Soft Reset

Ever since my cross-country move from Washington to Georgia, I’ve been living in a sort of time limbo.

I am fairly quiet these days. I work remotely for the same company I worked at in ND, which is wonderful. I truly love what I do, and the company’s flexibility has worked in my favor to allow me the privilege of doing what I love, while living where I’m happy.

I’m just minutes away from BelovedNephew, now, and we get to see each other pretty much whenever we want, barring work.

I’ve been here now, for a little over 2 months, and yet…

Every once in a while, I stop, and realize that I am actually doing this.

Soft reset of the brain and emotions.

I’m actually fulfilling a dream I’ve had for years by moving cross-country – and twice, at that!

It’s only a little over over a week shy of the 1 year anniversary of my first move from North Dakota to Washington.

I’m really here. I’ve really done it.

And, my 2nd move from WA to GA I drove a 36-foot RV with only 2 cats for company!

My copilot, Sally; and the backseat driver, Cinders.

When I have these moments, I’m overcome with almost all the emotions; awe, fear, happiness, sadness, excitement, & dread.

It’s a lot, & there are times I have to pull back into myself to try to process the rush.

Soft reset.

Nothing jarring, no explosion of temper or giddiness. Just a quiet withdrawal, a period of isolation, until I can stick my chin out again & move forward once more.

Today, I’m sitting in an airport, headed North for the weekend. (I’ll write a separate post for that after my return home, it needs its own space)

I had my soft reset moment, staring out the window of the terminal.

I can’t have my physical withdrawal right now, in all the public.

But, I can withdraw behind my mask, and drop into my Kindle, mentally.

It’s gonna be a loooong day of flights, airports, walking, & sitting uncomfortably.

But, I’ll get through it.

Look how far I’ve already come to realize my dreams!

Jekyll Island, GA. (Mini vacay excursion with BelovedNephew a couple weeks ago)

Sister Sarcasm

I’m sarcastic. This is a given fact, and if you’ve ever met me in real life, it’s fairly obvious after about 5 minute’s worth of talking.

When I’m at work, in front of customers or certain coworkers, I mask.

MaskingΒ – a process in which an individual changes or “masks” their natural personality to conform to social pressures, abuse or harassment.

If I’m in an unknown social situation where I’m expected to “conform” to social norms, I mask.

But catch me in a known, comfortable, or laid-back social setting (ex., with friends, or my kids)? And you’ll get the Sarcastic Sister.

And… I use it to deflect criticism, as well.

In fact, I will use sarcastic self-deprecation to head off criticism from others.

I mean, if I’m cutting myself down… what good is it for someone else to attempt microaggressions & insults?

After all, I got there first, and with far better sarcastic insults about myself than anyone else can come up with. Who knows me better than me? Who knows right where to stick the knife so as to thwart further injury by outsiders?

Yup.

I emotionally cut myself to prevent others from doing so.

That’s priceless logic, ain’t it?

So, to show what I mean, a friend of mine upon moving away, gave me a box of affirmations. In the “advent calendar” style, you can pop one open & read something nice, that’s supposed to boost your mood about yourself.

So, of course, I’ve started opening them, & immediately twisting them.

Cause of how I do.

Pandora’s box, Trojan horse…same feel.
My body doesn’t make the sweet feelings anymore, so I use store-bought.
Because – science.
Cloning – not for everyone.
*sigh* is the picture clear enough, or..maybe a couple more.
No caption necessary
My personal favorite – simple & eloquent

One day, I decided the shit was deep enough around me, so I’d take it easy on myself…

Nice enough, yeah?

One of my coworkers asked me yesterday

“How the hell.do you think these things up? Do they just pop into your brain as soon as you read the cards?”

*sigh* yeah.

It’s called Maladaptive Cognition.

There’s always that small “voice” in my brain that pipes up to knock me “back into my lane”.

Another coworker told me I should write “sarcastic self-affirmations”, cause they’d sell like crazy. Meh. I know they might, but why risk yet another form of rejection among so many others?

I usually just shrug it off in front of others, & lay it off to “Well, I’m just twisted.”

They agree, & we go on about our business. They’ve been entertained with my antics, & I’ve prevented someone else from hurting my feelings by beating them down a little myself.

It keeps the hyenas off my lawn.

