ALTERED STATE

Let me be clear from the start. I have zero creds to substantiate giving anyone good advice on how to fix their life. My life is fucked up. PERIOD.

With that said, I will you share with you the shitty, wonderful, crazy, hypocrisy that brings me to each Sunday. AND lord, the love hate relationship I have with Sunday probably deserves whole months of therapy dedicated to the subject. But as I can only meet with my therapist one hour every 5 weeks, I can’t afford to ruminate on why I have such a twisted relationship with Sunday. I have gathered the following.

I start out buying into its shitty seduction, its glossy thighs serenading me about the limitless pleasures that I will experience. Its tight abs glinting with the promise of clean floors, sparkling toilets, and folded laundry. Oh yes, this sphinx acts as if there will be homemade pastries and endless cups of coffee that won’t burn my stomach lining and increase my waist size yet one more inch this month. I am getting ahead of myself, though.

We should probably start with Monday.

I pushed STOP on my yoga alarm, PAUSE on my writing alarm, NO on my shower alarm, and stumbled out of bed only because I couldn’t reject Brush Your Teeth because I am deathly afraid of a Root Canal. I headed down stairs in a rush to get my coffee and right back up to my office. When I looked up it was Wednesday and I hadn’t gotten anything finished. I started a whole lot of things. I continued a ton of things but the only thing that was apparent was that my Priority List had become a Stephen King novel.

AND this was BEFORE the attempted coup on the Capitol of the United States that I missed because I was in a two hour zoom meeting. When I got out of the meeting all hell had broken loose and for me that’s a normal state of being so that didn’t much phase me as the phase I exist within is like the hands on the Doomsday Clock. Tick Tick Tock, when will everything explode?

According to the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists as of January 23, 2020 it stated we were 100 seconds from Global Catastrophe. THAT WAS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC.

So, then. Back to Wednesday. There I was pretending that I was going to cross something off my work list with Breaking News and visuals of the TRAITORS on every news platform.

Forgive me but for a moment I was jealous. THEY WERE CROSSING SHIT OFF THEIR Fascist lists! Damn It.

  • Viking Helmet
  • Zip Ties
  • Confederate Flag
  • Pipe Bombs
  • Ammo
  • MAGA Hat
  • Fur Vest

Then the horror set in. They were storming our Capitol and people were getting hurt. (I warned you that I wasn’t the nicest of people. My first thought was of myself and the fact that their lists were getting completed and mine wasn’t).

I do not even remember what I made for dinner that night. Nor do I really remember the Remote Testing event that I hosted, Pandemic style, for our ESL Students the next day. I do remember their bravery in showing up for this event despite the terrible toll that Covid19 is taking in our Community.

Because, yes. Our county is bad. The numbers are high, we are in a lock down, and people here continue not to wear masks. They pack the stores and many restaurants are still serving in doors which is surreal because thousands of people are sick and many are dying. Our hospitals are besieged. Anger flames in my chest, its heat burning empathy and kindness to cinders.  

Parallel to the coup, the craziness that is my job, and the pandemic is my life. My family, finishing my second book and revising the first, chores, meals, bills. Yeah. LIFE is superimposed on all of this in a way that feels like I am living in two dimensions at once. Not to mention the guilt. Because, despite all my whining I have a home and my bills are paid and my babies are safe.

HOW the hell do I find peace amid this? I asked a fellow writer on Instagram that very same thing. She had a lovely picture of a fire burning, her dog laying next to her, and laptop open with an impressive word count. I really yearned to find out her secret for how she managed this amazing tableau. My covetous heart was grinding and spitting.

By Friday, my frayed rope connecting me to my own humanity snapped and I dropped to Station 4,133, which is wedged precariously on the side of Mount TO-DO List. I have been attempting to scale this mountain my whole life, fervently hoping to plant my flag at Summit Happiness.

Yeah. Friday. My head hurt in a way in had never ached before and I was even more tired than I had been Thursday and I was so tired on Thursday that I slept through my Zoom Bible Study. I didn’t realize it until I woke Friday morning.

WORSE, I attended a funeral for a very young man on Friday and held the hand of his mother who couldn’t stop laying her head on his casket and crying out in anguish. He was shot by the police. The body cam shows an officer shooting an unarmed man with his hands up. HORRIFIC.

I can only tell you that I could barely carry all that I was feeling in my heart. I couldn’t watch TV or read or write. I got nothing done. I was mean to my kids on a day when I should have been holding them close thanking GOD for their every breath.

Nope. Not. ME. See why I told you I shouldn’t be giving anyone advice? I am really a mess. Saturday morning, I took the kids to the wildest part of our city, where you can barely hear the traffic and there are trees and foxes and so many birds. My aunt and cousin met up with us and we walked, socially distanced, and just talked about nothing and everything.

I spent the rest of the day under my down comforter, with SmokeyMagic, and reading Snow by John Banville. An excellent winter read about a murder and the complexity of humanity.

I overslept and poor Smokey was absolutely crazed by the time I heated her pate and got her door open. My hair knotted from sleep, un-brushed teeth, and from my perch on the Livingroom couch I told Sunday to take off her lingerie and put on her soft sweater and her warm slippers. I drank coffee and watched movies until my family staggered out of their dens.

Without fancy calendars or the perfect pen, I made a menu for the week based on the food I have in the house. Stuffed Bell Peppers, Orange Chicken, Grilled Cheese, and Carne Asada Burritos. Steel cut oats and Barley (Que groans from the kids) and salads for lunch.  If you are looking for amazing plans with amazing healthy dishes, look elsewhere. And let me know what you find as I am always interested in ideas.

I take heart that everything is homemade, that I use as many organic ingredients that I can, that I minimize meat and maximize veg. More importantly, it tastes good and isn’t made in a factory.

In the same clothes that I slept in I chopped garlic, sliced grape tomatoes, and sauteed it in EVOO. A dash of some good balsamic, handful of spinach, a few shrimps. Then I swirled in vermicelli, parm, and a little bit of pasta water. I felt closest to myself there, in front of the stove.

When I look back over the last week, I see that I did the best I could. I exercised. I apologized to my kids for being an asshole.

I allowed myself to rest at Station 4,133. I stayed in my sleeping bag and read a good book with my trusty companion curled by my side. Well, not exactly by my side. But close. SmokeyMagic is very good at setting boundaries.

As I set out on Monday on my continued trek to reach Summit Happiness, I will try very hard not to be an asshole. That’s the best I got this week.

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