On This Day, March 746th, 2020...
It was either yesterday or 100 years ago or two years ago when I was sent the email that I knew was coming but I wasn't sure would ever come and somehow came much later than it should have - that we were transitioning to a tele-work schedule. I wrote about this (here and here are a couple), and I had this idea in my head that I would document the pandemic through my (not so) unique lens and write more about my feelings and thoughts and fears and struggles and how I was overcoming my anxieties and the amazing things that I was still able to accomplish... and while all of those things did happen (I took part in marvelous collaborations and I had some of the most wonderful teaching experiences and experienced excruciating anxieties in these last two years), writing about them has been nearly impossible. I've had a rough go of things.
I don't need to tell you these last almost-750-days has been a lot. I'm glad I didn't also hold myself to publishing a blog post once a week...
So much has happened in the last two years:
reviewed 30+ manuscripts for at least 2 journals and about 15-20 conference proposals
started the process of co-writing a book - what was I thinking?
attended dozens of Zoom calls with organizations I belong(ed) to, with friends and colleagues, and even a few family Zoom calls!
accepted a job at a new university.
completed (successfully) a 30 Day Fast from my phone - what??
packed, moved to a new city, and unpacked - all while masked and petrified of the literal air around us.
completed an edited collection I co-edited with a colleague for the ELATE Commission on Social Justice in Teacher Education.
joined a couple book studies virtually with other antiracist educators.
had at least two articles and one book chapter proposal rejected.
began an antiracist anti-bias collaboration with a teacher I met through a Slack group of white educators who all came together to learn and unlearn about how to help support their students and colleagues of color during COVID-19 (this is the most intersectional-pandemic thing I have ever written, I think).
spent hundreds of thousands of hours on screen (did anyone else give up on virtual backgrounds and spend a LOT of time curating actual backgrounds?).
kept reminding myself every time it felt heavy or hard or unmanageable that YOU CHOSE TO DO THIS, MAN. You could have been back in your last town safe and comfy - but also unhappy.
said YES entirely too many times and took on too many projects or assignments.
meditated. A lot.
continued with on-going collaborations of publications and presentations with colleagues at other universities.
taught hybrid courses.
missed many birthday parties and funerals and holiday celebrations because of my stress over pandemic.
experienced too much anxiety every time I heard or read the word "e-dossier".
continued my cardio regimen every morning.
presented at many (virtual) conferences - one in Norway! - and tried & pretended (unsuccessfully) that I was in person with all of my friends and colleagues learning so many new things and finding connections with my work and between sessions I was sightseeing and finding delicious foods and being my best conferencing self.
had dental surgery (because of course).
had a book published.
fought with wasps.
tried and tried and tried to find new ways and new tools to help me understand what was going on in my mind and my body and in my brain - on top of the work I was already doing.
went on a couple / few road trips.
proposed even more conferences and book chapters and projects.
And let's remember that all of this happened during a pandemic. And this is not to say HEY LOOK AT HOW MUCH I DID DURING A PANDEMIC! This is to show (myself more than anyone) that despite the pandemic I still worked so damn hard... and for what? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why did I push myself so hard? Why was I pushed so hard? What would have happened if I had just NOT? Also let's not forget that during all this, almost a million Americans have died from this virus.* Someone reminded me that "no" is a complete sentence. I needed to remember that. I need to remind myself of that more often.
Many people have been able to live their lives in a "normal" or "new normal" or close-to-normal way, but some have not had the opportunity to do that because of invisible (or other) illnesses/situations. I have tried to find ways that I can live in a way that honors what I have learned from this pandemic (so far) and also keep the people around me safe.
I am trying to learn how to stroll
I have also tried to remember that despite what most folks around us are doing, how they are acting, and what they talk about, there is still a lot of injustice in the world. And there are wars - of all different shapes and sizes and THESE PANDEMICS AREN'T OVER YET. The price of gas is twice what it was last year and tens of millions of Americans have quit their jobs - not because no one wants to work anymore but because they we OVER working somewhere they didn't love. How can I show grace to my students rather than privileging grades? How can we all be better human people?
What have you learned from this pandemic (so far)?
How is it already March 16th, 2022?
*: I just had a bit of a breakdown there for a moment; it is all so overwhelming and I can't actually believe I have not been curled up in a ball this entire pandemic - that is a testament to my friends and family who have supported me from afar and from near-by and many without knowing it...