Love In The Time of Corona

My neighbor (hi Lynn!) emailed me the other day to ask if I’ve been blogging. In short, no. Partly because I’m out of the habit of it and partly because I’m very focused on my relationships right now and they seem to be occupying a lot of my time and mental space.

I’m talking about my boys (ever a moving target), rebuilding a happy working/family relationship with Lonny, and of course, my paramour. I’ll call him DB. I spend a lot of time in my head thinking about them and how to support, love, grow, set boundaries, communicate, and be authentic. Each has different challenges and glories, but sometimes the last thing I want to do is think about it more.

Add to that complete financial ruin with COVID-19, the only solace being that everyone is in the same boat and I need to trust that the federal government will step in to forgive late mortgage payments, tax payments, etc.

I am rereading this book, perhaps for the dozenth time

Not that there is ever a good time to have a global pandemic, but this one struck when our resources were the most depleted having just paid our property taxes and insurance. Lonny and I were counting on a solid summer season to rebuild our coffers and I was hoping to rent out my small home as much as possible to get me ahead. So much for that plan.

I’m trying not to worry about things I cannot control and I most definitely cannot control this. My job hunt has been largely fruitless but last week I applied for one job and was approached by a recruiter for another one. They both are great fits and the initial interviews went well, or at least I think they did. There is nothing I would love more – except for a vaccine/cure for Corona – than to have a job right now. Wish me luck.

As of now we are on, what, day three of social distancing? It’s already challenging.

I was on the phone with My Parasitic Twin when she and I stumbled upon each other outside. Note the extreme wide berth. I swear we are the same person.

Itchy is accepting of the quarantine, he seems to enjoy hanging out with me at home, doing puzzles, going to the playground and shooting hoops together. Scratchy isn’t pleased. He’s a burgeoning teenager and angst ridden about pretty much everything. He can’t help but see this crisis as a plot to ruin his life. I get where he is coming from but I don’t have a lot of patience for his complaints about not being able to do the things that give him pleasure. This sucks for everyone.

Personally, I hope I get work and I can throw myself into that. Both positions will have steep learning curves and I am SO READY to dive into something that has nothing to do with me. I would also like to regain a modicum of financial independence.

Lately there has been a lot of interpersonal drama in my life and I’m not talking about Lonny or DB. Given that the one thing all these dramas have in common is me, I have to look at myself and take responsibility for my roles in them. I’ve come to see that all I can do at this point is to try not to do any more damage and that means sitting back and letting time do its thing. With all that’s going on, I consider it emotional triage.

Interestingly enough – on one particularly dark night of the soul – I was contacted by two women who had fallen out of my life several years ago. They weren’t connected in any way but on the same day both of them reached out to ask if I wanted to start over. I was floored.

Of course the answer was yes. They thanked me for being open to reconnecting and I thanked them for being brave enough to ask. I also acknowledged that the burden of guilt so to speak wasn’t entirely on them, as they had suggested. I could have tried harder, done things differently. It’s all water under the bridge. So it’s not all bad and I can only hope that my current wounded relationships will come back around when the time is right.

Applies to global pandemics and drifting relationships

Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot of bandwidth to do much more. The Corona virus has sucked all the air out of the room. Between trying to get on the same page with Lonny (you can only imagine the argument we had when I decided to pull the boys out of school, and ironically it was only six hours before BVSD decided to suspend classes but hoo boy, it was a doozy) and managing my own upset at the extreme cognitive dissonance shown by those around me, I felt like my head was going to explode.

Yes, I am young(ish) and my immediate family will likely only have mild symptoms should we contract the virus, but I have TONS of friends and loved ones who are firmly in the danger zone. When I hear, “It only kills old people and those with compromised immune systems,” like it’s no big deal I think of my parents, Marcia, Gina, Lauren, my friends who have kids with diabetes or have been really ill lately with the flu.

It’s like saying that it’s okay that they fall gravely ill, or worse, die. Like that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Actually, yes. It would be. And I know that they aren’t saying that it’s okay that my loved ones might be seriously affected, they just aren’t connecting the dots.

Flippant responses like that make me crazy although I get that people are downplaying the risk and using humor to cope with the stress. They aren’t horrible people, they just haven’t considered what it would be like if it hit close to home. But still, it causes a strain in relationships. Unfortunately everyone will be all too aware of the magnitude of the situation without me shrieking at them.

Since the state has gone on lockdown, I have surrendered more to the situation and am noticing the beautiful things around me. Like this note I found in my mailbox …

I texted to thank her for the generous offer and to offer any of my services to her. We had a nice conversation and I hope to meet her IRL when the time comes.

And then a friend whom I haven’t heard from in a long time called to see if I was okay and if there was anything she could do to support me and my family. The simple act of reaching out meant the world to me.

And the first person who ever took pictures of me, he texted me out of the blue (also another one of those people I haven’t heard from in years) to see how I was doing and catch up.