Sarcasm – the ultimate self defense.

I Am

I am that which lies between

The instant before the stone hits the water’s surface, knowing it will shatter the peaceful pond

That final exhalation of breath when life ceases

The moment of pure clarity before waking, disappearing in the fog of consciousness

and the desperation of waking in terror from nightmares, gasping for breath

I am the tingling smell of ozone, right before the lightning strikes


And the instant and all-consuming blindness that happens after the strike, leaving you in the void of darkness, groping for the nearest safety


I am the rope, dangling just out of reach, fibers brushing just your fingertips, and swinging away


the foothold inches from where you cling, toes stretched and straining to touch


I am that which is forever sought,


Always dreaded


Ever unattainable


I am that which lies at the heart of desire


And at the bottom of fear


I am.

Barbed Wire, Concrete, & Sarcasm

When I was very young, and I’m talking single-digit ages here, I was an extremely gregarious, open, talkative, & mostly-happy child.

Me, about age 9, horse-whisperer.

I had friends, I was involved in Girl Scouts, even had a “boyfriend” (in 10-yr old speak, that meant we spent a summer talking about horses & riding horses around town.)

In 1981, after we moved from Iowa to North Dakota, I started to change.

Through no fault of my own, when I started school, I was immediately tagged as “other”.

Small town, everyone knows everyone, & either they’re related, or their families have been friends for generations.

Me – I was smart and didn’t play their traditional sports, so automatically, a geek, and a loser.

Mind you, I could’ve ridden circles around them on horseback, but put both my feet on the ground?

Completely uncoordinated & awkward.

Anyway, I got bullied a LOT in middle & highschool.

So, I started building defenses.

And while my first defense was to retreat from social interactions, after being “Mean Girled” multiple times,

Sarcasm was one of my favorites languages.

I just kept my comments low, usually one-line zingers, so that only the closest people to me could hear.

And, I wrote.

A fuckton of bad emo poetry.

And some interesting essays, that I still enjoy re-reading, sometimes. Ahh nostalgia, you saucy, philosophical bitch.

Once out of highschool, I went a little bonkers.

Of course, this was post- 16-yr old trauma, but… Some of it was me, searching desperately for my younger, more outgoing self. And, it was the late 80s. EVERYTHING was overblown in the 80s.

The hair, the clothes, the makeup, movies, music, hell, even the jewelry.

And, so was my Attitude.

With a CAPITAL-FUCKING-A.

I drank, I partied at one particular fraternity in college (TKE, love your house forever), and, after I left college, I partied harder.

I spent a lot of time perfecting my “fuck off if you don’t like me” persona.

When, in reality, I cared a whole mess of a bunch.

Emotional defenses are some of the most difficult to break through, both from outside AND within.

And it affects the reasons why you do the things you do, as well as how you react to things around you.

My current defense mechanisms are strong, and mostly unconscious.

And with this being Mental Health Awareness month, I’m gonna spill some of my deepest-held secrets.

Buckle up.

Words, Sounds, and the Beat Drops

I emote a lot through music. It’s just one of the ways I can gauge my own emotional capacity & wellness.

Basically, what I’m currently listening to, is a pretty good weather-vane into my mindset & mental health.

(And yes, I’m always looking for new music, everywhere I look) A lot of what I find, I will either grab off my Amazon Prime Music, & put it in my playlist for work, for working out, for Roadies. Or if someone tells me about a song & I can’t find it on Amazon Music, I’ll go look for it on YouTube, to see if there’s a video. (There is almost always a video)

Here’s my latest favorite play list:

The Vengeful One – by Disturbed. I’d love to hear someone make a delicate, soft, feminine remake of this. It’d be creepy as hell, & make a great soundtrack for a vicious heroine/villainness.

Therefore I am – by Billie Eilish. This gal has such a grand presence with her soft, whiskey voice. It’s hard to sing along to, sometimes, because I want to sing at volume, but that’s all wrong for this one.

Lemons – by Brye. This gal’s song I first heard a snippet of on TikTok, & fell in love with the lyrics. I finally found a Demo version of it on Amazon Music, & had to buy it to keep. I know the whole song by heart, & funny enough, it’s my notification sound on my phone.

