Saturday, December 5, 2020

RIP my phone. This is stupid, don't read it.


My phone died last night. And I've been meaning to get my blog moving again. The two are not actually related, except that not having my usual outlet to the outside world in the middle of a pandemic with shitty pre-winter weather outside my door seems like a good time to invest in long form communication. 

2020 bullshit

I miss blogging. I do not miss formatting posts for friendly mass consumption, or being disappointed in the fact that no one ever reads it. But I mean...why would you? Who am I? Super-no one. It's okay.

2020 has done weird things to my brain. I used to have a thought or a feeling and I would write-write-write until it was all out and I had a deeper understanding of the noise in my head. Now? I just say "eh, who cares about that? No need to immortalize that," and I write nothing. Not for my blog. Not for my future self to stumble over in a journal. Not even for my heart to make sense of my head. And I'm not sure why that is. Maybe there's just too much. Maybe my perceptions of "big" and "problem" and "scary" have changed. Maybe I'm not even sure what I need anymore.

Okay, but hang on - I'm not depressed, or even totally lost. I'm just kind of....unattached? Reevaluating? I don't have words for this. It's new. It's just....different.

I mostly enjoy quarantine life. I won't get into all the reasons why, as there are plenty of posts here already discussing the introvert advantages and a slower pace, yadda yadda. But the part of it that is really, really tough is this change in identity I'm feeling. Since September, my days have consisted of two things. Educating my kids (or, assisting in their education) and keeping my house from falling apart since no one ever leaves it. 

During the first half of my day, I monitor my younger two kids through their school day. I help them get set up, clean up their work spaces, check repeatedly that they're on task, answer questions, say "focus" about 100 times, and shhhhh everyone over and over again. When they're on their zoom calls, engaged by their teachers, I tackle house tasks like dishes, cleaning counters, sweeping, washing sinks, cleaning appliances. Some days I have to go pick up groceries curbside, or do a material swap at one of their schools. And usually by lunch or just after, the intensity of what's asked of me is done.

The second half of my day is riddled with exhaustion. It's kind of shocking how draining it is to keep a 7 year old and a 9 year old on task for four hours. (The 11 year old is mostly self-sufficient, sweet little Capricorn that he is.) Plus, since no one ever leaves, whatever cleaning efforts I made during their school day are usually on their way to being un-done by dinner. So I shut myself in my room and gorge on shitty Christmas movies or exit my current reality through a book. Sometimes I work on a creative project, until it hits a snag and I feel like, "wtf am I even doing this for?"

And then the timer on my (now broken) phone goes off, telling me it's time to make dinner and do dishes so I can feed all of my dependents and clean up their messes again. Repeat repeat repeat.

I like and value my home life. I love (deeply) everyone that I live with and I wouldn't want to be stuck at home for hundreds of days with anyone else. But it still just feels a little bit like....what's with this revolving door of un-kept tasks that don't ever amount to anything? Why are we doing this? My first grader is learning how to read, sure. But the rest of it? Are we just passing the same things, following the same exhausting routine, working on projects that have no meaning to make it feel like this is all worth something? Is it worth something?

And that thought is always followed up with, "Hey, shut up. Not everything has to be FOR something or to accomplish something. You can just be and be happy about it, ya know."

To which I respond, "Yeah well, you clean the same dishes 100 times in one week and then talk to me about purpose."

And here we are.

Look, I know what this sounds like. A negative, existential crisis in process. It doesn't help that I'm in a bad mood. A part of my new blanket fell off this morning. A cat peed IN my favorite pair of boots overnight. I couldn't check the time when I woke up this morning because oh yeah - my phone is dead.

And my phone giving up on life isn't just about not having a phone. It's about losing thousands of pictures and feeling like one of my usual Christmas gifts (that a few people make clear is THE gift of the year every year) is no longer possible. It's the fact that I don't have the ability to catch the small moments of the Christmas season with my boys right as adolescence is racing towards them. It's not having my Starbucks app to order holiday drinks, not having my Hue app to set mood lighting through the house, not having my alarms to keep me on track through the day, not having my library app to listen to the Christmas book I just borrowed yesterday. It's all the little interruptions to the parts of this weird, sheltered, repetitive 2020 life that keep me feeling like I'm going somewhere - doing something - connecting to humanity. (Even as "first world problems" all of that is.) I'm left floating in the grey sludge of the same clutter, the same crumbs on the table, the same piles of school supplies. Blech.

So, anyway, that's where I'm at.

I swear it's not always this depressing. There have been some good moments. I'm just not quite in the mood to share them today.

And yeah, my leg is folded in half at my hip like a pretzel. It's my one physical talent. The rest of me is made of potato. Picture is from last year, because MY PHONE IS DEAD.

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