Don’t Come Over
My parents locked down before the nation did.
“Don’t come over,” my sweet momma said. That was in February, just before her birthday.
By the end of March, I could feel the encroachment of COVID across the nation; I watched the news carefully to see if I’d have to cancel travel plans like my Aussie friend. The plan was to meet her in Los Angeles. By August, our L.A. friend was suggesting I reschedule my trip, too, so I bumped it to the beginning of 2021. It’s still not happening.
We are poets, artists, musicians, and we’d been hoping to finally meet in person after collaborating online from thousands of miles apart. Our little cabal spans Canada, both coasts of the United States, and Australia. We shifted from working day jobs to work-from-home, or not working at all. Art exhibits I’d planned were moved to virtual and then cancelled entirely. Our creative endeavors were paper boats, sinking one by one.
When my job folded up, I had the surprising realization that I should breathe. Surprising because I noticed what was good for me while it was still available. As months wore on, I found myself deprogramming workplace habits. Unanchored, I felt lost, but I wasn’t sinking. I decided to take a financial risk, registered a business, and started taking clients as a freelance editor. I love this work – it’s a little like daycare, entrusted with people’s babies. We talk about the baby’s progress, what to expect, where to rein it in.
I’m finding I was never really wrong about so many things – things that didn’t fit into the corporate mold where certain impressions are needed. The hardest part of my day is realizing that sometimes there’s not work to be done, and that’s okay with the clients. They aren’t ready for me yet, but they’re not checking to make sure I’m earning my keep. I can breathe.
The art promoter I work with found some surprising things in her world, too, most notably that it’s okay to change everything drastically last-minute. She’s never operated that way, she said, and so felt apprehensive when floating new ideas.
“Everybody, like you did, said okay.” One of those changes was an entire show format: rather than calling for submissions on a theme of Philadelphia, she asked for work that was done in 2020. Focusing on what we accomplished this past year; a reminder that progress was made, after all.
There’s a network of support that’s been here all along – we just need to pause, breathe, and feel around us. My poet-guru used the term constellations – reminding me that I am not a lone person, but part of a mystical configuration. He connected his constellation to mine, and I’m doing the same thing. I’m not trying to get back to the way things were before COVID. I’m looking for space to make what I need it to be, going forward. I’m folding up some more paper boats. They’re cute.
Strengthen the connections you have, and accept what comes toward you. Together we’re stronger, and we will get by.
~ deb Ewing
deb is a gem, probably an opal, impressive in a sandwich but much better in the rough. She blogs at www.debnation.com and her mom gives you permission to blame deb for everything.
In an attempt to keep us connected as we continue to find our way through these often stressful times, some in our extended community have been sharing their experiences, lessons learned and hope as they’ve dealt with Covid, lockdown, boredom, lack of inspiration, etc. We are all looking for ways to make lemonade out of the many lemons! This column will continue on a weekly basis and postings will be released at 10 AM Pacific every Monday, so watch for them! For guidelines and submission details, please contact Julie Zipperer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marlynn Block at email@example.com. Submissions will be posted based on approval from the Lockdown Lemonade Committee.