One thing I know for sure about this pandemic/shutdown is that we’ve all had enough time to do SOMETHING different if we stay safe. Make use of the confines of our homes and do anything different consistently for as long as we’re locked up (if we have the bandwidth). The energy around us sure makes us want to sit still and do nothing in the name of self care – sleep in… take naps… eat “comfort foods” which I found are not as comforting because… we need shelter from this energy ALL THE TIME. Comfort food was a sometimes go-to but when you’re eating it daily… it definitely does NOT feel as good.
Having floated from medical leave into this pandemic shutdown was really unreal to me. I realized late last year that something horrible was happening to my spirit. To my sense of confidence. To my emotional safety. The anxiety I was feeling was at 10,000 every day no matter WHAT I did. It would NOT end well if I didn’t take measures to slow down. To breathe… and take stock in what I’m really doing, in who I really am, and see it for what it is. So I did just that. I was able to secure approval and I took 6 weeks of paid leave. That started on March 3rd. Went right into Regional Conference that weekend and I did not return back to the office. Two weeks into this solitude and meditation practice… the news of this pandemic started to snowball. In the beginning, I was convinced that I had already been afflicted with this scourge because back in late November / December upon returning from the Soul Train Awards, a cold/flu took such a hold of me… I’d never experienced anything like it before. I was completely exhausted, I couldn’t get out of bed let alone pick my head up. Fever, chills, the whole kit and kaboodle – but the piece that makes me think it was COVID was the loss of smell and taste. Everything smelled and tasted like a wood-burning furnace for a solid week and a half after the other symptoms died down. All in all, I was sick for about 3 weeks in total and just chalked it up to me being old now and not being able to handle the common flu-like a younger version of myself would. But now the stories were coming in heavy with loss all over the world. And more and more drastic measures were being taken. 2 weeks into my medical leave, all of New York was asked to shelter at home and not come into the office. Our building shuttered down and everyone was given access to work from home. An effort I did not rejoin until my leave was over on April 19th.
Upon returning, working from home was a different sensation. Mostly because no one knew where the ledge was. When would it end? When can we go back? Truth be told, I was in NO hurry to get on the train anytime soon. I already HATED the train system and hearing that it had become a haven to the less fortunate and by virtue of that – less accessible to help and care in this time did NOT make me want to hurry back into Times Square. Plus the footage I’d been seeing of Times Square being painfully empty made me…. happy. I thought to myself… “This is the kind of NY I could live in”. It’s honestly just OVERCROWDED. It’s so painful to live shoulder to shoulder with every damned body. NY would be so much more breathable if it was just less of us. News of folks moving out actually made me happy… but I’m sure once we get to the “new normal” and they open up outside again, it won’t make that big of a difference. Things emotionally came to a head at work during one of the Thursday afternoon meetings. And something shifted. There was a realization that we’re all in this at the same time. All battling to make it through. Sometimes battling each other for no reason. That was June… and it was like a bubble popped… and there was significantly LESS tension every time I opened emails. It’s not a utopia for sure. But I certainly don’t think of stroking out when I go to pick up email.
In July it was made clear that we wouldn’t be returning to the office for the foreseeable rest of 2020. Okay. That gives us more runway. A bit more “knowing what to expect” so we can plan our lives with more than just a 30-day purview. I needed to come out of this better than when I came in. Something about me has to change while I have all this “time” now. I ordered us a Peloton. Earl had not been to the gym because of the pandemic and was making do with our elliptical/recumbent bike and some workouts on his phone. And I… well, I wasn’t doing ANYTHING. Hoping to take advantage of the time we’d have I put it on the line. Bummer that it wouldn’t be delivered till September (due to COVID). But I’d take that lead up time to get my mind right and commit… to ME. Not with pomp and circumstance. Not with any kind of grandeur. Maybe just… daily… do something JUST for me that isn’t destructive.
In no time flat, it arrived on September 24th. Just in time for our birthdays. I joined a FB group for Black Women who Peloton (#BGM) – Black Girl Magic – the Peloton Edition and was listening to the convos for a few weeks prior to the bike’s arrival. It’s a really uplifting community. I saw some familiar faces and friends which made me feel more at ease. And when my bike got there and I made my announcement and introduction… it was all love. I took my first ride on 9/25/2020. I haven’t stopped yet. I’m currently on a 10- streak of working out a minimum of 30 minutes a day. I try to do more if I can. And always meditating after. I promised myself I would not weigh myself until Christmas (3 months to the date of when I started) and that I would let my eyes and the way I feel dictate to me if I’m changing. I do feel lighter – but better than that – I feel stronger, I have more endurance… I can feel my muscles waking up. And I am doing it alone / not alone. I hate to be under the specter of others. Walking into the class and have everyone have the opportunity to look at me. Not that they would but I’d rather that they didn’t. This way… there is a whole community around me and they never have to see me unless I want them to. But the accountability and support are there and push me to find my way to the bike or to the app for some semblance of fitness. I’m hoping to Century before the end of the year (100 rides). And I’m hoping that when I step on the scale, I’ll be happy with what I see. The big hope is to have finally made it back into ONEderland (199 lbs or lighter), but no matter what shows… This is the gift I gave to myself in 2020. To begin the path to wellness. I still have some nasty habits to kick and I plan to in 2021, but I’m so happy that my feet are firmly on this road.
OH… and TRUMP LOST TO BIDEN!!!!! YESSSAAH!!!!! HOT DAMN!!! WOO HOO!!!! Maybe now we can all get back to a semblance of decency and stop championing this bullshit hatred all the fucking time every gotdamned day. Geez. I think 2021 might be a good year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and prayers up for the things I can’t control. But for everything else that is in my say-so, I’m doing my best to take ownership of my path!
Now THAT’s an update 🙂