Living in this New World

I can’t say that this being locked up thing is getting to me. It honestly really isn’t. I wasn’t one who really liked going out too much anyways, so being forced to stay home for the sake of my own terrible immune system and to protect others seems perfectly fine to me. I never really use babysitters aside from 2-3 times a year, so having the kids around me 24/7 is something that doesn’t get to me because that’s my normal anyways. I can get more work done. Fit in more time for things like working out and clearing out the DVR of all those trashy reality shows I didn’t have time for. What perfect time to escape this horrible reality we live in right now than fake, trashy reality shows that gives your brain a break?

As things start to open up, I keep going “nah, I’m good”. I’m not ready yet. I won’t be ready until the numbers are down to next to nothing or there’s a vaccine/actual medicine to help prevent the virus or significantly reduce the symptoms. I’ve very much prone to upper respiratory infections. I’ve had sinus infections so bad the doctor orders me to take steroids and bed rest. If something like that can take me out, the idea of something more serious doesn’t make me feel safe at all.

But schools will be starting in fall. My youngest will have his 8th birthday in September and my oldest will have his rescheduled Confirmation ceremony a few weeks later. These are events where I would normally throw parties that people love because I make a lot of adequate tasting food. But having a party while this is all going on? That’s silly to me. I have family members with compromised immune systems. I have a terrible immune system. Attending parties like this or inviting parties into my home is not something I’m about right now. Other people can make the choice to have a massive party, but honestly I’m out. I’ll be clear right now. Nope. Don’t be insulted. I don’t mean it as an insult. But I have to make decisions that are right for my family. And I don’t think my family could function without me.

After discussing an idea I was offered by my father with my husband, I realized a great idea to have some celebration for these events while minimizing risks. People can come to the house between certain hours on those dates if they want to drop off a present and/or just say “Hi”, then they can take a cupcake and goody bag for the kids, then people can keep cycling in as they want throughout the day. I don’t have to worry about figuring out a socially distanced birthday party with my small house, which would be even more complicated if it rains and I can’t take advantage of my decently sized lawn. And I can properly disinfect after each guest. And it helps people who don’t want to sit around at a kid’s party all day long so that they can leave without sounding rude. It seems like a great idea in theory. We’ll see if people get insulted when they get their invitations.

The point is, everyone is working through this matter at their own pace. Some people are ready to have big parties, and that’s okay for them. Some people aren’t ready to do anything. That should be equally okay. People shouldn’t be insulted by people not wanting to attend parties right now. I’m waiting until my doctors and the experts on this matter to say “It’s all good now, folks”. Forcing others to move at a pace they aren’t ready for and shaming them or getting angry at them for working at a different pace is actually kind of selfish and terrible. People interpret information differently. Some insist this is a hoax. That’s cool. Some prefer to err on the side of caution for whatever reason. That’s also cool. It’s not your place to tell anyone what they should be doing while people are dying around them. You do you, let me do me.

Navigating the Tricky Season of Preparing for School Next Year

The school district my boys attend had their last day of school yesterday. With another school district releasing their tentative guidelines for next year and the state releasing theirs, it has caused a lot of… mixed feelings. From uninformed people saying their kids are going to die of carbon dioxide poisoning if you make them wear masks and the others fighting about how selfish non-mask wearers are, there have been a lot of opinions on this topic. As usual, I’m here to share mine and I’m choosing to look on the positives.

For instance, the biggest positive is that I won’t have to do “distance learning” with my kid every day of the week. Sure, I’ll have to do it 2 or 3 days a week potentially, but I’ll take that over struggling to get them to do their work done every day. Those other days, they will have the teacher in the classroom helping them out as best as they can with restrictions in place. I’m sure their help, even as restricted as it may be, is going to be a lot better than what I’m doing as I frustratingly scream at my youngest saying “Just use a calculator, I don’t even care anymore.”

I have started “doomsday prepping”, if you will. I ordered materials to make masks for the boys for school so that they can comply, while being as cool as possible. I bought some Spongebob fabric for my youngest, and this really neat “peacock” colored fabric for my oldest. I bought supplies ahead of any announcement because honestly, I don’t want to be put in a place where I’m stuck without anything I need and I have to resort to “homeschooling”.

