The second my alarm went off this morning I felt... off. I was immediately in a funk. I hit snooze a few times and then decided I'd better get up and try to de-funk. I got on my yoga mat for an hour. I had my favorite oatmeal. I drank coffee and took vitamins. I put mascara on. I made a good To Do List and crossed several things off of it. Taught my staff stretching session. Had a sandwich. Had some tea. Had a meeting. Sent some emails. All good. Functioning.
Nope. By 4:30pm I was crying on the phone to my dad. Then I went and stood at my kitchen counter and cried while eating half a pack of rice crackers. Then I text chatted with my mom and cried some more. Took it to the couch and cried there for a bit. Stopped crying to receive and unpack and wash groceries. Sat down to write this and cry some more. Poor Doug. He's in the kitchen cooking dinner and alternating between stirring the taco meat and rubbing my back while I weep.
Did something happen? Not really. I went to bed last night feeling completely fine. I woke up feeling moody and crappy and snarky and sad and just WAH. So what the hell is this?
This NPR story from late March really hits the nail on the head. It talks about how this pandemic has turned our worlds and routines upside down and that the strange feelings we are having as a result are actually grief. I first encountered this story weeks ago and thought it was pretty brilliant, yet today when I woke up feeling like shit I didn't immediately say, "Oh. That's my grief. Let me carve out some time to cry and journal and properly mourn for a bit." I went about my day and tried really really hard to keep it together. When I finally let myself cry it was like a fully body dry heave of emotion, I almost got dizzy when I initially let myself let it out.
I'm not usually one to keep things bottled up, but these feelings I and so many others are having right now are sort of tough to access and difficult (at least for me) to express. Am I really going to sit here crying because I can't go to the Thinking Cup and have a breakfast sandwich when so many others around me are suffering FAR greater losses and have a LOT more stress in their lives? No. But I'm realizing it's about more than breakfast sandwiches. Like the NPR story says it's a sudden loss of rituals and routines, social connections, and some sense of security, and it's okay to lose it and bawl your eyes out.
I've tried really hard to accept this new normal and feel grateful for my health and safety and employment and to be okay. But I'm a little bit not okay today. I'm sad. I miss seeing my parents and hugging them and sitting in their living room and talking to them for an hour. I miss the people I used to sit next to at the Thinking Cup when I'd go there and have that breakfast sandwich. I don't know their names but they were always there. I feel sad for little kids who miss their school or daycare friends and big kids who won't have a graduation ceremony. I feel sad for people who have poured their hearts into starting small businesses that are now struggling. I love seeing my sweet nephew on our family Zoom chats, but I feel sad that he's changing and growing so much and I can't visit him. I miss paying cash. I miss getting annoyed at CVS receipts that are too long. I miss Tom. I miss the guys from the second car of the 5:16am Red Line train out of Ashmont. I miss talking to my co-worker in her office and seeing her cute family pictures on her screen saver. I miss all of it and I'm going to cry off and on about it until I go to bed and try to feel okay about processing my new normal grief. I encourage you all to do the same thing the next time you wake up in a new normal funk.