Difficult situations often have a silver-lining. This shelter is no change to that. It can show the worse and the best self in us. It accelerates feelings and emotions because indeed we have not been this much time with ourselves perhaps ever. We have not been given a chance to really have no other option. So years of knowledge and emotion accumulate in just 2 months of confinement. What are we made of?
Here are 3 reflections I learnt about myself, not absolute surprises or things to brag about, but reflections on how I am dealing with this lock down. I thought about adding “I can’t write short articles“, but today I may have just pulled it off.
The introvert self in me
I have discovered a few years back that I fit the concept of an introvert-extrovert, thanks to Natalie Eckdahl. I get along with people, I am happy around friends but I get my energy from being on my own. Like when I write. People wonder how I find the energy to write, indeed I find energy in it. My self dwells on it.
This personality has made it so easy for me to be home that it is sometimes scary to think about leaving. I trust the extrovert part of me will take its place in due course, but for now, I am quite content, or more than that, to have the space to just stay home and dedicate myself to the family in the weekends or avoid having to rush back and forward during the week. This weekend, I even did a spring cleaning, though I have not made it to the children’s photo albums yet. I am blessed to have a cosy home and a patio to give wings to my hula-hoop emotions to the sound of Uptown Funk, but all-in-all, the introvert in me is having a blast not having to make as many tough choices as usual.
Guilt is taking different shapes
I usually feel guilty all the time. Because I am not doing enough at home. Or I am not doing enough at work. I am also not doing enough at ALG. Certainly I am not being a good enough mother. Or I am not being a good enough daughter. And I am not being a good enough wife. The list could go on, you get the picture. It is just there – I should I should I should. I have learnt over the years how to chat with it, recognise it, give it the space that it needs to grow and pop. I am improving at not letting it linger, but guilt always shows and it likes to haunt my perfectionist self.
In the last few weeks, guilt has been less present in my life. Perhaps because the biggest guilt I feel is towards my children, the fact that I am there for them 24 hours a day (now literally) is helping reduce the intensity with which it attacks me on a daily basis. I still see it there – when I realize at 6 pm I have not even sat down with Baby S even 5 minutes since 9 o’clock in the morning, when I give Little Girl C a bad face as she interrupts my conference call for the 10th time, when I don’t make it to bath time yet again. Not even home I can get my act together?
A weaker guilt
Guilt now comes and goes quicker than before. It used to block me. I don’t go to the gym, I barely do sports, and the only way I booked dinners out would be straight from work so it would not break my heart to leave them waving at the window (yet again). That would inter-change with booking dinners really late so I could come home and see them and put them to bed and leave only after absolutely exhausted. Self was not a prevalent choice.
But over the last weeks, I can squeeze in an end of day sport, I find time to do things that I value doing in the weekend (such as spring cleaning), I am more relaxed about taking an extra snooze in the weekend even if I hear them around, and I even got out of the house and went for a run for the first time in 5 years. Yes, 5 years. I feel guilt will never leave me, but it is slowing down on me here.
My type of slowdown
Slowing down is a strange concept to me you may think. But indeed, I have slowed down in recent years. I know it seems like an acceleration, but it is not. There has been a focus and more energy, and just an immense will to do so many of the things I love doing with ever more intention, while learning to put some things on hold or just take them off my bucket list. This active self is less often than not an overwhelmed self.
A few weeks back, I had a force slowed down. When the first wave of Covid-19 hit me, I was properly thrown to the ground and I found myself having to completely disconnect from my “to-dos” for a few days. That is not something I do often. A few days ago I was upset and exhausted with my home-schooling failures and told Hubby B I was going to bed at 9 o’clock. When he came to check on me at 10 o’clock, I was in an excel frenzy. He looked at me half confused half amused and said “I thought you were going to rest”, to which I replied confidently “this is me resting”.
This lock down however, does give me a feeling of slowdown. It removes the constant feeling of seeing life pass next to me without me almost being able to touch it. The lack of commute helps, the physical presence with the children does to. I guess I have less FOMO. And that on its own is the slowdown I need the most.Garidy Sanders