Social Discombobulation

a little graphic I made today to distract myself

I’m an author who writes at home, an editor who works from home, and a mom who used to homeschool. I enjoy being at home, so I thought all this social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 would be fairly easy for me.

It’s not, and it’s for reasons I didn’t expect.

I’m all over the map with my emotions. I have this intense desire to nest and spring clean. I could go to town on my cupboards and closets and drawers, but that desire is warring with my instinct to use this time to write. I also have to edit for clients, but my brain is nowhere near a place to do that well. I’m just a mess. I sit down at my desk and I draw a blank. I just stare at the blinking cursor and give up.

A few days ago my mother was quite nonchalant about all this, even wondering if we were still planning on driving home for spring break. She basically had the attitude that she’d lived through worse and she’d get through this as well. Last night and today that shifted. Suddenly she’s texting me things like…

“This is all unbelievable!” and “It’s NO JOKE!”

My mother rarely uses exclamation points, and she never, never uses all caps.

I’m glad she’s finally taking this seriously—she’s in her eighties, for fuck’s sake—but I think her sudden unease is what’s rattled me.

She’s always been my thermometer nearly all my life, at least for the serious things. I followed her lead, and if she was calm while everyone else was panicking, I knew to look around and assess the situation for myself rather than just joining the crowd. But her nonchalance was irksome this time, and now her taking COVID-19 serious has me all out of sorts.

And I’m one of the privileged ones. John has some paid time off he can use, a week he was planning on using to drive home for spring break. His employer might cover more days since they sent him home.

I had a few good months of sales at Amazon thanks to the December release of Socks for an Otter, with that payday finally coming now. I have all of our 2018 tax return money squirreled away still and I’ll be doing our 2019 returns soon, so hopefully that money will land in our bank account before we run completely dry. We have shelter with heat. We have electricity and clean water. And I’m enjoying the time I’m spending with my family.

But still, this is not normal, so it’s no wonder I’m discombobulated.

My daughter is a senior in high school this year. She’s supposed to graduate May 31st, but who knows if that will happen. She likely won’t go to prom or hang out with friends another time before they all go their separate ways for the rest of their lives.

I’m tearing up writing that. This is a right of passage that she’s missing out on, and that hurts my heart.

The Class of 2020 is going to be remembered. Many of these kids were conceived around the time that 9/11 happened. My daughter was. And her high school years are ending with the COVID-19 lockdown.

So I get teary over thoughts like that, and a moment later I’m using gallows humor or yanking everything out of a closet to reorganize the little parts of my life I still have control over.

Or, like today, I opened up Photoshop to play to try to remind myself that I’m not just bobbing around on the waves of fear. I made the little desk scene above and this little bit of branding.

The other day in my post, I said to be patient and to be kind to yourself. I need to heed my own advice.

If you want to start reading Socks for an Otter to see if it’s a book you might enjoy, the preview is below. Just click Free Preview below and the ebook will open for you.


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