It is a CRIME that I haven’t written on this blog one time this year. It’s a crime that you haven’t heard from me and that I haven’t asked how you’re doing.
So I’m correcting all that now. How are you? Me? I’m like a puppy swimming for the first time — I’m just trying to keep my head above water.
The pandemic and all it’s aftermath has been challenging to maneuver to say the least but add to that the deep freeze Texas just went through, I almost broke. And so did my water pipes (picture above are what the pipes looked like). It took two weeks after the freeze to get running water in back in the house. In those two weeks I have carried countless buckets of water from a temporary faucet created by the plumber into the house for cooking, bathing, and toilet flushing. If it weren’t for the summers growing up in a small village in Guatemala, I don’t think I would have done as well as I did.
And yet, I’m here on a lovely Saturday afternoon not really wanting to do nothing more than watch movies all day.
That’s what I’m going to do, watch movies all day.
In a nutshell, that is what this pandemic and this winter storm aftermath has been, giving myself permission for so many things. This is a difficult thing for an overachiever, which I consider myself to be but only as a coping mechanism. Growing up in East Harris county in the 80s and being one of the few family of color in a very white and (back then) somewhat affluent neighborhood, you had to over perform and be greater than your counterpart to even be considered. Sometimes you didn’t to do that just to be allowed in the room.
That overachieving continued through most of my life and lead me to enter the competitive sport that is American journalism. And, well, everything went downhill from there.
I don’t know how to switch this thing off now. The pandemic has forced me to learn to switch off the overachieving, the performance I have done for so long. I don’t know how to sit with it, what it means to not perform it and be still. I’m having problems with that, the stillness of it all.
What happens to a performer when the performance ends?
I don’t know the answer to that question. Wish I did.
I have been running. Literally. Mostly for health because of a health scare but my mind redirects when my feet hit the track. It focuses on one thing — getting through the run. It fights with itself and the battle is between the part of my brain that doesn’t think it can go on vs the part that knows it can. I don’t know who will win from run to run. Some runs are perfect. Other runs are tragedies. What they all have in common is that there is no performance, there is no thinking about the pandemic, there is no thinking about how I’m not living to my potential or my dreams at the moment.
In effect, the judgement ceases and it’s all about surviving the run.
It’s not about pipes bursting.
It’s not about not having water.
It’s not about how tired I am of working from home.
It’s about finishing this run, as best I can.
It’s about looking forward and running toward the end of this race.
I don’t know when all this is going to end, despite herd immunity. I don’t know what the lessons are that we will collectively learn. But I know that today, I’m going to watch movies, maybe take our new dog (we brought in a stray before the freeze) for a walk later, and attempt to understand this stillness.
Turning on Netflix,