26.07.2020 | “There is a shadow across the land…” *

A lazy, mostly relaxing weekend obviously was what I needed. For now anyway, let’s see how it will be when I’m back at the office tomorrow. Last week had been stressful and the – by now I’m pretty sure hormonal induced – anxiety midweek added to that of course. The project that caused so much stressed came to a point where it seemed to be going okay-ish, so at least I didn’t have to stress over it on the weekend. 

I’ve been thinking about my own privilege a lot these past few days. Sometimes it’s difficult to acknowledge it, because I’m not aware of it or I don’t want to be, because ignoring it is more comfortable. Often enough it’s easy for me to acknowledge it and to feel grateful and humbled. In podcasts or on the news I recently heard quite a bit about how hard life if for so many children, family, people in Germany, undoubtedly one of the richest countries in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it even harder for most of them, but it was hard even before that. Children who don’t have space at home for themselves to do their homework or just be on their own. Children who can’t afford – what other consider – ordinary stuff. New clothes. Toys. Being able to have friends over for a play date or just hanging out. Being able to just go somewhere for icecream or the movies. Go on a trip somewhere else. Anything. All the things we – middle class people – take for granted.

I am so so privileged and always have been. We never had a lot of money growing up, but we still went on vacations. Staying with family or youth hostels, but still we went away. During the short period of time when I was unemployed 15 or so years ago and didn’t have much money I could count on my family to feed me or to take me out and pay for drinks. Hell, if I had wanted I could have moved back home to save rent. So so many people don’t have that kind of safety net.  Now I have a steady, safe job, that pays well and which I actually enjoy (most of the time). I know so many people who do the job they do because they must. And I had those as well, but I really should and need to appreciate the one I’ve been lucky to be in for years now a bit more. If I wouldn’t just feel in over my head still so often…

At my regular supermarket the Rotary Club started a collection of food and hygiene products collection for the local food bank. I try to buy some items and drop them off every time I shop; toothpaste, pasta, chocolate, coffee and I feel a bit… ashamed (or something like that) about that being all  I do. 

This all sounds all rather gloomy. Sorry….

 To bring this round to some good things: I’m reading the most adorable contemporary romance novel at the moment (I hope it won’t disappoint me plot wise on the last stretch): “Boyfriend Material”. For a change I went for a gay romance and what can I say? Just like I loved “Red, White & Royal Blue“, I’m absolutely hooked on this one. Not sure what that says about me ๐Ÿ˜‰

The second good news is that I most probably will be a my first ‘real’ as in not on a screen gig on Tuesday. I hope I’m not jinxing it by writing about it in advance. But Tim Vantol, a folk-rock singer I like a lot, is playing small gigs in pub gardens at the moment and he’ll do that in Essen on Tuesday and the weather looks promising. Sitting at a table, spaced far enough apart from other people, outdoors with all the regulation in place for pubs and all that. It will be fine and I hope I won’t stress myself too much about everything else. But I guess I’ll have to go and see…

*Lyrics: The Lifeboat, Frank Turner, 2018 

22.07.2020 | “To quiet my despair…” *

Life is weird sometimes. Or should I rather say … my body’s reaction is weird sometimes? Physical or mental or both. The circumstances haven’t changed in the last 24 hours. There is still a global pandemic going on. I still have this HUGE project to work on at the office. The project with still a few big question marks re: budget and staff and such. The project with an incredible tight time line. Other tasks are still postponed more than I like. 

We had another project meeting this morning, in a very helpful, constructive, fair atmosphere. I still should have tons of things to worry about. And in a way I still do. But… at least it doesn’t feel like every fibre of my body does as well. The fight and flight mode as been mostly turned off and only came back on for tiny moments of worry occasionally. Nothing I didn’t know before. 

I have no idea what changed. I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Far from it. The night was too short, which was my own fault as I stayed up – as planned – for the Jaret & Frank chat on Instagram. It was fun to watch as usual and a long part of it towards the end made me very happy. I’m a fangirl, what can I say?

I don’t want to attribute my more relaxed state of mind solely on this though. That would be… a bit pathetic, I agree. The meditation practice helped as well, I think. And possibly even the fact that I voiced all of the ‘despair’ here yesterday.

It might just have been pre-menstrual hormones after all. Or a combination of all. I don’t care. Even though I woke up after less than five hours and half an hour before my alarm, I realized right away, that I wasn’t as tense as the last few days. And I stayed less tense all day. I don’t really care how it happened, I’m just glad that it did…

Lyrics: “Isabel”,  Frank Turner, 2011

21.07.2020 | “I used to have such balance, but I don’t know where it went” *

That (blog title) isn’t quite true. I never had a lot of balance, not in the calm, well-adjusted, easy-going kind of way anyway. I was always a tiny bit too worried. Too anxious. A bit off-kilter. I’ve managed to find more of an equilibrium these last few years. And even after the first few months of COVID-19 shock and fatigue and freeze mode, I thought I’d found a 2020 balance at least.

For mostly unknown reasons I’ve been feeling properly out of whack for the last few days. My body seems to be in constant fight-or-flight mode. Which I usually only experience when I’m temporarily anxious or agitated or worried about something. But this feels constant! All the freaking time. Even when I don’t have any outward reason to worry or be anxious. Nerd that I am, I ‘swear’ on the stress level chart of my Garmin smart watch. And it shows what I’m experiencing. Stressed completely off the charts! I’m afraid it might be a bit of self-centred spiralling going on. I’m feeling agitated about not knowing why I’m so bloody agitated. I hate this.

I have to deal with some important stuff at work at the moment: the future concept (staff and budget wise) for a project we’re taking over and drafting the necessary resolution for the higher ups to sign off on it, is taking so much time and is so much work and there is quite a bit at stake. I’m also spending so much time and energy and thought on this project, that a lot of other stuff, which is also important, is pushed to the back burner, which isn’t good either. So I have some reason to be worried to some degree. But not like this. I hate this.

The notes app on my phone holds various notes / prompts for a blog post. Some other day, I guess. I’ll now lie down for a nap to be woken up by the alarm in about 90 minutes to watch Frank Turner and Jaret Reddick on “Back to the Metal”. It’s time for questions from Frank’s channel today. Yes, I’m a crazy, irresponsible (I need sleep, god damit) fangirl. But what can I say… it’s always fun to watch and as I doubt I’ll see Frank for another 12 months, I’ll take all the online appearances I can get.

* Lyrics: Imperfect Tense, Frank Turner, 2008

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