Jekyll & Hyde – by Five Finger Death Punch. I want to be Jekyll, but I’m always fuckin’ Hyde… as the song says. Both live in my head, along with all the other varied sides of my Gemini personality. Jekyll can be logical, but pretty cold, too. Hyde is much warmer, emotionally, but likes to burn things… like relationships, bridges, ya know… the “easy-to-fix” stuff… *rolls eyes at self*

Phantom – by Allen Mock. This is a “get-out-of-my-own-head & just feel the rhythm song. And when that beat drops… dayum.

Overwhelmed – by Royal & the Serpent. This – is my anxiety in a nutshell. It’s so damned fitting.

Villain – by K/DA. This fictitious group is represented on YouTube with CGI videos for League of Legends. They’re some of the female characters, supposedly. The gals who sing are a mix of Korean K-pop stars & English/American/British singers. They’re phenomenal, & this isn’t the only song I love, just the current song in rotation.

Boys Ain’t Shit – by Say Grace. My Beloved Nephew turned me on to this one by sending me the YouTube video. I love this song, & know this one pretty much by heart too.

The Devil’s Bleeding Crown – by Volbeat. More heavy metal. There’s a lot of that on this list. Heavy metal helps me when I’m angry, stressed, depressed… so, pretty much most of the time. I’m thinking it’s the drums, because those always just send me into a zone. And the screaming. Yeah, the screaming helps.

People I Don’t Like – by Upsahl. I just love how don’t-give-a-fuck this song is. Pretty much how I feel in crowds anymore. Like parties I’m obligated to attend. Yeah, not my favorite timesuck.

No Scrubs – version redone by Unlike Pluto. This is a retake on the original by TLC. It’s just got such a sway to it. I love it better than the original.

Protocol – by Leon Else. This song was referred to in a book I really like, so, since I’d never heard of it before, & liked the way they described the feeling of it, I had to look it up. Yeah, it’s that good.

This is the New Shit – by Marilyn Manson. Yeah, I know he’s getting a lot of hate these days. I still love the irreverence of this song.

Wrong Bitch – by Todrick Hall. I LOVE TODRICK HALL. But this is one of my favorite MOTIVATIONAL songs. Don’t at me, just don’t. Cuz I won’t hesitate. Watch the damn video. Do it.

Purple Hat – by Sofi Tukker. This song is just so “mellow LSD trip” (or what I would imagine one would be). It’s bizarre, which Sofi Tukker likes to do, the beat is definitely catchy. Now if I could just understand all the damn words!

Why Do You Love Me – Charlotte Lawrence. Again, very “Bad Bitch” vibe. Definitely sassy & probably psychotic, but I still love the vibe.

Did Ya – by BoA. She’s a South Korean singer, songwriter, producer & actress. I love the message of this song. “You should have appreciated me when you had me in your life. You didn’t. So I’m out. Suck it.”

Out of Hell – by Skillet. Pulled this one back into my current lineup from my archives. I went on a “Skillet spree” a while back & bought whole albums. Some days, it’s just how I feel.

And… last, but most certainly NOT least. I found this band through TikTok videos, & have fallen in love with quite a few of their songs. These 3 are currently on my “most listened to” rotation:

Falling in Reverse – Yeah, the lead singer spent some time in prison. He paid his dues & doesn’t deny what happened, or his part in it. But make sure you hear both sides of the story.

The songs I love of theirs right now are:

Just Like You – I’m an asshole. You’re an asshole. Everyone’s an asshole – sometimes. It’s just true.

Losing My Life. This one is a little off kilter – with the “time travel” referencing. But the beginning of this song… it inspires me.

And… my MOST FAVORITEST RIGHT NOW –

Popular Monster. This fucking song. Right here. Go listen/watch it NOW. I could probably listen to this 20 times a day right now & not get tired of it. Just go do it. Damn.

There are other “filler” songs on my work list, but these are the ones I’m bopping my head, tapping my toe, dancing in the office (yeah you read me) to.

And I really don’t care if people think I’m weird.

Cause they’re right, & I’m proud of it. I worked damned hard, for a lot of years, for that moniker. I wear my freak flag with fucking PRIDE.

