Today, it snowed. Again. In the second week of May. We woke to a brightness that only comes from morning full sunlight on a blanket of snow that covers everything, including the trees. There was enough snow to take out the snow tubes as my husband suggested after breakfast.

I’m glad he did.

With all that’s happened in the last few months since a coronavirus has changed all of our lives, it’s important for me to remember that we are still here, still living, still able to appreciate all that we have to be grateful for (and I know so well how lucky we are, especially given how we started our lives). There are parts of my life I don’t want to ever relive, but I am all too aware that those things made me resilient, still capable of childlike awe, and capable of an abiding love for my husband, who’s helped me so much to become the person I am right now.

Sure, I’m too much of a hermit, but at this point it has become a valuable skill. There was a comic the other day (and I’ve seen a few on the same theme) where a couple is looking at each other on the couch. The talking head on the TV says “officials are recommending social distancing and staying home.” One person says to the other “it’s like we’ve been preparing for this moment our whole lives!” That’s us.

Over the years I’ve talked to so many people who are socially awkward, myself among them. There’s always this overarching bewilderment, frustration, and a sense of failure to achieve socially desired behaviors. We’re the kind of people who use “achieve socially desired behaviors” in a conversation because we’re socially awkward. Diagnoses vary among the ones most people have as a result of paying attention to what’s happening. Degrees of agitation vary depending on how much attention we pay in how many areas.

When you’re socially awkward, you sometimes alternate between being a hermit and trying desperately to be social. For me, I got into an obligation where I had to go out every week – it wasn’t a job, so there was no pressure on that front, but it was something I had to do, out of the house, around other people. Most of the time I enjoyed it very much. But it wasn’t easy, and the drama that happens between people gets to be too much sometimes because I feel like it’s high school all over again. I am so lucky I don’t have to go to work, and deal with being in close quarters every day with other humans and their quirks and dramas regularly. I can’t be the only one.

Something all of this upheaval in the workplace has shown is that there is an ability for people to work remotely that a lot of workplaces failed to acknowledge. My guess is it comes down to control freak tendencies in bosses who want to maintain their perception of power and status by having a bunch of people around, being able to tell them when to work, how to dress and what they must do for a certain block of time. I’m hopeful this will lead to better working conditions someday with a flexibility of working both in location and metrics for performance and payment (ie: get paid for doing your job, not just sitting in x place for y amount of time).

This afternoon before I sat down to write this I was listening to Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine” and thinking about music and its ability to evoke emotions. Usually those emotions (when they are evoked by a certain song) are tied to a memory of a specific event or person. Or maybe it’s like when I remember the summer I was in tech school after I first went in the military – the first time alone away from home and feeling like I might be growing up finally, that I didn’t have to just be the child of two people in a place, weighed down by a set of expectations that were your parents’ baggage. Strong emotions come flooding back and they make me cry.

There’s a lot of crying here, it’s not baseball. I’ve always been a crier. It’s useful for stress relief, but like anything that brings relief, overdoing it can bring nasty side effects. Swollen eyes and a sore, red nose from the tissues that are never soft enough when the wastebasket fills up are the tradeoff for allowing the memories and the fear out. Feeling emotions strongly does it, too. We have a joke in our house that there’s a counter we reset to zero regularly for Number of Days Without Crying. It’s good to have a joke when you’re crying to help guide you back.

So music can evoke memories, and then for me there’s Jazz. I’ve only started seriously listening to it since we moved to Vermont. There are no memories, because it started for me in the last two years. The music stands on its own to do what it does to me. There aren’t always words in the ones that really stick with me, move me, make me feel something strongly.

Making music that can evoke feelings in the listener is a gift. Every day I listen to music and am inspired, or amused, or feel comforted…my life is richer for those experiences. I live in a snow globe with my surf punk guy minus the surf (there’s no surf on Cape Cod) and a couple of old cats and a cranky rescued Westie. Every day I go outside and think about where I am and how I got here. How I worked with my partner to pull off this thing that people like us aren’t supposed to have, and people with resources never think to do because they’re busy chasing that paper. I have a balance of live to work that I love, and a husband who is my partner, who is my rock, who is my safe harbor.

I have found my forever home.



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