Sunday, March 15, 2020

Hard Times and Hard Honesty, Two-Fisted Escape Artist, Sweatin’ to the 80’s

Before sitting down to post today, I was struggling with how honest to be. I don’t want to add to the alarm and panic, and I don’t want anyone to feel that they should need to worry about me. But my work week last week was one of the hardest I have ever been through. Almost all of our volunteers have been furloughed or have left of their own accord, and my job, which I loved and and was good at, has morphed into something else entirely, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be coming back in any recognizable form any time soon. We are under the Emergency Command structure at the hospital, and all hands are on deck for dealing with the coming influx. There is a barrage of COVID-19 information coming at me all day, every day, and we are in constant reactive mode and working long hours. It’s extremely draining. I am fighting hard not to sink into a depression. I miss the familiar faces I’m used to seeing every day, and I miss the gym with a huge lump in my throat. I had no idea how much of a mental and emotional haven it had become for me, and not having it in my life during this time of extreme stress has made everything that much worse. I’m irritable and short-tempered, I’m drinking too much coffee because I want to sleep all of the time if I don’t, and I don’t have any appetite. I’m crying almost every day, and that’s normally rare for me.

The loss of the familiar is very real, and I am grieving. But I am pushing myself to adjust to this new normal, to keep going and to be strong because I love my community and I love my hospital, and I was put here to serve—and serve I will do. This not the only time in history that communities have gone through huge, reality-bending changes in their daily lives, and I take inspiration in the toughness of those who have gone before. Many have been through far worse throughout history, and when we’re on the other side of this, I will remain standing.

My escapism these days is playing House Flipper and watching fitness videos...both at the same time. I am a two-fisted escape artist. After flipping every house in the game, I finally gave in and paid fifteen bucks to downloaded the garden content. It’s surprisingly good. I can now mow lawns, plant trees, create gardens and backyard spaces, and even put in swimming pools. I have to admit at first I was little stymied, since I don’t know anything about garden design and I had do a lot of Google image searches to get ideas, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. I love planting and watering trees and creating rose gardens and putting in backyard picnic areas. It’s a fun a little addition to tide me over until they get that long-promised new content out. (Hurry up, developers!)

Speaking of the afore-mentioned fitness videos, I recently came across the channel of a totally charming young woman named Michelle Khare, who does lots of “extreme” physical challenges (“I Worked out Like a Professional Ballerina for Two Weeks!”), but she also has a series where she does workouts from different eras, from the early 1920’s all the way through the ‘90’s. I was especially delighted by the video where she pulls out some VHS tapes from the ‘80’s aerobics craze and does the workouts in tow with her hilarious friend. The women in those ‘80’s videos must have been living on Tab and amphetamines. I have no idea how they got so skinny. But as silly as their style and approach seems now, truth be told they were actually doing some legit hard moves. The whole thing made me miss the era of colorful workout leotards and head bands. Especially head bands. Even during my most grueling sessions with Akida, my forehead never got sweaty, but nonetheless, when I get back into the gym, I’m going to start wearing head bands. Big, bright fluffy neon pink headbands. We’ll all need a little color in our lives by that time.

It’s a bit longer than most videos I post, but I went ahead put up Michelle’s full ‘80’s workout video here. It’s a charming eleven minutes and three seconds of non-COVID related material. Enjoy!

--Kristen McHenry

6 comments: said...

Powerful, Kristen!

Chelsea Bared said...

Really felt this during this crazy time. Thank you for this post.

Dale said...

Hey, thank you, thank you, thank you.

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