So, those are the songs. If there’s something here you’ve never heard of, go check it out. Go. GIT! Expand your horizons. And if you have a favorite song not listed here that you’d like me to check out (Yeah, I take suggestions – I love finding new-to-me music), comment! If you think it’d be a good therapeutic fit for me, tell me about it & I’ll check it. (As long as it’s not country… just no.)

Keyboard Warrio…. Nah, Whatever.

I can’t decide whether I love or hate social media.

Yeah, it helps me keep in touch with friends & family I don’t get to see much, if ever. And I get it, if I don’t like something about it, maybe I should just get off that platform, right?

Well, it really doesn’t matter which platform you use anymore, there are trolls everywhere.

Shit, Twitter is one of the worst, IMO. It was trolls that put me so far off that platform, I simply abandoned my Twitter account, & walked away without deleting it. *cue dusty wind blowing & tumbleweed rolling across screen*

Instagram is the pressed-plastic, Barbie Dream House version of people’s “lives”. It can be amusing, & I find some great memes there, but I’ve never taken anything there as real. It’s all window dressing, never mind the pins & tape behind the curtain.

TikTok has changed something for me, though. Some days it’s good, & it makes me feel great about myself & the world, and some days, I have to put my phone face down on silent & walk away.

Goddess, don’t even get me started on Facebook. 🀐

My point is, I used to be one of those so-called “keyboard warriors”, out there till the wee hours of the morning defending the downtrodden, and burying the bullies.

Or, so I thought.

But, I finally came to realize, that – Even if you feed trolls garbage…

You’re still feeding them.

You know?

I get it, it’s REALLY difficult to walk away when you see this bottom-feeding behavior on a subject, site, or person’s post that you care about. And it’s SOOOO easy to let your itchy trigger fingers wander over the keyboard & give them a good smack-down. Or what you THINK is a smack-down, anyway, because honestly? They’re probably sitting with their phone in their hand, or in front of their keyboard, giggling to themselves over ALLLL the ATTENTION and validation they’re receiving.

Because it IS validating, in their minds anyway. It proves their existence, & their “nobody gets me, the world’s against me, so I have the right to stand here & yell louder than everyone else”.

They enjoy being polarizing, & watching as people around them start spinning in circles, popping off at them, while they’re safely munching popcorn behind their screen.

And, it’s absolutely infuriating to others, when the trolls refuse to back down, or inflame situations higher.

But – in cases where it’s just trolling? And not actual internet terrorism? And, by terrorism, I’m talking bullying, harassing, doxxing, stalking, etc… ( and yes, all genders are guilty of this)

If it’s just some Incel wanting to start a virtual fisticuffs for funsies?

Shunning works.

Blocking works. I’ve blocked so many strangers on social media, because I’ve seen them being trolls to other people. I’m just glad that so far, there’s no numerical limit to how many people I can block, or I’d have hit that wall on Facebook years ago.

Blocking these people doesn’t just keep me from responding to their infantilism, it means I don’t have to see it, & they can’t see my stuff, either, at least on FB and TikTok.

Hmm, (hot take) this is just another method of using the INFJ door slam…

Humorous rebuttals can sometimes work, too, if you can figure out a way to totally confuse the troll, & get them off balance.

I had one make a not-nice comment on one of my tiktoks, once, smarting off about something that was totally irrelevant to the video, was supposed to be personally hurtful, & posted in such a way as to make them look like the victim of bullying if I responded defensively.

Instead, I snarked back with an overly-sweet, totally sarcastic, comment, that was impossible to twist without watching me rolling my eyes while typing.

I got an apology *shrug*, & an “I’m sorry, I had a bad day”. Not a valid excuse to be an asshole to a stranger minding their own business, so I responded again with

“Yup, I was amused, honestly.”

Nothing pisses trolls off like having others being mildly amused at their antics, instead of being offended.

Anywho, I try my best, these days. When I see someone being a jackhole for no apparent reason, I practice aggressive passivity.

I clench my fists (and usually my teeth too), I take deep, slow breaths, & I do one of 3 things.

1. Scroll on, because it’s not worth the hassle to engage.

2. Block/Shun, because the person is a jackhole, sexist, racist, homophobe, tinfoil fanatic, whatever, & I don’t need that kind of stress in my already stressful life.

3. Snipe back with so much sugar and tart they lose their teeth. (I got really good at using words to insult people without them realizing it when I was young)

I’m not out here, trying to change people’s minds about how they handle trollish behavior, I’m telling you my way.