I will be sending my boys back, even if these strict guidelines are in place. My oldest is going to be a senior and he needs to have as much of this senior experience as he can. My youngest has his own set of issues and getting him back into the strict routine school offers is going to be the best thing for him. Will getting him to wear the mask be hard? Maybe. But as someone with a terrible immune system, I’m okay with having extra protections to ensure I don’t get sick. It’s fine when you’re a healthy person to throw a fit about making your kid wear a mask, but this is for as much my protection as it is his.

I think the smaller classroom sizes only benefit the kids, especially kids like mine with sensory issues. With less “noise” going on around him, he might be able to focus better. The teachers may not be able to closely interact with the students, but they are still going to get more individualized attention in the classroom instead of getting lost in the shuffle of 19 other students. The teacher will be able to take more time explaining things that other kids are struggling with.

People tend to always have this knee-jerk reaction of negativity, without looking at the positive. Like, now I get to send my kid back to school for at least some of the time and regain some of that “me-time” I haven’t had since March. If done well, this could be a positive thing for students. I have to start thinking about the positives because right now everything seems to be on fire around us in the world that we need to start looking at the positives in the situation.

The Duty of Writers

Writers are expected to have moments of poignant insight that stirs strong emotions in our readers. We’re supposed to be observational. We’re supposed to offer insight and opinions, eliciting some type of response. We are the people that others turn to in order to forget about life for a while, imagining other lands, or just to help them process something that they were otherwise struggling with processing. It’s a heavy weight to have to bear sometimes.

To continue with my last post, I did want to discuss what went on last week and what is still going on today. Tuesday’s post was to offer disdain for the people who were complicit in letting things get to how they are today and how we can help to make things better by voting those complicit players out of office. I did try to make it clear as possible that I stand with those fighting injustice. Today, I wanted take a different approach. I wanted to make it clear that sometimes it takes a fire to start fresh again. These protests are the fire, both figuratively and literally, it seems. It isn’t just one race marching; it’s a rainbow of support across the spectrum. Fighting racism is no longer an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This is a matter that impacts us all. We could sit quietly, but that’s not how change ever happens. That’s not how the LGBTQ+ community earned their “rights” (I use quotations, because they are still struggling to get the rights they deserve). That’s not how women got the right to vote. That’s not how the civil rights movement started. It started from people who were willing to shake things up.

I don’t condone violence. Police are there to protect people, not harm innocents. You shouldn’t assault a police officer because of the uniform they wear. Bad officers deserve to actually get punished for their crimes. The fact that they aren’t is the sole reason why people have trouble trusting the men and women in blue who are supposed to protect us. It’s the same reason why many struggle with Catholicism. You sweep a problem under the rug enough times, eventually people are going to revolt. It’s an unfortunate consequence of terrible actions. Rather than face things head on with courage as they should, they ignore the problem. They defend the indefensible. Sure, I had my knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, but he was on drugs and had COVID-19 and had heart problems and how was I to know that when he went unconscious after saying that he can’t breathe that putting the full weight of my body on his neck was going to hurt him? My bad. Over a potentially counterfeit $20? That’s why people are revolting. How many cases of brutality from cops do we hear? Even more terrifying, how many don’t we hear about?

I won’t immediately jump on the “f- police” bandwagon. I’ve had family serve with honor. My son hopes to be in law enforcement, with the goal of helping injustice in the world. To do so, would be a slap in the face of those good officers who died on duty while serving and protecting. But I also think that people do need to rise up and fight against these injustices that are hurting Americans. This continued racism is passed on to other generations. I see that when my son wasn’t played with because he was a “little Chinese boy” or when he told me about how other kids think he looks weird. I’m not blind to what’s going on. And these are kids who learned racism was okay from their parents. Kids aren’t born to hate; we teach them that. Our choice is to teach them to love and to fight for what they feel is right. My oldest wants to change the world by tackling change on the inside. As skeptical as I am that he can make a difference, I believe that I raised him with enough compassion and conviction that he can be one of the many of the next generation that can create change. Because that’s what we need right now.

