Quarantine Ponderings: Overloaded

I am one of those people whose mind is always going.

I can’t just sit still and do nothing.  I hardly watch TV.  My DVR is overrun with episodes of Blue Bloods, This is Us and Better Call Saul though I pretty much only have the brain capacity to binge watch old favorites.

I have lots of thoughts.  I haven’t been writing about it.  I have spent most of 2019 away from my blog because I needed space at that time.

I brought back my weekly gratitude posts for awhile.  I need to bring those back.  Gratitude is a good habit to have.

Then 2020 happened.

I think we have all had time to sit in our thoughts.  I don’t think that is a bad thing.  I think more people need to spend time thinking.  I have had many people in my life that tell me that I need to stop thinking so much and that I need to get out of my thoughts.

I disagree.

Perhaps people need to think more.

So here, in 2020, during a time of Quarantine, we are experiencing something new.  Some thing no one alive has ever experienced.  Well unless you are over 100 years old and even if you were alive during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, you probably don’t remember it.

With this new experience, we have probably been thinking about things we may have never thought about before.  And we are surrounded by other people who may be thinking about things they have never thought about before.

And then people may post on social media and the collective energy may feel like the outlet that Clark Griswold plugged his Christmas lights into.

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You may be feeling overloaded.

Clark Griswold’s electrical outlet is your brain on quarantine.

I am probably dating myself majorly here but I was an 80’s child and my overstimulated brain thought of this 80’s commercial.

 

This is your brain.  This is your brain during the 2020 Pandemic.  Any questions?

Anyone else shocked that a commercial towards kids lasted a whole 30 seconds in the 1980s?  15 second Insta-stories are the new 30 second commercial.

I am also amazed that the guy cracked the egg with one hand.  Of course, the video quality if poor and for all we know, there could be egg shells in that fried egg.  *insert shrug emoji*

Maybe the egg is another analogy of how our quarantine brain feels…with or without drugs.  (Not judging nor condoning.  Use responsibly.  And kids….your brains are still forming.  It’s your best asset.  Don’t eff it up.)

So I have these thoughts but I don’t take the time to write out blog posts about them.  My style of writing is usually spending 2-4 days drafting a post, usually handwritten in my blogging journal first.  Then I spent a couple hours transcribing it into blog form.

Yeah…between homeschooling my kid and working 40 hours a week, I don’t have time to write in my normal style.

But it became clear to me that I must write because I need to get these thoughts out and to clear my head.

So I am changing how I draft blog posts.  I am doing something new and out of my comfort zone.  You are going to get my ponderings in a more raw form.   And I am going to blog about that I need to say and maybe it will reasonate with you.  Feel free to share with me what you are thinking, even if it has nothing to do with what I wrote about.  I love hearing from people.

I hope you have a great week.

Quarantine Brain

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I became flighty.  I blamed it on “Pregnancy Brain”.

When I was engaged and planning my wedding, I became forgetful.  I blamed it on “Wedding Brain”.

When I was going through Widow Fog (which is 100% real), I blamed it on “Widow Brain”.

And now I realize that I am afflicted again…with Quarantine Brain.

It makes sense.  I am working 40 hours a week from home (which I am grateful) and I am homeschooling my kindergarten daughter.

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To be truthful, I am envious of those who are having a restful quarantine because between work and home school…I am exhausted.

Add in all the news.  Lots of news.  Press conferences.  I have hit my limit.

And all the opinions.  Everyone is an expert.

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My brain is on overload.  I haven’t had time to read much or write and I have thought about writing many times.  But the thoughts are so jumbled right now.

I have done some cooking and some trips to the shore.  We are allowed to go to the beaches here, we just need to remain socially distant.

Quarantine got the best of my daughter.  She gave herself bangs.  (insert facepalm emoji)

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So I wanted to do a quick check in?  How are you feeling during this quarantine?  What are you thinking about?  Have you cooked?  Have you given yourself bangs?  How are you dealing?

Weekly Gratitude #10: Three Years

Today is my blog’s birthday.

I started this blog as a way to process and cope with all the emotions I was feelings 5 months post-loss.  I was starting to “wake up” from the grief fog and I felt the need to share my emotions as I have noticed a dearth of information to help young widows.  I wanted my information out there so if another widow stumbled across it, they would know that they were not alone.

