Doom Surfers

I recently learned a new term, Doom surfing. I first heard it out of context, a Zoom conversation with other writers, when someone said they felt like they were Doom Surfing and I thought, “Oh that must be what I do too!” Because I can tell you at any given point how many cases of Covid-19 we are facing in my county (539), state (6383), country (311,658), and in the world (1,216,422). These are the numbers at this moment, anyway, which was probably yesterday if you are reading this. I assumed that Doom surfing meant people who are always falling down rabbit holes of dread and doom, especially now, connected with the current pandemic. I was half right. Or sort of right. Or there are a couple of variations.

A couple days later I Googled “Doom Surfing” and came up with one of those variations. I saw the term used for people like me, sure, people who are obsessed with getting the up-to-date news on cases and deaths and CDC recommendations, which only serves to stop us from getting a good night’s sleep. But come on, four days ago I got an alert on my phone that said an 11-year-old boy died in the county I live in. The next day I got an alert that said that data was wrong. But in the precious 18 hours between those two news alerts I lost my shit. So I mean, sometimes the doom just comes, I don’t have to seek it out.

But this other variation on the term is a bit more, umm, how should I say this? It’s pretty fucking sad and scary. In Alexandra Wake’s article “Doom surfing and fact checkers prosper in Covid-19 infodemic,” Doom Surfers were likened to people who share Infowars articles to bait and scare people. Wake said, “There are the ‘doom surfers’ looking for anything about the virus to share; the self-appointed online moral enforcers who shame others for sometimes innocuous and other times problematic actions; the internet trolls who appear to find joy in spreading fear or provoking racism; and the comedians who can bring a laugh with a clever meme, song, or video, but, in some cases, may inadvertently cause further harm.”

This made me pause. I wasn’t this kind of Doom Surfer, if there are in fact kinds. At least I hope I’m not. I don’t think I’ve been sharing memes that could further harm. I mean, I’ve been laughing my ass off at Carole Baskin memes, but that feels like a different post. I do, however, know and am in some cases related to, people who do fit this description. People who share misinformation and say things like, “Jesus is the only way out of this. If you don’t believe you can’t be saved,” among other really cool things. (Sarcasm).

Then there is the infodemic we are living in. Infodemic is a term coined by the World Health Organization to express their frustration about getting correct information out to the masses in a time when so much misinformation is being spread. By who? Not WHO. You guessed it, the Doom Surfers.

So how can we stop them? Or us? Or all of it from bringing us down? Simple answer: We can’t. Well, we can’t really stop the other variation of Doom Surfers, but we can work on our own behavior like the way we respond (or don’t respond) to them, and how much time we spend getting sucked into the rabbit hole of hell.

Here are some things I have done in the last three weeks to help, maybe they can help you too:

  • Log off. That’s easier said than done, I know. But even in this craziness I am still trying to limit myself to 15 minutes a day on Facebook (Y’all know I’ve been doing that for months now) and it is really helping.
  • Log into new, different ways of connecting to people. Look for the cool concerts, free art exhibits, and other new and amazing things that are happening on the internet these days. Last Friday night Jerimiah, Jackson, and I joined some friends in Rhode Island via Zoom to watch an improv troupe perform. It was so much fun. You can check them out here: Bring Your Own Improv
  • Read, read, read (but not the internet, duh.) When quarantine hit I ordered three new books that I’ve been wanting to read from three of my favorite Indie book stores around the country. For real. I ordered one from Chicago, one from Kansas City, and one from Atlanta. Supporting small business and getting my read on, it’s kinda cool. But if you can’t do that right now, check with your local library, most of them have online books you can virtually check out and read on your phone or iPad now, and/or other free online libraries like Open Library where you can legit check out Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmade’s Tale” right now. Do it! There are also lots of Little Free Libraries all over the country now. You can find those registered near you at their website. There were seven in our neighborhood in Charlotte, we even helped build them! You just bring an old book from your shelf that you’ve already read, and stick it in there, then pick a new book from the shelf that you haven’t read. Super simple.
  • When you are scrolling, scrolling, scrolling and you find yourself confronted with one of those people, the other kind of Doom Surfers, scroll on past (if you can). Sometimes you can’t though. For me it’s a simple question: Is this person potentially harming someone with their misinformation? If they are, then you know I can’t scroll on past. I have to say something. I try to keep it short, tell them the nicest way possible they are giving wrong information and remind them to check their sources. I will often do that for them, and post a source with the correct information alongside my comment, then I tell them to DM me if they are confused or want to talk more. Trust me, no one fucking DMs.
  • Last, but certainly not least, go outside. This sort of goes along with logging off, and I know some of you are like, “Missy, girl, I am not an outside person.” And I get that. But desperate times call for desperate measures, ya dig? Try it. For me. Go sit on the deck in that chair you bought when you moved in and it still doesn’t have a butt imprint in it. Dust off the pollen first. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. If you have a dog cool, if not, call your local animal shelters, the ones who are desperately looking for people to foster right now, and ask how you can foster, or if you are not committed, ask how you can walk a dog everyday. Trust me, you can. They have them. The dogs that would love an hour-long walk outside with a human who will also pet them.
  • Watch good television. Or bad television. Binge watch “The Office,” again. “Tiger King”? If you just can’t do it, if you just can’t bring yourself to watch a documentary that you think is horrendous and crude (it is, but it’s also so much more) than may I suggest some others. HBO is offering free streaming for 30 days right now and there is a great documentary based on the “Serial” podcast from a few years ago about Adnan Syed. You know the one. There is also a documentary series on Netflix that I recommend about men and women in prison in New York who can attend college through the Bard College Prison Initiative. It’s by Ken Burns so you know it’s good. It’s titled, “College Behind Bars” and it will get you thinking about a ton of things. It will really combat those hours you gave to “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.” What’s that? You’ve never seen “W to the Fourth”? Then stop talking shit on “Tiger King.”