So it’s not “F” police; it’s “F” the institution that encourages the bad behavior and refuses to hold those so-called “bad apples” accountable. How many crimes do they get away with, while their brothers and sisters protect them at all costs? Those are the people you want to get rid of. Not the ones taking the time out of their shift to play soccer with kids or giving them a reward for wearing a helmet while out biking. You want to encourage the good and get rid of the bad. When that happens, when you stop allowing them to be the judge, jury and executioner, then people might start trusting the police. It’s their job to enforce laws, not make them up as they go or only enforce them when they feel like it. Police should have the compassion for dealing with people while being courageous to help those in need. They shouldn’t be killing people on camera with no soul in their eyes and let people say “Well, this was a misunderstanding…” Sitting on a neck for nearly 9 minutes isn’t a misunderstanding; it’s murder.

To sum all of my 2 day posts up? It’s the institution that breeds and accepts these awful incidences that are at fault, not every single man and woman in blue. It’s the media at fault for pushing the agenda that makes them the most money. It’s the politicians that remain in power because they have divided and conquered us, while we sit around and blindly follow them. We are the ones who can make the change. Through protesting to see changes in policing policies and fighting for true equal rights. Through electing these people out of office. By stop watching the mainstream news because they are lying to us anyways. Maybe losing money and ratings will encourage them to start being the honorable institution that they once were. These are just some ways that we can help turn this sinking ship around.

2020, Amirite?

Last week, you might have noticed that my blog was completely silent. I generally write about current events and parenting during my Tuesday/Thursday blog, depending really on how I feel. With the riots and protests last week (still going on this week), I couldn’t do it. Why? Because I’m a white girl from a middle class neighborhood that doesn’t feel it’s my place to discuss the plight of others. Why? Because I’ve never experienced an act of racism towards me. Aside from witnessing racist acts against my own child, I’ve never had to personally experience it so what right to I have to profit off an opinion on it? I stand by communities fighting injustice and somewhere I hope this means the world can start to change. I won’t hope too much because change is always a slow process. We promised change many decades ago, and look where we are today.

2020 has just been a dumpster fire. The year has only hit 6 months, just halfway through, and I feel like we should be celebrating New Years to just be done with it and start fresh in 2021. We should erase this year out of the history books, because there is so much that we should be ashamed of. I’m not going to say that having a democrat as president during these times would have made a difference, because who knows if it actually would have. But if there were a democrat in charge, I feel very positive that the people standing up with the President now wouldn’t feel as strongly about how great they are doing. Because they’re not. I don’t care what party is in office. What I do know is that we deserve a lot better than we are getting.

What is making this so bad? I think I’ll first put blame on the media. The left-biased options jump all over the President even if there’s nothing there. This stokes the fires of their base. The right-biased options consider him a messiah that can’t do anything wrong, which riles up the base to stand up for him when they really shouldn’t. If we had media that praised the good and held him accountable for the bad, regardless of political beliefs, things probably wouldn’t be so bad. The media on both side helps drive the wedge because neither want to stray away from their talking points. This is because rather than being the institution that held people accountable, they’ve become a business that just cares about ratings and money. They don’t care about silly things like facts. They pander to the masses and wonder why the world is going to hell.

This doesn’t mean that the politicians in charge are innocent parties. They are just as complicit when it comes to tearing the country apart. They work with the talking points (or even are the ones creating the talking points) for the media of their particular bias to further cause division. The President doesn’t help matters when there is a truth out there and he passes it off as “fake news” because let’s be honest, he’s lying and people just blindly follow. The minute that we somehow forgot the politicians lie and only want to benefit from their power was when things started to go downhill. I never take a politician’s word for anything. I wait for their actions to decide who they are. And I’m not liking anything that I’ve seen.

The people of this country are the only answer, but at this point, are we way past that? Have too many people been blinded by the people that most benefit from their ignorance? I really hope not. I hope that the sensible people that think independently and logically will start to become the voices of the next generation. We need less lemmings of a political party and more voices that speak out. Don’t just follow a movement because it’s cool; follow it because it’s right. Don’t follow politicians blindly because they honestly don’t care about you. Follow your own beliefs, even if they aren’t defined by a political party. That’s how we make the world a better place.

I’m sad about this. The people are revolting because of decades of fighting “the right way” have failed. I’d be mad as hell to if that were me. If that were my son, I’d probably set the world on fire myself. If you push people enough, they want to see the world burn. That’s where we are right now.

