Self-quarantine: Days 3 & 4

3/24/2020: Day 3 was chock full of looking at transcripts, course selections, flipping through binders, and managing emails as they hit my box. I found myself easily distracted by things in my home office so I took some time to organize and rearrange my craft closet. I felt a bit better after that and pushing the vacuum. Sometimes that “heavy” work when I’m feeling anxious or stressed really helps me breathe better. I enjoyed working in the office and the liberty to move around more freely in the comfort of my home is very nice. I truly love my home and it’s a safe haven for me so it’s nice to enjoy that and work. And I love my work too, so that’s definitely a bonus. I know not everyone can say that. For the most part, day 3 felt like a typical day that I would have in summer break.

3/25/2020: Day 4 is starting out good. I feel more tired today but I think that’s because I’ve been dreaming of the virus and all the associated stressors for the last couple nights. I feel the tension in my shoulders and my jaw is a bit tighter than usual in the morning. I think I might need to take the dog for a good long walk today and get some fresh air. Last night we got an email that said our school closure has been extended through April 24th and surrounding towns have gone to “stay home, work safe” protocol. I think it’s lingering in my mind that if our town goes to that I will feel even more restricted than I already am. In reality I won’t be but that’s what’s running in my head. I feel the burden of restriction weighing on me. It’s nothing compared to what others in history have endured but it sure gives me a glimpse into the heir experience. I’ve seen so many memes about Anne Frank and her family being tucked away in the attic for years and I can only feel uncomfortable for her. What a terrifying and terrible feeling to live like that so long. This is why though we, as a nation, enjoy our freedoms and don’t take them for granted. I have the perspective that I appreciate the opportunity I have to get up and go anywhere I want to, eat what I want, spend what I want, wear what I want, and do as I please each and every day. I’m a law abiding citizen, but I enjoy all the freedoms of my life. I can’t imagine being in a prison.

Well the day continued with relative ease. I felt myself well up with tears a few times just from latent emotions lingering around. It really got me when my son participated in his first zoom meeting with his JROTC classmates. It was so sweet to hear all the kids talking and laughing with each other and asking if everyone was alright. It was a sign of such compassion as well as humanity. I loved it. And I love that he has that with other young adults in his life. I recently asked him to reflect on his strengths and weaknesses/struggles from his freshman year in high school and he said he didn’t feel as though he had any weaknesses or significant struggles but he definitely feels like his strength is in his social skills. He then added, “I feel like the friends I’ve made this year are friends who would go to my funeral and I would go to theirs.” I lost it. I was caught so off guard by that remark but so happy to know he feels so strongly about the connections and the friendships he’s made this year. What an amazing blessing to him!

Back to quarantine life… so groceries have been tricky since we are in self-quarantine and I cannot go out to get anything myself. Although we are not symptomatic we are taking as many precautions as we can. Social distancing, the new buzz word in society, has been easy since we are home bodies for the most part, but it’s very hard to do in a grocery store. So we have been ordering groceries through delivery services like Shipt. We were getting low on puppy food for our sweet Duke but not dangerously low. I just didn’t want to run out and then have to switch foods because we all know how hard that is on a pup’s tummy. Last thing I need is to have a stinky house. Anyway, finally got the dog food we needed yesterday as well as some other staples that we needed. However, the store was out of my ice cream! I know, I know… first world problems, but it’s my guilty pleasure and I can’t go hunting for it right now. I guess I will enjoy it more once I can get it again.

Anyway, work was uneventful. No meetings to attend via zoom or crises to handle. So it was a day of paperwork and binders again. But my work laptop is small, and the screen is not conducive to long periods of time and all the data entry I have to do. So I reached out to my neighborhood through our Facebook page and asked if anyone had a spare monitor laying around that I could borrow for the time period. Within three days I had several people offer but didn’t have the correct connection (I needed an HDMI port on the monitor). Then I got a hit that worked out! My neighbor lives just up the street from me brought me a 20” monitor hand delivered to my doorstep and a nice bottle of wine to boot! 😊 I was so surprised and so grateful for the kindness and generosity! The monitor is working out great and making my life a smidge easier in these wild times.

To add to that I’ve had time to appreciate all the little miracles of beauty around me in nature. The lizards running around my back patio eating the crane flies. The beautiful hibiscus flowers blooming in the pot outside. The beautiful wild flowers lining the side of the back roads. It’s been a nice time to slow down and take things in… like not just “see” them, but see, appreciate and wonder at them. It’s nice.

Wild flowers alongside the back road
First hibiscus bloom

We will get through this. It’s just gonna take some time. Hopefully we will be better on the flip side of this tragedy.

Expressly yours,

The Repressed Peach

Advocacy

I have a severe issue with self-advocacy.