I hope some of this helps you. Some of this entertains you. Some of this inspires you. Most importantly, remember that Doom Surfing, as you and I do it, is sometimes inescapable. There’s nothing wrong with you if you are doing it. It’s human nature, actually, to want to know what is happening. And we are all anxious and scared and a little sad right now. That is the stone-cold truth. You are not alone in those feelings. But just make sure you aren’t the other kind of Doom Surfer, ya dig? Cause that’s bad news bears.

Take care of yourself. And be on the lookout for my “Tiger King” post, because obviously I have some shit to work through with that. Christ.

M.

Speaking of doom…

Lessons in Therapy

I’ve had several people reach out to me over the last couple of weeks to ask questions about therapy, so many that I thought it warranted a blog post. I think there are people out there who are really suffering from anxiety and depression right now and they don’t know who to turn to. Some people want to ask questions about mental health, but never would because of the stigma associated with it. This stigma is generations old, y’all and familial. Which is to say that it runs rampant through entire families for years and years. Both the mental health issues and the stigma surrounding help. Parents, grandparents, many who would benefit themselves from therapy and medications, talking shit, if you will, on people who get mental health help, creating a horrendous environment for family members who actually wish they could seek help, but are afraid to because of what their family members will say. This stresses out the people who are already in need of help, thus creating a cycle. Parents saying to their grown children: “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, I did it when I was your age and look at me!” Yeah. Look. At. Them. I know so many people who are “secretly” in therapy that it’s pure craziness. We need to talk openly about this. People need to be informed. People want to be informed. So, let me inform you the best way I can, with a story.

The day I walked into Patsy’s office I was nervous and sweaty. I was immediately wondering if she would see that I was nervous and sweaty, which made me more nervous and sweaty. I’d already done my “intake” paperwork before I showed up at the office. They emailed it to me the week before, I printed it out at home, filled it out, scanned it, then emailed it back. “Intake” is just a scary word that means they have all your information. Name, address, phone number, medical history, health insurance info, emergency contact, etc. All the normal new doctor bullshit. The problem is when people hear “intake” in relation to mental health, they think they are about to get committed to some scary psych ward that they watched a documentary on, and ghosts are going to chase them around in the haunted hospital. Or more likely, they they think they must have something REALLY wrong with them if they are doing an “intake” form. Nope. In fact, I think some offices don’t even call it that anymore. It’s all just called “Evaluation” which is what my office calls it, but some old school places still call it “intake,” so that is something to be aware of. The word here literally means, “Process of taking something in.” This situation being your therapist’s office taking in information about you as a new patient. That’s it. That’s all. Calm your tits.