The New School Year

Everyone is already looking ahead to the new school year, anxious to get the kids back to school in a setting where they can see their friends again. Mostly, I’m just excited to have someone else fight with their child why school work is important, even if it’s going to kill them from boredom. My home OT sessions have gone similarly horrible. In fact, I would be lying if I said I was confident my children are going to go back to school next year and be able to keep up with their peers. My only real comfort is knowing that my kids aren’t the only one with the “worst teacher ever” right now.

If you’ve been on social media, you have seen everyone share those new guidelines from the CDC about opening up the schools. I definitely have. I read them. They seem insane, to say the least. Not that I don’t believe there should be some guidelines, but that I don’t believe they can accomplish what they want. Not in my school district, at least. 1 kid per seat on the bus and skipping rows? My oldest son’s bus has kids sitting 3 to a seat and that isn’t even enough for them. How is that going to work? Are we going to magically come up with more buses when we can barely afford to meet the needs of the teachers and students as is? What about expecting young children to keep a mask on all day? That’s not realistic at all. It’s not realistic. And aside from the mask policy, 90% of it probably won’t even be put into effect in most districts.

I get the point. I understand the point. I don’t believe in those conspiracy theories about fear mongering and how the flu kills more people just because your media told you that line once and you just believed it. Or because you heard it, wanted to verify it, then just ignored the 20 other articles that disprove this point and use that one article from the National Review to show that you’re right. You’re not right, if you read the actual science behind the numbers. Here’s a brief rundown, in case you’re interested: it all comes down to testing. Since the CDC can’t ensure that everyone who died of a flu-related complication was actually tested for the flu, they essentially estimate a number to what they think it is based on some algorithm that I probably wouldn’t even understand if I tried. I got this information from Live Science, then looked at several other articles that ended up sharing the same exact information. I could be wrong. I’m not unwilling to hear actual facts to prove me wrong. But, this is what my research has shown me. Even still, their estimate was around 62,000 people dying of the flu this year. Which is, for those who like math, is less than the over 90,000 people who died of the coronavirus-related complications.

What these 2 illnesses do have in common is that by taking the proper precautions, you can minimize your risk and the risk of others. I’m not saying don’t live your life. I’m just saying don’t be stupid. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Back to the original point of the post: what about our kids? People around social media are in an uproar on the community forums. “I’ll just homeschool my kids.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I can barely keep up with my “I need money to survive” workload and the very, very, very basic remote learning things that I have to keep up with. If you’re already struggling with that, good freaking luck actually homeschooling your kids. You have to prove that you are competent by the school district’s standards to homeschool, have to essentially submit lesson plans/hours of instruction, and follow strict regulations based on your school district. You have to be in compliance with laws around homeschooling. Then, there are those other aspects of not having that socialization in the school environment and missing out on those activities they get to enjoy in school like goofing off on the bus during field trips or school dances. I’m not anti-homeschooling; I’m very much in approval of parents who do what they feel is right for their kids. What I do want to make people realize is that if you’re struggling now, homeschooling isn’t a viable option for you.

The thing is, this is just information based on what we know today. This is a new beast we are dealing with here. We might have better answers about it, more testing, and a vaccine by the time we send our kids back to school. No one really knows much about anything. But, what I do know is that I’m going to follow the people who are experts in science, specifically infectious diseases, to form my opinion. Not some hack job on the internet that is only spewing misinformation because for some reason people have an adverse-reaction to facts and misinformation can be very profitable. Keeping yourself educated with the latest, and I can’t stress this word enough, FACTS is really going to be the only way we get through this.

And We Start to Open Up Again

I don’t particularly care to debate whether or not opening up is 100% the right thing. Because honestly, it won’t ever be 100% the right thing until there’s better testing, tracking, and a vaccine. That’s just science. As someone who does get sick often and badly, I take a look at this in a more realistic way. Again, I know I could choose not to go out to stay safe and that’s my plan. I’m not living in fear. I’m living in protection. I’ve been bedridden by sinus infections before because they get so bad, imagine if I got this? My family understands that. My parents are in the high-risk category, so my kids haven’t gotten to hug or really see their grandparents aside from waving in the window. My husband wears his mask and takes as much precaution as he can to stay safe, but there’s no real guarantee that he won’t bring something home to us. That’s a risk that we’re supposed to be willing to take.

