I’ve had to look in a few metaphorical mirrors recently, and it hasn’t been the most comfortable experience, to be honest. I actually dislike regular mirrors. I’ve never been someone who pays much attention to how they look. I tend to make sure there isn’t anything awful in my teeth, that my hair isn’t standing on end (never a guarantee) and then I figure I’m good.

So, when I had to see myself in 2 different types of mirrors recently, I was already outside of my comfort zone because, well, mirrors. Not my favorite. 
The first was when I took the Enneagram test. I think I referred to this in an earlier post – but my therapist recommended it as a way of better understanding my tendencies and areas for growth. I am a 1/6 (my scores were only one point away from each other). I read the 6 information first, and I admit that I was a bit reactive reading it. As in, thinking “that’s not me!” However, there were also a lot of things that really rang true, as well. Not necessarily nice things – there are a lot of references to anxiety and routines (which really does describe me well) – things that are true of me. I felt as though I aligned much more with the description of the 1, though, which is why I put that number first. And it was still uncomfortable – not quite as much as with the description of the 6, but there were still some challenging revelations.
That’s the problem with these tests, for me. I tend to get defensive and then fail to recognize the opportunities for growth that they can help me identify. Fortunately, I have someone working through it with me, and I think that will help tremendously. I don’t need to change who I am, but I do need to adapt and grow… staying stagnant is not really an option. 
The other mirror was the result of starting to read White Fragility due to everything that’s been going on in the US for almost a month now. I realized that I need to educate myself, and this was the book that resonated with me the most when I read the samples. (The next one up is How to Be an Anti-Racist.) 
And wow. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has had this reaction, but again, I found myself getting defensive. But then, as the author fully acknowledges that a lot of white people DO get defensive when hearing about racism and structural inequality… I started to realize that what I have done throughout my life is what white people always do. I wasn’t special. Not at all. The things I told myself about “not being a racist” were the same things that pretty much all white people tell themselves. 
I thought I was “above all that”. I thought because I worked with and cared for a diverse group of people and patients and families that of course I was not racist! 
I failed to recognize the systemic structures that led to me being who I am. That led to the inequality that has pervaded American life throughout its history. 
I’m not finished with the book yet. And I’ve probably misstated something here… If so, I’m sorry (and if I figure out that I did misstate something, I’ll come back and correct it, of course). 
So, mirrors. Still not my favorite. But these two mirrors will, I hope, help me grow. Maybe change (a little). And that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
                                  7 Questions for Self Reflection To Push You Towards Greatness ...

Friday randomness

I don’t have a quote for this one… but I do have a lot of random thoughts in my head. Things I’d share with a roommate / significant other, you know, if I had one living with me.

And that brings me to the first random thought, actually.
1. I’m not a very touchy-feely person. At all. I don’t know (or remember, if I’ve ever done the test) my love language, but I can tell you without question that it is not physical touch. I don’t mind a good hug – but only from certain people. I don’t crave physical contact, as a general rule.


I’ve been self-isolating (and isolated, honestly) since March 13. It’s now June 12. I think we can all do the math… three months, without another person I know well anywhere near me. I haven’t shared my space – and I am grateful for that, honestly. But even I am starting to think that, you know? It would be nice to get a hug. The problem? I’m also struggling with a lot of anxiety around doing more, getting out more, seeing people. I know I’m going to need to start small, but even breaking out of my current routine to go to a store that’s not an essential store is really hard (I still haven’t done it). I should probably just rip the band aid off and do it.

It makes me wonder what I will do when and if I am able to see my mother in law, or my spouse. I have a feeling it’s going to be a rather anxiety provoking moment for me.

Which relates to…

2. I took the enneagram test, which I know is a more popular “personality” test these days. Recommended by my therapist (it’s a long story). I haven’t read the details, but I think I’m primarily a 6? And maybe a 1? Anyway -the key word that keeps jumping out at me for one of my types is the word “anxious”. And yes, that would be me. I’m interested to see how it frames that anxiety, though. Is it something I can use to grow? I certainly hope so.

3. I have new upstairs neighbors.
They are noisy.
I am not happy.
I don’t know what they are rolling across the floor, but it’s LOUD and they were doing it at 12:30 am. As in, half an hour after midnight.
They also stomp.
I’ve been patient, but they’ve been here 2 weeks now. Time to settle down and get some freaking rugs. I plan on saying something to the apartment manager today. Sigh.
Yes, I’m “that” tenant, apparently.

4. There is a car packed with random stuff – looks like someone is moving? – that has been parked outside my apartment for the last 3 weeks. I cannot figure it out.

