Re-entry

I think re-entry will be an obsession for a bit, sorry-not sorry.

It seems fair, we’ve been in our homes for a year now, so a little over-emphasis on how we get back out doesn’t seem unusual or unwarranted. And for those of us who have been alone, well. We all suffer and I don’t want to compare the ways in which we do. It’s been horrible in many different ways for ALL of us.

I will say that being alone for so long has seemed to stunt my ability to be genuine in person and strengthened it in private. I wonder if that makes sense? I mean, this entire time I’ve been shedding identities and people/acquaintances that no longer serve me. Ridding myself of even more possessions and not adding to what I do own. Writing, a lot more than what shows up here . All things meant to dig deep, see what is really worth-while, and to use going forward into this next season of my life. (Aging is on the same page with this re-entry. To lose a year of life at an older age…?)

But, when the only people you see, on good or bad days, are strangers…doctors, grocery workers, etc, that genuine you (or me, I’m talking about ME) falls away and I appear happy and focussed and helpful and positive about the whole situation….a year of that. Exhausting. Even with people I am close too I wonder if I can really be myself; show my feelings, be honest. Because, as I said, we all have our own experiences of this time. A few times I have had to remind folx that I am alone and it is genuinely quiet around me, sometimes excruciatingly so, and that my tv or movie addiction, my inability to read or focus on writing or learning new things is not a lack in me it’s a lack of outward stimulation. I have a cat to talk to and he doesn’t really like me. (BTW, I now take everything this cat does completely personally. It makes no sense and yet….)

Two days ago was my “two weeks after the second dose”. It was interesting because I didn’t think I would feel much, mainly because the thought of moving back into some semblance of life has been so in the forefront of my mind. This was just another day. But it wasn’t. I went to my weekly chiropractor appointment (Have I talked about this, the weekly appointment I have because at least I know I will be touched once a week, if not with love at least with care?) and followed that with my weekly grocery store trip. But when I got to the store with my list (I never made lists in the before times; I do now to get in and out quickly and to attempt to waste as little food as possible) I realized that I could just pick up the very few things I really needed because I could go to the store again if I needed to, WHEN I needed to. That’s the way I used to shop, a few times a week with farmer’s markets on the schedule (omg…I can go there this Sunday!). And, tho I’m not doing anything outrageous, it seems outrageous to feel less fearful going to the grocery store, to feel the freedom of wandering the aisles a bit or running in for an avocado, lettuce and apples. PERIOD.

That seems a very little thing, yet after this year of pandemic it doesn’t FEEL a very little thing. And I’m thinking about it now because it’s raining. And we need the rain so badly. But I wanted the insane pleasure of going to COSTCO. I planned the trip for yesterday and it rained. Then today, raining. And disappointment is palpable. Look, I know I could go in the rain but I am in SCAL and driving in the rain is taking your life into your hands…imagine surviving a pandemic and then getting into a car accident. Besides, I’m used to being in the house.

I lost track of the being genuine part. That thread. I have been living in comfy clothes for a year, yoga stuff and sweats. Even going out…who cares? But I have been in my closet this week, trying on clothes, sorting through what fits and what doesn’t. I’ve worn no make-up, and that is unusual for me. I don’t wear a ton, but mascara, lipstick. Lipstick with a mask seems redundant, and mascara, well who cares. It has felt genuine and liberating and yet the other day I bought a mascara. It harks to the way that literally every interaction I have in person with people, mostly strangers, is incredibly pleasant. Because I want to be kind, because we’re all a mess. Yes, that. But also because I needed that mirrored back to me and forced it on myself, even when I didn’t feel it. Somehow mascara will help that? It’s put me out of touch with my actual feelings a bit. Something happens and it doesn’t really register until long after, even if it could have been dealt with immediately. It feels like there are emotional issues I need to deal with. Lots of practical ones, but I’ve always been a procrastinator, and that changed only a little with all the time in the world. But it’s not serving me to fault myself for the things I didn’t do this year instead of looking at the feelings I didn’t have, and the way I was complicit in tamping down my own feelings to make others comfortable.