It seems that I can stick up for other people really well. I can help them with their own issues. I can support them by being a great listener and even offering sound bits of advice as appropriate. With my child I am a staunch advocate for him that he is taken care of and respected well by adults and children alike. However, when it comes to me and what I need, I have a hard time asking for it. I have a hard time drawing the proverbial line in the sand about what I will allow to happen to me in my life. I have decent boundaries though, which is a good first step, but past that when looking at how I allow people to treat me is very poor. I know on a cognitive level that I don’t deserve the treatment. I don’t deserve the snide remarks. I don’t deserve being dis-invited to weddings or being left out of special ceremonies. I can think of no specific thing that I have done that would warrant such actions against me. Even asking why I was dis-invited or being left out causes me a ton of anxiety. I feel as though I am asking things that I don’t deserve to ask or that I am out of line for thinking I deserve to be treated differently than what I am. As a counselor I know that this line of thinking is absurd. I cognitively know something different than what I believe yet I feel powerless to change my thinking.

I want to be able to say to someone, “Hey, you know when you said/did/asked _______? I wonder where that was coming from because I was hurt/angry/confused/sad, etc. Can you give me some more insight about that situation.” I just don’t have the confidence in myself right now to do that and I’m not sure why. Strange how I can teach others to do just that and ask themselves to believe in their truths, trust their feelings, go with their heart, make no apologies for themselves, and yet here I sit writing this post wondering why I cannot take my own advice. Why can’t I ask the hard questions? Why can’t I face the truth head on? Why can’t I ask someone to treat me better/different because I am worthy?

As I have thought through all of this I think it is all rooted in fear. I fear rejection. I fear the unequivocal truths that will result. I fear people thinking I am better than I am. I fear being disappointed by my own actions. I fear overstepping boundaries or some social rule that I am not aware of. And I know that I shouldn’t be so afraid. Surely, so much of this is miscommunication and misunderstanding or even lack of information. Conversely, when someone has an issue with me or I have committed some perceived grave injustice then I am quick to hop on the issue at hand and address it. I don’t want others to harbor any ill will toward me about an unfortunate issue and I want to address it head on. Not all things that come up warrant a reaction though so I choose my battles. I am constantly aware of how my behavior and words affect others and I go to great pains to ensure that I cause them no unrest. Am I perfect? Read any other post in this blog and you will find evidence to the contrary.  So I am not perfect, not by any stretch. However, I know I work to prevent issues and I work to resolve the ones I cause.

My inability to advocate for myself is causing me unhappiness. I am internalizing the misperceptions and miscommunications and harboring them as evidence that I am unacceptable, unloved, disregarded, inconvenient, and unworthy. I am allowing my inability to speak up for myself to turn into some sour attitude which then seeps out at the most inopportune times. Maybe I’m feeling a little too vulnerable and I say something out of character. Or maybe I’m feeling overwhelmed with a sense of ineptitude and I lash out in frustration. I feel the sticky ugliness of these pent up feelings residing within my heart and soul and they’re making me ill. I feel the well rising and it’s about to crest. I have to change this behavior and my thinking around it so that I can be well and feel free to express myself appropriately. This is just one of many things that I wish to improve upon. Any sage advice or tips are welcome.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach

Reprieve. 

This space is my reprieve from expectations. On other social media platforms, I am not free. I am tied to the expectations of how I must behave as a professional, what I can and cannot say because of who my “friends” are and then there’s the trouble with whether they can read with the lens of me as a human being or if they will only read with intent to stab me in the back and cause me harm.

This space, however, allows me to speak freely. I rarely edit myself and I always speak whatever truth I am experiencing at the time. This is where the few people who know who I am, read and appreciate my craft while taking in all that I speak of. I don’t worry about you, my reader, if you’re 14 or from a different profession or of a different culture. I don’t worry about how you’ll misread my words or find them loathsome or glorious. I thought to share some exciting to me news on Facebook last night, yet in the same minute that I thought I would share I also realized, “oh wait, I can’t share that because so and so will see it.” Then I thought of the 18000 different problems that will arise because of the one wrong person that would read the message. Then there’s the conundrum of having young family connected to my social media. I cannot tell you how many times I have avoided taking action about an issue on social media because of my nephews. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s not real… whatever, it’s always what I felt like was the right thing to do, except I am silencing myself. I find that I am silencing myself often for the sake of others.

Well, I need my voice. I deserve a voice just as much as the next person. Just because what I say may not be to your liking doesn’t mean it isn’t valid, valuable and essential to be said. So I am working on finding my voice.  Stay tuned for experiments in speaking up!

This is my space. I welcome all my guests and readers. You are cordially invited to share this space with me, just know that you’re in for a wild ride sometimes. Hopefully, you’re inspired or sometimes moved. Maybe your perception has shifted or doors of wonder closed. But hopefully, regardless of anything else, you find unabashed truth. Maybe while you’re relishing in my truth you will experience a reprieve of your own.

Hopefully yours,
The Repressed Peach