When I decided to start a blog, I laid out my Rules of Engagement, my commitment to share an unfiltered and authentic voice. I made this commitment not just to people who would read the blog, but as a reminder to remain honest with myself as well. I was seeking more authentic connection with people. I still am. And that means I need to share lessons as they are happening; not a branded "I've got it figured out now" message.
The first time I heard my husband say the phrase "nobody wants to know how the sausage is made", I was simultaneously disgusted (as a 30-year vegetarian) and realized that I tend to be a "I wanna know how the sausage is made" kind of girl. I want to dissect everything. So if you're looking for a nicely curated "I've got it figured out now" message about all the amazing things I'm learning from Coronavirus life, you may want to stop reading here. I hope to be back with some of those stories eventually, but right now I'm watching the sausage get made.
I had to unplug from social media the last couple weeks because I hit my saturation of input and everyone else's branded message of what Corona life should look like. I started to feel like everyone in my feed was a life coach should-ing all over me. Telling us how we should be making gratitude lists. Should be doing yoga. Should be meditating. Should be eating better. Should be sleeping beer. Should be inspired and doing home projects. Should be showing grit and hustle and giving 200% at work. Don't get me wrong. My internal voice is telling me all those things too.
Add shame-ing to the should-ing and it all became a bit much. Shame on you for wearing masks when essential workers need them. Shame on you for not wearing masks. Shame on you for following orders like a sheep and staying home; rather than protecting personal and economic freedoms. Shame on you for not staying at home and risking getting people sick. Shame on you for being privileged and talking about personal growth during this crisis. Shame on you for wasting this opportunity for growth. All of these messages were starting to create a socially-influenced version of what the so-called perfect corona life should look like.
Add this to my own personal bias toward emotions of enthusiasm and optimism, and I realize I have been trying to stifle my own emotions and feelings--or at least the one's I don't want to feel. I haven't written anything in my journal for 3 weeks. Despite so many historic things going on right now...so much changing all around me right now...all over the world... I have had no desire to write about it. This is the kind of stuff that I might actually want to go back and read about 50 years from now. What was I experiencing during the pandemic of 2020? What was life like?
And the pages are blank.
My journal is the place where I dig deep, get really honest with myself, problem-solve, and self-reflect. With this blog, I've made that process public and social. And maybe that's precisely why the pages are blank. With social media awash in all the lessons of growth and the so-called perfect Corona life, my emotions during this time are so unpredictable and messy in comparison. This is the sausage getting made and the blank pages of my journal show that I haven't really wanted to know how it's made.
I have been riding a roller coaster of emotions the past 6 weeks. I wouldn't label any of them as bad or good--just more heightened and confusing than usual. I can go from gratitude, love, and abundance to depression, fear, and anxiety a dozen times in the course of a day. This week, I found myself lying awake and restless at midnight, realizing that I genuinely felt depression at a heightened level like I haven't experienced in 2 decades. And the next morning, it was a fresh start and I felt renewed. Feelings of extreme irritability and an overall dis-ease wash over me with no warning. I've been much more irritable and inpatient with my husband and kids (aka: my new co-workers) than I usually am. The formula for the so-called perfect Corona life only shows images of enjoying special moments with our families right now--not extreme irritability.
I'm trying not to judge the feelings I'm experiencing or attach too much to them. I know I can't be the only person experiencing more intense waves of emotions recently. I have to remind myself that the emotion itself is not inherantly bad or good. It's how much we choose to attach ourselves to them that matters. I have so many tools I can use so I don't stay stuck in a low-energy state. Movement is my magic elixir to maintaining soundness of mind. My usual routines for exercise and movement have been totally disrupted so I've had to pivot. I have rediscovered trail running in the last 2 weeks and it's been a welcome relief, but I still can't wait to get back to my yoga and gym crew, IN REAL LIFE.
When the Covid-19 crisis first started, I jumped into action. I embraced social media as a powerful tool to get news, instructions, connect, and try to offer help. I've been trying so hard to make my Corona life something meaningful and growth-oriented. I've busied myself with tons of new projects, pouring energy into helping a start-up quickly pivot, learning as much as I could about economics, and learning what I can about trading stocks and investing in this environment so I can do my part to financially protect my family now and in the future. However, in all of that, I've failed to embrace the one positive thing that this virus has to teach all of us. Stillness.
My writing is the ultimate place of stillness and reflection. And I haven't wanted to go there for 3 weeks. My inner self-critic is grilling me for that, calling me out as a fraud. "See. You're not really a writer if you can't write when you really need to write the most." But the self-disciplined voice of strength within me speaks back and says "Thanks for your thoughts, but we're right where we're supposed to be right now."
Despite any self-judgement, shoulds, or expectations for a so-called perfect Corona life, I trust I'm right where I'm supposed to be right now. This is how the sausage gets made. I am only whole and complete by embracing all the fragmented pieces as they come undone. It's a mess at first, but eventually an even better version is pieced back together as part of my Becoming.
If you're reading this, thanks for sticking with me on the journey...Even as I talk about sausage getting made. There really have been some beautiful moments and lessons over the last 6 weeks and I will share those soon. But today I needed to share the messiness in order to remain honest and start writing again. It's all part of this perfectly imperfect Corona life.
Thanks to Emma for asking me to dig through old photos to find a Senior picture of myself, I found this little gem of 18-year old Melissa and 22-year old Chris. This was back in the Old Boise Guitar days and our perfectly imperfect starting point...25 years ago. There's nobody I'd rather do Corona life with.