I figured we'd start with dramatic flair (see: title), because these are dramatic times (see: life and the news in general). Below, I will outline the last four (and a half) weeks of mostly-quarantine, in response to those voices in my head asking me for this information.
The stay-at-home order for LA began on March 19, but the true sign of the enormity of the situation, for me, was on March 15, when Orange Theory froze all memberships and closed all gyms. What does it say about me that I stopped going to work a week before March 19? That I am prescient and cautious? Or that I have been desperately waiting my whole adulthood for an excuse such as this to pause my commute for an indefinite amount of time? Who knows.
While panic crept in for many (understandably so af), I personally became thrilled by the prospect of all the creative and personal life projects I'd be able to finally focus on (now that I wouldn't have the VALID excuse of 1-3 hours of commute time on top of 3 separate jobs on top of working out regularly and being a single mom of a super low-maintenance dog). And so, that's what I did. I went ham on the photoshoots, coercing jbow into wearing my clothes (jk, didn't even need to ask him, honestly). The results were sufficiently extraordinary, as seen here:
I attended the first of my friend Annie's sweaty af Wednesday evening workouts, aptly named "Core-antine," but otherwise, a schedule was not in effect or even thought of. I was the only person in my 4.5 person household permitted by unspoken law to tend to essential business (you know, groceries or escaping to Walmart for a few hours, seeing therapy clients, etc.), so I wasn't quite quarantined af.
I realized that some semblance of a schedule would be needed if I were to survive the days without quitting everything except for walking Pacquito and lying on my bed staring at the ceiling for 7 hours or eating handfuls of cheez-balls while binging on tv and then feeling sad about my inner and outer gut health and appearance. What brought me to the knees of this realization? Well, once I gained 700 online therapy clients in three days and, as much as I love helping others find the tools to heal themselves, it became overwhelming af. It was during this time that I re-discovered my stopwatch. The one on my fucking iPhone, yes, but a stopwatch, nonetheless. Timing my responses yielded two-fold positivity: 1) I saw that I wasn't actually spending 7 hours a day therapizing, which then made it feel so much less like 7 hours, and 2) it kept me undistracted from the task.
I also began creating a note in my phone with each day as the heading in all caps, with all of my daily things to do. A sample:
- meditate journal yoga [this gets erased every morning upon finishing and added again each night]
- pilates/workout 6pm [also gets erased and re-added]
- mindful eating inez 1pm
- send journal club announcement
- sew something [lol]
- finish blog post!! [something like this usually stays on for days (rolling eyes emoji)]
- paint for eo [also stays on for days]
- ukulele and or piano [this one is permanent]
- gratitude [also permanent]
In this second week, I began a gratitude journal, which I write in each night. I think it's one of those things for which the effects are not overt or sudden. Kind of like meditation - after a while of doing it, you realize you're less of an asshole to yourself and in general. I also somehow am fine with things being left on the list for dayzzz (credit: meditation, surely, as well as my life motto: SWAHA AF).
At the end of week 2, the other 3 human members of this household left, and a new coffee table, living room rug, and corner shelf took their place. Was it an even exchange? I'll let the mystery of that answer linger in the [clean] air.
Pilates sliders came in, face masks came in handy. In-person clients moved to virtual sessions. Alone time. Honeymoon phase of quarantine: COMMENCE.
I don't think it's a coincidence that I discovered (better late than NEVA) D-Nice's IG Lives, which I am listening to right now and which I warned jbow would be in effect for hours of each day, so he'd have to consider that before returning, because if I had to choose, well, he wasn't going to be pleased with my decision, let's just put it that way.
Do I feel guilty for having dance parties in my house on a daily and nightly basis, for creating a streamlined yet flexible work schedule that allows for working out every day, reading in the sun and watching ... I can't remember what each night until 2am or later? No, because in its place, I have as much compassion and awareness as I can practice, both of which are infinitely more productive than guilt. Guilt doesn't ever channel into much more than resentment in some form (whether early onset or late or super super late), whereas compassion and awareness can be channelled into such things as, e.g., willingly and open-heartedly donating months of therapy for first-responders, among other ways I'm actively doing my socialist part for the local economy. So, I'm doing what I can to help out on tangible and intangible levels, while also honoring how grateful I am for living the life of my teenage dreams.
