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  • mamamandyb

Roller Coaster: an Ode to 2020

I'm not a roller coaster person. Being strapped in and taken for a ride does not appeal to me. The growing anxiety of the climb of that first track-hill. The clicking noise as we move higher up and everyone around me is getting excited but I'm sitting there in this fog of panic because what if what if what if. The it happens. The moment at the top of the hill where the roller coaster cars stop and I know there is nothing that can stop what happens next. The drop. My heart is in my throat and my stomach is in my chest and gravity takes hold and everyone has their hands up in the air and screams and I'm... silent, biting my lip, white-knuckle-clutching my own seatbelts.

That feeling, the drop, has been my constant state for the past 5 months. Any time I'm fortunate enough to find some tiny shred of control, I clutch it hard until I break a nail. And then the next thing happens. The pandemic, the empty store shelves, my husband's unemployment, the rapid-fire changes in protocol at work, the overarching uncertainty, a (much needed) civil rights movement, the riots in my city that left my old neighborhood in rubble, the constant change in routine, my husband's return to work, my hypochondria, Covid exclusions, assuming every cough is a death knell, kids, puppy, employees, clients.

I can't keep everyone safe.

I can't count on anything.

I can't plan.

I can't control.

Adapting has never been my strong suit. I'm extremely good at problem solving when I'm forced to adapt. I get the job done. I figure it out, quickly. I turn a jumbled mess into a system that makes sense. But, even the best problem solvers are out of their depth on this one. There is no solution, or, the solution is much too big for us.

So, what are we, the control freaks of the world, to do when our circumstances are completely beyond us? When we're just dropping? I'm gonna be honest, I don't know. But here's what I'm learning:

-Keeping busy helps.

-Distraction helps

-Diverting my obsessive tendencies from the big problems to projects (reading, photography, online shopping, organizing my closet, binge-watching shows, writing, creating, diving deep into nostalgia)

-Knowing I'm not alone helps.

How to be a control-freak during a pandemic? You kind of can't. And that's ok. Because no one can control this, but we are all on the same roller coaster together, so if you need a hand to hold, I've got you.

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