Like many people these pandemic-days, we find ourselves in quarantine. For an introvert, at first, being home all the time was paradise. It was all smiles, daytime booze, and no pants! But, it didn't take long for me to start feeling like maybe I was being a little complacent; and dare I say it: lazy. Like, I could be exercising. Or, I could be cleaning. Or, I could be painting the hallway. Or, I could be providing upcycled-t-shirt-facemasks and sack lunches to the homeless.
A friend suggested I work on my "hobbies."
Yeah, thanks, "friend". Way to make me feel like a total loser.
Turns out I don't have many “hobbies” in the conventional sense – due to the fact that they require an abundance of time, nerd-ery, energy and dedication….all qualities in which I am highly lacking.
Over the years, I tried to pick up some hobbies. I learned to sew. Kinda. I learned to quilt. Kinda. I started collecting mounted jackalope heads (still only have the one). I learned to make jewelry. I took up photography. I learned to knit. Kinda. I learned to crochet. Kinda. I made my own laundry detergent (that counts, right?). I made toilet paper roll art. I painted. I drew.
And there was this one time when I decided to collect beer bottle caps! Oh, yeah. It was a brilliant endeavor that cost me nearly nothing because I employed (without pay, of course) others to collect them for me. I currently have 1,568,265 (or so) in my possession. Someday, I’m actually going to use them to refinish table tops and make millions of dollars! (Just like I planned to do 5 years ago.)
I think I've digressed, as usual. Let's get back on track...
I started ghost hunting. I practiced yoga. I learned how to read palms…and tarot cards. I became one with nature, and crystals, and herbs, and moon phases.
The list goes on, people.
After a little contemplation, and just as my brain started to shut down... it hit me.
Maybe my hobby is finding hobbies. Or, maybe my hobby is starting seemingly creative shit and never finishing it. It’s a process, people.
I’d like to be able to say that my hobbies include hiking mountains, scuba diving, robbing banks and other exhilarating activities. But, alas… I am one boring-ass mofo. Suffice it to say, I don’t really have any "hobbies". However, there are some things I love to do and can probably manage to spend my quarantine time more wisely on:
- Reading. I learned to love reading from an early age. Growing up, my mom took us to the public library every week. And while my brothers were busy catching up on MAD Magazine and my sister would opt for the picture books and puzzles, I would find a quiet corner and get lost in another world. When I was about 10 years old, I picked up my mom’s copy of Gone with the Wind and I never stopped reading novels since.
- Traveling. It seems like forever since we really, truly traveled. Back when we had the RV, we tooled all over there place; albeit sometimes the accommodations were a little crowded and the shared toilet resulted in the feeling of too much togetherness. For the most part, traveling for pleasure is wonderful! I love being a tourist… visiting new places and learning local cultures.
- Loafing. As in lounging – not making bread. (Although, I do love a nice, fresh loaf of french bread, too.) I like to veg-out in front of the TV… or in bed with a good book… or on the beach with a piña colada. Or on my backyard patio with a refreshing iced coconut-rum-and-water. You get the gist.
- Floating. I love feeling weightless. So, when I’m in the pool, I will float and float and float. And, I’ll ask Hubber to carry me like a newlywed because I’m so light and dainty!
- Eating. That’s why I’m soft around the edges. I will try anything once. Except for insects, dung, dolphins, dogs, cats, rodents, skunks and buzzards. (I reserve the right to add to this list in the future; even big girls have standards.) If quarantine has taught me anything, it's that you can make goulash out of pretty much any kind of leftover. And, don't let your Hubber try to tell you that what you made is not goulash. He doesn't know shit about goulash.
- Gardening. This might be a true and actual hobby, y'all! I started a veggie/fruit garden a few years ago and have since added a butterfly garden, a few rose bushes, hibiscus, and other wonderful stuff! I guess I'm proud to say that I'm making real inroads in this area. :)
I was going to add mixology to this list so that I could sound like a sophisticated barista/barwench. But, I thought twice because it might make me seem more like a lush. Which I am not. Usually.
Feast your eyes on some gorgeous shit from my quarantine-era-garden below. Enjoy.
The other day, after proclaiming that I'm one bad mother fucker who isn't afraid of shit, Hubber began ticking off on fingers and toes all the things I'm "afraid" of. His list was quite extensive, and mostly wrong and ridiculous, so I won't bore you with it here. But, after threatening to kick him in the penis if he didn't stop, I got to thinking.
I may look like a tough heifer... and I may act like a tough heifer, but deep down, I’m crazy scared! I live inside my head A LOT. What if this... what if that... until I work myself up into a frenzy and new fears rattle around in there taunting me. Now, are they all LEGITIMATE fears? I don’t know. I guess it depends on your definition of LEGITIMATE.
