COVID Came To Play, And It Stole My Sanity (And Sense of Smell).

When I opened my Timehop app today, it reminded me of a few things... screenshots of some meetings planned for the week for work in preparation for our upcoming Cuba trip, pictures of Lily and her bff sharing a plate of fruit at an indoor play place... you know, pre-COVID activities. And while the current state of affairs in American politics has granted us a much needed reprieve from the darker times from the past few years (thank you, Bernie Sanders, for gracing us with the ultimate meme-worthy opportunity), the heavy reality of the merciless passing of time of the last year does nothing but cast a cloud on any source of joy that may be available to us right now.

And yes, I own the doomsday approach that this blog may come off as, and apologize if it sparks unnecessary sadness in your life.

Here is the thing about the past year. When 2020 started, my expectations for the year were not unrealistic in nature: be a better parent, grow in my career, and engage in some much needed self-reflection of my own happiness and how to grow it.There were no grand resolution aimed at shifting my world some 180 degrees or anything. However, the reality of the year could not have been farther from any and all of my expectations, which (as it did for many people across the globe) left a significant, life changing mark on how I perceive reality. By the end, the Pandemic had taken my professional life (paused it, shifted it, whatever you'd like to call it), took my children's childhood experiences both at school and socially, put the last nail on my marriage, and most of all, cracked whatever sliver of mental health was left in me. In short, 2020 did to me what it did to most people, which is break us into an expert level, 10000 pieces puzzle, and expected us to somehow put that puzzle back together as fast as possible, just in case things were to return to normal sooner rather than later (the ugliest side of unpredictability, which leaves the person on edge, expected to ready up at a moment's notice).

When 2021 started, I wasn't expecting the world to reset itself, with 2020 taking its darkness and keeping it from seeping into 2021. By the time midnight kicked in, the only certainty was that while the world won't reset, we do, so it was up to me to change my perception of what reality looks and feels like to develop healthier and stronger coping mechanisms, especially since it was clear the pandemic and its trail of destruction wasn't going anywhere. However, bless my hopeful heart, as I got all of 2 days before the world started crumbling. Like a line of dominoes, E tested positive, and 4 days later, L did. Thankfully, COVID in kids is as mild as they tell you on TV. However, about 11 days after E tested positive, I went down like an overpacked sack of potatoes thrown down the steps of the capitol building: a slow yet steady series of loud and painful thumping sounds. Because COVID had not taken enough from me for 2020, it had hit our home and it was about to take my sanity. 

Anyone who tells you that COVID is just like the flu is lying. I have had the flu; I will take the flu any day over what COVID felt like. And while the majority of the symptoms are gone, the lack of smell, metallic taste, and shortness of breath seem to have made its choice to stay for the long run. However, the absolute worth part of the experience was the mind and heart-crushing realization that my body was fighting a deadly virus; one that had ravaged the lives of millions of people all over. So while my kids sat on my bed and watched iPad and ate junk, or spent their days playing xBox, I sat in my bed pondering mortality. And before you start thinking "dramatic much?!" let me put this reality in perspective for you: you have spent the last 10 months with your life going to hell and avoiding the outside world because there is a literal plague roaming the air, with your life collapsing around you, and now you are in bed, unable to move because either everything hurts, or your body is trying to vomit the imaginary food you may or may not have consumed from the last 5 days (thank God for friends who run to your house with Gatorade); and the worst part is, you have to deal with this completely alone because you are now the carrier of said plague, therefor cannot ask anyone to come and help you or you risk sharing the unwelcome invisible threat. And the worst part is, and to add insult to injury, you are unable to take your medicine because anything you consume sends you into uncontrollable bouts of nausea. Hello, withdrawals.

I have spent the last week crying more than I did towards the end of 2020, and if we are close friends, you will understand that the bar for 2020 was already high on that front. I was able to finally take Lily to school today, and for the first time since December, the kids are back to their normal routines, while I sit in front of my computer, looking back at the last two weeks in hell, preparing to resume my audiobook and my crocheted Bernie doll (yes, I got 100 texts and at least 15 tags on Facebook about it). I am making a solid effort to re-enter normalcy in some way in the hopes that whatever sanity I have left can rebuild into normal functionality, while still plagued by lingering fears from my experience the last two weeks. 

All of this to say... if you aren't already, wear a mask. If you qualify, get the vaccine. If you can, maintain social distance. Your actions have direct effects on the lives of others whether you recognize it or not, and I beg you to heed my advice and remember my experience the next time you find yourself with making a choice regarding social interactions. I am a healthy adult, and this virus knocked me out, both physically and mentally. Even with antibodies, my children and I will continue to isolate ourselves and live our lives as we had prior to contracting the virus, wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and avoiding unnecessary exposures. It does not matter how careful you are if your neighbor isn't. This pandemic will not go away until the rest of the world listens to the science. We are all responsible for the lives of our brothers and sisters.

Now, if you will excuse me, I shall go back to my Bernie doll so I can remember the little joys in life that have resulted in the much needed change in leadership... and someone please find me a Fauci pattern, because that man will save the world.


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