Omicron. Rogue variants. Potential World War III on the Russian-Ukrainian border. The mess we’ve left in Afghanistan, which is costing the lives of thousands of innocent people. And the foundational fear: the Earth is understandably trying to get rid of us with decimating storms, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, dead bees, and plagues.
I “manage” all this stress and anxiety by ignoring it. Feeling it all, all the time, would crush me. So I pay no attention to it. I think it’s what most of us do. We’re all living like semi-zombies these days.
Sometimes, like today, I spring a leak and all the fear busts up to the surface. I feel very needy. Then I push it back down again and ignore it until the next leak.
I get some solace from my desktop window image. It’s from San Xavier del Bac, south of Tucson. I took the photo the last time we were able to go visit friends there, which was a couple of weeks before the plague shut everything down. Little did we know.
I got my booster shot on Wednesday—a Moderna, even though I got a J&J before. I’m glad to have an mRNA one now, and actually also to have had the old-fashioned kind first. That way I feel like my body is equipped across the board to fight off the current plague. I got my regular flu shot at the same time, so I was really wiped out and had a headache yesterday, but today is much better. Still a little weary, but the headache is gone.
Lucie developed a UTI and was peeing all over the floor constantly. She hasn’t peed in the house since she was a puppy, so we knew something was wrong. Fortunately just a couple weeks of antibiotics and she’ll be back to her old self. Already after just a couple of days she’s much better. No pee in the house last night or today! She’s now lounging on our bed for the first time in a week, so she’s happy.
James is doing his L’Arche thing right now. They’re singing their favorite Christmas carols, which of course include “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Blue Christmas”—it wouldn’t be a celebration without Elvis. I’m sometimes envious of James’s total love of that work, and of his chance to be around French speakers and speak it himself. But it’s not my calling. Apparently my calling right now is to be an English-language teacher to business professionals in Japan. Hard to get my head around that being my calling, but it seems to be so at the moment. I’ve put in 4-1/2 years at The English Farm so far. And I’m getting more and more work to do for content and curriculum. People say I’m a great teacher, and I get a lot of strokes for my content work, so I have to believe that I’m doing a good job. Still doesn’t feel like my passion, though.
If I had to choose a passion at this point, besides being free of all responsibilities when on vacation, I’d have to say visual arts. I’ve been obsessed with a portraiture competition on TV—it’s fascinating to see the process of creating a portrait of a sitter. Each artist has their own style and approach, so I see a lot of different ways to work. And I always think about how I would portray that sitter. If I had the money, I’d go to art school in a heartbeat! Not for professional gallery work, but to learn the skills to express myself well. I think I’d specialize in multi-media because I love to put things together to make something of its own. And it’s very hands-on. Photography is mostly about the eyes, especially since I don’t have a darkroom. I want something more physical.
We’ll be getting a Christmas tree tomorrow from the local farmstand down the hill. It used to be a huge thing for me to cut our own—I grew up doing that, so it seems like cheating and a let-down to buy one off a lot. But these days it’s just more work than it ends up being worth, I guess. And with my constant state of injury and pain these days, it’s pretty hard for me to manage Christmas tree cutting.
A regular student of mine told me today that she’s pregnant, after years of trying. Hope for the world continues.
I’ve been having an anxiety attack since last night—it’s now 9pm. A 24-hour anxiety attack. The straw that broke my coping camel’s back was Lucie developing incontinence all of a sudden. She’s 9-1/2 years old, so it could just be old age. Or it could be something more serious. My catastrophic thinking always shoots right for death. Everything points to death in my anxiety-disordered brain.
I’m currently obsessed with a British show, “Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year” on YouTube. When I sat down yesterday to watch the next episode, I got really confused because it didn’t seem to follow on the previous one. Then I figured out that it’s probably due to the COVID lockdown. This is the 2020 series, after all. Seeing it go from crowds of people watching the artists in a light-filled rotunda to a set empty of all but the artists, judges, host (only one now, not two—presumably the older woman was at too much risk), and sitters, with all of them 6 or more feet apart, was a brutal reminder of the state of our world right now.
And, of course, there’s the new Omicron variant, with all sorts of unknowns. It seems to be more contagious than even Delta, but we don’t know if it’s more deadly. With vaccines now, and mask-habits, variants are less catastrophic—for those of us who are vaccinated and wear masks. There are still unbelievable numbers of people who refuse to do either. And as long as they’re around, we’ll keep having variants.
So adding my dog’s mortality to all of that was just one anxiety too many. Deep breaths, singing with James and a friend, having a meeting about my added work responsibilities—which boosts my sense of self-worth—and a cocktail at 4pm and a glass of wine at 6:30pm, aren’t fully alleviating the attack yet, but hopefully after a good night’s sleep, everything will look better in the morning. Thank you, Dad, for that sage advice. I heard it a lot from him when I was growing up!