I also felt the need to share my story because I wanted others to understand the emotions that a widowed person felt, at least from my perspective.  After all, that is the only perspective I can honestly offer.

So much has changed since that time.

At that time I was somewhere between existing and surviving.

Now I am a survivor and on some days, I might even consider myself to be thriving.

Some locations in my story have changed.

Some characters in my story are the same, but some characters are different. I don’t doubt that all the characters in my life are there (or have been there) for a reason.

When I started this blog, my daughter was a toddler.  Now she is a kindergartener.

As I reread some of my earlier blog posts, I feel that strange dichotomy that widows feel.  The dichotomy where my old life and my old self feel current and they exist alongside my new life and new self.

My last two sentences of my first blog post really hit me hard.

“A part of me died with him that morning.  This is the story of the part of me that is still living.”

At that point in time, my soul was completely fractured.  I felt like an empty shell of who I was and I had no clue how I was going to move forward.

Now it is three years later.  I have survived.  I have grown.

Yes, a part of me may have died the same morning Bryon did but the part of me that is still living has forged ahead.

She has grown back into a whole, albeit different, person.

I want to thank all of you who have been a part of this ride.  As I said the other day, nothing ever lasts forever.  But I appreciate all of you who continue to travel this journey with me.

Good Vibrations Gratitude #41 (and a question for my readers)

It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.

I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!

Exciting, right?

You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.

It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude

Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim

Here is what I am grateful for this week.

1. The leaf pile.
Every kid deserves to jump in a leaf pile.

2. My neighbors

I have great neighbors. They are nice people who are always willing to lend a hand. Make sure you get to know your neighbors!

3. Winter Boots

The northeast got a November snowstorm last night into today. My daughter didn’t have winter boots yet. I went to Target and was able to get the last pair in her size. Well, the size above but she will grow into them before the end of winter. I was relieved to get them.

4. No cavities!

5. My daughter

Who can resist this?

And onto a question…

If I am Facebook friends with you, this may seem redundant because I asked if I should retire this blog.

I was surprised by the amount of support I have.

Thank you to everyone who showed support

I started this blog to share my grief journey. I am not the kind of person who shares my feelings with the world and this was out of my comfort zone. But I needed to get the emotions out and I felt that I could help people by sharing my journey.

But lately I have been wondering if I have been helping people. Several friends have said that all that matters is if my writing is helping me. It is but I can write and not share it with the world.

And the truth is, lately I have gotten grief for my grief. When I began this blog, I wrote my feelings. It didn’t matter how raw they were. And I was supported.

But now, the rest of the world has moved on. And that’s fine. But as everyone moves on, there is an expectation that I am “over it.”

I am still trying to make sense of Bryon’s death. I probably never will.

In addition to making sense of Bryon’s death, I am trying to make sense of the aftermath. It’s like a secondary processing of the past couple of years.

I am trying to make sense of grief in our culture.

I am trying to make sense of how I have been treated by some people.

I am trying to make sense of why some people remember Bryon and other people seem to have forgotten him.

I am trying to anticipate my future as a widowed parent. Trying to be Mom and Dad.

I’m trying to make sense of being an independent woman again.

I’m also trying to make sense of the possibility of opening myself up to love. (Gulp.)

I also feel a need to help people heal. Hence why I put all my feelings on the internet.

Lately I feel like I can’t be authentic here. I feel the need to tell the truth but the reality is that most people can’t handle the truth.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

So I find myself watering down my posts. And I am not sure that is helpful to anyone.

Last time I was back home in Maine, I had dinner with a friend. She mentioned that I seemed to need to apologize and explain any happiness I feel. She said I should just be free to be happy.

I have been holding back.

I began this blog partly as a way to express and release my emotions and lately I found that I have to hold in my emotions. And all this does is increase resentment that stays inside me.

I have began questioning whether I should take my angst out in a more creative outlet. Like poetry or novel writing.

I’d love to know what my readers think.

Stick with it? Go back to writing my raw emotions? Retire the blog? Write about something different?

Good Vibrations Gratitude Saturday #33

I did it again!  It’s Saturday and I am just getting to my gratitudes.  Ooops.

Though in my defense, my friend Lynda at Writing Out My Storms pointed out last week that it was still Friday in Pacific Time.  So I am going to go with that.  I have been working on cutting myself some slack because I am doing the best I can.