5. My niece graduates from high school today. Virtually. Which means that, for once, I can actually participate in one of her milestone events. What sucks is that her senior year has, well, completely sucked. She’s amazing, though – has been baking up a storm and really impressing the heck out of all of us with her patience and ability to just roll with it. I am so insanely proud of her – and I cannot believe she is heading to college next year. I don’t have kids of my own, and I just love seeing how she and her brother have matured into really excellent people. It makes me so hopeful for the future.

And that seems to be the end of my random thoughts…

I know this is making the rounds, but it resonated with me and maybe it will with you, too…


Nearly everyone, I think, knows this quote, as it’s particularly applicable to our always-on, always-plugged-in culture. I’ve seen it multiple times, of course, and each time, I kind of laugh to myself and think, well, I unplug periodically! I’m good! 
Yeah. Apparently not. 
I hit a wall yesterday. I had no energy. I could not muster the oomph to get out of bed and head to the gym at my usual ungodly hour (fewer people = lower risk). I went back to bed for an hour (granted, I did not really sleep, but that’s kind of beside the point…). I got up, went for a run outside (it was beautiful), did my usual Sunday morning cleaning (kitchen, floors, dusting) and then thought about my day. I’d planned to go to a state park (fee free weekend!) for a quick visit, then hit the coop for a few things, and otherwise work all day.
This has been my pattern for the last… um… well, let’s just say that working all weekend is more the norm than the exception. 
Things started out exactly how I thought they would. I checked email, read the paper online (Washington Post, my favorite for years now), then headed to the park and truly enjoyed the sound of the waves lapping on the shore of the lake. I left when the sun started to get stronger and the families showed up, headed to the coop (where I completely struck out) and then came home to get to work.
Except I couldn’t. 
It was like my brain just… froze. I could barely put two sentences together, let alone anything coherent for a manuscript (my current primary focus; there are a lot in the pipeline). I finalized comments on a student’s comps (the final written ‘exam’ before they move to dissertation status). I made sure my comments were mostly constructive (sometimes it’s just… impossible…), and on the right form. Then I tried to clean out my overflowing downloads folder. 
I couldn’t even figure out if I wanted to keep some things or not. I couldn’t make any decisions. I just stared at the screen. 
After about 20 minutes of this, I just…. gave up. Sent a few emails, closed the computer, went on a walk. Came home, and… sat outside… and read. Just, read. For an hour. Had lunch, then sat (inside this time, the sun was getting stronger on my ‘balcony’), and… read more. 
I finally (FINALLY) finished Becoming. It was the perfect book to finish – the perfect words to read – given everything that is going on. 
It was just what I needed to read at this moment in time. And I realized that yesterday was really the culmination, at least for me, of the past months’ strain and stress and difficulties. The pandemic. Racial injustice. Protests. Massive overreach and unbelievable actions by our ‘president’. 
It’s been a long, long spring, as we all know. And it came crashing down on me yesterday. 
I went to bed last night, slept like the dead, and woke up feeling so much more like myself. 
So, huh. 
I guess more than a few minutes of unplugging is sometimes needed. And for someone like me, it requires basically a bucket of water in the face. A wall right in front of me. Whatever metaphor you want to use to imply a sudden shock to the system. 
I clearly needed it, and I know I should try to avoid having it hit like this in the future. I’m sure I’ll try to remember this, and I already know that I’ll fail spectacularly. Fortunately, the Universe has a way of jumping in front of idiots like me, who refuse to acknowledge that they, too, are human, and making us stop. 
Just stop. 
And breathe. 


I am heartsick, heartbroken, anguished, angry, devastated, scared… so many emotions, for so many reasons, that it feels as though my spirit is sinking beneath the weight of… everything.

A man murdered in the street for the color of his skin.
A “leader” (I cannot figure out how to refer to our non-President in any other way…) who stokes anger and division.
Elected officials who refuse to listen.
The anguished, angry, cries of people who have endured too much for too long… people who have led lives that I will never, ever be able to understand.
I don’t share their experiences.
I don’t know what their lives are like.
I know only my privileged, white, hetero existence in a world that accepts me as I am but refuses to do the same for them.
I know I need to learn. I know I’m probably saying the wrong things.
But I want to know more. I want to be better.
I need to know more. I need to be better.

The hardest part? Not having anyone to share this process with.
I can’t talk to my parents about it- it might as well not be happening.
I can’t talk to my spouse about it – he’s not in the same place as I am, a place of learning and openness. He rests in his privilege, and makes statements that I fully disagree with, that make me realize I cannot share openly with him.
I can’t talk to my friends about it – as many of them do not share my views.

So I’ll start this journey on my own. Perhaps I’ll find others on similar journeys along the way. But it needs to happen.

“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.”

~Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time