This time is crazy. It’s literally insane – we are LIVING HISTORY right now. We sit here pretending this is “normal”, yet we don’t even know what normal is anymore.
I can’t remember what “MY” normal looks like. It’s slowly slipping away, through my fingers – like sand. There are so many things swirling around in my head – ideas of the “unknown” flick back and forth like a ping pong ball. Mostly as if a small child were playing the beloved vintage arcade game – and not very well, might I add. Banging the buttons on both sides of the machine with sticky hands like a drum. It didn’t matter whether the child actually hit the ball with the machines little closing doors, just the mere fact that they had one job – and ONE JOB ONLY. To hit those buttons, producing the incessant clicking sound that could drive any sane person crazy. Then suddenly, the congratulatory alarm sounds when the child hits a great shot to the top, scaring the crap out of you! Do you feel dizzy yet? Ya – me, too.
I shut down my life on March 11, 2020. Several days before most of the state of California. I was scared. I was cautious. I didn’t want to take any chances of catching this unknown VIRUS and spreading it to the rest of the world. I didn’t want to expose my parents. My grandparents. The ones I loved the most. I DIDN’T WANT TO BE EXPOSED! So I quickly shut down my world to preserve “normal ” as I knew it.
That now seems like a distant memory. The days and weeks are getting longer and harder. They’ve all started to merge together, smearing into each other like a piece of paintball art. Rolling into this chaotic mess – that is still beautiful, and colorful, and wonderful, and FULL. Infused with sweet moments, everyday occurrences, routine, loudness, chaos, tender moments, shouting, love, and loneliness – YET BEGGING FOR JUST A MOMENT ALONE! I have to stop to catch my breath! Tears streaming down my face. Give me a moment.
It’s not often I have a quiet moment to myself. And when I do – I often find myself weeping – quietly. But sometimes uncontrollably. These moments usually occur at my desk, the shower, and sometimes in the presence of others – and they don’t even know it. Often I find I don’t know where my space is. It seems to be EVERYWHERE at EVERY TIME at EVERY MOMENT and NOWHERE all at the same time. I’m not sure how much of that I put on myself – and how much is really expected from others, but it feels like an insurmountable amount of pressure with no end in sight. Do you feel the same?
At the beginning of quarantine – I did what I do best, I went into problem solving mode. I quickly put together a plan for my 2nd grader to be home schooled by myself in conjunction with my Mom, who was a 2nd & 3rd grade educator for 35 years. I made sure we were stocked with the “right” educational materials and I had a GAME PLAN. A schedule that would make everything okay – like life didn’t just END AS WE KNOW IT!
But life ENDED anyway. At least any type of normalcy that I could recognize. It’s now a repetitive state-of-mind, each day cycles like the next – if I let it. I’m not going to lie – some days are GREAT! I’m super MOM! Baking, playing, planning special activities, making cookies, learning how to garden, trying to stick to a routine/schedule (I’m much more proficient in routine rather than the ever redundant timeline of a schedule), epic bike rides, creative shooting ideas, pizzas from scratch. That was quickly met with exhaustion and fragility four weeks in and the strong schedule we had built slowly began to crumble. I began to CRUMBLE. I’m only ONE person – I can only DO so much!
I had to stop and REDISCOVER who I was NOW! In this moment. In this significant mark in history. In my life. My kids life. My husbands life. My friends & family’s life. My business’s life. Everything had to be RE-EVALUATED. Looked at from a different angle, an alternate perspective. I had to look 2 steps ahead, to really see where our future was headed – and accept the strong feeling that “what was” is no long “what is” or “what will be”. Things will be different. They will look different. They will feel different. Everyone will be affected DIFFERENTLY. I had to learn how to handle the “here & now” and stop daydreaming about the past and how things “used to be”.
I no longer had my designated eight hours of (almost) uninterrupted work time per week or the easy flow of morning routine – getting the big kid off to the bus stop for school and the husband out the door to work. Then the silence would settle in. The calm. Time to think. Time to clean. Time to play. Time to just be – engulfed in the silence, drinking my chai tea latte, being creative, working hard, or SOMETHING just for me; a massage, some retail therapy, stopping to pick up my favorite lunch on the go!
I think that has been my biggest qualm about this whole thing – not having ANY ALONE time. You don’t realize how much you need it or how precious it really is. To hear your thoughts, to dive into your investigative rabbit hole about “X” subject, to set aside time for your passions, your work, your hobbies, your physical and mental self care. I have to steal those moments now. Not that there is a singular category that is ripping these moments thru my clenched fists – but a collateral alignment of EVERYTHING that demands my attention and needs. I am in CARETAKER mode now! And sometimes that weighs heavy.
So I’m here to tell you – that it’s OK to take a BREATH! To take a break. To literally lie on the floor and DO NOTHING (take a nap for Pete’s sake)! If this time in life has taught me anything it’s this: that time is literally passing us by and this is our opportunity to SEIZE THE DAY and let it play out as it may. Whether it’s good or bad. Filled with rainbows and golden sun or screams and tears. These are the REAL moments that we wish we could slow down for. NOW IS THE TIME TO BE PRESENT.
To see your children through new eyes. With a new voice and a new vision. A positive attitude to kick this viruses ASS and come out of this on the BETTER side. The side with hope, beauty, love, snuggles, accomplishments, struggles, feelings, TRUTH! Take the time to document this blip in history when the world quieted and we felt what it was like to keep the ones who matter most close to us and to raise each other up in a time that could be seen a DARKNESS. See the beauty in the shadows. In the depths of the pain, tiredness, loneliness, and uncertainty.
The world, right now, is out of our immanent control. The best we can do to navigate this obstacle is to take it ONE DAY at a time, to stay calm, and be the best person we can be – and know we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. To lead by example and show our babies how to navigate through crisis. How to stick together. To stay STRONG. To always pick community over competition, and how to raise each other up – especially in this desperate time of need.
Use this time to express yourself creatively. Take on a new project to document your time home together: daily, weekly, monthly – in photographs, video/film, collages, painting, coloring, musically, with your own words. It’s ok to feel all that you are feeling and to share it with the WORLD: because they are FEELING IT TOO! Don’t let this feeling of panic or unknown throw everything you have worked so hard to achieve and obtain in your life slip away. This is the time to hold on like HELL and not let go of the power that WE WILL BE OK. And there is greatness and LIGHT on the other side.
My friends, I hope you are all doing well. Staying safe & healthy and that you take the time to reflect on this time and give it great thought to how you are going to handle the next stages of your life – and how you are going to share that process with the world.
This day-in-the-life series was shot with the amazing Lensbaby Burnside 35mm 2.8. I chose this specific lens for this series as a result of its dramatic psychedelic-like swirling effect on the perimeter of the frame. I felt this lens was fitting for this point in time – where everything feels a little disoriented and dizzy – yet there is very specific intent and purpose right now. In this poignant time in life – it feels surreal. But the focus is there – amidst the chaos along this unnerving journey – and all we can do is watch it unfold and do our best to do our part in staying positive, creative, and FULL OF LIFE.
This lens is sponsored by Hello Storyteller’s Partnership with Lensbaby from our Hello Pro Creative Program – Traveling Lensbaby Series. We couldn’t MORE IN LOVE with these ever-so-creative lenses. If you haven’t checked them out – DO SO IMMEDIATELY!