Writing Through the Pandemic, Family and A New Adventure

I’ve read some of the best essays on Longreads this week and it makes me want to keep writing. So many people have such great stories to tell and all I’ve got is a hostility towards a mother I was never close to, an agitation that the mayor of my town won’t shut the town down despite the growing number of cases and the prediction that the death toll will climb even higher in the near future, that our president seems so unsympathetic towards all of the deaths that have already occurred in the country, and a disbelief that so many citizens in my town are out and about shopping during a pandemic for non-essential items and dragging their elderly family members and young children around with them. It’s not my business, I know. Every one has their own life to live, I don’t know the reasoning behind why there’s so many people out right now but it does concern me as I’m having to be out right now as well.

Technically, I don’t have to be out. I mentioned that the company I work for has given us paid time off in case we catch the virus, in case we have to take time off to care for a sick family member, in case we are too anxious and afraid to work during this. I could realistically take the time off, but with the fear of the virus spiking again in the summer or early fall months, I don’t want to waste that time just because I’m anxious and a bit angry if I’m honest. So I get up as early as I can every morning and drag my butt into work. I tell myself that being around people will help my anxiety even though I know that being around people is one of the causes of my anxiety. I’m telling myself whatever I can at this point just to make it through each day.

I spoke to my stepmother the other night, it had been a long time since I had spoken to her. When I was going through the depression badly, a few years back, she had been such a comfort to me. She checked in on me regularly, she shared her own experiences of the things I was going through at the time, she stayed positive through it all. I had appreciated her so much during that hard time but once I had started feeling better, my phone calls and texts had started diminishing and while I felt guilty for it, I told myself it was normal for adults to live their own lives outside of their families and that she would understand.

Recently I called her again, I’m going through it with my own mother a lot lately. She and I don’t get along, I know the reasoning but she is in denial. It’s a relationship I work on every day of my life. With my stepmother it’s completely different. She’s kind and understanding, she listens when I talk. She never brings up the past, she’s only ever interested in what’s happening in my life right now. We talk about things happening day to day, we talk about what we want the future to be like. We ask questions about each other’s careers, about each other’s families, about each other’s interests and hobbies. It’s like covering up with your favorite blanket on the couch in front of the fireplace during a snowstorm. The world is falling down around us outside but so long as we’re able to laugh together, we’re both okay. It’s completely unlike my relationship with my own mother. I want to write about it one day, but right now I don’t know how to. Maybe that will change soon.

Today I received a phone call from my school advisor, I’ve been trying for months to get into school but there always seems to be a hang up of some type. I’m finally all set to start the semester May 4th. I’m so excited. I’ve never been good at school, I have some learning issues that my family and teachers in the past have always chalked up to laziness but that I know are from something much more deep rooted, I’ve just never been tested for it, never been shown how to control my mind in order to learn. It doesn’t matter at this point, I’m still going to embark on this journey into school. I’m thirty-eight years old, it’s time to do something other than working a job that feels like it’s going to kill me any day now if a pandemic doesn’t. I’m ready for this.

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