I know. Are you cringing with me? I try so hard to be the ‘om shanti’ hippie girl who tries to love the world without judgement and assumes positive intent and all that jazz. But the truth is, I’m a trembling, fearful, judgmental, critical, failure at meditation and Whole 30 and yoga and stillness kind of woman. I like to call it being “New York” as if there’s some personality quirk to anyone who has ever resided for more than 5 years in that city, sharp as the accent, but it’s not. It’s just my inner mean girl who was fed by rage and grew by isolation and arrogance. I hide her mostly. She lurks and I push her down when she tries to slip through my bra up my neck to nestle in my ear and whisper these catty comments that she swears are the truth nobody wants to say. Mean things. Cruel things.
Also: there is truth. There is actual fear. Like now. I mean, first of all, it’s been a whallop of a 6 months here in my world. Everything was going along swimmingly, then Dad got cancer and lived for 4 months and then died and then I lost my voice and had to cancel everything, my income dried up, and then the holidays hit hard without my Dad. Then, things started looking up, I was out on the road again, I won a big songwriting award, I recorded an album in 4 days and was on track to being fiscally even again. Then the one-two punch of the tornado hitting Nashville and upending everything here. And then, pandemic. Pan-fucking-demic. Excuse my French. But if there’s ever a time for cursing, now is the time.
How are you doing, mothers? I know I’m freaking out. More than just a little. I know so far it rarely hits children, but I’ve already imagined the death of my child in a myriad of ways that are complete fiction, so to have a literal zombie virus running rampant in the world, it’s enough to make me want to take Huck out of town, into the woods, and lay my body over top of his like a blanket until he’s, like, 5.
Monday is my son’s 2nd birthday. We were going to have a party. We’re just having my husband’s parents here because no way am I having a gathering here and no way was my 77 year old mother getting on a plane. So we’ll have a Winnie The Pooh cake and some balloons and we’ll FaceTime people and it will all be fine. At least we can buy a cake. At least we have a home. At least ours wasn’t torn up by the wind last week. At least we have family. At least, so far, we are healthy.
Someone this morning posted on the socials about staying in gratitude. I’m doing my best and I’m failing at that, but I’m still pushing that rock up the goddamn hill. I sat for meditation and had a few seconds of peace within the 20 minutes of scrolling fearlists. I practiced yoga by Youtube, as I’m not getting in a room of 30 sweaty bodies in a Petri dish of viral infection. I took a bath and read the memoir of a better writer than I. I’m brainstorming ways of working from home, offering workshops and coaching and anything I can do remotely to make a few bucks. I’m grateful my husband has a paycheck from a ‘real job’ even if his school has closed.
Gratitude. It’s very very hard. I’m grateful for so much, but that gratitude doesn’t 100% take away my rage at Republicans, this idiot president, the unknown pathogens being spit out with every sneeze, weak coffee, bad pizza, people who ramble about gratitude at AA meetings, the neighbors across the street with their “In This House We Are Christians” sign in their front yard as if anyone was questioning or shaming them for that anyway, unicycles, curly mustaches on men who barely just got out of puberty, jam bands, the lack of clear information on WTF is going on with this virus, that I can’t access Season 5 of Outlander without paying for it, and my husband, sometimes, when it’s not even his fault, I’m just angry at …
…I don’t even know what I’m angry at. I’m not even angry. I’m just afraid.
And so to combat this, I have one thing I know I can do.
I practice gratitude, through clenched teeth. Even if it means I’m faking it.
Now excuse me while I go wash my hands.