But, if I could add one request?

Please don’t feed the trolls, because they end up making everyone else feel sick when they grow from it.

Dichotomy

I spent a lot of time thinking about this, yesterday, on my drive to & from my folks’ house.

I am a tangle of contradictions.

Most people know one side only, as I keep its opposite pretty well hidden from view.

And nearly all the people who know me IRL, know the jokester, who mixes in with the caring, nurturing part of me. (If I care about you, I care enough to joke with you/about you)

Something I don’t say often, though, is that – once I love someone, it’s forever. No matter how much this can hurt ME in the end. And I’m not just talking about being in love with someone, I’m also talking about Chosen Family love. And there’s a few of those out there.

Beloved Nephew is first & foremost of the Chosen. He is now, and has been for years, my best friend. There could never be anything intimate between us, because we’re family to each other, but he knows me better than anyone else alive.

And he’s seen both sides of my personality.

There are also kids, well, they’re not kids anymore, because they’re godsbedamned grownups now, (yes, I’m feeling the age, here). Kids my children brought home with them, who needed an adult at the time to tell them that they were going to be ok. That they were enough, that they could do this thing called life. I don’t get to see them, or talk to them anymore, because they’ve moved on & past needing me, but I still consider them Chosen Family.

And yes, it stings a little sometimes when I think that, once I wasn’t needed to prop them up, I was forgotten. But that’s what happens. And I don’t want anyone to feel any kind of obligation to me because I was kind to them. That’s selfish. I’m just glad they’ve grown, and hopefully gotten themselves to a good place.

And, yes, there are people whom I’ve been involved with in the past, exes. Who doesn’t have those?

And yes, some of them I love.

Still.

To this day.

NOT to say that I’d go back to them, because most I wouldn’t. There was a reason behind the split, and it was needed. I’m healthier, emotionally, mentally, without them in my life.

There’s a couple that I would, but it probably wouldn’t be good for me, so I keep my damn mouth shut. Go me. (sarcastic eye roll)

BUT.

Not one of them can say they’ve truly seen my other side.

The dark coldness that I keep for only myself.

Y’all have no idea.

There is a detachment that happens when my switch gets flipped. And I can honestly say I, myself, have only seen it truly come out a couple of times. Always in the most dire of situations, and ALWAYS as a protective measure, either for myself, or for a loved one.

Example – cutting my male sibling out of my life.

I’m not going to retell the story, just know that I did it to protect myself from further emotional harm.

The point here, is, that I was able to do it. With no guilt, no remorse, and no second thoughts.

And no one has ever, nor will they ever, talk me out of it. Familial guilt gets nothing.

Talk of blood, of dna, gets nowhere.

After all, his blood, his dna didn’t stop him from hurting me in the first place, now, did it?

Anywho, before I get completely derailed off onto a rant, this is only one example.

But it’s an effective one.

The level of darkness to which I can descend, should I deem it necessary to the situation, is one which most would never seek, and I’m sure, they would never suspect me of reaching it.

But a part of me lives there.

And only the Nephew has seen it, or heard it in my voice.

Probably because he recognizes a kindred spirit when he meets one.

But, I digress.

My tangled dichotomy is pretty balanced, ironically enough.

Because as deep as my darkness goes, that is how far my love extends. And vice versa.

Scary thought, hunh?

Safety First…or last…it’s whatever.

My Beloved Nephew and I were talking the other night about risk management. He was contemplating something that could change his life, but couldn’t decide which route to take. Which risk was worth it?

Some risks are acceptable, because they are very small, & not likely to cause a shift in your life. They’re easy, both to take, & to live with.

Example – trying a new food. This might end up as a foodgasm, & you’ll want to consume this again, or it could be an ashy dumpster fire, & you’ll wretch, vowing to never let this cross your palate in this lifetime.

Risk assessment? Low, go for it. βœ…

Other risks are – possibly life altering, in that they could bring either positive, or negative equity into your life. These risks could move you forward into your goals, sparking joy & abundance…

Or they could draw you into an emotional, financial hole that would be difficult to crawl back out of again.

