Mr. Shakespeare and thank him for his significant contributions to the canon.
When you hear these things in the midst of worldwide lockdown, does it inspire you to grasp pen and paper and set to work?
I feel uncomfortable pressure in the face of such encouragement. I’d better use this time wisely. After all, King Lear, ya know?
These last five days after Elon shut ‘er down for a good while, I’ve been celebrating the fact that my wife is awesome and makes it possible for me to take a nap in the afternoons.
After the first half of the spring semester my body is like, whaaaat?
This is a pattern—burst of academic energy and overwork followed by a break period in which my body understands there is an imminent series of dark days, my physiology turns on the ghost light.
I ask Melissa, “Why am I so tired?”
She answers, “This is what usually happens on your breaks.”
“Oh, yeah.” I forgot the last time.
We’ve done things like watch the Spenser movie on Netflix, make corned beef and cabbage for St. Patty’s, ask my Mama if she could procure some TP somewhere in Mt. Airy, NC. Thanks, Mama, and thank you Galaxy Grocery Store on Highway 89. What you gotta do these days for a roll.
While many of us need this body rest desperately, I’d venture to say that in these peculiar times many more of us need mind rest.
How many of us have sat in our residences still sporting hot and cold running water, electricity, and some kind of telephonic device that could be used to call someone we know for help if worse came to worse?
Yet we scroll headlines on same said telephonic devices crafted to get our fighty-flighty fingers to click to read how we are headed into cataclysmic Mad-Max-topia where all the TP and hand sanitizer has been hoarded in a Tennessee garage for sale only on the dark web.
Yesterday at dinner (corned beef leftovers :)), Melissa said, “This is like a bad movie.”
And I said, “Exactly, and we are all screening our own mental movies when we see all the Netflix-style mandatory trailers on our news feeds. (Netflix, still not a fan of the automatic, enforced preview. And music theatre nerds, insert your own joke or reference to the Miss Saigon tune here.)
If you are reading this on the interwebs, it is likely you have access to a living space where you are relatively safe and can hunker down and ride this thing out.
You may be in doubt about whether you can continue to pay for said living space or the commensurate utilities. I hear you. I have been there, and it was a product of my own choices, not a microbe-induced global shutdown.
I mean it, I’ve been there. As in…outside the check cashing store in North Hollywood where I had been denied a usurious loan, unsuccessfully holding back tears as I called my friend to please lend me $500 so I could pay bills. I know what skint feels like as my friends in the UK like to say. Bless you all. Stay inside.
Whatever your what-if scenarios may be, I invite you to let the thoughts come. Play them out to the very end.
In that movie’s ending, are you absolutely sure you won’t be all right if everything shakes down the way you fear? Even life and death–can you be certain that in the middle of the circumstance you fear the most you won’t look up and say, “You know what? I’m okay.”?
Reminds me of something I heard career coach and men(sch)tor Barbara Deutsch say to me back in LA–“It’s not fear. It’s discomfort. You can handle discomfort.”
Seriously, how much discomfort have you handled in your life? List it. See? You’ve got this.
One dis-ease that we can be vigilant about containing is the one we spread to ourselves by believing all the Chicken Little pronouncements our precious minds deliver to us in the hope of keeping the sky from falling on our brains.
Our minds are truly trying to be helpful–much like twenty-two-month-old Noah is trying to be helpful when he throws his used diaper into the dirty clothes hamper.
I invite us all to tread gently in these days with ourselves and therefore with each other. If I’m not kind with you, then I’m not kind with me in the same moment.
Our brains will want to throw a few wet diapers in the dirty clothes. So, what if we take that diaper out and put it where it goes with a smile on our face thanking our super cute brain for pitching in?
And speaking of super cute, I leave you with this sweet moment in case you just need some unfiltered love, joy, and connection today.
After dinner hugs, or as Noah likes to say, “Hooolld it.”
It’s all good until 0:53 when I block Noah’s intense tickle game.