What a wild five months it’s been. I feel like I have about 8,000 personalities. Or maybe just three or four. There’s the negative me who hates this. There’s the hopeful me who thinks about how much better we’ve all become as people and feels optimistic. Then there’s productive me who has gotten completely caught up on life admin, redone her finances, scrubbed the whole apartment, groomed the cat, done multiple closet clean outs, and learned how to make bread. There’s also introvert me who sometimes doesn’t actually even mind quarantine. We contain multitudes, that’s for sure.
The thing I hadn’t planned for was that month 5 would be the hardest month of all, even as things have been (in New York) slowly getting better. I think in my head it would all be “fixed” and back to normal by the end of June. I am exasperated and for lack of a better word, over. it. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this month felt so bad. (Believe me, I’ve spent way too much time thinking about that!)
Getting Out From Under a Pile of Sad
It’s weird when I compare what’s happening now with the beginning of quarantine. In the beginning, everything was closed and I was fully isolated in my apartment. I had been dating someone I really liked and he more or less ghosted me (it’s more complicated than that but I’m simplifying the story as there are personal details I can’t share). All my brand projects were postponed or cancelled. Every other day there was a new article about the demise of influencing/blogging as a career. I was terrified and anxious but still at least felt like myself. Now, things are finally getting better but I feel… worse? WTF!!! It’s confusing!
On top of feeling shitty there’s an added layer of guilt for feeling so sad and down when I know how lucky I am. My business is doing pretty well. The “end of the influencer” articles have stopped. My parents are healthy. I have friends I can see. And New York is finally opening up again. FFS, my hair even looks good and I no longer have cavewoman feet. So I have been feeling very down and depressed with this layer of guilt over feeling bad. I think the lesson here is that you can appreciate how lucky you are, but still feel like crap. This week I finally started to feel a little bit more like myself again. Not 100%, but the dark cloud that’s been hanging over my head for the past 3-4 weeks has moved over a little and the sun is starting to shine again.
The hardest thing, hands down, has been not seeing my parents.
This is the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other face to face and I hate it. We had a lot of fun things planned and of course cancelled all of them for very good reason. The second hardest thing has been mourning my dating life. It’s hard not even having a tiny crush. I said this in my Q&A, I like attention and have zero crushes, zero boys to text, and zero occasions to meet people. It’s a big zero across the board.
I feel unsettled and unsure of whether I want to stay in New York long-term.
I’m so lucky to live in Brooklyn and have a pretty spacious apartment for New York standards, but one of the reasons New Yorkers deal with all the annoying things they deal with (especially small apartments and high rents!) is the access we have and how incredible the city can be. The museums and the art and the food and just… the magic of the city. I was talking to a friend about this and he had a smart way of thinking about it: right now, for those of us who don’t consider ourselves to be NYC lifers, the pandemic has definitely sped things up.
I’d thought I’d leave New York in maybe five years but it was always a very loosely constructed plan. We’ll see. I want to live close to my parents. I love the idea of being able to see them regularly, of weekly Sunday dinners. Part of getting them to move to Charleston was because I ultimately want to end up there. But I’ve never really felt fully ready to leave New York until more recently. I’m still not fully ready. But I’m thinking about it more! So that’s been on my mind a lot. (Please don’t hold me accountable for this statement or ask follow-ups; who knows how I will feel in a couple months… I’m just sharing!)
Anyway, I’ve been feeling very sad, and very sorry for myself.
There are days where I truly just want to stay in bed all day. I don’t, because I have to support myself and feel grateful to be busy with work right now… but there have been a lot of days where I’ll finish my work and just crawl under a blanket to be sad. Yesterday afternoon I was looking for the cat. He was under the bed. It was nice and cool under the bed. I laid under the bed with him for a little while before feeling pathetic.
As I mentioned above, something shifted this week and I started feeling more like me. A part of this has been faking it a little. This may be bad advice but I do find that maybe faking a good mood is the way to get into an actual real, good mood? Making myself smile and laugh, to the point where eventually I actually feel happy. Does that make sense? Do I sound crazy? Maybe a little of both but I hate feeling negative, I hate feeling hard to be around, and I also realize that everyone is “in it” right now… we all have our own struggles and sadnesses and are grieving different things and it feels super selfish to lay that onto anyone. But I wanted to share a few things that have helped me, so maybe if you are feeling this way… they’ll help you too?
Things that helped (Besides Faking It):
Doing something nice for someone else.
Earlier in the week I made a birthday care package for a girlfriend and sent some books to friends and family who I thought would enjoy the books. It’s a tiny thing but made me so happy. Doing something nice for someone else always helps me feel a little better. It gets me out of my own little bubble and thinking about me, me, me.
Focus on those micro-highs.
We talked about micro-highs in this instagram post. I am a big believer that giving yourself tiny little things to look forward to (as simple as fresh flowers or a favorite old movie or a call with a long-distance bestie) is the best way to get through a longer stretch of hard times.
Learning about something new.
That is where Masterclass has come in! It’s been really fun spending a little time every day learning something new.
I still do Headspace at least once a day and it’s so helpful. Between the daily meditations and the evening wind downs, it helps with better sleep, stress-relief, (low grade) depression and anxiety… all of it!
Writing in my journal has been really cathartic. I’d always thought that I didn’t really need a journal as I have a blog and write a lot here but that’s highly incorrect. The journal is for venting and putting down my worst thoughts.. Or mundane ramblings. The stuff I need to get out that nobody else needs to EVER read!
Doing something creative.
One of the best days was spent making beaded necklaces. Such a small thing but I am making it a goal to do something creative every week, even for just an hour.
Talking to a friend outside your usual friend group.
I was at a point where I felt like I was really burdening my closest friends (Becca and Alex). They never would have said so but I just felt like a total Eeyore. And I had been trying to make plans with my friend Emily for a while but I couldn’t get my act together to make plans. I knew I was being flaky so was just really honest with her. I apologized for my flakiness and told her how awful and depressed I had been feeling. And it turned out she’d been feeling the exact same way.
I am not great at opening up to others (except my poor best best friends), but I can’t tell you how much it helped to be a little vulnerable and find out she was feeling the same way too. We got those drinks (and then dinner the next week) and it really helped my state of mind.
I hope this post was not too whiny and that it was helpful. The reason I share these things is not to be a spoiled and whiny brat or because I want advice (I truly don’t!), but more for solidarity? Because I know a lot of you are probably feeling the same way and when I feel shitty, it helps me to see someone else feeling the same way. And based on my instagram messages after last weekend’s Q&A, I can tell a lot of you are feeling exactly the same as me. In which case, I send you a giant hug. This will pass. I said this in another post but one of the best things that has come with age is realizing that everything is fleeting and that the harder times always improve. xoxo