Risk assessment? Medium to high. Research, research, research. Maybe ask an opinion from someone trusted. Try to see what the benefit-to-loss ratio is. Write down pros & cons. Weigh & measure everything before deciding.🚧

And, of course, there are some risks that are simply too.

Too dangerous.⁉

Too embarrassing.❌

Too awful.β›”β˜’β˜£

Too deadly.☠️

Abort commencement. Please back away from the door…it’s on fire… and emitting noxious gasses.β‰βŒβ›”β˜’β˜£β˜ οΈ

I’ve been rolling along, lately, trying to manage my life by taking only βœ… risks. Sure, it’s a whole lot more comfortable to live this way financially, geographically.

But, I’m left, emotionally, canceled.

This is bland, boring, quiet (which, yeah, I like my solitude & quiet, but sheesh), and I need something else. Something more than taupe, slate and oyster. Something a little more lime, crimson and onyx.

This is where I kind of fell down the philosophical rabbit 🐰 hole in the conversation.

What in your life is guaranteed?

I mean, rock-solid, certified, absolutely concrete, as a result of a myriad of choices throughout your existence?

Death.

That’s it. Everyone gets a one-way ticket. What’s at the destination? *shrug* No fricking idea, but we’re all going, sooner or later.

Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING else carries a platinum-plated guarantee like this.

Everything else in our lives is mutable, ever-shifting, transitory & possible/impossible.

Warranties and guarantees are for large appliances.

What does this mean?

Well, for me, this means I need to start getting off my ass, taking only the βœ… risks.

I need to start contemplating the 🚧 risks. I need motion, action, & research. Cause-Effect.

I’m tired of stagnating and waiting for something to come along. Waiting for my life to truly start.

Fuck.

I’m 50 years old.

My life started without me a long time ago, and has been chugging along, watching me sit on the sidelines. It’s been mocking me for years for my inactivity.

Fucker.

Comfort is a lie. The only way to truly be alive is to always be at least mildly uncomfortable.

Because if you’re not uncomfortable, you won’t shift to change anything.

And that, is death.

The only true comfort, is 6 feet underground, with your eyes closed on this plane forever.

-“Get busy living, or get busy dying, the only sin is lack of trying”

I know, Stephen King wrote the first part of that in the Shawshank Redemption, but I would swear another of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein, wrote that in his classic Time Enough for Love. (I’ll have to go back & reread it for the 50th time to check)

Anywho, the sentiment stands.

‘Cause I’m not ready to be dead.

AU

I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I became a horse trainer, & lived alone on a farm with all my animals.

I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I died from suicide at the ripe young age of 16, because – emotional trauma.

I imagine there’s one where I became a published author, famous or not, I finally finished writing a damn book & sent it toddling out into the world, instead of having children.

I imagine there’s one in which I actually finished college, and became a psychologist, only to realize I got too depressed over my own problems to help anyone else effectively.

I imagine there’s one where I stayed with my love of acting, even with crippling stage fright, & became a bit actress, only to become a diet-pill junkie, who died from complications due to extreme yoyo diets & depression.

I imagine there’s one where I became a famous horror writer.

I imagine there’s an alternate universe in which I have more friends than I know what to do with, because I can be so extroverted with the emotion switch “on”, and a complete recluse, with the switch “off.

I imagine there’s one, where I retreated into the woods to become the swamp witch of my dreams, leaving everything behind to live off-grid, because I had no one left, after pushing everyone I knew away due to emotional issues telling me I’m not worth loving, which is why everyone leaves, refuses to commit, or plays on my heart strings until I collapse & lose my shit, running screaming into the void.

I imagine that there’s an alternate universe in which I am living a happy life, with someone I love, who loves me back.

Wild imagination.

A Learning Thing

I – am sick. And, this fact has unpacked a whole lot of thoughts & emotions in myself, as well as the people around me.

Now, to preface this, I don’t yet know if I have covid19 or not. So, let me start at -the “beginning”.

For a few days, I’ve had various body aches & a runny nose. I wrote them off, because

1. I have hayfever, so spring allergies usually start around this time of year. Stuffy, runny nose, is norm for me, along with sneezing & scratchy eyes.

2. My shoulders have, for some reason, been popping in and out of place when I move my arms a certain way, or raise them above my head. As such, the muscles in front of the joint -fucking hurt.

