Hello, it’s me. Your friendly neighborhood part time writer (ish?) and full time human being. At least I am pretty sure that’s the case, in terms of the human being part. Life does seem to be trying to convince us that we are all characters in some truly dramatic (and poorly written) fiction right now.
Currently, the apocalypse is occurring outside my window… Both in the COVID-19 way the world is experiencing but also in the torrential rain and thunder that reverberates down your spine way. I LOVE a good thunderstorm, though the current rain does seem like a cosmic joke when getting out for fresh air is the only means of escape we have from our homes at the moment.
Which is actually what brings me here today, dear reader, after nearly a year of silence. I last checked in to share my excitement and fear about heading off for a trip which held many memories. My experience in London was lovely and Scotland was an absolute dream (as it always is). Since, I have also been to Ireland with my family, I met a lovely man who makes me happy, and I turned 30 in quarantine. Obviously there was plenty more on the in-between but those are some highlights from the past ten months.
Ten months, damn. It’s been a long time since I last wrote like this. I am rusty. The open and vulnerable quality (not my natural MO, if we are being honest) I have sought to use in the past seems to have dried up a bit. I think, as the initial reason for the creation of this blog has become more and more of the past—the pain subsiding and the need to have my feelings live anywhere but inside me—I have also developed alternate coping mechanisms for my every day, run-of-the-mill, anxiety and depression. Specifically, escapism. Always a fun one. I travel, I go for walks, I read books, I seek a change of pace and scenery. In our current reality, however, options are limited. Add pouring rain and a twisted ankle to that and they get smaller (I am fine, I just was overzealous when hopping a puddle apparently). As an introvert, I revel in solitude but even I have occasionally been struggling to content myself with my hobbies at the moment.
So, I am working on cultivating what my current silver linings are, in this giant, gray cloud of self isolation and permeating fear (and more than a little aerosol disinfectant).
Show My My Silver Lining…
Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly grateful for my health and I believe in social distancing. I do not want to bemoan our collective situation when I am able to work from my comfortable home. I am lucky. Particularly when I know that many, many, people are struggling right now and it breaks my heart that I am unable to relieve much of the burden outside of making sure that I work to behave as a responsible citizen.
In a world of creeping anxiety and depression for more and more individuals, I do not want to complain, I want to encourage random acts of laughter and enjoyment—as much as I can, anyway, under the current circumstances. Recently, my immediate family has had a group chat where we check on each other but also share something funny or heartwarming to focus on for the day. I am well aware that it’s not a unique idea, many people are doing the same, John Krasinski being a notable example.
Happiness is not a state of being, or a place we can live, it is fleeting. Without sadness/pain/difficulty/etc., we would not have real happiness. We all know it can be hard to find even snippets happiness when things seem bleak and the walls are closing in. So, when we find it, we should not be stingy with it. From the touching to the dumb, here is what has recently brought me joy:
- BOOKS (what else is new?) – specifically, everything Sarah Maas has ever written; Mort by Terry Pratchett; and Christopher Moore’s comedic vampire series
- Nostalgic movies – pretty much anything in John Cusack’s goofy oeuvre (but High Fidelity in particular), The Emperor’s New Groove, Chicken Run, Austenland, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Snatch
- TV – The Miranda Show and Seinfeld
- Dumb Internet Cooking Tutorials – in particular, this TREASURE of an individual and Dead Chicken with Old Milk (not a risky click, I promise)
- Everything Sparknotes posts on social media
- Facebook Live Concerts – specifically, Frank Turner and Felix Hagan
- Music (in general and to drown out my neighbor’s frequent drum practice) – Johnny Flynn; Balmorhea; and Relient K (for some SOLID nostalgic vibes) to name a few
- Modifying this banana bread recipe to include cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, and brown sugar instead of white – to make the best batch I have ever baked
- Managing to create an actual painting, my first since I was a kid
- Hammock time when the sky is not opening up (and the wish, as pictured above, that landed perfectly next to me as I rocked and enjoyed the sunshine on my porch)
- This cartoon –
- This meme which is very, very, funny to me in its realness right now –
- And finally, movie nights and catch up with many a friend and family member via every video chat platform available
Please, please, share your silver linings with me. I would love to celebrate them with you. “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”-Kurt Vonnegut
Photo: E. Campbell 2020