I started staying home March 10. Granted, I am a homebody by nature, so I (like many others), assumed that the "stay at home" order would be an easier transition. And because I am an introvert and love cancelled-plans (that "buy" me back time), I thought I could continue as is. Looking back on the past 20 days, I feel a little foolish and chagrined at my naïveté. I didn't account for so many things: the fear and panic of groceries and supplies; the frustration of being home when I had to be; the disappointment of cancelled or postponed conferences, vacations, and now graduations. And most of all, I didn't account for grief:
The global grief of systems that have been failing us and failing us more than ever
The societal grief of, what feels like the world being halted
The communal grief of altered/virtual intimacy and sense of community
The individual grief of adjusting to "our new normal" and the guilt of not being able to adjust
The personal grief of lives lost, of lives at risk, of what is next and the uncertainty of it
The grief was unexpected, and one that has been hard to process. Some days, I feel like I can push past Covid19— should push past this— and be my "normal," productive self. I have a dissertation to finish. I have a faculty position to transition. I have publications to submit, papers to write, conferences and grants to apply to. Other days, I feel adrift, lost, and floating. This is the reality I refused to believe and still have trouble accepting. I stare at my wall— conveniently blank like my mind. I putter around my house as a way to "trick" myself in doing something. I take nap after nap and watch TV mindlessly or scroll through the endless Tweets and Facebook posts. And in between these is the cyclical guilt of not being productive/guilt for wanting to be productive in this mess; questioning what really matters; cabin fever; and what feels like anything and every thing else.
And thru it, I find myself coming back to one of my most favorite poems. I don't remember when I came across it, but it's one I've referred to constantly since then:
Grief comes in waves, and I am allowed to feel every ebb and flow (by Alex Elle)
I don't know how to close this blog post. I originally started March with the intention of writing regularly on this platform, but over the course of the 20 days, I couldn't. I just, couldn't. Writing this post, was a way for me to "get back on it" (though I'm not sure what the it is.) But I love this poem and it has kept me grounded as I've meditated about these ebbs and flows. To give myself freedom to feel and to remind myself that grief is a process and not a linear one at that.
In a year, I read somewhere around 100-200 books. I don't have a TV and I use reading as a form of escape, and I especially like reading outside of academia. It also helps with improving my writing :)
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).