Lacking: Creative Blocks in Quarantine

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Hey there.

How are you? No, really. How are you feeling?

Have you eaten something you love, today? Have you taken a sip of water, recently? Go grab a snack, or fix yourself a meal, and get a glass of water before you read this. Please take care of yourself.

Anyway, I’ve been…well, coping. Most of us are during this time, aren’t we?

I thought I’d be okay when the whole pandemic started. I’m learning that I’m way more of an ambivert than an introvert, the need to force myself into some sunlight has become stronger every day, and I may have forgotten what a hug feels like. I know I still like them, but it’s strange, knowing I like them, but not quite remembering how they feel.

When I talked about how I felt in the pandemic before, I brought up that concern regarding the lack of face-to-face interactions, and how that would be my biggest obstacle. I know how to keep myself busy at home, so I never worry about getting bored, but now the concern is the lack of novelty in any experience. Lack of inspiration.

Lack of creative fuel.

Sure, video games keep me distracted. TV shows provide a sense of comfort. Those are the two things keeping me busy away from streaming and the very little writing I’ve been doing, but they don’t feel different, despite there being so many different video games and shows to watch. It’s like I have to fill my day with something else to make sure things aren’t feeling so stagnant. Which makes a whole lot of sense! We want diversity in our life experiences. Well, I know I do, as a writer who gains inspiration from them.

Luckily, there are definitely some novelty things that keep me entertained! I mean, I tried that whole whipped coffee thing. Did I love it? No. Did it keep me distracted from the fact that COVID-19 is terrorizing the world? Absolutely.

Though if you like sweetened black coffee, I’d say that you’d like it. Because it’s essentially a whipped, sweetened black coffee. You can add milk,and it kinda makes it nice, but the milk doesn’t mix too well once the coffee is all whipped up.

I keep thinking about baking some brownies, or trying out some cake recipes, but I’m the only one here to eat them, which also provides the added anxiety of gaining weight. I know gaining weight isn’t the worst thing in the world, but I’m a former fat kid RIDDLED with self-image issues, so having a tray of Mexican brownies, or a pan full of strawberry cake with only myself to eat it would be too much to put on myself. 

I ultimately reasoned with myself and said I could make HALF a tray of brownies and eat them very slowly. That’ll do. 

But things are starting to open up in Phoenix, again. While I’m tempted to take the bait and start living life normally again, I know it’s too soon. For my mental health, maybe it’s better to go for it. To at least take the edge off this all-consuming monotony and loneliness that’s making creativity, connection to others, and so many things we take for granted feel so unattainable. But on the other hand, I would beat myself up if I knew I passed the virus on to someone, not knowing I had caught it, myself. 

But then I think about whether or not small get-togethers at home are safer, y’know? Having a friend over for dinner, going to a friend’s for a movie, having drinks with that boy I like. I suppose it all depends on how responsibly they’ve been living their lives, as far as staying safe in the midst of a pandemic, but it definitely sounds less depressing than being in my apartment nearly 24/7. But then…do I even bring up the idea? Am I suddenly that person who doesn’t take it seriously?

So here I am, in yet another predicament, in another feeling of stagnation and sadness.

I suppose life has ebbs and flows, and I just need to take the ebb and wait to flow back into what reality should be. Adapt the best I can. Find creativity where I might not expect it. I hate the feeling of things not being able to move forward, and I’m tired of being my own excuse. There truly is a way to feel less stagnant, to change up the monotony, to continue giving myself the fuel I need to create the stories I so desperately want to tell, and I’d be damned if I let a virus stop me from doing that.

I suppose I just need to be kinder to myself.

Because I know I haven’t been. I’ve been impatient with myself. I let my thoughts run wild and my anxieties scrape at my head. I feel like a bad friend to some, and to needy to others. I chastise myself for an extra hour of Great British Bake-Off. I deprive myself of a video game that helps me escape (which has definitely been Animal Crossing lately), when maybe I need to escape for a bit before I jump back into productivity. 

I mean, the silly shenanigans in this game truly are fuel for creativity. Let’s be real.

We’re all going through something, regarding this virus. We’re all going through things on top of the virus already ravaging the world. I think it’s okay to spend an extra hour distracted. 

I’m going to try not to punish myself for going easy on myself, and you should do the same. Spend that extra ten minutes in bed, if you can afford it. Make that cake you’ve been wanting to make. Watch a movie you’ve always wanted to see. Tell a friend you’ve been thinking about them. Let your friends take care of you, if they offer. Sometimes that can fill the canister of creative fuel.

There will be an end to this. An end to feeling like we’re all just out of arm’s reach. An end to looking at each other solely through video screens. An end to having coffee alone and eating dinner by yourself every day. It may not be soon, because I’ve been told that’s too optimistic, but it will happen. 

Until then, stay distracted, cuddle with the ones you have by your side, and don’t beat yourself up for sinking into the couch for an extra hour.

Be safe, friends. Do something that takes care of you. The more kindness you put in, the more you can put out.

Lord knows we could all use some, right about now.

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