My Current State of Mind: Chapter One

It’s a Saturday night. It’s 18:05 as I write this and I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m a 40-year-old woman that is trying my best to look like I have my life together every second of every day. I’m trying my hardest to at least appear that way in the hopes that I can convince myself and others that this is real. Aren’t most of us at the moment? The “real” story, you ask? I’ve been sitting here with my phone in my hand for the past two hours. I’ve been switching between Instagram and news and I had worked myself into such an emotional tizzy that I just had to put it down, or have a heart attack. I think I have made the right choice in putting it down. I decided instead to pick up my laptop and just start writing, which always seems to bring some level of calm. My thoughts are like little tornados whirling around in my head, capable of mass destruction, and it’s easier to let those bad boys blow out onto the page, so my brain can have some room to breathe once in a while.

I’m not sure exactly why today is worse than other days. I’m crabby. I’m snapping at Steve. I’m sure if I was talking to anyone else or seeing anyone else, I’d be doing the same, but today he’s the lucky person to be stuck in lockdown with me. Poor guy. You know how I absolutely know I’m living on a knife’s edge at the moment? Every single time my phone pings with a “breaking news” alert, my throat drops into my stomach and I feel sick. What’s it going to be this time? Is it related to home? Is it bad news about lockdowns or shutting the borders? Is there a problem with the vaccine?

And I will just say that I’ve already had my bad news regarding the vaccine this morning. It’s not even really bad news. It’s just a disappointment. My mom and dad got news last week that they had an appointment to be vaccinated, followed by a text last night that they in fact no longer had appointments as there were not enough vaccines in South Carolina at the moment. My biggest fear with Covid has always been my mom and dad. Always. I’ve never worried as much about me. I’ve worried about the generation above me. It’s why I’ve worn a mask everywhere. It’s why I’m not travelling. It’s why I obey every order from our government in the hopes that others are doing the same, to protect everyone’s parents.

So there was that news. It’s not earth shattering. It’s not mega. It’s just my own little “breaking news” text that gave me the old throat in stomach syndrome again.

But, I’m getting out of control on the downward spiral here and that’s exactly what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to invite you into my stream of consciousness only to bring you down into the darkness. Nope. That ain’t me and you should know that by now.

I want to tell you what I’m about to do, after I finish this little ditty. I’m picking up a book, I’m getting the heck away from anything with a screen and I’m getting lost into something else, something that can’t sideswipe my happiness at any moment with an alert from any one of a hundred applications. I have to tell you that reading has been the most calming force for me over the past few weeks. I’ve had a really hard time over the past few years drawing a line between work and personal time, and the one thing that’s helped me create a moat between those two worlds is reading.

Ok so what am I reading at the moment? Well, it’s something I’m hoping can help with the anxiety coming from the current state of the world. It’s a good old self help book. Oh hell yes, I do read those.

In fact, I have a book rotation. It goes a little something like this, I call it my “Ease” or “E’s”: Educational, Escape, Emotional.

Educational = Something that will enrich my brain. This is almost always a business book, an art history book or a manual of some sort.

Escape = Novels. I devour them. They truly are an escape. These are the books that completely take you away from your present reality and hurl you into a magical world of words.

Emotional = Read that to mean self help. These are the books that help me sort “me” out. I love some. I hate some. But, I try them all.

I just finished my latest escape two days ago, and dove straight into a new “Emotional”, which is Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s “Living the Wisdom of Tao: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.”

At the moment, this book has given me tremendous peace while reading it. And, I can’t recommend it enough if you want something that will help you see the bigger picture. I might even be as bold as to suggest it straddles the education section of my reading as well as the emotional bit.

I feel like I need to go more into reading at a later date. Maybe even share my three E’s monthly. Who knows. I welcome feedback there if you would like me to share!

For now, I’ll just say I hope everyone is hanging in there, wherever you are reading this from. Some of us are in lockdown, some of us are free as a bird. In fact, let me just remind you of what my situation is here. We’re still out in the countryside. We’re in full lockdown, with the rest of the country. This means nothing is open apart from essential shops and restaurants that can offer takeaway. We’re allowed to go out once a day for exercise, and well, that’s about it.

In fact, if you’re wondering why there are so many country pictures coming from me at the moment, it’s because that’s basically keeping me alive. We go out for walks once a day and I get gussied up for each and every one. Yes, I dress up to go out for long country walks, because I have nothing else to dress up for. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… I’m pretty sure everyone in the village thinks I’m insane, going on walks in dresses, but I don’t care one bit. I love sharing the countryside and I love sharing fashion bits, so I’m combining the two.

On that note, I’m off to find a quiet corner somewhere. I have to say this is probably the toughest part of living in lockdown with someone else (and especially a music critic, podcaster and football fan). In fact, I’m sure it’s a problem for anyone right now that is used to having their own space. In days of old, I’d escape to a coffee shop in London, a bench in Holland Park or my own living room couch. I’d put on an instrumental movie soundtrack and welcome my own imagination and company as I escape the real world and replace it with the world reimagined by a writer. A very first world challenge that, if I’ve ever written one. I can feel parents seething as they read this and wish they had a moment to themselves at all. Well, parents, here’s the flip side of that. I’d give it all up, all the personal space, to be a mom. 🙂 The world works in funny ways doesn’t it? Still trying to work that one out… Anyway…

Alright guys, I’m gonna end this here. I hope you all have something to smile about tonight, or will find something. I’ll be back with more “current state of minds” as and when. For now… Steve and I have another series to finish. So the book’s gonna have to wait until tomorrow. Sending lots of love and thanks for letting me ramble on…

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