Sunday, May 10, 2020

In Defense Of Crying On Power Walks

There's been something in the air lately. It's not the pollen, ragweed or whatever else flies around Dallas during the spring months.

It's tears. Tears all the time. Talking to friends. Talking to colleagues at work on a Zoom. Talking to family. Talking to strangers. Tears all the time.

There's no real reason for the tears. They're caused by emotions that I'm sure you're feeling, too. The feeling of uncertainty: What will happen next?  The fear of unraveling: Can I keep working/managing/leading/teaching/faking a good attitude without losing my shit? The anxiety: Will I get a phone call this week informing me that my entire professional life is shutting down?

I go on power walks and cry. I sit on Zoom meetings with colleagues and cry. (That was embarrassing. Thank you, Marleine, for not judging.).

RELATED: The Working Mom's COVID-19 Struggle Is REAL

Working remotely while homeschooling an eight-year-old with learning differences by myself is something for which there is no playbook. We've cooked all but four meals at home since we locked down everything. The dishes! Trying to find ways to incorporate recess/Spanish/PE/art/music into the curriculum in between work meetings and relevance brainstorms have left me with zero brain space to even think about calling or texting friends and family.

There's that, too. I've become a bad friend. I haven't texted, called or checked in with my people in days, weeks. I think a bit more: when was the last time I called my family? I'm a bad daughter/sister/human.

All the "bad person" thoughts.

I'm lucky that my daughter's attitude, energy and enthusiasm are amazing. We have more fun together than most people should. She tells me "Mommy, you got this!" all the time. More times than she should. That makes me cry.
She did tell me that my butt is "less squishy" since we've been in lockdown. That makes me smile and laugh. At least all the exercise and power walks are working.

Then I hear the jobs report and about the lines at food banks on the news. Fighting back "am I next?" tears.

On this Mother's Day - there's no brunch or flowers. It's coffee at the bar as I type this while I let my daughter sleep in because bed times don't seem to matter now. 11PM is perfect for an eight-year-old to go to sleep! Isn't it?

Here's the thing: I don't need brunch, flowers or another scarf in an orange box. The silver lining in this CV19 shitshow, and you're hearing this all the time, is how much it taught me about what matters - bike rides, playing Twister, not burning the grilled cheese or slicing off my fingers while chopping cucumbers.

I'm not sharing this for sympathy. I don't deserve any. I am healthy and employed. Heck, I produce stupid YouTube videos reviewing Hermès scarves (don't judge - talking about them makes me happy).

I'm sharing this because we need to know that these uncomfortable feelings are okay and that we're not alone. You are not alone. Many of us are crying in our cars or on power walks right now. We've been doing this long before coronavirus. It seems like we're a bit more open about it now. Those defenses and armor we've had around us for so long, at least the ones I've had, are gone.

If you're in your car, on a power walk or huddled in your closet trying to keep it together or fight back a tear, don't worry about it. Let it go. You'll probably feel better after letting it go. Know that I'm there with you. If you need to chat - you know where to find me.

If you need to talk to someone, there are resources to help:
Virtual School Counseling
SMU Center for Family Counseling