On Saturday, April 25, 7 weeks into quarantine, I turned in my last graduate school assignment. After hitting submit, I sat on the living room couch for a minute waiting to feel relief, excitement, or fatigue.
What I didn’t expect was to get hit with a wave of dread, anxiety, and worry.
Nick and Gatito were upstairs. The house was quiet. I didn’t know what to do. Nothing felt right. It was late morning and all I could think about is how many hours I had to fill of Saturday. And then Sunday. And then how many weeks or months until life would resemble “normal.” I didn’t have schoolwork to keep me busy anymore. I had all the time in the world to feel.
I remember early in quarantine telling my mom that I was looking forward to finishing school, so I could be bored like everyone else. All the Zoom cooking classes, free webinars, and virtual museum tours sounded fun—when I didn’t have time for them. Now they felt like a poor substitute for the real thing.
But in that moment, I felt lost. My usual activities weren’t available to me. I couldn’t celebrate my milestone with a mani-pedi, dinner out, gym sesh, or walk with a friend. Even the graduation ceremony and trip I had planned were postponed indefinitely.
I wandered over to the shelf where I had a stack of books I hadn’t yet read. I chose one called Hot Dish Heaven, a murder mystery set in small-town Minnesota. My mom found it while cleaning out Grandma’s house. In the front cover, Grandma had tucked my first communion program. Knowing Grandma, she did this with the intention of giving both to me. The mystery was about a young newspaper reporter.
The book was sweet and very much reminded me of visiting Grandma’s small town. The reporter was working on a feature on funeral recipes. Yup, the very hot dishes and dessert bars I grew up eating in church basements—often with Grandma.
I couldn’t take it anymore. All the emotions of the day hit me hard. I went upstairs to find Nick and Gatito and get a hug.
I walked into the bedroom and started tugging off my socks. Nick could tell I was upset and asked what was wrong.
“I just don’t want to wear socks,” I sobbed. “I hate wearing socks.”
Kudos to him for not laughing about a grown woman crying about wearing socks—a toddler move if ever I’ve heard one.
As soon as my socks were carelessly tossed in the laundry hamper, I snuggled in for my hug.
What I realized was it’s OK to cry about socks. We all know it isn’t really about socks. It’s about everything. And nothing. I learned in therapy that sometimes we just need to sit with feelings of uncomfortable. They give us an opportunity to re-evaluate and decide where to go next.