So I walked into this new office, which is already scary for someone like me, and I was met with a receptionist, which is normal. She spoke in a nice, calm tone (as I’m sure they are trained to do) and told me she had all my paperwork, and that I had a $30 co-pay per my insurance. She then took my card, processed the payment while I stood there awkwardly, and told me that I would be seeing the office’s therapist Patsy for my “evaluation.”

Remember, the first visit to ANY mental health office if going to start with an “evaluation” by a mental health professional. Chances are, if the office has a therapist and a psychiatrist, the therapist will do your evaluation to decide whether you can benefit with regular, old, run-of-the-mill therapy like she can provide, or if you need to see the psychiatrist. Keep in mind here that the psychiatrist is the M.D. The therapist usually just has an M.A. in therapy or something like that, which means she can’t prescribe you medication. But the psychiatrist can. But, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to see the psychiatrist. In my office there is also a mental health nurse practitioner who can prescribe medication under the direction of the psychiatrist. Stay with me.

I was seeing both Patsy my therapist, and Suzan my MHNP. BUT, and this is a big BUT, your primary care physician (your regular old MD doctor you go to when you have a cold) can also prescribe mental health medication. Which means your therapist can recommend medications or treatment plans that you can then take to your doctor and get filled, if your doctor is willing.

So can’t I just see my PCP for all this, Missy? Great question! Absolutely you can, BUT that’s all you’re gonna get from your PCP, medication (and sometimes more of that judgement we talked about earlier, because they just aren’t mental health professionals). You won’t get the therapy that is SO important. In fact, some PCPs won’t give you medication unless you are seeing a therapist, which is smart if you ask me. Trust, I did the PCP for mental health care for a decade, and then it occurred to me one day: When I have vagina issues I see a gynecologist. When I have stomach issues I see a gastroenterologist. If I’m having mental health problems why would I not see a mental health professional? Answer: That generational, familial stigma. You gotta get past that.

Truth Time! Patsy is the third therapist I have been to see. The third time I got up the nerve to talk to someone. But each time before I quit going within three months. Why, Missy? Because, and I can’t stress this enough, THERAPY IS HARD AS FUCK, Y’ALL. You think the first time you will feel better. Nah, you won’t. In fact, you feel even worse. You feel like shit and you start to wonder if the therapist is straight-up out to get you. Like they are a sick subgroup of people who just like to watch other people cry. That’s not the case. Well not usually. It’s just HARD AS FUCK the first few months. The most important thing I can say to you is to STICK WITH IT. Those first few months the therapist is trying to understand you. Trying to figure out what your main issues are. Diagnose you. And no, it isn’t all your Mom’s fault, though truth be told a lot of it is, so if you love your Mom and think she can’t do any wrong, it’s gonna be even harder to sit through this part. Because most of what we deal with as adults stems back to the environment we were raised in. And most of us had shit happen to us, that we can’t even relate to our life now, but trust, your therapist will pull it out of you and before you know it you will be all, “HOLY SHIT! That makes so much sense. This is why I react like that now.” Or “Ohhh, that’s why I hate the color purple.” Trust, you will get answers. But it will take time.

I told Patsy at my evaluation appointment, all about my other therapy experiences and what I did. At the end of the evaluation, which is just a long talk, she asked if I would be willing to work with her, and if so, would I be willing to stick with her for SIX MONTHS! Six months, you guys. I knew my track record. I knew how hard it was, but even so I said yes. And now it’s a year later and I actually fucking look forward to seeing her every few weeks. I smile when I see her (I secretly want to hug her, but I think that’s frowned up) and I already have a list of shit to talk to her about because I know she gets it and can help me. She always gets it. She always helps me. But it took awhile to get there.

The other thing I want to say is that the first therapist might not be your person. Same for the medications. We counted it up, and along with having been to three therapists, two PCPs, and a mental health nurse practitioner, I have been on 10 different medications. Not at the same time. I mean I’ve tried 10 different kinds over a decade and just now feel like I found a good fit. Some of them worked for years, don’t get me wrong, but then they’d stop working. Prozac. Wellbutrin. Zoloft. Yeah, been on them all. And they were all great, but got to the point with me that they weren’t doing their job. So it takes time. And patience. Lots of patience. (Side political note: It also takes money. Health insurance. So people who don’t have money and/or health insurance can’t do this. Is that what we want? A country where only people with money/health insurance can get help they need? Nah, I didn’t think so. Vote, assholes.) Sorry I called you assholes.