3. I have rheumatoid arthritis, so achy joints, especially with the barometer bouncing in spring, as it does here, is totally normal.

See how easy it is to dismiss things when you’ve gotten used to pain?

Anyway, yesterday I woke up with a sore, scratchy throat. Again, I dismissed it, as, if I sleep in a cold room, my throat hurts the next morning. Guaranteed.

I had a headache, but that, too, is normal. I brushed all these things off & went to work.

Midmorning, I started feeling feverish. My stuffy head got a lot worse, and I started feeling the various aches & pains more. Fevers seem to bring every little owie forward, magnifying them. Doesn’t it suck how that works?

I knew I had to leave work.

I don’t want anyone else to get sick because of me, no matter what it is I have. And especially now, with the way things are…

So, I told my supervisor that I wasn’t feeling well, & was going to go home to take my temp. Who knows, maybe it was low-grade, & I’d feel better after some fresh air?

Yeah, not.

Anyway, I had to call in after I did that, because I did have a fever, & knew I couldn’t go back. I wouldn’t expose anyone further. I felt hella guilty, tho, as there were reasons I was supposed to be in the office next week.

Instead, I worked on setting up my laptop as a wfh station, & got my TV to act as a 2nd monitor. (Cool as shit, let me tell you. HDMI cable & a couple clicks, et voila! )

Then, I called my parents. I felt bad, bc my dad’s birthday is next week, I have a present for him, & with everything, I can’t get it to him. But, I digress.

My mom chewed me out for not having called my dr. already, so I could get tested. I knew she would, that was part of why I called her.

Nothing like a nurse mom to kick your ass about taking care of yourself, am I right?

So, I called, got shuffled to their covid response team, & told when & where I could go to be tested. It was a drive-up in the parking lot deal, & I didn’t even get out of my car.

If I hadn’t felt like warmed up roadkill, it might have been morbidly funny.

The test is not fun. They stab your brain through your sinuses with swabs, giant-ass Qtips, & make your eyes water & your sinuses burn.

The well-covered (rightly so) nurse told me I should get a call within 48-72 hours with the results.

Here’s praying it’s bronchitis. That I can take antibiotics for, & I’ve had it many times, so I know what I’m dealing with.

So, where’s the learning moment, you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I am the ultimate introvert.

I go to work, the grocery store, the gas station, & home. That’s it.

I don’t go out to eat, I don’t go to the bars, I don’t attend church (obvi, being Pagan), I don’t do sporting events, & in general, hate large crowds.

People don’t stop by my house very regularly, & it’s usually just me and the cats.

I also wash my hands multiple times a day, always have, & wash them the same way I was trained to as a CNA many years ago. Universal Precautions for the win.

So, IF I do have covid, where did I get it from?

This is the moment things started opening up for me.

The store? Sure, I could’ve caught it there. I’m generally pretty careful about touching stuff in the store, I’ve been wearing my gloves thru the store, & washing as soon as I get home, but, it’s still possible.

Work? Well, we’ve been really careful there about cleaning, not touching door handles, no customers allowed inside the building, etc. But, sure, someone else could be an asymptomatic carrier.

Gas station? I usually pay & fill at the pump, using my card, & wearing gloves, because I don’t want the smell of gasoline on my hands. So, unlikely.

At home? Well, can’t get it from the cats, so, I think I’m good there.

The thing is, you don’t know what’s in the air around you, especially when you go to public places. And being cleanly & careful will only get you so far.

Sometimes, you get sick anyway.

And, frankly, the stigma of now being someone who’s sick, possibly with the corona virus, is difficult.

If I do have it, then I didn’t know that until late Friday morning. As soon as I felt off, I left for others’ safety, & saw to getting tested & setting up my self quarantine.

Which means, yes, I could have been carrying this in my system for days, incubating. But, I am NOT to blame for this. I did NOT ask for or seek this out. I’ve been as careful as I could be, practiced social distancing, the whole 9 yards, and I still got sick anyway.

Now, think about what you’ve been doing to avoid this? Do you think it’s enough? Could you do more? Is any of it enough?

That last question I’m still stuck on.

But, right now, I need a nap.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Follow the 6 foot rule. Stay home if you can. And, if you have faith – any kind, I’m not judgy – Pray.

Hope you all stay healthy. ❀