Rediscovering my happy places and old friends:
Bartlet’s White House
Sacred Heart Hospital
Santa Barbara Police Department
It’s these places keeping me sane
Letting my head escape
And forget all I am missing.
“Just do the mile,” I repeated
Bracing against a spring-chilled wind
“You will feel better,” I repeated
Shoving my weight against gusts
But when I returned
I did not feel better
And there are days, I suppose
When no matter the tools–
Walks, writing, watching–
Wallowing is the only true and restorative course of action.
Things I hope I keep:
Leisurely walks around my neighborhood
Sunday family game time
Virtual hangouts with friends when schedules and distance keep us apart
Cleaning random items when I notice their grubbiness
A rare visit to family
Socially distanced, of course
An ache filled, to see people in the flesh
An ache amplified, six feet apart
It’s keeping us safe,
I repeated in my head
Until the ache became too great
And I waved goodbye
Watch Ozark, they said
It’s so good, they said
It’s not too scary, they said
Beware: the characters on Ozark are liars
Beware: so are the people who tell you to watch it
Beware: it is scary.
I am not a hugger
I flinch sometimes when touched
I was not always this way
But when I realized I faced
A life alone
I retrained myself to not be a hugger
Lest I constantly miss being touched.
The last time I was touched
By another human being
Was March 7
And while I’m glad I retrained
My hugging tendencies
This lack of human contact
Is starting to gnaw at me
Keeping me up late
Wondering if adults have ever withered
From a lack of touch.
Every night I hold five markers in my hand:
Gray, Blue, Pink, Green, Yellow
A spectrum of emotion
To track my days
I write down the key happenings:
People I talked to
Movies I watched
Tasks I completed
And I assess: what color is today?
For weeks, I was stuck between grey and pink
Devastatingly sad to numb.
But this past week?
Green every day.
It is a gift, this week of good days
Evidence that nothing is permanent.
A small step today,
Moving my scale from my bathroom to under my bed
I decide this after stepping on it,
Seeing a number I haven’t seen in months
And I felt sad
And immediately felt mad
Letting a number affect
I decide it’s time for different metrics:
Every day, did I eat
Did I walk?
Do some yoga?
Maybe lift some weights?
Do a few pushups?
Do my jeans still fit?
And if I can answer yes to most of those questions
Then my scale is irrelevant
And doesn’t need to judge me every morning.
Candy from Easter 2019
Eight small Mason jars
Dozens of makeup samples
Four cans of sweetened condensed milk
As I clean random parts of my home
I find treasures long-forgotten.
The hardest part, I’m learning
Is not being able to show up
For the people I love
Not being able to fly across the country
And help my sister move
Or help my friend bandage a breaking home
Or even drive across town
And take flowers to a grieving friend
The hardest part is knowing
My distance keeps us all safe:
The most painful of ironies