The only way out is through

A kiss from mom

I sat down intending to share work-from-home tips and strategies. This came out instead. I’ll share that other post later.

The coronavirus and COVID19 changed our world in an instant. People are hurting. They’re scared for their safety and their livelihoods. They’re afraid for elderly parents and small children. These are not small things and they should not be diminished. Do not diminish others’ fears. Or your own.

Fear is pain. Unfortunately, we live in a pain-avoidant culture. Many people are afraid of pain- their own, their children’s, the world’s. They ignore it, numb it, try to outdrink or our outrun it.

Fear is good, actually. Fear reminds us that we’re alive. That there’s something left to lose and something still to live for.

Fear is normal. Avoiding it is not.

It really stinks that this virus isn’t the hardest the thing that I’ve ever done. I’m not happy about that. I’m pissed, actually. Yet, I’m oddly calm, too. There is, for us, a sense of: “yes, we’ve been here before. We got through that, we will get through this.” We were completely quarantined for months and practiced social distancing for over a year. And yet, even then, there were others forced to do even more work than us. Bone marrow transplant patients are often hospitalized for years. Some of my friends fought for years and still lost their children.

Getting my son through cancer treatment was hard. Getting “over it” was harder. This is not my default setting. I am prone to anxiety and worry. I’m a high-strung, east-coaster raised on grades, achievements, and busy. If you weren’t productive, you weren’t worth much. I don’t “get over” stuff. I am a hanger-on-er. I love to revisit old wounds and dissect how I’ve been wronged. I tried that for years. It only brought more pain and more fear.

After years of denial, I realized…

The only way out is through.

I had to work through my fear, anger, grief, disappointment, rage, frustration. It was brutal. I hated it. I resented most of it. And I am grateful for every second of it.

I’m a better human, wife, mother, teacher, career coach, friend.

The choice is the point. Especially now when it feels as if we have no choice.

It’s normal to feel helpless and hopeless. Just don’t stay there.

Name your fears. Write them in a journal. Shout them into the wind. The more we name things, the less power they have to control us.

Go cry in your closet or bathroom. Throw stuff or punch a pillow. Then, wash your face (and your hands, of course), brush your teeth, and go for a walk. The more we name our hope, the more inspired we are to act, too.

This is hard. I’m sending everyone good wishes for physical and emotional safety. I hear you. I see you. I am here to listen and grieve together.