But just because they government is opening up the world, that doesn’t mean I’m going to participate. I watch the daily rises and falls in the numbers. Until they get to a much lower place, I’m staying home and no one is coming into my house. I honestly don’t care about anything except keeping my family safe, which includes taking the precautions I need to so that I don’t end up dead. Dramatic? Maybe. But I just want to make very clear that peer pressure doesn’t work on me and I’m not going to do something because crazies with a gun think I’m irrational and living in fear. If I’m the one living in fear, how come you’re the one with the gun?

I’ll probably lose friends along the way. I’ll piss off family members that already don’t agree with my decision. It’s not their decision to make. I’m not withholding my kids from anyone. People can call them, voice chat with them, but we already have such a short time on this earth. I’m not going to go out with tubes down my throat because someone thinks I’m trying to hurt their feelings. I’m not. I’m doing what I believe is the right thing and you’re not going to convince me otherwise unless you’re an experienced and highly educated medical professional. Because science.

If you choose to go out and let your kids run around in large masses, that’s what you think is the right move for the safety of your family. I won’t judge you for that. But I would appreciate not being judged for what I think is the safe and right thing to do for the safety of my family.

It’s Going to be Okay

That’s something I think we all need to hear these days. We’re all struggling. A lot of people have lost their jobs. Parents who still have to work through this are struggling to balance working from home and managing their children’s education at the same time. Or they are trying to manage finding daycare for their kids while they go to work, adding to their stress of worrying if it’s safe for their kids. We’re not mentally in a good place right now. Or at least I know I’m not. But, it’s going to be okay.

It’s going to be okay because you’re doing the best that you can. No one can expect anymore than your best. You’re always going to think that you’re not doing enough. But you are. You’re doing your best for that moment in your life.

It’s going to be okay because eventually things will start to feel some type of normal again. Whether it’s the new normal or getting back to what your life used to be. Normal is really what you make it to be, not what everyone tells you it should be.

It’s going to be okay because we’re meant to adapt, adjust, and change our approaches. We evolve at our own pace. Change isn’t something that everyone can accomplish at the same time. And that’s okay.

It’s going to be okay because someday it will be safe for kids to hug their grandparents again. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that this is all to make sure that we have our family as long as possible.

It’s going to be okay, somehow. Because we need to have some sort of reasonable optimism that we will get through this. That we are going to come out of this stronger than when we went into this.

Because that’s who we are.

So, just remember: it’s going to be okay.

It All Starts with a Character

There are so many current, relevant topics I could be discussing right now. Like how countries are seeing a resurgence in cases because they opened up probably way too soon. How if you need a 10 step strategy on opening up, it may be too soon to. People have the right to feel terrified because no one really knows anything about this virus, except for the fact that it’s death toll keeps rapidly rising and there’s no real treatment or vaccine to help people through it. Or how people who ignore these guidelines for staying safe are the reason why we’re still dealing with this.

But I don’t want to. It makes me sad and angry and all types of negative.

Instead, I will work through my brain’s struggle to come up with a story to start a series of children’s stories. I have a character that I so desperately want to see come to life. I have her personality in mind. I’ve envisioned what she looks like. But I’m not a children’s author. Aside from “Dear Child”, I’ve struggled a bit trying to get back to the genre because I know there are stories there. I know that my character is going to be a flawed character, but I want to send a message of empowerment not to just other girls, but to all kids. I have all these great hopes for the story.

Unfortunately, I have no story. I’m not sure if it’s my workload breaking into my brain’s creative side, draining any will of creativity out of me. I’m not sure if it’s anxiety over what’s going on in the world that is hurting my brain. I just know that I have a great character, but she’s just sitting there smiling at me through my rough sketches of her. It’s frustrating. I’ve never had this long of a dry spell in my personal writing.

It is probably a combination of being burnt out from writing due to my workload and the fact that with the kids home all the time with no break while juggling said workload as well as my new “school of mom”, that I don’t have that quiet time where ideas just flow from me. With everything going on, I don’t see that changing any time soon and that does make me a little sad.

Writing may seem like an easy task. But words are hard. Stories are hard. Having the will to type endlessly is hard. Writers don’t have an easy job. We are tasked with inspiring emotions and getting people to relate to a fictional character. We need readers to connect on some level to the story. And we don’t get the ability to tap into the nuances of body language and inflections that can often only be heard. We can try, but we can’t reach everyone and we know that. But you need to be able to reach someone.

