Quarantine Day 1-3

I have been writing these daily quarantine life on my social media, and it started off as just goofy anecdotes. Several people have commented privately and publicly that they are enjoying them. They describe them as uplifting and funny to read. I figured I would clean them up and put them here. I will do two or three day increments, and hopefully I’ll be able to catch up. This is not my normal style of writing, and is much more off the cuff. It’s been a cartharic way to not only process the day, but also get back into the daily habit of writing. Enjoy!

Quarantine Day 1

  • Waking up without having to go to work was odd, but I adjusted rather quickly
  • I decided to season my cast iron skillets with my help from my cousin and amazing chef Scott
  • What do you mean the oven kept shutting off at 450 degrees? Yup, but where’s there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m quite stubborn, and figured out I have to wait for the oven to cool down to finish seasoning later. I also need to call the gas company apparently, so grateful to have the luxury of time at the moment. You gotta make the best of a challenging situation right? That’s what I keep telling myself.
  • So HIKE TIME! It’s beautiful out with it being sunny and relatively warm in the mid 50s. It’s go time!
  • I am usually Miss Prepared that is what I am known in my circle of friends. My car is basically my swiss army knife. I can fix just about anything with the things that are in it.
  • Except water. I get to the trailhead, and I realize that I forgot water. Epic fail. So I’ll shorten my hike, no biggie. Um, what do you mean I haven’t eaten ANYTHING today except for a few squares of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds hours ago? Oops.
  • Wait, I’ve got apples! I can have those. They have water and carbohydrates right? I’m golden!
  • About two miles in on this beautiful day and hike, my legs revolt. Legs we’ve got to get to two miles! What do you mean you are done? It’s a tiny hill. Oh alright, we will head back. I’ll circle the parking lot to get 2 miles in.
  • I get home, and have an Arbonne protein shake because I’m starving at this point. I start the process of finish seasoning my cast iron dishes. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and better now that the task is done. I also have a glass of wine.
  • I organize my kitchenware around in my limited cabinet space, and a lid shoots down onto my stovetop and careens into my glass of water shattering it all over my stove top. Meh, no biggie. It was a pint glass that I didn’t care for. I vacuum and clean up because I have this thing about glass in my kitchen that I’m kind of picky about. I remind myself to never start reorganizing my tiny cabinet because chaos ensues, and things seem to break. I’m glad it wasn’t my lid that broke, because that would have sucked. Be grateful for the little things.
  • I cook dinner, and it is a stirfry with a ton of veggies, spices, and turkey cutlets. My cast iron skillet is now like Teflon, and it is amazing how well the seasoning worked. I appreciate my cousin even more.
  • I have joined a plank challenge within a FB group I belong to. I am past a minute, which I am quite proud of. I will slay you winter coma of lethargy body into an amazon woman of strength.
  • I am grateful for this time that I will get to spend with myself (it is only day 1, so that might change). I am infinitely more grateful for the doctors, nurses, grocery store associates, and everyone else who was not sent home like I was yesterday. THANK THOSE PEOPLE when you see them. Especially your grocery store workers. Most of them are emotionally fried because people keep coming in expecting miracles or harassing them about stock. They are doing the best they can with what they have. Be patient, but more importantly, be kind and grateful that they are there doing their jobs during this time.

Quarantine day 2

  • I was not nearly as productive as yesterday, and I’m becoming okay with that
  • I made vanilla-chocolate protein pancakes for breakfast that either look like cookies or chicken cutlets, apparently. I am incapable of mastering a breakfast that looks palatable, and that’s okay because it all tastes pretty awesome. I specialize in fancy eggs and amoeba protein pancakes.
  • Chatted with a friend who is also on day 2 of quarantine, and we swear we are both going to lose our minds.
  • The meme going around social media that says either all my chakras will be aligned and shit done around the house or 20 pounds heavier with a drinking problems, I could see why that is now. There is no in between
  • I went to the store. The people where I live seem much more rational than the people near where I work (it’s only about 35 minutes away). There was flour, paper towel, and even toilet paper. There were actually things in the grocery store. I’m still amazed I didn’t get jacked for the paper towel
  • I scored a box of disposable gloves. Mark another thing off on the list of things I’d never be excited to find, let alone be buying, ever.
  • I broke down and bought plantain chips. Chips and gummi things (bears, sour patch kids, jelly beans, etc) don’t last long in my house. They are my kryptonite.
  • Pretty sure I busted another online dating scammer today. It’s kind of fun to do a gotcha test, and see them try to squirm out of it. It’s the little things.
  • I skipped the plank challenge because I did a killer yoga class. I expect my abs and arms to be pissed tomorrow or maybe the day after that. Muscles like to trick you into a false sense of compliancy of “that workout wasn’t so hard”. Then BOOM. Holy abs batman it hurts to laugh. Which is a problem because the memes are so on point.
  • Let’s send out a vibe to all the stay at home mom’s out there and teachers too. They are the real heroes, outside the medical profession and grocery store retailers, who are doing a lot of heavy lifting of their own. It’s a brave new world, and it’s a really challenging position for everyone. But it’s also an enlightening one.
  • Thank the universe tomorrow is going to be nice again, and I can get outside.
  • I will go batshit crazy if I have to stay inside for any length of time.

Quarantine Day 3

  • I was craving hard-core comfort food, which is very rare for me. I decided to make potato lasagna (yes it is as awesome as it sounds). The gas went off THREE times while I was trying to cook it. I was losing my shit, even though I knew it was a possibility. It still turned out great. Did I mention that I’m stubborn?
  • I really wish I had done laundry before this whole thing went down.
  • This was me during spring cleaning, why the fuck do I have so many clothes? Me now, YESSS for me having so many clothes. I can always buy more underwear
  • Another hike! This time I did all the things one is supposed to do when you go hiking. I ate beforehand; I hydrated on the way to the trail head, brought snacks, water, and my hiking backpack! Go me. I completed about 5.5 miles, and it was glorious.
  • Adventures in the woods today included peeing in the woods! Upon said hydrating, by the time I got to the park I really had to pee. Because of the virus, they closed all the restrooms down. I fully support this decision, and also have no trouble peeing in the woods. I go down the trail; I find a tree; I do my business, and I walk back up to the trail. There’s a woman coming down the trail as I am climbing back up, and she has a cute puppy. This woman looks at me like I’m some serial killer that’s going to kill her dog. Because it’s always about the dog. She basically herds the dog away from me, and the dog looks really sad. Poor puppy and poor me. Apparently she’s never seen anyone come up from a trail before, who knows.
  • It was a fairly leisurely trail until the last part. The last part was like a mile uphill, which doesn’t sound like much. Except when you’ve already done over 4 miles, and you are not in the best shape. A mile uphill seems like a huge throw down. You want to see the vista, you’ll have to earn it bitch. Well, I did and it was awesome.
  • In spite of two apples, lots of water, and a jerky stick, I was starving by the time I get off the trail. Thank goodness I have the potato lasagna I can eat once I get home.
  • Bet you were expecting something dramatic. Nope…I ate, I drank, and now I am on the couch.
  • I am grateful for this weather and for this to be happening now when we can all get safely outside. Can you imagine if this was happening in January? THAT would be epically worse. Be smart people.
  • This is the slogan I came up with: stay safe, stay sane, and stay safely connected. Connection in any form matters so much right now. Check in with your friends and family, especially those that single.
  • I am blessed to have a group of friends that have checked up on me, and it has meant and helped so much.
  • Eventually we’ll get to hug again. Kevin, I’m coming for you!

Stop the Stigma

This is an essay about suicidal plans and depression.  I am doing fine now, but I felt  people deserved to hear my story.  If this will trigger you, please do not read.

This is something that is not talked about much, and there is such a stigma around it. I am not writing this for pity or attention. I debated on even publishing it. There have only been three times in my life where I seriously contemplated suicide. The latest was during the summer of 2019, and it was by far the most likely to be carried out. I had severely screwed up my life (and affected several others in the process) through a series of bad decisions, which incidentally occurred very shortly after the “Owning Your Truth part II” essay. The consequences of those decisions could have been much worse, so I was and still am very grateful to have support of my family and those around me since that time. They only knew the consequences. They had no idea the pain I was going through emotionally.

The pain of those decisions and the subsequent consequences really got inside my head. I lost my freedom to an extent, and for those that know me, understand how independent I am. I do not ask for help easily, and I detest relying on others. I spiraled into a deep and profound depression. There were days where I literally didn’t get off my couch, which is quite unlike me. Especially during the summer. This is what nobody talks about with suicide. It is very difficult when the place you want to escape is your own brain. When the pain is so profound and pervasive that you feel powerless to elude its steely grip. It is the constant doubt of your place in this world, and how your disappearance might be a relief to this world. Your pain and shame overtakes everything inside your soul. For me, the feeling of being a failure in many aspects of my life, and my cavernous sense of disappointment made it even worse. My sense of self was that of a parasite, and how I provided no value to anyone. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. That hurt the worse of all. I have felt what it feels like to positively impact others, and it was amazing. I had let myself become a shadow of the person I once was, and I felt like my presence had become as that of an energy vampire to those around me. It is the very last thing I want to be in my life, and I couldn’t escape the shame of that reality.

run from own brain

I put on a pretty decent front. I went to work, and I did my job well. I focused on surviving. I occasional write gratitude posts on my social media pages, and I strived to continued to do them. Even if the reason seemed minute. It was one of the ways I was attempting to cope with my downward spiral. Except the pain and shame was something I couldn’t seem to escape. The gremlins in my brain were working overtime, and for the first time in ten years, I couldn’t shut them down. The sense that I had fucked up my life to the point that I was irredeemable was persistent and pernicious. It started to become too much to endure, and something had to give.

I started quietly planning out my death. My methodical mind went through the methods of suicide, and the pros and cons to each one. I had never gotten that far before with my suicidal thoughts, and that’s when things started to feel real. I picked a method that would leave a small chance of survival if done correctly, and the combination of the liquor would fry the liver while ensuring I would barely register what was happening. I sent texts to many members of family and close friends saying I love you. Nothing more, nothing less than those three words. I didn’t want to set off suspicion after all. I even made a list of things to give to specific people after my passing. I have a lot of gear and possessions, and wanted to ensure they went to the right people. I have a scientific minded brain, and this is how it works. It figures out solutions to problems in a very systematic way.

inside doesn't deserve it

In my mind, this would solve everyone’s problem. It would end the parasite-like relationship that I had perceived to be on my friends and family. It would end the doubt, shame, pain, sense of failure, unfulfilled potential, and my perpetual disappointment that seemed to be my life. When I reached the depths of my downward spiral, all I felt was shame, pain, and a deep loss of integrity in myself. I felt unworthy of love from those around me, and the love for myself had evaporated some time ago. People say suicide is the cowardly way out, but I disagree.  To the mind of the person experiencing that level of internal, inescapable pain, it feels like the only way out. This is what the rationalizing of my suicide felt like. I felt like I was not only ending my suffering, but also freeing everyone else of the burden that had become my life. I was sure my family would mourn me, but my friend circle is a small one. Beyond that, I figured the affect would be minimal. Life would go on, after all. I have no family of my own, and I don’t even have a pet.

So what changed? The plan did. What I told myself was that if it didn’t work, I’d be committed to an institution and probably mentally crippled in some way from the attempt.  The deeper reasons were multi-faceted. One of my friends from the Garden Elite in college was suspected to have committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. A mutual friend in that group said to me when we heard, “if he committed suicide, I’ll kill him.” That kept going through my mind the day I planned my death. The other was my family, specifically my parents.   It would kill my parents. Hopefully not literally, but it would shred them when they found out. Something one of my friends said to me previously about one of her kids (they are grown and in their 30’s) friends committed suicide. She said she couldn’t imagine the guilt of that parent. I didn’t want that for my parents. They deserved better than that.  They have enough to deal with.

that is pain

In the past month, I have told a couple of people about my mindset over the summer. One of them said, “so what changed?” I answered, “well, once I figured out I wasn’t going to do that plan, I knew I had to come up with another one.” She said something like, “that’s it?” I shrugged and said, “that’s how my mind works. If one solution won’t work, another one must be applied to the problem”. So that’s what I did. It was a battle to choose life over death, and it’s one I almost didn’t win. Glennon Doyle writes in her book Love Warrior about focusing on the next right thing. I implemented certain changes in my life. I started a cardio routine to get myself out of the house and back in shape; went back to yoga; got out of a toxic relationship, and cut down on my drinking. I also took responsibility for my decisions, and told certain people the consequences I faced. The shame of those decisions started to subside once I started to take responsibility for them. Shame thrives in the darkness, but can’t survive the harsh light of day (thank you Brene Brown!). You may have noticed that I started substituting and/or adding shame to the word pain. That is because as I was writing this, I realized the pain I felt over the summer was mostly increased by shame. Shame is a sneaky little bastard, and is the underlying cause of much of our internal struggle. The change in my mindset hasn’t been easy, and it’s still not. It is not like I snapped my fingers, and the gremlins inside my head went away. They are still there, but their presence is muted and limited in influence. Most days my tenacity to be better is greater than the pain of shame and self-doubt. Sometimes the hardest part for me is to remind myself that I am worth loving despite the fuck-ups that have and will happen in my life. With enough right steps, I have won the arduous battle to choose creating a life instead of crafting a death. The next right thing is to continue to accept and love my beautiful, fucked up self until the gremlins are transformed into fireflies of light.

Indicators of Purpose

I was
Never a
Believer in
positive thinking,
Fate, etc.

Self-help
“Crap” I
called it.

Until I
started to
use it,
adapt it,
and
Practice it.

And I was
dumbfounded
that it
Works.

As a
Scientist,

I
Adapt
to

Information

and
Evidence.

A few seconds
sooner,
the
Outcome
would have
Been much
Different.

It is clear
the Universe,
God, or
whichever your
Diety is,
has a bigger
Plan for
Me.

Fate.

Another
line I
Never
thought I’d
believe in.

It is
not
These
moments
that
Define

Us.

It is
What
we
Do
in the

Moments

After
Impact
that

are
Indicators of
Purpose.

It is
Continued
Consistency

after
Impact
that

Reveals
one’s
True

Intentions.

Never Left

There are
days
where I
don’t
feel you
at All.

Then there
are
Days
where You
are
Fully
a Part
of my
Being

Almost like
an
Alien
has Taken
over my
Soul.

Like you
Never
Left

Us.

Then the
Pain

Resumes.

I
Remember
sitting by
your
Side
during

Hospice

I
Read
your
Diary
to
You
as you

Sleep

of your
Travels.

with your
Sister.

I
Remember
how much you
Liked I
When I used
to
Read to
You.

All while

Me
thinking

This is
NOT
My
Nana.

You
went out
on your
Terms.

In
true
Megill-Hubbs
Tradition.

Day 6, Gym 4

I am repeating one gym (Gold’s Gym)  because I had very little time today to find a gym, make an appointment, schedule something, and go before it would have kept me up all night.  Plus, it was the end of my three day pass.  I plan on doing two gyms on one day, anyway soon.  I felt like I should give my body a little break, although, I am not nearly as sore as I thought I’d be after really not working out much at all in the past couple of months.  Thanks to the combination of Arbonne Phytosport line, specifically the hydration and after workout, along with stretching before, during, and after exercise, I’ve for the most part been sore free.

hydration selfie

I have noticed that my stomach is getting tighter again, which is really good.  I didn’t get to take a before and after picture for a few different reasons.  I feel better, have more energy, and just getting out of the little cloud I was in.  It is doing exactly what I had hoped it would do.

Today I wanted to do strict cardio because I haven’t done that yet, and wanted to gauge my fitness level.  I did 12 minutes on the rowing machine, which is my favorite cardio to do in a gym (running, hiking for outside).  I did almost 2000 meters, which I thought was pretty good.  I held my own, too.  I didn’t get too winded, but I did start to feel it after about 7-8 minutes.  I have come to the conclusion that you can do all the circuit training, kickboxing, etc. that you want, and it is more fun than a piece of cardio equipment, but there is no substitute for straight cardio, unfortunately.  You take a pause in all the other ones, because you have to.  It doesn’t work without a break (even a 10 sec) one.  So, it’s time to get back to the love/hate relationship I think everyone has with cardio.  😉

Valentine’s Day Redefined-Not what you think

I am not really the romantic type.  I’ve had one or two serious relationships that Valentine’s Day would have meant anything anyway.  Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day will always mean something infinitely sad for me.  It was the day my Nana passed away, tomorrow it’ll be a year since she passed away.  She was 96 years old and was in damn good shape for 96.  She was sharp as a sharks tooth until she was about 92-93.

My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.

My 96-year old Nana receiving a mud mask last summer. Thank you Arbonne for giving me the time with her.

I haven’t felt this sad about it in a long time, which is to be expected I guess.  It is really the first family death that hit home hard.  When my Aunt Goldie died (at 96ish), it was sad, but as much as I loved her, I didn’t feel as much of a connection with her as I did her sister, my aunt Gert.  When my Aunt Gert died, I had actually said goodbye to her a few years before, after seeing her for the first time after her massive stroke which had left her as a virtual vegetable, I saiIt td goodbye.  Eventually I just couldn’t go to see her anymore, it was too painful.  Despite her being the virtual vegetable, there were signsher still there.  Which is even worse in my opinion.

I was trying to figure out why I was somewhat melancholy throughout the day today, after feeling on top of the world this month.   I have no been this upset about Nana’s death in a long time, but I guess that’s too be expected.  This might be the first time I let everything in the past year hit me.   It’s been the gauntlet.  My friend said, “you’ll cry when you least expect it.”  It was about three months for her.  It’s been about three months since EVERYTHING hit, and came at me like a cattle yard with a fan.  So, I guess that makes sense.

I still didn’t expect the affect of her death to affect me like this.  The start of everything that set my soul on fire to get my ass in gear.  But this shit fucking hurts.  I know it’ll dissipate with time.  It’s very different than anything I have felt in a very, very long time.  The pain is deep, visceral, and feels like a living, breathing being that I wish I could stab to death.  This is a free-thought entry.

I am very good at compartmentalizing when it comes to emotions, etc. However, I do much better when I expect it coming.