I try to be upbeat and cheerful, and sometimes that is exhausting.
The coronavirus pandemic has injected a lot of stress into our lives, and a lot of people are in worse situations than me, so I’ve done my best to be a positive presence for the people I do interact with. There aren’t as many these days, but I try to keep a smile on my face — even if it is behind a mask.
I know it is OK to not be OK, but I’ve always tried to be dependable and there for others in need. But as usual, I’ve been advocating self care and I haven’t been looking after myself.
It seems like everyone has had a moment during this whole saga where they crack. The waves of uncertainty finally become too much, and you have a bit of breakdown. Maybe it is a five-minute timeout you need to take for yourself or maybe it is a three-day journey that ends with convulsive sobbing fueled by drinking half a bottle of vodka by yourself.
In my defense, the vodka was mixed in a series of strawberry lemondrop cocktails, which were sipped over the course of several hours.
Yeah … about that.
Something snapped in me last week. That bright ball of light that burns inside me that I try to share with others flicked out.
Columnist Samie Hartley and her husband are finding the joy in stay-at-home date nights.
My husband and I were having our Friday date night, and I just wasn’t feeling it. It was the same date night we’ve been having for the past two months, and it doesn’t matter what color I’ve dyed my hair or what silly dress I’m wearing, it all just feels the same.
And that’s when I realized that “the same” was our new normal. I had nothing to look forward to. Everything was “the same.” Everything in the future would look “the same” for the next few months.
Sure, things are starting to open up, but that’s not to say they won’t close again. I’m just not ready to be optimistic. I’m too cautious.
These feelings followed me into Saturday where I spent a lot of my day playing online Scrabble and watching “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” I decided it was time to switch things up. Why not play real Scrabble with my husband, who was equally unbusy on this particular Saturday? We played three games. He beat me each time. It was brutal. He even played the word “brutal” on a triple letter/double word!
By Sunday, I was ready for a rematch. I decided if I was going to have my butt kicked, I was going to have a little liquid love to see me through. And things were fine. He was still beating me, but we were talking strategy, and I was learning ways to improve my game.
We paused the game, so he could take the trash out. That’s when he noticed the half empty bottle of vodka. He came back and suggested I’d had enough. I looked at my glass and saw that I had two sips left in what started out as a full blender of cocktail. I was unfazed. I told him I was fine.
“You’ve had half a bottle,” he said.
I made the noise of the sad trombone, and that did not go over well. He took my glass and dumped what was left down the sink. We stared at each other.
You’d think this would be the part where we have some epic fight, but we don’t fight. We never fight. We talked. He got up and left the room, and I was left with my thoughts. I’d over-indulged in wine a few times during self-isolation to shake off the rough edges of a bad week. This wasn’t the case this time though. I wasn’t trying to get drunk. I was sipping and snacking and losing splendidly at Scrabble. It was something different. It wasn’t “the same.” And yet, I’d disappointed my husband, and that was hard to swallow.
When he came back into the room, I felt everything go numb. I felt heavy and weightless. The tears erupted and continued to pour out of me. All of my anxiety, my fears, my sadness, my frustration — it all leaked out of me into a messy puddle of emotions.
My husband held me as I cried and then led me to bed. I cried myself to sleep.
Columnist Samie Hartley is adjusting to her new work-from-home routine.
On Monday, I cocooned myself on the couch with the cats. And on Tuesday, I went back to work.
The coronavirus pandemic has injected a lot of stress into our lives, and a lot of people are in worse situations than me, so I kept my negative feelings mostly to myself. I didn’t want to be a burden to my friends and family who are struggling, but we are all struggling though this one way or another. It is important to talk about it and keep talking about it.
There’s never been a time like this before, and we are all figuring it out together. We don’t have to do it alone, and we shouldn’t have to. So if you’re looking for someone to talk to, I invite you to send me an email: email@example.com. I’m just a stranger who shares random stories in the paper every other week, but I’m listening. A least open up to someone.
Skip the vodka. Send an email, OK?
Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Simple & Sassy runs every other Sunday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.