And there are a lot of feelings. And re-entry into the world brings them up because, people. How do I connect again? There are so many people in my life that have been on the periphery that I have just let drop. I’m not mad about that….cleaning people out is good sometimes. Like cleaning closets and drawers. But after a year of being alone…man.

I’m. just going to stop and post this. I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to work this out. Feel free to comment with your own stuff and struggles. I certainly have no answers yet, how can I? I keep reminding myself that I am not heading back into normal life, I’m heading out into a completely new experience.

With ill-fitting jeans and mascara? Well, I guess we’ll see.

8 Comments

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  1. I returned to work for a bit in July, but I have otherwise also been home for most of the year.

    I wear soft clothes. No makeup. I am getting my hair done, as I love my stylist and my hair is very long and pretty now.My little indulgence just for me.

    I worry about returning to the world. I have gained weight, and it is impacting my yoga practice. A practice that fell by the wayside, but is back to a daily thing since January.

    I waved between holding on to this larger, softer and hidden me, and considering a small change in diet and a bit more structure eating would help all around. I could wear jeans.

    I just am not sure I’m ready for it yet.

    Thank you for starting the dialogue.

    Anne

    • “Just not sure I’m ready for it yet”…yes. There have been so many times I’ve cried or just been so lonely I couldn’t stand it, and now reentry is scary. I’m a bit fluffier too…..lots of ill-fitting clothes. Not upset about it, it is what it is. But it’ s a little weird. I’ve been doing yoga all along. teaching via zoom, which has added some structure to this time, a saving grace for sure. I don’t see ever going back to a studio tho…
      I cut my hair off in a fit of “I don’t care”…I mean really short! It grew out nicely but then I did it again and it’s not so nice this time. Sigh. maybe the mascara will detract from the goofy hair?

  2. My biggest struggle is getting my kids to want to get out there again. We’re homeschooling and they’re introverts to begin with. They haven’t been able to have the normal homeschool experience where you gather with other homeschooled kids so they’ve missed out on that. We’ve talked about it and they don’t want to go back to traditional school but they need to get out in the world again. So do I. I hate feeling like it’s just easier not to. I have enjoyed not wearing lipstick though.

    • Introverts unite! I used to so enjoy just getting home and detoxing from…well, nothing bad, just life out there, right? Now I just see that there has to be some healthy balance to it. I hope the kids can see that…sometimes the easiest way isn’t really.

  3. OMG. I also feel the fear of going out into the world . It’s been just me and the chow girl. So lonely. I ‘ve had both vaccines, but still I run in and out of shops. It will take a long time to reenter the world.
    I continue to try because of the loneliness.

    • Oh yes, Gabi! The loneliness is so hard. I’ve also found a dropping away of acquaintances, which has made the loneliness even worse. Trying to foggier out how to work with that now. But I still have that mindset of not going out unless there is a “Good reason”. I’m getting a haircut tomorrow so I’ll do some errands, bit today is beautiful and I could go outside or something and…I’m paying bills and finding stuff to do here, lonely(beside my cat). It’s hard…sending you a social distant hug

  4. My husband and I had to move my 95 yr old mom across country to an assisted living place here in Minnesota, at the beginning of November.
    It was literally the biggest anxiety ridden experience I’ve had in a long time.
    Since then, I’ve seen my husband, my mom, one friend for a walk, lots of coffee shop drive through baristas, grocery clerks, and a few Macy’s clerks.
    We both got our second shot yesterday! I was so excited!
    I actually lost a bit weight and got some new dresses!
    I wear lipstick for selfies! Lol
    HOWEVER, I saw one friend yesterday for a minute and she’s excited we can soon have dinner parties with other friends. (We are all old and now vaccinated.)

    I Don’t WANT TO! Dinner parties also make me anxious, but if I don’t go, I’ll feel left out.
    I’ve been happy just walking with husband, grocery shopping and visiting mom.
    xo
    Wendy

    • I’m going to sit a friend outside of Seattle in 2 weeks, a PLANE!!!!!! YIKES@!!!! But the idea of sitting on their home and laughing and not wearing a mask is very enticing to me. Of course, I have been alone this whole time, so I really want that interaction., but I get it it…it’s all nerve wracking.
      I didn’t know you were in MN…I’m in CA but I know MN well, my husband was from there so we visited a lot .

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