Whew. I’m tired writing this, and I’m sure you’re tired in reading it, so let’s stop here. But let me say this: If you have any questions or concerns, or just want to talk to someone about how to even start this process, I’m here for you. Yes, even my complete strangers who just Googled “Ligers” and got to this post. I’m making one of my tags “Ligers” for this reason. I will help you. You can comment on this post. We can get you into therapy. Into someone who can help you around your area. In fact, I’m going to share some links at the bottom of the page to help you if you need it.

Listen, I need you to take care of yourself, okay? It’s important. We need you. Yes you! Your family needs you. Your friends need you. Your community needs you. And if you let what you think is just “a bout of the blues” linger, I promise it won’t get better alone. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there. There are people who want to help you. No judgement. Let me help you find them.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

American Psychological Association – How to Find a Good Therapist

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Mental Health America – Text MHA to 741741

There are currently online support groups for dealing with Covid-19 stress and trauma. Check out this place that are offering their services 70% off (I don’t know much about them, but I did go to their website and see their offer. So it might be worth checking out if you need to.) This is just one example. Google “Online mental health support groups.”

If That Ain’t the Truth…

“I’ll tell you what…” What, Missy? That’s what my Mom says, she says, “I’ll tell you what…” usually followed by something Dr. Phil said on t.v. or how mad she is at Trump. (My Mom’s a secret Democrat, shh, don’t tell anyone. She voted for Hillary.) My Mom also says things like, “Shit! Ope! I didn’t mean to say that.” Cause she’s a Baptist. But when I was a kid she used to say things like, “Well fuck me runnin’,” and “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” I don’t know about that last one. What are you even talking about today, Missy? I don’t know. Listen, I don’t know you guys. I just got off the phone with my mom and she said “I’ll tell you what, Dr. Phil said mothers should be paid $100,000 a year salary, and if that ain’t the truth.” That’s another of Mom’s lines, “If that ain’t the truth…well then I don’t know what is.”

I think what you are seeing now is a small glimpse inside my brain and how it is functioning nowadays. It’s off kilter. To say the least. I think probably everyone’s is. My husband’s is. My son’s is. My Mom’s is. It’s mainly stress-induced, yeah? And we are all battling it. If you aren’t battling it right now, then you just aren’t paying attention. This is a trying time. A chaotic, miserable, traumatic time, and if you are getting up everyday, opening up the blinds, reaching out by telephone or text to someone, saying hello to a neighbor when you check the mail, actually walking to the end of the driveway or the end of the porch to check the mail, well then, you’re doing it! Look at you! You’re making it work. Because this sucks, y’all. There’s no way around it. And if that ain’t the truth…

Yesterday Jackson painted small birdhouses that I had bought eons ago and stashed away for a rainy-day art project. He painted them and rode his scooter around the neighborhood sticking them on front porches to brighten up our neighbors’ days. We hope it worked to put a smile on their faces, but what it really did was brighten up our day. Then I shared pictures of him doing it on Instagram to hopefully brighten up friends’ days. I hope that worked too. I’ll share them now with you guys too.

We also started painting rocks to hide for kids to find on our walks, because we have been walking everyday and everyday we see families out and about with small ones, burning off energy. Today we started another family art project. Because art seems to bring us back to center. I think it does a lot of people, if you let it.

Our governor finally did the right thing this week, and he announced a shelter-in-place order, and he announced that we won’t be going back to school this year. And I know, man I know, it’s tough for kids, espeically my kid. My kid, who’s been to three elementary schools and who really wanted to finish strong at this one, with the best teacher, and the coolest, smartest, kindest classmates anyone could ask for. But we are making it work, and we know it’s sad that they won’t have a fifth-grade graduation or a fifth-grade day ‘o’ fun, but it’s okay. It’s one more way we are learning about selfless acts, and helping the greater good. Fifth grade is turning out to be a massive learning experience.

So that’s the bright side, yeah? The one I’m looking at anyway. The learning, the loving, the community that is going on around us. I’ll tell you what, we are watching our world change, in real time, and it’s scary, and sad, and traumatizing on the bad days. But on the good days, it’s an exercise in patience, in kindness, and in love. Geez, if that ain’t the truth.

Stay well and safe, y’all.

M.