I must have been 16 or 17 in this photo but he started me down the road of creating with photographers, something I’ve enjoyed ever since.

All these connections are reasserting themselves which gives me hope that the broken relationships in my life will heal.

I was at the store the other day, regarding the ravaged aisles when I saw a Chinese man using a visual translator to read milk cartons. I thought of how challenging it must be to be so far from home, not speaking the language, and probably facing racist attacks that are sanctioned by Trump himself.

Actual picture taken by me. This is not a test.

I pantomimed that I’d like to help and he spoke into a translator on his phone. He wanted lactose free milk. It was nothing for me to find a carton for him and hopefully make him feel less alone in this strange land.

Short of getting a job, I plan on leaning into cooking and sewing. I have a big box of scraps that I want to make little flags to string outside my home, like at the big house. My place doesn’t feel complete without them. They are like a little celebration, an indicator that happiness resides here.

DB and I have been seeing each other for almost five months and we decided it was time for the boys to see where he lives and where I go off to. It was a good visit but it new territory for the boys and me and I was kind of a nervous wreck.

They’ve met before but it’s always been a quick dinner at the Mountain Sun or something like that; this was an overnight. I wanted everyone to get along and like each other and to be fair, I think that’s mostly what went down but I have a hard time letting go and allowing people to form their own connections. I wanted every moment to be perfect. I want to facilitate, massage, and steer the relationships and this is something that will simply take time and patience.

Looking down at the Poudre River

It doesn’t help that all the things DB and I would have done to ease awkwardness (bowling! movies! going to restaurants!) were off the table. So we made do with board games, poker, walks, and home cooking.

DB’s house isn’t cold, Scratchy just won’t take is coat off. Ever.
Visiting New Belgium’s beer garden, shuttered until further notice

DB did a handstand for me, because I love watching him.

It felt like “instant family” which kind of felt like a lot … for everyone. I didn’t want DB to feel like he was being recruited to step into a dad role. I am grateful he wants to know my boys and that he appreciates me for being a mother, but he doesn’t have kids and probably has no idea how overwhelming it can be. I am afraid it will scare him away but I think that is an irrational fear.

It’s bad enough he has to deal with my dogs

I think that Scratchy saw me as not just a mother but as a woman with a love life for the first time. I think it shook him up, kind of like when you are a little kid and you run into a teacher at the swimming pool and it kind of blows your mind that she has a family and wears a bikini. Does not compute.

But what I appreciate about DB is that I can come out and tell him what I’m feeling and he listens with curiosity and empathy, and he reassures me not only about what is bothering me, but also about how it is okay to talk about it. I feel like he truly wants to know me and has the patience to do so.

I never considered myself a closed-off person but being around him makes me realize how guarded I am and how hard it is to be truly vulnerable.

Bringing up issues of any kind is very frightening for me. I’m used to being either punished or dismissed when I talk about my feelings. I live with the existential dread that if I bring up even one small complaint, express the tiniest bit of displeasure or even a differing preference, people will leave me. I am only worthy of love if I am completely content and ridiculously grateful with what I am being given.

I have a deep fear of abandonment and I’m trying to come from a place where I cannot be abandoned because I am here for myself. I’m not, after all, a vulnerable child. I’m a grown woman who deserves relationships where I feel heard and valued, where my opinions matter. I’m tired of being punished and I reject punishing relationships.

Anyway, that’s my way of saying that things are going really well with DB and I’m really grateful to have him. I am aware that we, and everyone we know, are entering what might be an incredibly challenging relationship acid test. Personally, I hope we manage to have a lot of fun together and emerge from it with a greater love and respect for each other.

I hope we as a society learn how to connect with people without the distractions of consumerism and that we come to value real communication and expressions of care.

9 thoughts on “Love In The Time of Corona

  1. I miss your face, Miss V!!! Thank you for this beautiful blog. I, too, have been obsessed with Love in the Time of Cholera since my early 20’s!!! SOOOO happy for you and your life…

    • Hi baby! I read it first when I was 19 and have returned to it over and over ever since. I miss your face, too. Let’s go for a 6 foot berth walk and catch up.

  2. Nice to see you again, and to hear that things are going well with DB. I’ve always thought he was a great person. Fingers crossed for your job hunt. Be well. You’re an amazing person!

  3. Love reading your blog. Sounds like you are doing well. Any guy who can do a handstand so easily and let you be you sounds wonderful. I will have to see if MrBasil can do a handstand? I know he can hula hoop like a teenager…so maybe….:)

    • I can hula hoop like nobody’s business and bust a nice handstand against the wall. DB is talented with the human tricks.

  4. I have found, and it seems that you have, too, Vivienne, that the enforced isolation from many locally brought by this pandemic has fostered connection and reconnection with many from whom I currently am or have been removed.

    • Coming apart and reuniting seems to be a natural process. It isn’t always on purpose, I’ve found. Extenuating circumstances tend to play a large part at times. Sometimes the best thing one can do is let go and trust that people will come back when the time is right.

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