So, to help me understand, I looked up the word LEGITIMATE and according to Merriam-Webster, the nerd of all words, it means:
- allowed according to rules or laws;
- real, accepted, or official;
- fair or reasonable.
And, because I thought all those definitions seemed pretty dull and boring, I decided to see what Urban Dictionary had to say. Here’s what the word on the street is:
- Lawfully correct, legal;
- Justified, not un-called for;
- Something very, very true;
- used to describe something in the utmost of truthiness or maybe something SO FRIKKIN DAMN AWESOME, see also: sick, sweet, telk, or godly.
“…the utmost of truthiness”? Ok… I can do this.
My fear of a home invasion
After a very disturbing experience as a young, single mother, I became increasingly afraid for the safety of my child. In the early years, I locked, double-locked and triple-locked all doors and windows. And when I couldn’t afford a security alarm, I set up booby-traps near possible entrances so that if I were sleeping and an intruder tried to creep in, he’d knock over a mountain of Legos and it’d wake me up. I didn’t have a gun, so I kept a metal bat next to my bed so that I could go to town on that mofo when he got in! I checked on the bat before bed every night. I did other things, too, but I’ll stop there before I get labeled with OCD.
After I got married, Hubber became my security system. It wasn't something he was prepared for. But, y'all know Hubber... he's a real trooper! Of course he questioned my logic at first, but when I explained all the violent scenarios that run through my head in bloody detail, he backed off and let me go through my nightly motions of safe guarding the house before bed each night. It wasn't long before he started to help. He'd even stay up in order to be the last one asleep (he still does that, all these years later).
When you're a little nuts, you run the risk of rubbing off on people. And, so it was Hubber's fate that he "inherited" some of my crazy. Now, while we no longer set booby traps, we still have our nightly lock-up rituals…and instead of a metal bat next to MY side of the bed, Hubber keeps a freshly sharpened ninja sword next to his. True story.
Back door isn't quite secure enough, so I put a heavy chair in front of it. If someone breaks in, it will wake us up. Bats and swords will come flying...so beware, home invaders!
My fear of wide-open and enclosed spaces/crowds (and sometimes just people in general):
I have high anxiety, y’all. I’m not medicated for it anymore, but it rears its ugly head in dark, narrow stairwells, big, sweaty crowds, and also when I'm in a wide-open space with no crowd - but I start thinking, "what if a crowd forms around me? what if people start walking close to me and start breathing the air that was meant for me...and then I won't have any air to breathe... and what if I start to suffocate? What if a homicidal maniac is in this room? What if someone bars those closed doors from the outside like in the movie Carrie and I get trampled when people rush the doors to get out? What if I blink and suddenly people are huddled around me asking me for directions, or money, or to complete a 60-second survey related to my current cell phone carrier?!" What if!!
It's not fun inside my head, y'all. But, these are the things that create literal tunnel-vision and make my head dizzy, my knees weak, and my breath short. There is no rational explanation for said anxiety...and there is no method to the madness. It just happens randomly. That little brain trigger that sparks the crazy just decides to flip at the most inopportune times. One minute I'm perfectly fine in the long line for "It's a Small World" at Disney World. And then, BOOM. I gotta get the fuck outta there stat lest I explode into a million tiny pieces. Or worse, stab someone in the eye with the Mickey spork I squirreled away in my pocket for just an occasion (or for extra frozen soft-serve ice cream; either way, sporks always come in handy).
My fear of judgement and failure:
These two concepts, although seemingly unrelated, go hand-in-hand for me. Sure, most people worry about what people think of them... so they pile on the makeup, curl their hair, buy handbags they can't afford and high-heeled shoes that wreck their feet... but, those aren't the things I do to avoid judgement. I work harder to prove myself worthy. I go above and beyond to learn things that improve my standing with people. I learn to work efficiently, effectively with little direction because I want to be seen as competent; someone who can be trusted to "take the lead".
This is starting to sound like a resume pitch!
Seriously, though, I work hard because I work in a man's world where women are seen as inferior until they prove themselves capable (at least 348,000 times). And, even then, EVEN THEN, they aren't quite good enough. It's a tough world to live in when you're headstrong and stubborn like I am. I don't walk around oblivious and complacent. I want more. I strive for more. When I fear I'm being judged, instead of kicking it up a notch, I have a tendency to become lax, risking failure.
I also fear that I'm getting a little too old for this game. I fear I might become irrelevant.
P.S. My resume is ready to go.