Here’s Some Good News

It’s been a damn week, hasn’t it?! It has. It has. That’s why when I received good news the other day I was shocked, and then happy for a second, and then sad again. It’s a hard time to feel happy. It feels selfish to feel happy right now. It feels selfish and inconsiderate. I mean look around, people! There’s no damn toilet paper! I’ve been trying really hard to keep my life in perspective. This life, this sad, upside-down life. I’ve been focusing on the helpers, as Mr. Rogers wanted us to. I’ve been looking for good news in strange places, which I should be accustomed to now, but I am still not. It feels like for every bit of good news, a stack of bad news is thrown at me. It’s like I don’t want the good news anymore, because I know what will happen next. But the good news came this week, without an apology, and hit me square in the face. It reminded me, more than anything, that the show must go on.

If you’ll remember a few weeks ago I had to get a vaccine because I was applying to an MFA program that required my proof of MMR, but I couldn’t find my proof. Well I applied, then I stressed and stressed for weeks about whether or not I would get into the program. It is the only MFA program I have ever applied to, my first one, and I know people who have been turned down several times before they get in, or who only get into their second or third choice school, so I was scared. Then just like that, I wasn’t anymore, because Coronavirus hit and I had more important shit to worry about.

Then this week I found out that I was accepted into the program. And I was all yay! for a second, then came the “You can’t be happy about this right now” feeling, and I was down again. I know as far as news goes, good news these days, it’s just a little blip on the map, but it did feel good for those few seconds. Then the day I found out I spent all night unable to sleep Googling how kids with asthma fare when/if they get Covid-19. It’s not good. Hmpf.

I have two things to say today. Number one, yay me. And yay you. Because you might be waiting on important answers to important questions concerning your life this week and if the news is good, you should celebrate! And if the news is bad, remember that it isn’t the end of the world. Remember to keep your life in perspective. I know it’s hard when you are out of toilet paper, but please, please, try to remember that there are people out there who are really struggling. And if you are one of those people, man, I wish I could send you everything you need. I wish I could reach out and hug you. And I know hearing that this will pass is not helpful right now, so I’ll suggest this instead: What lessons can you take from the spot you are in right now? How will this help you grow as a person? As a community member? I’m sure there are lessons. There are always lessons.

As always I’m here (virtually, anyway) if you wanna talk. I’m around (inside my house or walking the neighborhood). I’ll listen. I’ll be sad with you. I’ll be happy with you (even if it does feel weird right now). Because we do still need to take care of ourselves, physically yes, but mentally and spiritually also.

So go forth and celebrate the little victories today. You did all the laundry?! Look at you! You cleaned out that linen closet?! Holy cow, you’re getting it done! You finally realized this is serious and started social distancing?! I always had faith in you, friend.

Be safe and sane.

M.

PS… The mascot at my new school is an Owl, so I mean, how cool is that?! Sure, a llama would have been way more cool, but you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit!

Trouble Writing

If you’re like me, you are having a really hard time trying to write right now. Seriously, I can’t seem to filter out all this negative stuff. It’s very real stuff, that we need to stay abreast on, but it still mixes with all my regular anxiety and nervousness and smushes together in my head and creates this monster who can’t focus on anything for too long. This means that I have all this time now, sitting at home, and I’m unable to actually write. Which seems absurd. So, I’ve taken to using prompts, something I don’t usually like to do, but it’s helping a little. Not with this here blog, but with my other writing, so I thought I would share some prompts with you today that I have come across that have helped me in the past, and some I just made up. It will be fun to see if you can spot the difference. And listen, please try your best to turn to books, and art, and staying in contact (though not physically) with your friends right now. I promise it will help, it might just take some getting used to. Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Writing Prompts

