A number of people have written their responses to the question posed by Governor Cuomo: How are you—really? They range from struggling to mellowing, a reminder that in many ways we are not in the same boat, even while we are all negotiating a life-altering pandemic. And how we feel on any given day does not mean we will feel that way tomorrow. So these are snapshots of a moment in time. I invite you to email me and share with us how you are—really.
How are you—really?
- I am actually doing pretty well since I made a commitment to do some creative writing every day, and have kept my promise to myself for a week and a half! I use a a prompt (a different phrase suggested for each day) as my theme and just sit down and write. — Ellin Snow, Lynnwood, WA
- There’s times when I’m fine. Then there’s times when I just sort of go to seed, like a dandelion blowing in the wind. Aimless, purposeless, undisciplined, apathetic. Just gone to seed. Expired. — Wendy E, Seattle, WA
- Recently I’ve had minor anxiety attacks which I’ve never experienced before. Not sure exactly if they are correlated with the pandemic, but I find them building up in intensity as the day goes on until I start running. Then boom, they recede and I’m good until the next day. I run, therefore I am. Or something like that. — Robin Cohn, Sausalito, CA
- I’m scared and conflicted. As my community opens up and activities I enjoy become available again, I want to participate. But I am overcome with fear about my physical safety. I scour the Internet, looking for safer and better face masks that will protect me. My husband had me order a pair of goggles to protect his eyes when he is in public. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I have become obsessed with playing online Mahjongg. It’s so much safer than playing in the same room with real people. And I don’t want to feel this way. — Judith Hardaker, Desert Hot Springs, CA
- It’s certainly been an interesting journey for me in the past few months. From the perch of privilege in my life at this moment, I’ve been so out of touch with the felt sense of suffering that I know is alive in the world for so many people. But for me very personally, this time of COVID-induced separation has been a welcome and creative retreat, and one that I’ve needed for a very long time. I’ve been so used to filling up my time with friends, family, cultural events, and travel that I had forgotten how to nourish my inner being.
So in many ways this forced isolation has been a gift. I’ve once again played the piano, begun to write morsels of impressions about things that matter to me, meditated, and cherished time in nature. I sometimes find myself talking to the plants and the birds – and do my best to listen to whatever wisdom they might impart. I even literally hugged a tree a few weeks ago and asked it some pointed questions. I feel more alive than I can remember and more clear and unapologetic about how I want to spend the precious time I’ve been given. Choosing what’s mine to do and what isn’t has been liberating, inspiring and energizing. — Andrea Cohen, Seattle, WA
- It’s the end of a busy virtual workday, a day of helping people deal with feelings related to our COVID world. The end of a day of trying to process my own feelings related to the outside news that turns more insane each day. I wonder if a real adult will make it to the Presidency this year, if elections can possibly be open and fair. Another day of wondering how so many people in this country suddenly became stupid or lost their minds. I feel angry and I feel sad.
And now I’m going to continue binge watching Grey’s Anatomy because then I can escape for a few minutes and feel a little better. And have a little more chocolate. — Eileen, Oregon