As I talked about in a recent post, my family is continuing to quarantine even though Jon and I are fully vaccinated (#TeamPfizer) because it is safest for us to wait until Kiddo is able to receive the vaccine. Other than my annoyance at other people’s bad behavior, I don’t really mind staying in quarantine. After all, I like my house–all my stuff is here. However, I realized there are several lies I’ve been telling myself over the course of the last year and, since I have a blog, I figured I’d put all my bullshit out on the internet in case my readers are guilty of the same thing. Solidarity and whatnot.
Lie #1: I get dressed every day.
This lie comes from the fact that I technically change my clothes at the beginning and end of each day…however, I kind of doubt that it counts as getting dressed if all I do is change from night pajamas into my day pajamas. My current uniform consists of a t-shirt that says something snarky and leggings (with pockets). I do put on a bra every day, which a lot of breast-havers consider to be a tit prison and the hallmark of officially getting dressed, but me wearing a bra is more out of necessity than anything else. I created a human with my body (which was super cool), but since I have a bra size not typically sold at Target (not cool, Target), going without a bra feels like less of an option if I want to feel comfortable (that being said, to each their own–wear one, don’t wear one, I’m not the one in your body).
Lie #2: I’m finally going to finish learning Spanish.
I’ve been taking Spanish lessons since elementary school (pausing only for a more successful foray into French in high school in college) and I decided I was finally going to reach a decent level of competency during quarantine. But most days, I only keep up with my language practice because the Duolingo owl threatens me.
Lie #3: I can care for succulents.
Much like every other basic white girl, I started a quarantine garden last year. This was unusual for me because I had always believed that I was terrible at gardening (partly because I was repeatedly told that as a child, but that’s another story). Jon has always been the gardener between the two of us–he had a plot at the local community garden before it was paved over and turned into a parking lot for a shitty frat bar that is (surprise!) no longer in business.
Turns out, I wasn’t inherently sucky at gardening–I’d just never learned that particular skill. I started growing lots of things, including food from seeds which gives me a completely overblown sense of superiority when I cook with that food. I also began to acquire a bunch of succulents which I love (partly due to their cutesy names like “Bear Paw” and “Chain of Dolphins”). But succulents are a whole different skillset that I am trying to learn, but it’s going much slower than the other gardening I’ve been doing. The succulents I’ve gotten have come with little care instruction cards, but following those has NOT gone super well and has caused me to overwater the succulents. I’ve managed to rehab most of them (woohoo!) but I still obsess over the succulents to an almost alarming degree. Do they have too much water? Not enough water? Are they getting enough light? When did my house turn into a cave? Why do the succulents not respond instantly to the grow lights I bought? Clearly, my anxiety has taken the wheel with this one. Maybe if I stare at the succulents long enough, they’ll start talking and tell me what they need.
Lie #4: I do yoga like a lithe, ethereal creature.
One look at my Twitter feed shows that that’s a lie. I’d like to imagine myself as a graceful pretzel, but I’m much more likely to whine if I have to stay in plank pose for too long and I’ve accidentally kneed myself in the face on more than one occasion. For some reason, that kind of behavior is left out of white girl yoga Instagram feeds.
Side story, I live in a crunchy, faux-granola town where I once attended a prenatal yoga class that had to be delayed because a woman from the class before us wouldn’t stop doing handstands against the wall. The instructor had to gently ask her to leave because her need to show off handstands was causing twenty pregnant women to grow impatient and annoyed. If you’ve ever been around pregnant women, you know why this is a bad idea.
Lie #5: I enjoy exercising.
I don’t necessarily dislike yoga, but, if I’m honest, I would never exercise if it wasn’t necessary to keep my meat suit from deteriorating. Sure, I want to set a good example for Kiddo about a healthy lifestyle, but I mostly work out so I can eat garbage. I even have a shirt that says that, featuring a picture of a raccoon.
In my defense, my couch is really comfortable.
Lie #6: I have a good memory.
I’ve always prided my brain on its ability to retain information; it’s why I enjoyed playing pub trivia for so many years (you know, in the before time). However, I suspect that quarantine has been slowly leeching my brain’s ability to remember anything. For example, I digitally volunteer with a really amazing organization once a week. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I have the same shift each week…and yet, I find that I need to set a ridiculous number of alarms each week. Sure, time has lost some meaning to me in quarantine, but it’s a little concerning that I set up no fewer than eight alarms to make sure I show up for this thing I love to do. One could argue that this just shows my dedication to this organization, but I suspect my brain is slowly turning into pudding.
It’s not just time that seems to be slipping away from me. I read a lot so I signed up with Bookbub, which sends daily emails of ebook deals as well as notifications when books I want go on sale (not an ad, I just love this website). This is all well and good, until I see a book that’s on sale that I want, only to click on it and be told by the seller that I already own it. I never seem to have any knowledge of purchasing this book, and yet there it is in my library. On the plus side, I guess if I re-read the books I’ve already bought, it might be like enjoying it for the first time, like a goldfish taking a new trip around the bowl.