  • Think about all that is worrying you right now, then pick something super trivial that pops up. If you’re like me, I’ve been worrying about what to cook for dinner every damn night. Now write a paragraph from the POV of a person who is consumed with this trivial problem.
  • Write about your writing process. What it means when you say you are writing. What does that look like? How does it feel when you’re “in the zone”? How often does it happen? Can you will it?
  • Write a short story about an alligator farm. At this farm, the alligators run the humans, not the other way around. So actually, literally, the humans are walking around trying to bite the alligators, and the alligators have to jump on their backs to wrestle them? No, can’t do it? That’s weird, because it’s a really (cough) good (cough) prompt. Fine then, write about an alligator wrangler named Boomer Sr. in the swamps of Florida. He has four fingers and a slight limp.
  • Think about your room when you were a kid. Try to get back into that room. Did you have a theme in your room? Did you share it with siblings? Did you have your own radio or television? A computer? Oh, so you were fancy and rich? Think about the carpet. Did you have a toy box filled with your favorite things? What was your favorite toy? Follow this rabbit hole for a bit.
  • There’s a woman on a ferry off the the coast of Alaska. It’s summer, but still cold because Alaska. She’s holding a banjo, and a plate of cookies is wrapped in plastic wrap beside her. What the hell is she doing there? Where is she going? Where did the cookies come from? What’s with the damn banjo?
  • Pretend like you’ve been asked to give a TedTalk on the anxieties of the world today. You can set it in the past, present, or future. What are the negatives? What are the positives? How do you help these people who have come to see you talk? What will you say to improve the moral, but also keep everyone safe.
  • Write about what it means to be mindful. Are you ever mindful? What does being mindful even mean to you? Have you ever caught yourself really engrossed in something that you forget all your other worries? What allows you to do that? Is it that new Netflix show about prison basketball, or is that just me?
  • Think of someone who really annoys you. I mean, you can’t even stand to hear them breathe next to you. You have to actively fight the urge to tell them how you really feel when they are around. You do not like this person. Now write a four-sentence character description of this person.
  • There’s a Netflix show about prison basketball. It’s called “Q-Ball” because it’s about the prisoners at San Quentin. Go watch it.
  • Create a series of comics, mini-cartoons, even just a hand-drawn meme. I made a series of Covid-19 related ones to react to the “Bob the Stickman” memes I saw the other day. I will post them below for your amusement. In your cartoon, however, you are the protagonist, and you are absolutely against, say, helping to stop the spread of coronavirus. Had enough of coronavirus? Cool, then make your protagonist anti-abortion, or someone who doesn’t believe climate change is real. Fun times.
  • Make a soundtrack for whatever you are writing. Oh man, it seriously makes a difference! I am working on a piece from my childhood and my soundtrack is all 80s all the time. But maybe your story is set in the 1950s or San Fran in 1974. Go to iTunes and get you a playlist going. Even if you are not a writer. Just someone who needs a little distraction. Music helps so much.
  • Pick up a project you had previously put aside because you were stuck. Now start it all over again from a different character’s POV. Why? I dunno, why not assholes?
  • Write about a first date. What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best outcome? Is there sex? If there is please write about it, everyone wants to read about sex. Jesus, write more about sex. And prison basketball. But not prison basketball sex. Or… hmm.
  • Write a ten word story that starts with “Run…”
  • Respond to a series of “Dear Abby” questions, but respond from Boomer Sr in the swamps of Florida.

Okay, so I promised I’d share my stick-figure people I drew to combat “Bob” who I was really tired of seeing, y’all know Bob.

It’s not that I hate Bob, it just seems like Bob is a little, umm, how should I say this, well he’s lacking in his thinking. Plus the same people who were sharing Bob, who claims to “listen to science” are the same people who legit don’t listen to science, their hypocrisy was pissing me off. In return, I created these five stick figure people to add a little more dimension to this pandemic. Enjoy! And please, go forth and write about Boomer Sr, then send it to me so I can read it!

You Are Not Alone

I’m sitting here waiting for my coffee to brew this morning, and I’m wondering about my friends. I’m hoping that you are all safe, and I don’t just mean safe physically. I know you all are taking the pandemic seriously. I also know that like me, you have family members who aren’t taking it seriously and you are worried about them. I know, like me, you have kids starting school online today. I know, like me, you are nervous about a myriad of things and it feels sometimes like you’re going through a dark tunnel and there is no end in sight. I just want to tell you that you are not alone.

There were moments yesterday that it felt like a regular Sunday. There were moments when I didn’t even realize our country or the world was in crisis. Then something would happen to bring me back into reality. At noon we got our daily check-in from our governor. The numbers doubled overnight in the State of Georgia. Again.

A few hours later I was happily staining wood in my carport, when I got an alert on my phone that the local Waffle House employee had just been brought out of quarantine and was walking. He tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago, but he has recovered.

Later that day Jerimiah and I were discussing hot tub essentials and I said, “Oh, I can just run to Lowe’s.” And he said, “We should probably order from Amazon so we don’t have to go out.” Oh, right. Shit, that’s right.

