I don’t remember what I was going to write about for this week’s blog post. Which was supposed to go up four days ago. (Oh, the irony–my last post was about the importance of consistency!)

Somewhere, there’s a green notebook with a clear outline of each of the four topics I wanted to cover in this “Now What” Series, which I sketched out while sitting in the parking lot of the emergency veterinarian, waiting for my old dog, who had just popped the stitches from a recent surgery, to be cleaned up, checked and brought back to me.

(She’s doing OK now. Though did you know dogs can get skin cancer from sun exposure? And can’t wear human sunscreen? Now you know.)

Louise–in front–the dog in question.

Anyway: My phone was dying (and I needed the battery reserves to consult with the vet and pay the bill), my thoughts were spiraling, and I decided to focus on work to distract myself from the rising sense of panic. I had a complete outline, lots of supporting points for each topic–it was a much-needed, satisfying brainstorm.

Then I lost the notebook.

Context? What Context?

This week’s post is supposed to be about the importance of context in post-COVID-19 communications, but the salient points are in that notebook, which is likely buried somewhere in the clutter we can’t quite keep under control with two young kids underfoot.

Most weeks, I’d be able to summon my thoughts into a useful post. But I’m going to be honest: This is not that week. In the cycle of creation or consumption, activity or passivity, thriving or surviving, I’m in survival mode.

We’re still, by concrete measures, doing just fine in my house.

We’re still working, still putting food on the table, still physically well and safe. I don’t take these facts for granted.

But actually, I’m not fine.

The uncertainty has been arduous. The 24/7 parenting and working in the margins and laundry and grief over all we’ve lost and despair over what lies ahead consume almost all my energy, occupy almost every though.

The conflicting recommendations are an unsolvable brain puzzle. The mom guilt, the shame over my privilege and how much harder other people have it, the judgment and anger toward people who I see as reckless and cruel, the fear–it’s all taking up most of my brain space. Probably the space that would have been able to talk about context.

We’re trying to decide now how to approach the child care question in the coming weeks. We’re weighing ours and our children’s mental health of being so isolated from friends from the very real public health risks of seeing people again. (Guess what: Two and four-year-olds don’t have a good sense of what six feet is, nor do they know how to keep masks on and not touch their faces.)

Survival Mode is Not A Failure

I’m mired in decision fatigue and Zoom fatigue and just general fatigue.

This has nothing to do with communications, and will be of little value to readers seeking guidance on how to engage with audiences right now.

But I wanted to share how this week has been going in the interest of transparency and connection.

I’m writing this also as an act of self-compassion; rather than forcing myself to uphold a facade of confidence and capability right now, I’m just laying it out there–this isn’t my week to shine.

I’m not writing this as sympathy bait. I know we’re all feeling like this to some degree, at least sometimes. If you’re also not feeling great, just know you’re not alone (even if you are physically quite alone).

I’m not great this week. I’m trying to just be OK with being in survival mode. Sure, maybe in the long run, mere survival is insufficient. For today, though, surviving is enough.

Next week, maybe I’ll be better. Maybe I’ll be able to share something useful. But even if I’m not better, I’ll be here. I hope you will, too.

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