I’d like to blame quarantine for this, but if I’m honest, this started earlier. Back in the before time, before everything was readily available to stream at any given moment, Jon and I decided to rent a movie. After checking out the selection, we finally settled on The Eagle.
About halfway through the movie, Jon and I started to notice that this movie seemed somewhat familiar. Then we realized that it was familiar because we had already seen it–when it came out in theaters. In our defense, this movie has a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and its opening box office weekend had it finish fourth behind Gnomeo & Juliet, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and the sub-par Adam Sandler nonsense that was Just Go With It. But still–we’d already spent two hours of our lives watching this movie, only to watch it all over again.
BRB, I have to call my doctor and see what early onset dementia looks like…
Lie #7: I know how to interact with other people.
Aside from the occasional video chat and Kiddo’s medical appointments, I haven’t really interacted with people aside from Jon and Kiddo. Which, if I’m honest, is kind of awesome for me because I’m an introvert with chronic anxiety. I’ve never really doubted my social skills though because I used to work in the service industry which is all about creating a pleasant interaction with people who are the absolute fucking worst. But after a year in quarantine, I’ve noticed an uptick in anxiety over the rare social interaction I have to have. I never realized before how much I relied on my facial expressions when talking to others, but I once read something that said the majority of speech is communicated through nonverbal cues rather than the actual words we use, so I guess that checks out. Since people can no longer see if I smile at them or not due to wearing a mask, I’ve started exaggerating the “eye squint” that accompanies a genuine smile. However, I suspect that instead of making me appear friendly, this just makes me look like my glasses prescription needs to be updated.
Of course, my quarantine experience is much more than just a series of lies I tell myself. In fact, there’s one major truth that present through all of this.
Truth: I think this is the happiest I’ve ever been.
Even while kneeing myself in the face and dealing with my anxiety over eye squinting, it’s been kind of nice to realize that I’m happy. This doesn’t mean that my mood disorders are magically fixed, because they’re not. I still deal with chronic depression and anxiety and my PTSD still rears its head on occasion, but I still feel good. Through therapy, I’ve learned a lot of coping skills that have become easier to implement so that my mood disorders don’t always feel like they rule my life.
Quarantine has also given me an opportunity for growth that might have taken me years, even decades to accomplish. For example, over the last year I have cut a lot of people out of my life that no longer add a positive value to my life. That might sound kind of cold and uncaring, but after spending a lifetime as a people pleaser in response to abuse and trauma, it’s very liberating to let go of people. Instead, I’m choosing to spend my time on people with whom I feel there is a reciprocal relationship. I spent a lot of time over the years giving so much of myself to emotional vampires who sucked out all of my time and energy without offering anything in return. I also realized that I was hanging onto relationships that were formed out of convenience and proximity and quarantine gave me time away to realize that I’d outgrown those friendships, which happens. A therapist once told me that outgrowing a friendship doesn’t mean that you hate a person or that the relationship was never good–it just means that everyone involved as moved on.
Plus, I decided to get rid of anyone who didn’t take the pandemic seriously or who spent their time perpetuating batshit conspiracy theories that made the world less safe for my son. And let me tell you, hitting that “unfriend” button on social media gives that same rush of dopamine that “add to cart” does, but without the financial repercussions. I highly recommend it. Plus, I find Instagram that much more enjoyable now. I follow about twenty people I actually like, plus a ridiculous number of drag queens, which means my feed is pretty awesome. And speaking of drag queens…
Bonus Truth: I’m way too invested in RuPaul’s Drag Race.
*Stop reading here if you don’t want spoilers for season 13.* One look at my Twitter feed will show you that not only am I not the graceful pretzel I imagine myself to be during yoga, but I am emotionally invested in an overly produced reality TV competition. But seriously, what the actual fuck are the producers doing this season? It seems like they’re trying to prove it was “worth it” to film during the pandemic considering all the extra precautions they had to take to film it, but there’s “producing” and then there’s “psychological torture.” All of the queens on this season are talented and I enjoy watching them all, but I refuse to believe that queens like Tamisha Iman and Denali Foxx lost their initial lip syncs because Denali LITERALLY FLIPPED AROUND ON STAGE WHILE WEARING ICE SKATES.
Also, while I’m on the subject of Denali, producers slept on her all season, we barely got to see her work, the judges basically ignored her looks despite her creating an incredible Dia de los Muertos look out of motherfucking HANDBAGS and then they contrived a bullshit makeover challenge, refused to let her use the looks she actually brought, and put her in the bottom two when she absolutely didn’t deserve to be there just so they had a weak ass excuse to send her home. Watch this video and tell me she didn’t deserve to be in the final four:
You can’t, because DENALI WAS ROBBED.
Okay, maybe I need an eensy bit more human interaction during quarantine. I’ll go set up a video chat with one of the people I haven’t unfriended yet.