How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A Year Later

A year ago, the people in the United States were just starting to learn about the Corona Virus. Today, I have been up for only a few hours, and already - several people have mentioned on my social media accounts, how they are feeling strange and full of anxiety. “A feeling of foreboding,” someone said.

It got me thinking about how last week, I saw a meme go around that had a black background and white words. The meme said: “a year ago, this was our last normal week, and no one knew it.” Also last week, several friends posted “this was the last time I went out,” and shared photos of their happy occasions. Just now, my social media reminded me of my son’s first color guard competition from last year at this time. That was the last time he was able to perform in public with his team.

My sons have largely stayed home ever since. I am considered high risk because of my heart problems. I qualify for the 1B vaccination schedule and was almost able to try to get an appointment for the vaccination last week. But the week before, I was given a Tdap booster for a burn on my arm. And it turns out that you cannot have the Covid-19 shot within a month of any other shot. So, I will wait some more. 

Have you read the book, “The Body Keeps the Score,” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. It’s an excellent book.  It talks about how our bodies remember things from our past, even if our brain forgets it. 

For instance, I am rapidly nearing my 50s (and I am super cool with that!), and I only just last year figured out why I get so sad just before my birthday — before I was 2 years old, my mom left. She left my dad and they divorced soon after. I stayed with my dad. I am positive that as a baby, I must have cried so much for my mom after she left. 

Here is another example - Sept 11, 2001. I was a newly wed and I worked in a building a stone’s throw from the local Washington-Dulles Airport. Our building was evacuated shortly after I arrived at work. 

A year later, “The Virginia Sniper” was in the news. I was pregnant with my first son. The Virginia Sniper shot and killed a woman at the Home Depot where I had been 24 hours previously. We had parked right where she had parked. 

I still struggle to fill my gas pump - I am on high alert at the gas stations and I want to hide in my car instead of stand outside it, pumping my gas - because that good family man, a guy who drove a taxi, was shot at killed while filling up his car. 

Autumn used to be my favorite season. But both of these incidents happened during the fall - two years in a row. I struggle to love the fall now as much as I once did. 

And this year, I am seeing people say how they feel full of anxiety and they can’t pin it on anything. 

I have put my own pieces together - it’s How I See Things - through my own lens - and I am pointing out that it is probably to do with our country, neighbors, family, community finding out about and getting information about the Corona Virus last year. Our world changed quite drastically a year ago. 

Your body remembers. Your mind may not have been able to put this together but your body remembers. Just understand that this is what’s going on, and the trauma can start to move through you and you can begin to live your life and not have to experience this trauma every year at this time. 

I am hopeful that this year, when the weather turns nice right before my June birthday, that I won’t be sad for the first time ever. Hopefully I will feel happy and normal to match what my mind feels, and hopefully my body will be able to follow suit and not feel sad, down and depressed. Because I have now identified what that was about (I think) and I can move through the trauma and not continue to experience it every year. 

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