Social Distancing Diaries

F-Words, Face masks, and Childhood Trauma…OH MY!

Thank you everyone for chiming in yesterday. I was GRUMPY AS FUCK when I wrote that.

Oh, the pandemic life has made me someone who says the F-word a lot. Forgive me.

Yesterday was BIG grocery day where I try to do most of my weekly shopping in one day. However, I’m actually hitting the grocery store several times a week because other things pop up. One day we ran out of ink and so while I was at Target I grabbed some more groceries. I do my Mom’s shopping on a different day and so sometimes those days I grab other things for my family too. One day Wes needed something. Another day Nyoka did. We’re just still not quite used to everyone thinking about things ONE WEEK AT A TIME and so we’re bad about not noticing when things are getting “low”.

My point is, I don’t go as much as I did, but I’m still going ever other day or so. And yesterday? Was the first day that the VAST MAJORITY of people were wearing face masks.

It’s been slowly increasing over the last week or so. But yesterday it was so stark that seeing someone’s face was weird.

And I sat there waiting 6-feet away at self-checkout and looking at all of the covered-faces ringing up their own groceries and I got painfully sad. Like…who are these people? I am an introvert but evidently I really like seeing people’s faces and it’s really difficult seeing them covered. It’s a weird negative ripple of this chaos, my sadness at not seeing faces.

NOW! Let’s talk about childhood trauma! Someone brought it up in my comments yesterday and I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot since online schooling started but did any of you guys grow up in households where this lockdown/pandemic would have been…well…TERRIBLE? Because I did. I was raised by an amazing man but he had terrible anger issues that were REALLY REALLY REALLY hair-triggered around academic challenges. I spent my childhood trying to get perfect grades so he never had to be angry about grades and I tried to do it all on my own so I never needed his help with anything…just to avoid that anger. Well…ever since I started having to teach my kids I’m having these weird PTSD moments thinking about Child Kim and how she probably would have just run away from home if she had been trapped with her impatient Father having to teach her during these times.

I do think that is playing more in my general mood than I realized. I just can’t stop worrying retroactively which resurfaces some of the anxiety from the past which mixes in with anxiety from the present and I finally had to beg my husband to quit yelling at his video games. “I just need you to understand that right now? During this lockdown? I’m really viscerally connected to my childhood fear of my Dad and hearing a grown man yelling…EVEN AT A SCREEN…is something I 100% can not handle right now.”

It’s a weird, weird time, my friends. And if you are finding yourself reliving some scary parts of your childhood as your brain wonders what this type of lockdown would have looked like back then? YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

May I suggest printing up some coloring sheets? I have three I printed up yesterday. This one from Jenny is my favorite. ALSO! Adobe is doing free coloring books and one of my favorite artists…Lisa Congdon did a page for them.

Coloring takes the right kind of brain power for me right now. And it especially soothes the Child Kim (My therapist from a few years ago made me talk a lot to Child Kim and so she and I are very in touch.) who seems to be struggling the most in these crazy times.

4 thoughts on “F-Words, Face masks, and Childhood Trauma…OH MY!”

  1. Oh yes, I’ve thought several times how awful it would be – then immediately felt guilty – about how I would hate be to be a quarantined teenage me. Then I could hear all day how ungrateful, selfish, aloof, and self-centered I am, or be teased for being weird and awkward, or then go to Dad’s house and walk on eggshells around two functioning alcoholics, trying to avoid a blow-up by hiding in my room. I’ve wondered if this plays into my choice of mate selection. I could not have selected a partner more different than my parents, maybe this was on purpose? Anyway, its wonderful to enjoy being at home.

    The self-imposed guilt and shame is immense, just typing that out.

  2. My mother will be the first to admit that she was not a good parent of littles. She did not like the 24 hour non stop parenting. Our relationship got much better the older we got and she didn’t need to be responsible for us 24/7. So she would have been absolutely miserable in todays environment. We also agreed that if my father had been trapped at home with us, none of us would have made it more than 24 hours.

  3. I’m actually in a different situation. This social distancing thing is pretty much exactly how my childhood already was. My mom is extremely agoraphobic and a homebody and we never went hardly anywhere except for school, so summers were pretty much just like this. Because of that, all this time I thought I was an introvert who was completely ok with being by myself and at home, but now that I can’t go anywhere at all it has made me realize that I do need to get out from time to time and that I actually enjoy doing so.

Leave a Reply