It’s no secret that these are uncertain times. I think that’s actually the scariest part about this COVID-19 crisis- there’s no endpoint in sight, there’s no definitive plan for how people will be paid for their time off or how businesses will stay afloat (at least not yet here in America). There’s no path to follow to safety. You just gotta wait. It’s hard.
My husband, like many others, is dealing with a heavy dose of anxiety these days while we are isolating at home. After talking through a few of his triggers, he asked me:
“How are you dealing with this so well? Like, how are you hearing all of this and not falling apart?”
Although I certainly feel the pressure, I don’t think it weighs as heavy on my conscience and spirit as it does on other peoples’. One of the reasons for this is, admittedly, my privilege. I already have a work-from-home job that hasn’t closed its doors (yet) so I am still able to earn an income without much change to my daily routine. I am also in good health. I have a safe home in which to practice social distancing. I have a loving, supportive family creating a non-toxic, healthy environment for me to live in day-in and day-out. My loved ones are in good health. I have the resources I need. I have so much to be grateful for.
The second reason I’m able to handle this turbulent time is the fact that it’s not up to me to handle it. I don’t work as a medical professional or lawmaker, so I don’t have strangers’ lives in my hands. Therefore, I feel worrying about Coronavirus is just like worrying about the weather. It is what it is. You can do all you can to prepare for it or avoid it…but ultimately, it’s out of your control. I find myself thinking back to the old adage “worrying is praying for something bad to happen.”
So what do I do when I’m not worrying? I control what I can- me. I stay home to protect myself and others. I choose to turn to things that bring me joy, comfort, and challenge me enough to occupy my time and mental space. I make things.
I think creating something with your own two hands is the most empowering thing someone can do. Whether it be cooking dinner for yourself, knitting a sweater for your partner, or sewing a quilt for your nephew- to borrow a quote from Fred Rogers:
Making something is one way to say “I love you”.
Whether it’s to yourself or someone else- say it with passion and say it often.
I’ve found joy at home in baking pumpkin muffins with my daughter. Sewing a top as a treat for myself. Knitting (and re-knitting and re-knitting) a hat. Making breakfast burritos in the morning for my husband. Sewing face masks for local medical personnel and one of my dearest friends who is wary of going to the grocery store.
Doing these things has given me a feeling of control. I am choosing to spend my time and precious energy connecting to myself, learning my craft, and nurturing those I love. As I’m sure many other people have, I have been truly touched to see my news and social media feeds flooded with those in the sewing community spending their time and materials making face masks for those in need in their communities. It gives me hope in humanity to see other people, especially women, stepping up without hesitation to take control in their own special way as well.
This is why I make. Not to sew masks or bake bread. To make love. To spread joy. To show that I care. In my experience, no one minds if the frittata is burned or the hemline is uneven. The people I give a gift to are always grateful for the time that was put into making it because that means that in all the time you spent crafting this gift, you were thinking of them. You were thinking of them through all of it. I know I feel loved well when someone does the same for me. It’s powerful, it’s heartwarming, and in times such as these, it’s necessary. Creating and sharing love is necessary.
I write this all to say, hang in there. You will make it through this. And if you’re feeling anxious, scared, or heavy – you can make through this. Spread your love. I will, too.