It’s Okay to Focus on Surviving, Not Thriving

This is an obvious statement but things are really really really weird right now. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. I live in the US which is basically…garbage…at handling this. I personally have no health care access and Daddy is an essential worker. I don’t let myself think too hard about it.

I’ve opened Queer Courtesan many times over the last month and closed it just as many. Things I had planned for March just slipped away from me and it’s only now that I feel like I am coping well.

There’s a tweet (or maybe a couple of them?) going around that says something to the effect that we’re an actively traumatic situation, that this is a time of crisis, not productivity. For someone who has gone through similar emotional roller coasters, it took me longer to recognize this than you’d think it would.

It occurred to me today that the last couple of weeks reminded me of how I felt the year or two after a breakup. Then after my antidepressants failed on me. And all of that in the middle of navigating a difficult non-monogamous situation. Except this was just the month of March and that was like two years of my life. It’s not perfectly equivocal but the feelings are so eerily similar that it surprised me when I thought of it.

During that period of my life, it felt like I had no control over anything. Beyond what I ate everyday and a handful of other things, life was happening to me rather than me living my life. There are a lot of things that I did try to navigate and choices I made, etc, etc, but there were so many times where I would shrug and retreat to my office.

The spring/summer after my antidepressants failed (did you know that was a thing that could happen! I didn’t!), I got on a new med routine, Daddy moved in with me and I was trying to straighten my life out. I became obsessed – and I don’t use the word lightly here – with the idea of freelance writing. I remember spending five, six, eight hours reading and reading blog after blog about freelance writing. I have a notebook partly filled with notes. I’ve had to unsubscribe from 20+ websites after that time. Thank God I had created a separate email for all of that.

It was something I had control over. Something I could do that made me feel productive. Ultimately, I was just making myself tired and spinning my wheels but I was feeding on the possibilities rather than the actions I could have been taking.

Productive.

It’s a shitty fucking word and I hate it.

The last two weeks have been me dragging my feet on schoolwork, unable to think about Queer Courtesan for more than a few minutes, and watching a lot of Bon Apetit videos. I reread all six of the original Warriors series and played Animal Crossing. And watched Daddy play Animal Crossing. I have not been productive. At all!

Internally though, I’ve been wanting to work. I want to write. I want to be getting ahead on some QC projects I’ve been mulling over. My do-at-some-point list is getting long. I don’t want to be behind on schoolwork and I certainly don’t want my service to be slipping like I feel it has been.

But that’s not where we’re at. This is me returning to survival mode, not pretending I can thrive in poor conditions.

I wish I could tell that to me two years ago. That it’s okay to sit and watch dumb videos and just be for a while. That when your whole life is in turmoil and there’s nothing you can do but these three things, then do those three things and don’t worry about the rest. I know that this stems from 20/20 hindsight and I wouldn’t know this now if I hadn’t gone through that, but there’s still a part of me that wishes I had taken better care of myself then.

So I’m trying to do it now. I’m trying to be honest with Daddy about my fears, my anxiety, my worries, my slow days. I’m trying to be honest with myself about those things too. Keep things simple. One task at a time. Try to go outside once a day if I can, even if it’s just to throw something in the compost bin or get a package off the porch. Twenty minutes of homework is valid and not a waste. An hour is valid too. Neither is better.

My life is pretty minimally disrupted by stay-at-home orders. Daddy is an essential worker – just like hurricane season – and is doing what he can at work to stay safe. I don’t leave the house very often anyway so I don’t feel the stir craziness that a lot of others are dealing with. I’m grateful for these things since it gives us a sense of stability. My anxiety is horrible but as long as I don’t read the news too much, I’m starting to do okay.

Anyways, this is a little rambly. I know that I don’t need to explain why QC isn’t updating right now – y’all live in the same world I do. Just know that I haven’t abandoned it entirely. I’m trying to be a little more active on Twitter every other day or so at a minimum but I have no idea when I’ll have another blog post right now.

I hope you are taking care of yourself, whatever that looks like for you. I hope you’re able to stay safe and secure. I hope you’re able to eat and sleep without too much worry. I hope you’re being as kind to yourself as you possibly can. I hope you’re able to find your own source of hope and try to hold on to the fact that time moves no matter what and, at some point, this will end.

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