I also managed to stay home for almost 2 weeks (!), outside of walking Pacquito a lot.
Finished my second 21-day meditation/journaling "challenge" in a row (the first one was on abundance, the second was on hope - both Deepak, and shout out to my group of 2 meditation buddies :), and began a 21-day Reset Cleanse (facilitated by my dear friend Inez). What possessed me to undertake such a thing as the latter during this time is beyond me, but I guess I was called by the universe to make it happen, so it did. Nine days in, and I'm still happily on it! I have no excuse to not be, but the important thing is that I'm not even looking for one. What I love about this cleanse is that it's about shifting one's relationship to food to one that is more mindful and intentional than anything. I can ride with that, which is why I've been riding, and rather successfully, may I proudly add with a pat on my muthafuckin' back.
In the 4th week, jbow returned, and honestly, I struggled with it. Not the part about bringing a spray bottle of alcohol to pick him up, spraying everything he touched with it upon returning home, and making him strip naked so I could toss his clothes into the wash and him into the shower straightaway (also warned him about this). I adore him to the ends of the universe, but a bitch like her alone time. It's really interesting-funny to think about how our relationship has changed so many times in the last ten years, and how I used to cling to this mother fucker like he was oxygen and I was lung. Lol to the last part of that sentence. Anyway, I was worried about giving up alone time. ...!?!? Tell that to beginning-of-our-relationship-me and she would have laughed loud af in disbelief and then started ugly crying cause she was emotionally fucked up and really had no business being in a relationship. Sure, the first few days of his return, jbow was like, "...You fucking hate me." HAHAHA. But, as always and as we predicted ("we" being myself, Jess, and Hanna), we would fall back into the groove of being together with a roof right over our heads and sharing the shelter of my single bed. It's so nice to not be up each other's asses all the time. Take for instance, this moment. D-Nice is on (LOL, duh) blasting through my bumpboxx, and I'm sitting on the couch, and jbow is at the dining table with his earbuds in, producing music like the producing son of a bitch he is, and more importantly not complaining about my never-ending and loud af slow jams. Pacquito is laid out on one of his six beds, the most recent and comfortable one, smack dab in between us. If there were an award for most stoked for quarantine life (again, aside from acknowledging people dying and struggling to survive), we would win. ...Maybe will delete that sentence later.
Week 4+, aka Week 5:
I've become attached to my leg hair, sparse as it is, though it is very long. I think I'm PMSing, because I'm real curmudgeonly and eating a ton of (cleanse-approved yet still satisfactorily yummy) snacks. The bloat mcgoat is fucking real, and I always feel like I'm getting a glimpse into what I'd look like pregnant, and survey says I'd be pretty cute, well sort of. The sun grows stronger each day, and I become darker. Time moves at a comfortable pace, and so do I, except for when I'm working out, during which I curse even more than usual.
As of this writing, Pacquito has remained on his leash for the entire duration of his walk TWICE.
In conclusion, I'm one lucky-ass HOE to have as much as I do during this time. Is it because I'm simply able to parse out all of the silver linings to weave a life and bed and scrunchies made entirely of those silver linings? Or is this what I've unwittingly worked for after having no memory of returning to the past from the future and seeing that making the decisions to manifest these exact jobs and spiritual practices would make it possible for me to continue to work remotely, and not just sanely but joyfully? I've long struggled with feeling unsuccessful and unmotivated and unambitious (mostly in comparison to societal expectations), mixed with knowing on a much deeper level that I (and really we all) were never meant to live the way we do - like hamsters on a fucking treadmill made out of carrots and dolla bills. But in this moment, I feel truly successful. How fucking odd and novel (but not novel coronavirus novel, just novel). It's just difficult for me to want for something other than the overall greater connection and thoughtfulness and care and generosity that I've seen come out of this (exceptions exist, but we won't go there). Well, time will tell what happens, whatever time is. For now, you know... just blow and go. (That's my ratchet way of saying that staying with each breath will take us to where we need to go.)
Ooooooo, my song just came on (Ain't No Way - Aretha), gotta go slow dance with my life partner! #promforever