#CoVOID

It is certainly a weird time to be alive right now. As the world and myself slowly move out of our COVID-19 quarantines, I’m still lost on how I should handle “normal life”- is it safe to go out to my favorite places? Can I make plans to visit my sick mom a few states away? Am I able to hug my friends again? With all the information out there, am I being informed or misinformed? I feel stuck. I’ve felt stuck most of my life but this time, I’m a hard time shaking this off. 

When I first started quarantining back in March, my introverted heart was ecstatic. I get to spend all this alone time doing hobbies and not seeing anyone in the flesh. I quarantined with my boyfriend, which proved to be disastrous (we broke up but got back together a month later. We don’t quarantine together anymore). Even though I love hanging out with him, I realized how much I miss my friends and what a vital part of my good mental health they attributed to. I’m lonely for them. 

I’ve been fortunate to work during this time. While I have issues with my job (ie. my hours have been slashed to very part-time), I’m grateful for my position. I can still pay my rent and buy groceries. I’m still job hunting for something better, something in marketing or editorial with full-time hours and health insurance. I send out applications every day and average an interview a week. I should feel lucky with getting interviews but I know that so many people are not working right now and are applying for the same positions I am. My Imposter Syndrome kicks in, mixing with my depression- I honestly feel like I’m not going to find that job until sometime next year. I’m worry about my finances. 

I stopped reading the news. I usually know what’s going on in the world and now, I don’t (I didn’t know about the explosion in Beirut until two days after the accident). I’m off all social media platforms except Twitter (hey, I need one vice). I don’t make much of an effort with my appearance anymore. I stopped wearing makeup since my mask covers must of it. A good day for me is one where I can make it through work and then still have the energy to put in applications and maybe clean my bathroom or have sex in the evening. 

Needless to say, I’m in this black void. My depression before all this was high. The coronavirus has definitely elevated those feelings of sadness and despair. It’s a fight every day to stay positive and remind myself of the good in my life and in the world right now. Most days, I just want to sleep and not take care of myself and my responsibilities. But somehow (God only know), I manage to wake up, stumble out of bed, brush my teeth, call my mom, get to work, do chores and cuddle with my cat and my boyfriend. I remind myself that I’m not alone- the rest of the world is hurting; some more deeply than me. I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama’s new podcast right now- she is going through it, too. I tell myself that this mess of a year will be over with- a vaccine will come and politics will be soon shifting in a more progressive direction. I will get that job and be able to introduce Amit to my family in person. While it’s difficult to see, the future will be better.

How are you doing, dear reader?

#BuildingOne

One of the things that I love the most about my job is the community. Believe it or not, the active kink world is a pretty small group- especially out here in Northern Nevada (everyone knows everyone in Reno). I’ve been going to different events around town, talking about taboo subjects like BDSM (i.e. bondage, rope) and sexual health (STIs, condom usage, using poorly made adult toys, etc.). It gives me great joy, not only educating people but making new friends and building connections. It wasn’t until I starting doing this when I realized that I was starved for such kinship. That connection of community.

I have a lot of friends and I know a ton of people but lately, I’ve been craving more. I need that sense of community in my life. I miss feeling like I’m a part of something BIGGER. Perhaps it’s because I stepped away from politics and volunteering. Maybe I’m finally morphing into my inner curmudgeon/ hermit (I think I just need to get out of my head). Communities provide support to those who are impacted by daily stress, struggles and chaos of modern life- it offers several valuable gifts that combine to improve our emotional state, relationships and quality of life. Human beings are meant to be social and find some sort of meaning within their communities. So, why is it difficult to find your tribe?

Making (and keeping) friends when you’re an adult is incredibly difficult. I’ve lost plenty over the last several years. They have moved. They have refocused their lives, leaning in towards their jobs, partners, children. We’ve had falling outs. Hey, that’s okay. I’ve done my fair share of pushing people away and not giving them my full commitment (and for that, I’m truly sorry). My best friend and I recently compared lists of what we want in a future partner. We gushed over each other’s lists but then asked ourselves, we expect all these qualities in a partner. But do we have these qualities ourselves? I ask you, dear reader, if you were to make a list of the top ten qualities you want in a friend, would you say that you own those same qualities? Are you kind? Are you supportive? Are you being the friend you want to be friends with?

Without your community, you’re irrelevant (I’m feeling this heavily). Without your community, you’re invisible. Without your community, you’re ignorant. Political, racial, arts, work, blogging and even the ones online (Reddit totally counts!)- COMMUNITIES! Explore all of those aforementioned options and don’t be afraid to say ‘hi’ and be open. We all feel the need to belong and we all are looking for that connection. Your community is looking for you and your gifts.

Now, excuse me… I have a MeetUp group to check out and a gallery to visit… Who is a part of your community, dear reader? What are you doing to build it up?

Today is also International Women’s Day and we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Shout out to those women who influence others positively, those who challenge stereotypes and bias and to those who continue to progressively press forward to a better future. To quote Former First Lady Michelle Obama, “As women we must stand up for ourselves, for each other and for justice for all.” Go out today and support your community of sisters!

#DearDonald

Dear Donald,

Five years ago, I was walking towards Lennox Hill on my way to interview a source when I passed your building. I was impressed with its unique exterior design and when I peeked my head in, the I noted that the interior lobby was warm and inviting.

Unlike the lobby of your Upper East Side building, many don’t find you warm and inviting. They call you cold, callous and a racist. You’ve compared Mexican immigrants to criminals and rapists, proposed registering all Muslims and said of a Black Lives Matter protester, “maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” (You telling the Black community to vote for you because well, what else do we have to lose was tacky- in my opinion).

You mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski for his disability. You attacked John McCain for being a POW, saying “he’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

You were so eager for President Obama to show his birth certificate but you still haven’t released your tax returns.

Your wife, Melania Trump, allegedly lied about her college credentials in her biography at the Republican National Convention’s site and on her  personal website.  When she pulled the inaccurate biography down from her website, her team said “has been removed because it does not accurately reflect [her] current business and professional interests.” Not to mention her choice of words during the her RNC speech (thanks, Michelle Obama!). People comment that your staff is a joke.

Others claim that your outbursts and demeanor doesn’t fit the bill when dealing with domestic and international crisis., and you will continue to stick up only for the wealthy (not even the middle class) in this country.

Needless to say, I’m not your biggest fan. But I do appreciate all the entertaining television you’re providing. This coverage certainly better than your last couple seasons of the Apprentice– I’m excited to see what Arnold will do with the show when he takes it over. Andrea