August 2021 was my benchmark, when we started gathering again in the classroom at UMW. It meant that we students would again be in each other’s presence after about 15 months of hibernation. I was ready to announce, that I was going to “find my happy”. That was my running tag line. For my art class, I was asked what I wanted to achieve over the semester and it was finally my opportunity to verbalize that I wanted to express through art that I was looking for my happy again.
But I didn’t feel it. Everything was still dull and robotic and I believe it was because there were too many issues going on in my life that were holding me back. There was very little Forward Momentum. Some art was upbeat but then another piece exposed my Post Traumatic Stress.
2020 and 2021 were just crappy years on most every level–social, physical, mental, political, relationships, home, garden, travel, contractors–you name it and it hit the lowest I’ve ever known. It was just HARD. I adapted like everyone else and slugged along, protecting myself and trying to protect everyone around me, creating a cocoon of survival for the soul and body and family and home and community. We survived but not well. In every facet of my life and those around me, it was a Cat 5 hurricane.
Now, the recovery but to what, and in what way? There is no back to normal. There is no “back to” anything. I start each day, today, crafting today and deciding what today will look like, navigating through all my relationships with a fresh look, thinking about my health, travels, finances, politics and social circles–everything–through today’s lens.
My new theme? I’m calling it “Finding My Groove”. Forget “Finding My Happy”–it’s too shallow. When I find my groove, that means I find my true essence, what’s important, what I’m destined for, what gives me satisfaction and hopefully joy–all things on a deeper level. This is not something that has been told to me but what is actually true and real. There’s an intensity to “groove” and a good amount of funk that means you don’t take things too seriously and you live with a particular musical rhythm to your life–there’s always a backbeat running through your head in everything you do. Think Earth, Wind and Fire, or The Isley Brothers.
Outline: The long story would be based on vignettes of past experiences and how I have adjusted to them. An outline would include an introduction; then experiences of past issues with breakdown in relationships with people because of politics and COVID issues. I would also address personal and family physical and mental health issues that have impacted my being. One section would focus on how COVID altered my life patterns in travel, family and social events; and school. I would then look at what I have done to “come out of the dark,” like the choices in classes I have made; dropping one of my majors; changing living arrangements in my home; working on my mental wellbeing; getting my home and gardens renovated and rehabilitated; cutting my losses with people who have cheated, lied and stolen from me; cancelling new work with contractors; and looking forward to what will get me to an optimistic state and peace of mind.