Let me start with a warning: this is, indeed, another blog post about coronavirus.
I’m sorry. I really tried to come up with something else to talk about, but it seems to be an inescapable topic. It’s all over the news, all over social media, and it seems like I can’t have a single conversation with someone besides my boyfriend/quarantine partner that doesn’t mention it in some semblance of the word.
It’s exhausting and feeling-of-doom-inducing and it’s giving me weird dreams. Last night I dreamt I had a small, gnarly-looking tail growing out of the back of my knee. Weird stuff, let me tell ya.
Up until last week, I was working from home, so I had a schedule and things to do. But I, like millions of other Americans, got furloughed and now I have nothing to do all day but walk aimlessly around my apartment and try to come up with “projects.”
Because, as if human beings around the world don’t have enough on their plates with, you know, a global pandemic, now society is hurling this “you’d better be using this time for betterment” thing at us 24/7. My social media feed is a barrage of IG-live workouts and fancy gourmet meals and banana bread recipes (seriously, why? Is there a surplus of bananas right now?). And I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling some serious pressure because of it. I mean, I thought I was doing a pretty good job not just losing it altogether being stuck in an apartment day in and day out. And now I have to learn finance and garden and bake on top of it, just to feel on-par with everyone else on the internet?
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing any of these. I bake bread because I like to (and nothing beats the smell of fresh bread). I’ve been working on my ukulele because I like to tap into my creative side and I like making music. But, no matter when I do, it seems like it isn’t adequate, and somehow my worth is getting tied, not to if I worked out that day (problematic in and of itself) but to how many times, or how beautiful my dinner looks, or that I’m simply not doing enough, and what a waste of time my days become because of it.
I’m very, very tired of it all.
So I’m going to take some time and spend it on my personal development. Not constantly working toward sculpted abs, but maybe working toward a quieter mind. Maybe not beating myself up when I don’t want to practice my ukulele and instead want to watch “Marrying Millions” on Hulu (perfect trash tv, btw). Take deep breaths instead of or in conjunction with online classes. Dance instead of clean my apartment for the tenth time (two people live here, you only need to deep clean so often). And maybe spend a bit less time on social media.
Because sometimes “bettering yourself” can be as simple as learning to be gentle and soft and find the quiet places in your mind where you can just sit. Not do crunches, not whip up a loaf of bread, but just be.
Kristy Cloetingh is a Philadelphia native who is currently trying to figure out her place in the world. Her passions include reading, singing, dancing, nature, yoga, chicken fingers, and puppies. An anorexia survivor and mental health warrior, Kristy has made it her life’s mission to remind every single person that their bodies and minds are worthy of unconditional love and respect, regardless of size, shape, or whatever “normal” is.