Sitting with my feelings during the quarantine, part 2

CW: ranting/info dump

This isn’t as much of a continuation of the previous version of this post as it is more of an update on all that has occurred. But it’s also me just wanting to type out all of the things I have learned about myself and of others, based on recent experiences and decisions. Covid and quarantine has had me fucked for the past eighteen months it has been keeping us all prisoner, and sapped me of any creativity or productivity. But a lot has happened in the interrim that, while it seemed small or inconsequential, to talk about at the time; putting it together now is providing some interesting perspective I was inspired to put here. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re interested in a trip of introspection, then please read on.

I cut off most of my family.

Not the best way to start off a list like this, but it is one of the most relevant steps I’ve taken in the last several months. I honestly cannot even remember the last time I had a meaningful conversation, or even felt welcomed, by any one person in my immediate family. I do remember one instance where I was contacted by a sibling to help make something for Mother’s Day a few years back. So I pitched in and applied some of my graphic design experience to make something special for her. After which, any conversations I was having with anyone came to an abrupt end, which really sets the tone for my relationships with them.

The final nail in the coffin occurred a few months ago, when my mother got re-married to her third husband. And I was only told about it maybe… 15 minutes before the ceremony? They decided to have a virtual ceremony because of lockdowns, and I only just got a notice on Facebook once I was actually invited to a family group chat I didn’t even know existed. That was one of the few times I didn’t give in to my toxic childhood upbringing and internalize my disappointment, and cover it with a smile. I made it clear to my mother and sister that it was inexcusable to exclude me like that and just expect me to be a dutiful son when it was convenient for them. And if her wedding was tainted by that, I don’t give a shit.

But what I started to understand afterwards was the effect that toxic parenting and family styles had on me, and where it left me afterwards. It made me more grateful for the family I do have on my wife’s side, and I began to realize that even family is not exempt from being cut off if they’re toxic to your mental health. There is zero reason to stay involved with people who do not see you as anything but an accessory to their own life. The inclination, or even the concept, of forgiveness ‘because they’re family’ is really just another form of gaslighting.

Forgiving someone is not necessary for me to move on with my life, but is more than likely necessary for theirs. And if they were truly regretful for the way they acted, then they don’t need my forgiveness in order to quit their ugly attitude and work on being a better person.

I understand my own mental health better

If you didn’t know this before, or are new here, I have ADHD. It has done a lot of good for me at times, and a lot of bad. For the most part, it has manifested in a small number of ways I’ve been able to identify. I can recall nearly any line or scene from any movie or tv show I’ve watched in the past. I can accurately predict the plot of most movies right down to their Shyamalan-level twists. I can even pick up on useful skills, knowledge and practices, and perform them as easily as any market professional practically overnight.

But the most relevant manifestation I have managed to identify is my Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. I had only just learned about it a month ago, but when I did, things didn’t just begin to click. It also hit me in the chest like a brick. I had wracked my brain throughout most of my life to justify the reason I stopped writing, stopped making videos on YouTube, stopped streaming my games, voice acting, game design, practically anything that didn’t validate that I was doing a good job of it. My RSD has made me constantly afraid of the rejection that likely wasn’t going to happen, but expected anyway. And now that I’m spending more time with myself, I’m learning that I still don’t know myself well enough.

Food tastes better

Perhaps not as ground-breaking as other things, but for someone like me who loves to cook and eat, it has had an impact. Delicious food is something that not only nourishes, but brings you joy as well. Since all of this began, I’ve been experimenting more with spices, aroma, getting back to basic ingredients, creating new recipes, and adding new layers of flavor to every dish. I even got myself an off-set smoker and made a couple briskets. Not only am I learning new things and trying new things, but the results taste more incredible than I thought possible. I can barely contain how much fun I have doing it all!

But it has been more than food. Everyone in this panda-lama has had to turn to new hobbies and passions to keep themselves sane when the lockdowns came on top of us. And while many of us have found some success turning their new passions into a business, the important thing to come out of it is a new understanding of doing what makes each of us happy. We don’t have to limit ourselves to doing only what we have available in front of us, dealing with issues we don’t get paid enough for, just to get by so we can exist. It’s more important than ever to find the thing that empowers you and gives you that hit of dopamine you can’t find anywhere else.

I miss people, but only specific people

This is gonna go in a different direction, but while I miss being able to talk to someone else, I find that my standards for people has gone up exponentially. My separation with toxic family was only the first step in understanding that I don’t need to like someone because I’m obligated to, or because I see them every day. I’m learning to give my time and energy to the people who I want in my life, and want to be in mine. While also trying to be mindful enough to be a conscientious and caring person they deserve in theirs. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling apathetic because, my own mental health for one, but also because I think I’ve been brought down a lot by being with people I didn’t want to be with.

What really helped me, in the end, was starting to watch Tiktok. It was a means of escapism in the beginning, but I found it was also a platform for a lot of people to tell their stories. Not just funny stories, but stories describing their interactions with some of the worst people you could cross paths with. Stories about abusers, stalkers, toxic families and ex-lovers, bullies, mental health, depression, and dangerous mindsets created by societal institutions. It hits hard in the chest when you see that you’re not alone, dealing with the issues that you have, and most of all, that you don’t have to allow it to be just be another inevitable part of your life. You have more control over this than you give yourself credit for. Don’t settle for any less than the quality of life you want to have. Any person who disagrees is likely already in the other column. Which, ultimately, leads up to the final point of this rant.

I want to be more genuine and authentic to myself

In trying to un-learn a lot of the old habits created by past trauma, my apathy is dissolving, and I’m getting back to being a person I forgot I was. I hated how apathetic I felt. I hated who I became. And, perhaps, that apathy is what took away that feeling of elation when I got a new story idea. Maybe that’s what stopped me from adding more to this blog for such a long time. But I’m working to inspire myself to do more things and be more like the person I want to be. I’m pushing back against the evil voice in my head and just doing all the things I wanted to do. Like coloring my hair, experimenting with make-up to enhance and transform my features, indulging in the things I always held back on before, and at least trying to offer some encouraging words to someone when I can. I hate that my lack of interacting with people in the past has made it hard for me to connect with them, but I’m working on myself when I can.

I still have a long way to go, and I’m considering adding therapy to that when I have the budget for it. But I’m starting to feel optimistic about these changes, and I hope to get the chance to show you more of myself underneath the layers. Again, I apologize if I kind of brought you down a pretty deep rabbit hole of ranting. But if you’re still here, I want you to know that I appreciate you giving me a chance to share this with you, and I would love to hear from you as well. Don’t forget you can always comment or send me a private email through my Contact page.

Stay lovely 😉

4 thoughts on “Sitting with my feelings during the quarantine, part 2

Add yours

  1. The panda-lama has provided a lot of opportunities for self-reflecting, growth and personal journeys. So glad you’re moving forward in yours and have gotten rid of some of the toxicity. And so glad to hear from you and know, for the most part, that you are alive and well. I missed you.

    Liked by 1 person

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