So it’s Friday (on the West Coast) and it’s time for some Good Vibration Gratitude.

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Here is what I have been thankful for this week-

  1. My Dad. 

    I have a lot of reasons to appreciate my Dad.  But this week I am focusing on the fact that when he comes to visit, he usually does a couple projects around the house.

    And he brings his truck and we haul stuff to the dump.  Thanks Dad!

  2. My daughter’s 4th birthday party.

    This was the first year that my daughter had a “friend” party.  It was different but it is cool to see her turn into her own person and make her own friends.

    We had at a local place called Afrim’s that has bounce houses. The staff did a great job.  My daughter had been telling me since January that she wanted her birthday party there. It was a blast.  Most of her class was there and our cousins made it in from Massachusetts.  It was great that so many people came out to celebrate.

    I don’t have many pictures to post here because there are other children in them and I don’t feel comfortable posting pictures of other people’s children on my blog without parental permission.  I know I wouldn’t appreciate it if it were done to me.

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  3. Lunch with my daughter’s Godmother and her husband.

    I don’t get to see them often due to work schedules but we got to enjoy a wonderful lunch at a local Mexican Restaurant.  I didn’t get any pics so I am going to leave one of the birthday present they gave my little one.  But it was great to see them and catch up.

    And in case you were wondering about her dress shoes, those are Clarks.  Dress show on top, sneaker on the bottom.  Got them when I was in Maine at Mardens and I plan to look for more the next time I am in Maine.

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  4. Meeting local blogger friends.

    I “met” The Perfect Honeybee  when I came across her blog on WordPress Reader.  We had been following each other’s blogs for about a year.  She reached out to me a few months ago and invited me to partake in a local blogging group that she and her friend were starting.  Her friend blogs at Sweet Love & Ginger.

    We had our first meetup.  In addition to meeting the two founding members, I also had the pleasure of meeting Pattie of My Saratoga Kitchen.

    It was great to discuss blogging.  Even though our blogs are all very different, we still had an interesting conversation about blogging itself.  If you are a local blogger (Capital District NY or Saratoga County and nearby) and are interested, connect with me.  We have a Facebook group and we are planning on meeting monthly.

    I am also grateful that they didn’t mind that my daughter came along.

    This is a picture of my daughter ignoring us and watching YouTube kids.  I want to thank the Perfect Honeybee for taking the photo because I couldn’t because, well, my daughter was using my phone.

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    And on a completely different note, I had to block two Peppa Pig channels on YouTube kids.  She doesn’t watch Peppa Pig on TV but there is something about that show that she becomes very irritable after watching it.  Nope.  Not up in here.  Give me annoying Daniel Tiger any day.  Or those videos where kids are unboxing toys.  Or that stupid Elsia and Annia go camping video.  Just no Peppa Pig.

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  5. The fact that I get to be this girls Mommy.

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What are you grateful for this week?

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I lied to you

A few weeks ago I said that I started writing a book and that that would not be affecting this blog.  I meant it when I wrote it.  So maybe it wasn’t actually a lie.

But I found that by keeping up this blog, I am too drained to write my book.

I also have felt uninspired when writing this blog.  It has become routine and it has felt like a chore.  Not that writing isn’t work but I feel like I haven’t been putting my heart into my posts.  And it has shown because my blog hasn’t been growing.  A big problem is that I stopped writing for me.

I feel like my writing and it’s creativity on this blog has plateaued.  And the frustration has been draining my energy.

I have several projects in the works this summer and I need my energy for these projects.  I will still be writing in this blog but it is only going to be when I feel inspired, whether it is once a week or four times a week.

I also need this summer to decide what direction I want my writing to go.  My grief isn’t as turbulent anymore.  Moving forward with my life doesn’t seem to interest people as much a roller coaster emotions.  But I have had enough drama in my life. I am not going to manufacture it to create an interesting blog.

So this isn’t a breakup.  Just an “I need space” moment combined with a “It’s not you, it’s me” moment.  I look forward to being back when I am inspired and I will be checking in.

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A special thank you

WordPress alerted me that today is my one year anniversary.

I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks.

Thank you.

For reading.

For being there for me.

For supporting me.

For being my friend.

For letting me pour my heart out to you.

Thank you.