As I wrote last time, there remains a blank space where this year’s name will be. I just hope that however history textbooks name or describe 2020, that COVID-19 is figured out in time for 2021. But here we are still in quarantine in the U.S.A, nearly 7 months in.

No suprise for me to read that the coronavirus epidemic is causing rates of anxiety and depression to triple and quadruple. But you know when else that happens? When drug addicts are in recovery. And this got me thinking about 2020 in a fairy airy, or mermaid wordwade way.

*FOR NEW READERS: I’ve loved the concept of the mermaid since I was very little, so that explains the above.

Castaway Or Just On Stranger Tides?

A writer I’ve gotten into in the last 2 years hypothesizes that the world is going through a forced abstinence, similar to a dopamine fast that drug addicts must go through to reset their brain.

“Maybe COVID has forced me to deal with life without access to the highs I once sought. Maybe this new anxiety comes from a brain that hasn’t calmed down, that’s in a tailspin, chasing a dopamine high that I can’t get anymore.”

Lauren Martin

The extended time at home is giving us an opportunity to get back that joy of the little things we can’t always see. Reboots are important. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom to a little girl, but I feel like I’ve time travelled a little bit, I kind of feel like a kid again. I’ve been reconnecting with the things I loved when I was younger, like watching old cartoons I loved with my daughter, for example the old Madeline TV show that aired on CBS in the mid-1990s. We’ve been playing outside for hours everyday; coloring; eating French fries for breakfast every once in a while; swimming like a mermaid in my in-laws’ pool this summer. And as a result I tanned darker than I than I have in ages—I know that’s a sign that I’m really happy.

I don’t know what is going on in the universe, it’s gotta be cosmic what we’re going through, but this Instagram post that 1980s/90s supermodel, actress, author, and activist Carré Otis is 100% everything that I can’t put into words about this year so far.

I feel as if I am readying myself in endless ways.
A deep, internal preparation is under way.
We are all on this ship that has set sail for unknown waters.
Unpredictability lies ahead. Stormy seas. Calm waters. Wide open spaces and vast expanses.
How will you meet these adventures?
What have you prepared both internally and externally to navigate such tides?
Now is the time. Don’t wait for the tide to turn.
We cannot know what shore we will land on. But together we go…
The journey has begun.

Carré Otis

Some of us are taking the fullest advantage of a break from the way life was before COVID-19, some of us are channeling our energies into activism to better lives for when COVID-19 is solved. Whenever our ship comes in, one thing is certain in these uncertain times, rest and restorative activitsm are good.

When Our Ship Comes In

Speaking of getting into things that I loved and enjoyed when I was younger—my father-in-law recently played some old projection movies recorded back in the 1950s earlier this summer. Some reels had family home movies (now we know from whom Eileah inheritted her strawberry blonde locks: a.k.a. my father-in-law) and other reels had old cartoons like those Betty Boop animated shorts from the Depression era. In one called When My Ship Comes In (1934), Betty wins $1 million from a horse race/sweepstakes and ends the Great Depression! How? She spends her money to combat the effects of the Great Depression by starting department stores, clothing stores, and reopening factories. Her rationale: “I’ll just start buying, buying until my money is spent, trying, trying to make everybody content.” By the time she has spent most of her sweepstakes money, the whole country has overcome the Depression.

Gonna spend my money like a sailor cause my ship came in.

— Betty Boop

My favorite part is when she buys an ice cream mountain for kids in her city—now if that’s not a great decision, then I don’t know what is. But I digress…I think there’s something to be learned from an innocent cartoon short like Betty Boop. You only get what you give, but you also get by just giving too. Some have called this affliction a Magnificent Obsession, the vocation to help others and give more than you receive…almost to one’s own detriment. While I don’t subscribe nor can I afford to do that level of giving, it is noble and essential. Those who give without demanding anything in return are earth angels in my opinion. You have to have a strong heart 💜 to be one.

Wayfinding Through This Water World

While I never saw the Kevin Kostner movie Water World (1995), but do vaguely remember going to the Water World water show that’s at Universal Studios way back when—I use the heading Water World because I want to see this sea/ocean/mermaid theme of this blog post to completion—consistency is important. Also, we are living on a planet that is mostly water, so this really is a water world.

As a parent living through these heightened times of uncertainty, I feel like I’ve been taking in water like a ship these past few weeks especially. I have been feeling more anxious than usual, but this morning I’m starting to feel like a sea change is coming. Funnily enough there was a Full Moon last night, and you know how the moon influences the tides.

I’ve been limiting my exposure to the news and sources of negativity, but you can’t limit your exposure to feelings and energy. Whether you believe in a high power or something else, a part of being a live is feeling your surroundings…your environment…no matter how thick the walls of your home…we are sentient beings, and when you feel danger (real or imagined), you are in a panic room in your head, and it can feel like you can’t get out. And if you really let the fear of the unknown get to you, you may never want to come out of your room, especially if you’ve experienced something that warranted your over self protectiveness.

And if you know anything about the oceans—if you’re a mermaid or any kind of sea creature (mythical or actual)—anything in your environment impacts you. I’ve been using metaphors a lot here because visuals help explain things easier, and what I’m trying to write about is hard to put simply without having to explain where the ideas came from. There’s a new Netflix documentary called My Teach The Octopus that might help take you to where I’m trying to take you, but can’t.

Pencil drawing of Don Quixote

“What she taught me was to feel… that you’re part of this place, not a visitor. That’s a huge difference.”

Craig Foster

It perfectly illustrates how you can find lessons in everything, in every biom (the sea, the land, the air, etc.) even…if you’re looking for answers.

How I Recommend Wayfinding Through This Water World

Disney’s Moana is a pretty big deal at our house and I love how it teaches girls how important it is to find their own way and learn how to go where they need to go to achieve their dreams and goals. As you know by now, I have felt like I’m gasping for air, drowning at times because when you can’t control an unknown like a virus that could kill your only child or if there’s going to be a war in your country, it’s not fun. The way I am wayfinding through these moments where I worry is going outside on adventures with my family and doing things I love—taking breaks when I need to…resting and asking my husband for help with housework or what have you.

And incidentally, by going outside and enjoying what our local neighborhoods and adjacent towns have helps them too! The Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau has a beyond perfect campaign right now called Chicago Southland To A “T”, which perfectly captures the T alliteration of trains, encouraging natives and tourists to discover the trails, trains, tunes and taprooms in the 62 south and southwest suburbs of Chicagoland. They have a ridiculously handy guidebook that you definitley should download for your records.

Exploring new places is a great way to distract yourself and soothe away the worries that keep you stuck and miserable. The world will be ready when you’re ready to make some plans and visit someplace new.

Screencap from the Betty Boop short When My Ship Comes In (1934).

If you were were able to get through one bad thing in your life, then you’ll be able to get through these waves of uncertainty and stress. I believe that.

Mom Vlogging On YouTube

I’m going to experiment with vlogging on YouTube for a little while, because writing is hard! I’ll continue to write here on TinleyParkMom.com, but with video I can more easily figure out what’s good and cut out what’s not. Also want to see how it feels to vlog. I’m trying to work through my fear of public speaking and social anxiety, and I’ve heard this method helps with that.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel because I’m just getting started. Feel free to tell me things you want me to answer by emailing me. I want to share what I know and also spread some silly sunshine.

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