Pandemia in Poland
Updated: Apr 2
I'm dragging myself out of bed, my hair a disheveled mess, eyes droopy, an ache in my back and longing in my soul. I feel drained, empty, confused, and uncertain. I've been emotionally eating and feel a lack of self-confidence in my body image. I haven't showered in three days. I'm struggling to make sense of all of this. Of the predicament I'm in. I'm struggling because a pandemic is sweeping the globe, affecting every single human on this planet. It's temporarily ripped away my purpose on this earth, my greatest sense of joy and passion, and it's hitting me like a freight train.
I look through flights. I could choose anything right now. It's only just begun and flights are cheapest they've seemingly ever been. It's so tempting. But something holds me back. I can't bring myself to do it. The "what ifs" start playing through my head. What if I get stopped? What if I get quarantined in this mess? Is it really worth leaving my current job for? Is it worth uprooting my current plans? I click out of the app. No, it can wait. I can be patient.
I'm talking to my family. They all want me to fly back. I have a strong and compelling urge to give into that temptation. I miss them so much. But once again, my inner voice tells me to stop. But why? I don't have any kind of physical support system here. It doesn't make sense. I wait anyway.
A few days pass. A lot has changed. Schools are officially closed, and in the works of moving online. My mental health is deteriorating rapidly. What am I doing? What the hell is going on in the world? COVID-19 has officially been declared a pandemic by the W.H.O. God. What is happening? I check flights again and talk to my family. I'm officially staying put. Something doesn't feel right.
Not long after, everything else follows suit in closing down. Coronavirus is pounding Italy with a heavy hammer. It's heartbreaking. I check in on my friends there. They're okay. It's on its way to the US. I'm paying closer attention to the news than I ever have before. "Oh, please" I pray, "please keep my family safe. I can't handle not being able to help them." I keep focusing on my work.
Finally, the mental breakdown hits me. In the middle of the night, after listening to soothing sounds of nature and reading a comic. Lol what. Except, it's different than previous ones I've had. This one isn't physically debilitating. And, I just know what to do. I start a meditative practice my uncle taught me called EFT tapping. I don't fully know what I'm asking for, I just want relief. I keep digging deeper and deeper. Pulling away at layer upon layer, wall after wall, taking big swings at pent up emotions stored away internally. Thoughts and emotions I didn't even know were there. It's overwhelming. It's overbearing. I begin to cry. YES! This is good. This is healthy. I've begun my first step in mental and emotional recovery. I tell myself how proud I am of myself. I am overcome with self love and relief. That's it. I have my first restful sleep in a while.
As I'm diving in and out of a sea of emotions, like a dolphin in the ocean, I'm caught up in a multitude of things. I'm handling all of this in ways I've never been able to before. I begin to realize how incredibly strong and powerful I am. Here I am, in another country, on a completely different continent, with myself and my God to keep me going, and it's starting to sink in. Slowly at first, but it's happening. I'm beginning to release the negative energy stored within and center myself. I begin meditating every day.
I start to make small changes every day to improve upon my mental health. The sun is beginning to shine here, so I decide it's the perfect time to see about where I can hang up my hammock. I haven't been in the backyard before. I walk outside and am immediately overwhelmed with how lush and green it is. Perfect. Setting it up takes about 15 minutes (measuring distance), and then, I sit. Just like that. First step of the day to an okay me. It's a win.
Every day I add a little something new. I take baby steps. It gives me hope and something to look forward to. I begin cooking from scratch more. Small meals, but it's giving me the confidence boost I need. Jam outs to music. extra naps, journaling, mindful meditation, running (and other various physical activity), STRETCHING, the list goes on. Little by little, I'm pulling myself out of the dark places. I'm beginning to recognize impermanence. I'm able to look at the blessings in my life currently. And there are many.
I have two stable jobs that I have fully converted to working remotely (my DREAM), so I'm able to bring in income and even actually save money. I have a solid and stable roof over my head (figuratively and literally), food in my kitchen, a hammock I can relax in in my backyard, plenty of space to keep my body agile, stable internet to keep up with my loved ones and work, and a brain full of ideas to keep myself functioning. I'm able to hyper-focus on self-care, and I exercise where and when I can. I may not have many tangible items I had back in Texas or in Seattle, but I definitely have everything I need, and that's enough for me.
I smile at the thought. Minimalism. The little things in life. All of these things I've been asking for for years, and I've got them. Sure, they've come in a form I could never have expected, but they're here. Everything I ever truly ask for in life, I receive, even if it's not in the way I thought I would receive it.
Now? I journal even more about who I envision myself becoming once this is all over. How much more of a badass I'm going to be. Hell, how much of a badass I already AM. It takes an insurmountable amount of courage to consciously CHOOSE to remain in a place that isn't my home, surrounded by my loved ones, in a time of global crisis like this. People tell me all the time that I'm brave for traveling. They tell me they wish they could do what I do. But I don't feel brave for traveling. Not anymore, anyway. I feel brave for these choices I make. The choice I have made to stay put in a country (where I have everything I need) when the seemingly easy thing to do would be to book the next flight home.
But that's not me. I am brave. I am brave to stay true to my purpose, despite adversity. I am brave to stay true to myself, and to keep working on my goals. I am brave to put them first, despite how uncertain these times are. I feel like a damn warrior. THIS is my version of bravery. This is me inspiring myself, even when I feel weary and drained. This is my inner guide keeping me on the path I'm meant for. This is me not giving up on myself.
2020 is not off to an easy start. Amidst current events, the birth of my niece, godkids' birthdays I'm missing for the first time, and one year anniversary of my Grand's death (among other things), and the biggest current event, possibly of the decade, COVID-19, it's safe to say the future is very uncertain. But then again, isn't it always?
I'm blessed to be in a country whose people take this pandemic seriously, but aren't panicking. Stores are not running out of any supplies (I have more toilet paper than I want, need, or even know what to do with), people are paying attention to the news and for the most part, staying at home, and if they DO go out, everyone has noticeably been practicing social distancing. There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere (yes, I know this is viral and not bacterial, but still), people are wearing gloves and masks, and shops that remain open are limiting the amount of people they let in, in addition to adding thick plastic screens at checkout lines for the safety of cashiers. Everything feels and seems very peaceful here, despite the circumstances. People are adapting, and I feel extremely safe here. This method is working, and the number of affected cases are there to prove it.
*All the toilet paper in the world is here.*
I know it's going to be okay. It's all going to be okay. If I have a plea for anyone, it's this: wash your hands, PLEASE practice social distancing, pay attention to what's going on. I know some of you might believe this isn't a big deal, but it's big enough for it to be affecting the entire globe. The longer you ignore safety guidelines given by healthcare officials, the longer we're going to be in this predicament. To those of you whose jobs are affected by this, I'm truly sorry. I don't have much to offer except for words of encouragement, and gratitude for the First Responders risking their lives for everyone's health and safety. We all need to support each other. We WILL get through this.
An extrovert flailing in captivity
PSA: WASH YOUR HANDS AND PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING SO WE CAN GET OUT OF THIS MESS.
*This has been a message from your favorite free-spirited traveler who's itching to escape quarantine.*