In and out of this way of thinking. Remembering, forgetting. Remembering, forgetting. I limit my social media time so I don’t get so wrapped up in things, and that has been good for me during this pandemic. May I suggest that to you all? I know it seems hard, harder now with more time on your hands, but let us not forget all the books that need to be read. All the kids that need help doing schoolwork. All the dogs that need walking. There are other ways to pass the time. And believe me, it is worth it.

Because I see things like this: A family member of mine asked the question on social media the other day, “How bad would Coronavirus be if there was no social media?” The question itself was asinine, put out in the universe to ruffle feathers, and maybe, probably to get conspiracy theories flying, but the point I took from it was that there are still people with blinders on. Still people who thing this is just a big hoax. And that has to be negatively impacting those of us (the large majority, mind you) who know better.

Another family member shared a meme that said, “Do you know anyone who is actually sick? I don’t. This is the media shutting down America.”

Bleh. This is real life, unfortunately. And it’s top down, as we all know by now.

I read a quote yesterday that said, “This isn’t prophecy, this is math.” And I gotta be honest it hit home for me because I have family members saying things like, “I can go where I want and do what I want, because God has my back.” It’s scary and it’s sad, and it’s so terribly wrong. This way of thinking is going to kill people.

I want you to know though, that if you have people around you who are talking and feeling this way, and it is making you crazy, know that you are not alone. We are all watching this unfold. We are all having moments of normalcy, sandwiched in between breakdowns. Wondering what will happen next. What alert will come across our phones. Whether our loved ones will be okay. Wondering if we are doing the right things. Wondering what to say to those of us not taking this seriously. Who do not understand how to flatten the curve. Who believe this is the end of times.

Just remember. There are some people you can’t change, you can’t help. And it’s best not to waste your time with them. Focus on the people you can help. Focus on the people in your house. The people on your street. The people in your community. Focus on stopping the spread. Taking less risks. Focus on doing the most good for the most amount of people. If we all lived our lives this way, it would be so magical.

And remember, when it feels like you’re in the pits, when you just can’t crawl out, when the news it too much, and your family members are too much, and this is all too much, remember there are others like you. Most people in fact. And reach out. I’m here.

Stay safe and sane.

M.

Posts I Would Have Made

I wrote a few posts last week, like last Monday, back, way back, before Covid-19 turned out to be so bad. Or before I was paying a lot of attention to it. Back when I thought I would still travel to Kansas City and back. I am sharing them today for two reasons: 1. To show how naive I was and 2. To allow you to laugh at me. Cause I think you probably need to laugh today. So here you go, one post for when I was flying to Kansas City and one for the way back home, when I thought all was still normal. Enjoy.

ATL–>MCI

If you’re reading this, I’m nonstop from Atlanta to Kansas City, on what is most likely a Delta Airbus, maybe a Boeing. I’m trying desperately not to get the Coronavirus, by keeping just enough alcohol in my system for the entirety of the flight. I’ll let you know, in about two weeks, if my plan has been successful. My husband’s probably not supportive of this plan. He’s probably already made a comment about ordering gin on an airplane very early in the morning. He’s probably reminded me that I shouldn’t drink with the Klonopin I washed down with said gin, as the plane ascended.

My son is probably ignoring the whole situation with YouTube videos and his earbuds, while peering out the window since beating me to the window seat, of which I actually allowed him to have on account of my motherly niceness. Also because people have probably sneezed on that window and he’s the least likely to die from the Coronavirus, if it in fact breezes through our household. Lest I remind you what I’ve just been told: Put on your own oxygen mask, before assisting others.

M.

MCI–>ATL

I’m headed back on another plane, bound for Atlanta from Kansas City, and I’m assuming that the Delta Goddess has given me enough leg room to stretch my legs to nap on the way home. I’m hoping. I’m assuming that I have not contacted Covid-19, that my son has not licked his way across the Midwest, and that my husband has given up on me trying to drink any virus away. I’m hopeful and assuming today.

When we land we have to get back to our car. Then we have to pick up the dog from the sitter’s. Then we have to unload the dog and the bags and book it to band practice, then from band practice to baseball practice. We have to eat dinner at some point. We have to unpack. Take a shower. Gather ourselves for the rest of the week at home.

But for now, I’m going to sleep on a plane. A Delta plane bound for Atlanta from Kansas City.

M.