I keep feeling like I should preface every self-indulgent complaint here with an acknowledgment about Big Picture Perspective and Gratitude but … oh, let’s just not.

I mean, this is a blog, and it’s not even one of the cool professionally-designed niche-focused modern ones where I get to call myself a content creator. For the eighteen years (!!!) I’ve been writing here it’s been a solace, a place to vent and navel-gaze and try above all else to capture the temporary in some way. Every page in this messy unorganized website is a moment in time; a pause button pressed, a memory held in digital amber.

Which is really to say there has been a shitload of complaining documented here over the years and I’m glad for it. How else would I remember the hilarious Mouthfart toddler stage? Or the heartcrushing details of saying goodbye to Ashley, Dog #1. Or the time our couch developed a vagina?

Maybe I won’t particularly feel like revisiting this lockdown-prompted return to daily blogging, but the act of journaling offers a respite from scrolling the news and being stuck in my own head. If nothing else, it is a thing to do, in a time when reclaiming even a tiny sense of personal productivity feels like a win.

ANYWAY, gosh, that was probably an unnecessary amount of leadup for what I really wanted to write about today, which actually isn’t particularly whiny: what are some of your favorite distractions or mood-boosters right now?

Mine, in no particular order:

• Tiger King on Netflix, of course. As I recommended to a friend who is mostly baffled by the appeal, you should at least see episode 2, because while the first episode sets the stage the next one just throws down forty-nine minutes of solid WTF where you keep thinking each revelation/hairstyle can’t possibly be topped by the next but NOPE.

• The new season of Ozark, which I am really liking although it is as squintingly dark as ever — dark in topic but even darker in terms of lighting, I’m pretty sure the entire set shares one 25-watt bulb.

• Barre3’s online workouts, the free-for-90-days Peloton app, Blogilates on YouTube. My usual workout routine has completely fallen apart and I know there’s no use in beating myself up over that, but I also know that exercise is critical to my mental wellbeing. As it is with so many things right now, some days are better than others in the healthy-coping-mechanisms department.

• Audiobooks in general, because I’ve been having a hard time focusing on reading. I enjoyed listening to Jessica Simpson’s memoir, which encompasses much more than the tea regarding John Mayer but that particular tea is pretty fascinating and will likely solidify your opinions of his utter douchebaggery.

This self tanner. I decided it was the perfect time to try something outside of my cosmetic comfort zone, and you know, I’m not sure why it makes me feel a little better to have the kind of skin tone that implies I’ve actually left the house in weeks but it does. Fake it till we make it, friends.

Yesterday felt like a commonly-experienced Challenging Day, at least I saw a lot of like-minded social posts about how things were kind of sad/exhausting/anxious for a lot of people. I kept getting drawn to news stories about young and healthy people getting terribly sick and/or dying and I realize these make for sensationalist, scroll-stopping topics at the moment and I should refocus on the statistics and just do what I can to keep my family healthy because what else can I do, but also: a tight knot of fear in my chest that just never goes away now.

As more and more people become infected I have this strange mental image of objects dropping from the sky, more and more as every day goes by. Maybe you are spared, maybe one collides with your skull, maybe you get grazed, maybe your loved one is killed right next to you.

There seems to be no sense to why these things are striking people but of course it’s not completely random, there are all these micro-patterns placing people in harm’s way, and randomness seems terrifying but it seems even worse to believe we have some tiny amount of control. I can’t stop thinking about the people who are choosing to be the most at risk right now — or are without choice because they are considered an essential worker — and how healthcare providers and grocery clerks and restaurant employees and delivery people are out there every day while I huddle in isolation.

I could tell you that I am enormously blessed, blessed to have a remote job and a house filled with creature comforts and a lifestyle that’s fairly adaptable. You could take that word blessed and replace it with privileged and it would be every bit as true, and how fair is that, if the reason I dodge these pieces of falling sky is because of the world being stacked in my favor despite all the crappy life choices I’ve made?

There’s this quote from The Unforgiven: “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” I am not a spiritual person, so I suppose that is what I believe: that life is not driven by any sort of karmic justice.

It seems like I should be able to feel some ease from that, a surrender from my endless toxic inner dialogue, but it’s one more reason I have a hard time taking a deep breath right now. It’s another beat in the jungle drums that sound a bit louder every day.

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