I’ve been really hard on myself the last two weeks. I keep feeling guilty for all the things that I think I “should” be doing. I can do 99% of my Nomadic Knits work from the comfort of my home office on my laptop, so social distancing shouldn’t really have an impact on my day-to-day activities. So why can’t I get anything done? I’m over a week behind in answering emails – if you’re reading this and I owe you one, I’m sorry. I’ll try, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll get to it tomorrow. Or the next day. I want to be able to. I wish I could, really I do, but there’s this block. This looming unknown keeps popping up in my mind, whispering, but does any of it even matter? People are dying by the hundreds, others are buying up all the toilet paper, and I’m supposed to focus on knitting patterns? Really? I’ve discovered that I can’t do anything that requires any amount of decision making. I can’t focus on things like what colorways and yarn bases will work best for the designs for future issues, or even which of my knitting projects to work on for the moment.
Last night I woke up soaked in sweat and freezing cold. Don’t worry, this is a totally normal occurrence for me lately as I’m taking an early stroll into perimenopause. I stripped off my wet T-shirt while I quietly pulled out every shirt in my drawer, one by one. The first was long-sleeved – nope. The next is too tight in my armpits; I don’t even know why I still have it – nope. The next had a plasticky logo, which makes me sweat even more – nope. I felt the tears pressing behind my eyes and sat down to cry on my bedroom floor at 2 am because I couldn’t figure out what shirt to put on. How can I even attempt to make a more important decision?! It’s just too much. I can’t even begin to think about it without anxiety kicking in – right now, just typing the words, my palms are sweaty and my stomach is starting to clench.
One thing I can do is edit. Weird, right? Changing out parentheses for brackets, converting from Imperial to metric in the round, checking gauge math and increase ratios… Those things are black and white, right or wrong. I don’t have to decide them – math decides them. And the laws of grammar. Yes, I started the previous sentence with “and” whilst writing about grammar – it’s a global pandemic; I think we can allow a little leeway with the “rules”. Are you thinking, Oh yeah, I can do that one weird thing and it makes me feel better? Guys, do that one weird thing. Who cares if it’s not productive enough, or important even in the slightest. Maybe you’ll find yourself on the living room floor at 1 a.m., surrounded by handmade pom poms and ten episodes deep in a Friends binge-watch.
Becky and I were texting yesterday about how we keep hoping that we’ll get hit with the creativity bug. This would be the perfect time to try out needle felting or crocheting; I have all the supplies and I’ve been meaning to for years. Just this moment I remembered that Becky and I both have the new little Electric Eel Wheels, and have yet to try them! I think B has taken hers out for a spin or two, but mine hasn’t even been out of the box since the day it came. Gah! So many people are sharing fun new things they’re doing to keep busy and cabinets they’re finally organizing, but I’m on the floor crying about a sweaty T-shirt at 2 am. Can I not even do a pandemic right? Then, because Becky is Awesome with a capital A, she said something that resonated so much with me;
Now is the time for self care, not self work.
I chewed on that one for a while, got distracted by another scroll through Facebook to check in with the (way too many) news stations I follow, and then came back to it. Self care, not self work. Maybe now is the time to try a new hobby, but only if you want to. It’s certainly not worth feeling guilty over. Maybe now is the time to organize your life, but only if you’re ready. You don’t have to do it today. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. Guys, we need to give ourselves permission to just BE. Just exist. Give yourself permission to just feel your feelings. Don’t judge yourself for those feelings either. There are no “shoulds” in feelings. Just because your neighbor has started running every morning at 5 am (hopefully he’s at least hot and running shirtless) and your Facebook feed is filled with all the enthusiastic influencers telling you that Now Is The Time for Greatness, doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty if you’re not ready. Give yourself a freaking moment. Maybe next week is the time for greatness.
Our world has been going a million miles an hour for as long as I can remember. It’s been go, go, go for years. I think we’ve all been exhausted since college, right? Maybe even high school. Does that sound like you, too? Maybe now is the time to rest and heal. I keep hearing stories of nature rebounding from the human touch: the canals in Italy are turning clear, the oceans are getting bluer, the sea turtles are thriving again. In two weeks! As our environment takes this time to heal, maybe now is the time to heal ourselves, too. Or maybe not till next week. Either way, be kind to yourself. Not one of us knows what’s going to happen next month, next year, or how any of this will play out. Not one of us will emerge unscathed. Not one of us will be unchanged.
So for now, my cabinets can stay disorganized, my running shoes can stay in the closet, and I’ll eventually get to those emails. Next week…
Rest, my friends. You can be great tomorrow.
PS: If you’re doing this quarantine in jeans and a bra, we are no longer friends.