I guess this is the “everything else” I was talking about.
This is what yesterday looked like – I didn’t get out of my pj’s all day, and they weren’t the “cute” Instagram worthy pj’s either. They were my favorite llama shorts, my dads old stained t-shirt, and my snowflake socks.
To be honest, I barely even made it off the couch. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Shane who can read me like a book. 3 o’clock came around and with one look at me, he knew I needed some fresh air.
I’ve learned that this anxiety doesn’t come from what’s going to happen but from what ISN’T going to happen. It is the lull, the silence, the huge gap of time that suddenly presented itself in the ugliest of ways. It is the fact that someone has quite literally pushed the “pause” button on the entire world.
I’ve always struggled with anxiety, and over the years I had trained myself using a variety of grounding techniques. “Take three deep breaths” repeated over and over, “use your senses Bianca”, or telling myself to simply take a look at the world around me and notice that everything was in fact, still moving – “was” being the key word. Now, I look outside and see nothing. No cars, no humans, and certainly no hustle and bustle. The world seems to have simply stopped – and that’s a really hard pill to swallow.
Yesterday, was hard. Easter came and went but this year it looked a lot different. There were no pretty pastels, no traditional church services, and certainly no family dinners. I scrolled through Instagram and envied the people who were all dressed up “with no where to go”. I wanted to be able to find that motivation; put on makeup, do my hair, and throw on that spring dress that has been hanging in my closet and yet I just couldn’t find it in me to pull myself together.
And worst of all is when your emotions feel invalidated. My biggest pet peeve: “There is a lot of people that have it a lot worse than you do!” So, does that mean I don’t have the right to be anxious? Just because Jane down the street has it worse than me doesn’t mean my feelings of anxiety, sadness, and grief are any less real. NEWS FLASH: my anxiety has a mind of her own – and unfortunately I have absolutely no control over her.
Really though, I think the hardest part of this situation is identifying all the things that I miss.
I miss my family; going to my grandparents and listening to my grandpa tell the same story three times. I miss family dinners at the farm; fishing in the back until it was time for dinner. I miss date nights, enjoying the company of my husband at our favorite local restaurant down the street. I miss being able to have my best friends over for wine and cheese. I miss getting in my car and driving anywhere. I miss my freedom.
I miss my classroom. I miss the smiles on my students faces every day when I picked them up in the gym. I miss the craziness of our morning routine. I miss saying “please stop talking” for the 100th time. However, I think what I miss most was the family we created inside of those four walls that was torn away as quickly as it was built.
Honestly, I just miss how life used to be. The simplicity of it all even against all the noise. I miss pressing snooze on my alarm 5 times before I finally rolled out of bed. I miss the hustle and bustle of the mornings and the quick kisses before Shane and I headed off to work. But more importantly, I miss the things that I once took for granted.
I think that’s what I needed, to realize there was a lot of things I missed and a lot of things worth grieving and that’s okay. While Jane down the street may have more things missing in her life, I, Bianca still have the right to feel this way. Instead of comparing one another, let’s support each other. I can grieve and soak up my emotions, so, that in the end I am stronger and can in return support Jane as she grieves and soaks up her own emotions.
That’s the thing, we need each other. If I have learned anything from this pandemic, it is the importance of human contact. That’s the thing with this world – its completely unpredictable. Usually, we see bad things happen on TV but never first hand. Yet, here we are, staring this unpredictability straight in the face, all 7.6 billion of us.
Through all of this; unfairness, ugliness, and unpredictability we, as humans have showed up and we’ve shown up BIG. News feeds filled with love, support and an abundance of gratitude. With all of this lull and silence, we’ve had time to appreciate the little things. We’ve had time to thank the people around us, who save lives on a daily basis. But most importantly, we’ve had time to get back to the basics of life and understand just how precious it really is.
So, if you ever find yourself having a day like I did yesterday, just remember that’s okay. In fact, it is probably necessary. Take those days and let them make you stronger. The one thing that has continued to bring me hope and pull me out of this funk is the little beams of positivity that shine through even the darkest of places. Take those beams and use them to shine on yourself.