Everything’s budding here: vibrant yellow-green leaves, tender new flowers, birdsong, asparagus shoots in my garden, everything but me. All I want to do is eat chocolate and stare at my computer screen, willing myself to write on Dad’s story or polish my memoir or continue plotting out a novel—dystopian, what else? Yet I have no focus, no concentration.
Everyone I know remains healthy, and I have a job that I can do remotely, still the fear is unfurling inside me day after day. It’s the same feeling I had before I knew about my father’s drug smuggling, when I understood something was wrong with him but had no idea what, a feeling that something really bad is about to happen. Thankfully, years of great therapy and lots of recovery meetings have taught me about my radar for danger (it’s a PTSD thing), and I now have the tools to keep it from ruling my life, to choose what to pay attention to and what is okay to ignore.
This morning, as I delivered groceries to my 78-year-old Mom, I paid attention to the homeless camps sprouting up along the side streets and tucked under the eaves of shuttered businesses. I passed at least a dozen cars or trucks stuffed with belongings, and items that wouldn’t fit inside were stacked underneath and alongside the vehicles, spilling onto the sidewalks. Trying to hold it all together, some people had ropes binding and cinching the bulging piles to their cars. In one car, I could see two restless children bouncing around their Mom. I simply didn’t have enough food or cash or room to even offer assistance.
This afternoon, I paid attention to what I want to do with my stimulus check, to how much I really need and to what social service organizations I can donate the money. Then I played laser tag with my son and supported a local restaurant by treating my daughter to her favorite carryout—tom kha gai. When I turned back to my writing, I decided to take it in manageable chunks. A perfect day for magazine queries and web content development.
Tomorrow, I’ll try more focused writing again. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to the little things.