Maybe over the weekend I can get the chance to sit down and work on something. Maybe.

A Writer Who is at a Loss for Words

I was sitting around thinking about what I should write about. Should I be celebrating that I’ve only gained 5 lbs during this coronavirus time of eating whatever you can get your hands on and mindless snacking out of stress and boredom? Should I go on a rant about people being irresponsible and how dumb I think the protestors are and how I not-so secretly hope that they get it and learn a major life lesson? Should I lament about how I’ll never think to myself that homeschooling would be much easier than sending my kids to school in a world where school shootings are so on trend?

All viable topics. But what does it matter? I could discuss how you’re not only protecting yourself but you’re protecting others by staying safe and following these rules. But I won’t change your mind about it. I won’t change your mind that it’s selfish to ignore mask rules or social distancing measures or how you shouldn’t hang out with family just because you miss them. This is your time to show how selfless you are. And you’re failing at it. But, it doesn’t matter because my opinion doesn’t change anything. I have a right to my opinion; you have the right to yours.

The virus topics are all played out. No one wants to read another story about how this sucks, because people read things as an escape or to find something that they relate to and find solace in. My pessimism has taken over; there’s no solace to be found here.

I have no topic. This post is just like the Blues Traveler’s “Hook”. You’re reading because I’ve engaged you. I’ve captured your attention. But there’s nothing of meaning. Of substance. It’s words, and I’m struggling to find them right now.

A writer without words. That seems crazy. What good is a writer if they don’t have the words? But they say that “you should create a schedule and stick with it, even if you have nothing to offer”. It seems silly, but this routine is as important for the writer as it is the reader. It means that the reader has something to look forward to. It makes the writer sit down and write. It forces creativity, though not necessarily in the right way. But it does.

I just have to keep up the mantra of “It could be worse”. Things could be worse. I’m told this too shall pass, but the problem is that it’s either not going to pass fast enough or it will pass too fast and we’ll just end up right back here hoping that no one you know gets sick or dies.

Why the Mask Bro?

I’m pro the right to protest. Whether you agree with what people are protesting isn’t important. It’s our right as Americans to protest any injustice that we see, regardless if other people see it too. Do I agree with these recent protests about opening states up amid a pandemic where there is no vaccine, medicine, or adequate testing? Absolutely not. As someone with a terrible immune system, I’m not okay with that. But Brianne, that’s why you stay home and stay safe.

That’s kind of the problem though, isn’t it? My husband already still has to go out to work sometimes on anything he can’t handle remotely as a sys admin. He washes his hands and gets changed as soon as he enters the house, but that’s not a guarantee he won’t bring it in with him. If the state opens up without mask or safety restrictions, first of all we’ll end up dealing with a second outbreak and we aren’t even prepared for the first one yet. And he will be out of the house more often, increasing the risk of bringing it home with him. So it doesn’t matter if I stay home if no one else does.

That’s not the point. The point here is about the protests. Sure, going into state buildings fully loaded with guns without any repercussions for these in normal situations very illegal actions is a major jerk move. But peaceful protests, I’m all for. But my question is, if it’s safe enough to open states without any regulations, why wear a mask? Are you afraid that you are going to catch a deadly illness that you believe is a hoax meant to control the masses and isn’t any more deadly than the flu? Are you hedging your bets in case you’re wrong? Why are you wearing a mask if this isn’t really a big deal?

I’d really like the answer because you can’t have it both ways. If it’s not safe enough to protest in masses, maybe it isn’t safe enough to get back to normal. Maybe deep down you just want to be a lemming even if you don’t actually believe that this is a hoax. I’m not a scientist or health expert, so I’m not going to argue if it’s safe enough not. But the logical person that I am says it’s not a good idea until testing is more widespread or there is a vaccine to protect us. So, why the mask bro?

Do I think that if people play stupid games, they should win stupid prizes? Absolutely yes. However, in this case it’s not just their lives. It’s the lives of their families and kids and everyone else’s lives that are at stake. But, I mean, if they get it and bad things happen there’s a reason for Darwin Awards, right? Actions have consequences… so is that why you’re wearing a mask while protesting a virus that’s a hoax?