I am visiting my parents for the weekend. I have not seen them since January. It was a LONG six months. We all took self-isolation and social distancing seriously and the places we live are part of the four states with steadily declining infection rates. It is so good to just BE here.
We’ve spent our time together visiting, talking, reading and binge watching Netflix. I saw a few episodes of Heart of Dixie, which I had never seen, and it’s charming. I sat under an umbrella on the deck yesterday while it rained and wandered around the yard with Watson and my parents dog Lucy and their four cats. This is the only place Watson is allowed to be off leash and he loves running with Lucy. He also took my Dad on a merry adventure at 7am Saturday morning when he went to visit the neighbors.
I have spent the last several weeks filled with anxiety and sadness and anger and fear and self-hate. COVID-19 is going to ravage us for years if our governors can’t pull themselves together and do what the president and his administration have failed and refused to do. So many people have needlessly become ill, and so many have died. We’re going to lose so many more and it doesn’t have to be like this.
And honestly, folks, Black Lives Matter. So. Fucking. Much. I’ve been doing what I usually do when faced with uncomfortable truths, about myself and society. I read, I learn, I listen and I turn inwards to see what I need to do to make me a better ally and a stronger anti-racist. And I act in the ways that I can. I cannot safely demonstrate and attend rallies and vigils, so I donate. I’m lucky I still have a paycheck. I use it towards BLM, The Bail Fund, ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Closer to home I volunteer for the local domestic violence agency by taking a shift of the emergency hotline each week. It gives the staff a real break, and because BIPOC are impacted by our societal failures at statistically higher rates, in this small way, I’m a safe voice in an impossible situation.
The internal voice that tears me down has been loud and strong, probably because life has changed so drastically in such a short amount of time. I struggle with this in normal circumstances – forget about a pandemic and societal reckoning with our dark and terrible history that has been used to create systemic racism and inequality. Most of the negative thoughts are about my health and body and weight. I know the only way to break the self-hate thought cycle is to DO something. My health will get a post of its own and there is less I can do about it, but I can do something about my weight and body issues. I am, like many people, about 15 to 20 pounds past where I am most comfortable in my own skin. There are issues here of course about societal expectations of women and beauty and all of that, but it’s mostly about where and how I feel the best. My body is too unreliable for a strict exercise regimen, though I work out as often as I’m able, in ways that are best for me. So mostly the changes I can make are around food. Food is one of the few places I’m able to find joy and comfort right now. But I need to find ways to feel this joy and comfort in healthier ways. So I signed up for WW, and my Mom decided she’d try it too. So for the next three months, we’re logging our food and counting points instead of calories, and we’ll see how it goes. Straight calorie counting tips me into disordered eating and doesn’t allow enough room for me to be kind to myself. I have hopes that WW will give me the flexibility I need to change my habits and lose weight without losing my mind.
I’m working so hard to be kind to myself and to others, but to also funnel my rage at the state of our country into useful, healthy actions. I hope you’re able to do the same. Be well.