Underneath my yellow skin

The thin line between preparation and flat-out panic

The world is in a tailspin right now as we all know. I’m trying to keep up to date about what’s happening without freaking the fuck out. I’m already anxious by nature, and one way I cope is by only keeping up on the basics. It’s kinda impossible to do right now, but I’m keeping it to a minimum. Why? There is only so much I can do, and having the news bombard me 24/7 doesn’t help. In addition, I pretty much self-quarantine, anyway, except for taiji and the grocery store. Occasionally, I see my brother, but that’s about it. I reluctantly decided not to go to taiji this weekend (Friday because I felt like shit and Saturday because of the self-isolation), but the only other concession I’m making is that I’m washing my hands more. I have a tube of aloe, which is good because my skin on my hands is cracking a bit.

Another thing is that I’ve realized I touch my face so fucking much. So. Fucking. Much. I’m trying to break the habit, but it’s not easy. I mean, I have to push my glasses up in place, but beyond that, it seems there’s something itching at all times. Plus, I’ll put my laptop on the coffee table and then prop my chin up on my hand while I’m on my side. Any time I catch myself doing it, I yank my hand away, but it’s still way too many times for my comfort. I just don’t know the perfect reaction to the situation, and I can’t match the panic I see around me.

My parents called last night because the number of cases in MN went from 2 to 14. My mom was freaking the fuck out, and she kept talking over me. She claims that my father is the anxious one and that he’s the one who made her call me. I tried to point out to her that may be true, but she was the one who babbled endlessly to me about how terrible everything was whereas my father mainly said, “You’ll be fine. RIGHT????” Neither is great, but I’ll take the latter over the former. My mom insists that she’s just going about her day and that her regurgitating her fears to me for a half hour isn’t anything unusual. My best guess is that as usual, she’s using me as a dumping ground because she doesn’t feel like she’s being heard by anyone else. I know my father doesn’t listen, and she’s the therapist among her friends. That’s sad for her, but I just can’t handle her anxiety on top of my own.

My mom told me that my brother was living his life much as usual. Going to meetings and whatnot. She wanted me to nag him into not doing it, though she protested the word ‘nag’. I said that he was a grown man, and I couldn’t make him do anything. In addition, his wife is very health-conscious, so I was sure she would be pushing him to cut back on his activities. My mom said that people don’t listen to their wives, but they’ll listen to other people.

Side Note: I felt bad that she said that because I knew it was the case in her marriage. I also knew it was the case in many marriages, which underscored my reluctance to couple up. I know it’s normal to start taking your partner for granted or to see them through a dirty lens because you’re so close to them, but it’s still depressing.

I don’t think my brother would listen to me. He has a really sturdy constitution and believes he’s invincible. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s continuing business as usual, and now I don’t want him to come over here. I made the unilateral decision to put a halt to the home renovations. I don’t want a crew of people I don’t know stomping around my house for hours a day. Not during this pandemic.

When my father got on the phone, he told me to tell my brother not to go to the meetings. I reiterated that my brother was a grown (ass) man, and it wasn’t as if I lived with him and could take his keys away from him. I mean, I get why they’re worried, but I really don’t know what they could expect me to do about it.

The bottom line is still that each person can only do the best they can. We’re all trying to get through this as best we can, and I don’t think fixating on it is going to help. I’m self-isolating as much as possible and washing my hands more than is comfortable. I hope we all make it to the other side and that this pandemic will subside soon.

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