Working Out Your Core During Covid-19

Header Image: The Two Fridas, 1939 by Frida Kahlo

According to this web tracker that I’ve been following, we are about 2 million cases and 200,000 deaths into this beast. For those like me who have stayed their rears at home as the doctors and nurses and government officials have requested, this new normal is eerie. From a professional standpoint, my field marketing job that used to consist of four or five in-person meetings per week, now consists of meeting colleagues and clients in the virtual space: Skype. Zoom. Go-to Meetings. FaceTime. It feels like the future, but it also feels kind of depressing. This is what we have. We might shower tomorrow. We are in our baseball-caps, no makeup, hoping our camera isn’t making us into monsters. (Hot tip: Stack a book under your computer during a call for a more flattering angle).

Believe me, this isn’t a “woe is me” post. Woe is NOT me, the lady working remotely and childless beside a rescue Schnauzer named MAX. I get this time to hang out with my husband, who -to be honest- is a one-person, non-stop party even while social distancing. (I saw him dancing alone on three separate occasions yesterday) Those that know him will 100% agree with this sentiment. So, why am I still feeling like a grey cloud on the sunniest of these days?

The common thread for us all is fear– fear for our families, fear for my fresh out of chemotherapy 84-year-old grandmother, fear for my sister who is an RN, fear for my mother who is a respiratory therapist, fear for my friends who have small, delicate babies, fear for all our friends’ families, and – of course- fear of the growing statistics. Like all of you, (unless you are injecting bleach into your veins -please don’t- and not wearing a mask in public because ‘MERICA), I too am scared as hell, and I miss my family, my friends, my coworkers, and my clients.

This virus, the C-word (somehow seems appropriate) hasn’t shown us that disconnection wasn’t already present in our lives, but it has shown us (well, me, anyway) how I handle feelings of disconnection. As someone who is addicted to work and affirmed by peers and completing tasks (Type 2 Enneagram), this was new territory. The gift of time, the gift of sleep. Unfortunately, I thought I would do more with these gifts. On some days, I don’t recognize this expanding blob on the couch. I haven’t read a book or written a song. I haven’t written a story. I haven’t done anything extraordinary. And I guess that’s the strangest thing of all- seeing what your core self is up to when the distractions have been removed or greatly altered.

I realized that at my core, I’m a little sad to not have a child making art on the sidewalk or distracting me while I try to work. As I watch my siblings and my 8 nieces and nephews from a tiny square on a screen, it’s not a sadness I feel, but a great desire for more connection to their world. Just yesterday, my sister Sara brought my niece and nephew, Margot and Archer, to swim in a kiddie pool at my Mamaw’s house so that she could watch them from the safety of her home. Margot stayed in the pool so long that her little fingers wrinkled up. She noticed they resembled her Mamaw’s fingers. “I have Mamaw hands!” she exclaimed. This 3-year-old couldn’t have been more proud of her wrinkled hands. I want to be part of more stories like these.

But where this void lives, I too have so much to fill it with, and I’m not lost to that fact. Though I worked too much during my youth (full-time since I was 16), the hard work is starting to pay off. I don’t have children, but we just got approved to buy our first home thanks to the support of friends, family, and fiscally responsible decisions I’ve made in the last 6 years. (Hot tip for poor girls with good credit: do not go to Germany, Sweden, and France on a credit card with a 24% interest rate when you are in your early 20’s.) I don’t have children, but I spend most evenings grilling, drinking wine, and dancing in the backyard with my husband. I don’t have children, but there are two feisty squirrels fighting over sunflower seeds on my picnic table, and it is so quiet that I can hear the hush of leaves rustling in the wind. I don’t have children, but I might one day. I don’t have children, but if it doesn’t happen that’s okay too. So, for any of you who have tapped into those less than light mental places lately, remember to turn on a light, it’s not always going to feel this heavy. The have-nots you are experiencing right now, well, I hope -like me- you find peace and joy in what you have.

Bonus Material for Improving Your Core:

  1. Listen to this upbeat song. Josh Garrels,”Morning Light”
  2. Read this book. John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
  3. Buy some wild birdseed.
  4. Read this poem. Ambulances by Philip Larkin
  5. Read the short story “Greenleaf” by Flannery O’Connor
  6. Look at all my cute nieces and nephews below: