Emotional Phases of the Pandemic (so far):
One – Preparation
Two – Positivity/Optimism
Three – The calm before the storm
Four – Irritability
Five – And now I live in my van
So, what’s everyone up to this week? Are we still at peace with the situation or have we crossed over into Emotional Phase Four of isolating with my family, or as I’m referring to it, Phase “I thought I had my shit together but naw, I was just avoiding everything by cooking, cleaning, and freezing food, and now I clearly see that I’m approaching irritable at best and ‘everything you do is meant to hurt me’ at worst.”
With Phase One, came preparation. As a person who runs anxious, I was preparing on the early side, as I saw the doomsday scenario unfolding. Three weeks ago, I had made copious trips to the grocery, cooked gumbo, Bolognese, veggie soup, and frozen mucho foodo. We had TP, cleaning supplies, dried goods, frozen goods…we were good to go.
When at Phase Two, I held my optimism dear. I was turning towards art and creativity and wanting to inspire others to do the same. I started an artists’ group on the Mighty Book of Face called “QuARTantine”, where we could all share the art we’re making at this time, which is now over 100 artists strong. Yes, we may have to be in our homes, but the introvert within us was silently cheering, as we hunkered down to watch movies and make art.
After preparation and optimism, came Phase Three, aka the calm before the storm. I got into a “wipe down” routine with the kids. Instead of "happy" hour, we have "wipey" hour (which doesn’t even pretend to sound as fun). To their credit, the teens are being very helpful and not complaining about the extra chores around the house.
I made art, wrote, and tried to get comfortable with the quiet, and the mood swings that were (and still are) occurring in my house. I slept, did laundry, made lists. All-in-all, I felt like I was doing a lot of pacing around.
Being a native New Orleanian, Phase Three can be compared to the laying low feeling of waiting for a hurricane to arrive, and also the community togetherness that we experience after one passes. Not many cars on the road. People out and walking around, waving to each other from porches and cars. Everyone just hunkered down for the storm’s arrival, while simultaneously interacting as if it was already over. Tres weird.
Here is where Phase Four is coming in. The storm hasn’t arrived yet. Either that, or I’m just not used to a quiet storm. It’s as if the feeling of anticipation that comes right before a hurricane is just lingering around, teasing us.
Well, I don’t much like being teased and so it makes sense that Phase Four is coming with a storm surge of irritability, and short fuse pressure system. When, “Go fuck yourself,” becomes the response that wants to come out of your mouth for about 95% of situations, it’s probably time to reassess a few things.
So that’s where I’m at today. I’m choosing to take a little bit of space. Our van is coming in handy, and while the smell of surf wax is making me long for the waves, being in a space that is separate from everyone else feels like a dang spa day.
We just have to find the comfort wherever it is right now.
On a creative note, I was attempting to paint something “meaningful” during this time, but it wasn’t really working out…my brain just can’t really process it all yet, I think. So, I lightened everything up by creating some coloring pages for you to print out and have fun with.
The lightness of them is cheering me up immensely, and I have to admit, going back to working with only black and white is freeing. Similar to the stay-at-home order, less options equal more simplicity, meaning less energy needs to be put towards decision making. *Deep breath…We just have to find the comfort wherever it is right now.
Expect to see more of these coloring pages, like this one at top, in the weeks to come. I’ll be emailing them out to my Artventure community each week, as well. (Click here to join and receive my coloring pages once a week via email.)
So, what phase of isolation are you in? In the comments below, let me know, and tell me one action you’re taking to practice good self-care.
Apparently, I’m at the beginning of Phase Five, which is Phase “I now live in a van down by the river, and I do it in the name of peace and sanity”. Have a great week. I’ll be chillin’ here:
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.