When the shut down first began, it felt a bit like a vacation. There was work to do from home, the world slowed down, and all of a sudden, the days felt spacious. I happily set about doing things around my house that I just hadn’t had the time for in the frenetic day-to-day. I painted my vintage (wink, wink) 1995 oak kitchen cabinets a nice dark and dusty green. I tidied and cleaned, oiled the wood furniture, washed the cloudy glass globes on my light fixtures, and even dusted all of the leaves on my plants. Individually.
I then set my mind to painting a mural in my powder room, but, lacking specific inspiration, I started perusing images on Pinterest. This is when I decided that a full-on mural felt like too much work. I would do a “mural board” (I invented this ingenious title that obviously needs no description. That’s how clever it is). I recalled having some oversized artboards in my garage from a thwarted art commission from a few years back, so I pulled them out and dusted off the cobwebs. I had not remembered that I had gotten a good start on the piece. Yay! I’ll just finish this, and it will be the biggest art piece I own and will effectively cover all of the available wall space in my powder room. It is a donkey, the size of a real-life donkey, that I will display rebelliously and irreverently in the smallest room in my house, next to the toilet. NOTE: The powder room will now be an “everyone-must-sit-down-to-pee” bathroom. Do the math. I will post this important rule on the underside of the toilet seat lid.
I have not had the mind space to do art for about five years. This commission came right in the midst of my divorce, and my life felt like a country song. Art needs joy, space, and mind-freedom. I did not have these then, so the process came to a grinding halt. Now, having this boundless time gave me all of those ingredients, and I dove headfirst into creating this rainbow-hued, big-ol’ crazy art piece, my biggest ever. I am going to call it “Ass in the Grass.” Perfect, and classy to boot. Or, I could call it “Gracias, The Burro.” Get it? Okay, so being this isolated may make one feel funnier than they actually are. As my sister and I like to say: “I am the funniest person I know.” No, we are not narcissists. It's just fact.
Before you take off your house slipper to clobber me over the head, know that there is also this: These days, I find myself walking by the booze tray at ten in the morning and wondering, “Is whiskey really not okay for breakfast?” I bring my flask in my purse everywhere I go. Don’t worry though, we are not actually going much of anywhere these days, and cocktail hour at our place still begins respectably at five o’clock. By that I mean, it’s five o’clock somewhere (shoot - if we are all wearing pajamas all day, do any rules apply?). It just makes me feel better to have it close, like a binky. My next blog post may be called: “My Whiskey Binky: Tales of Unravelling in Quarantine.” There are daily bouts of spontaneous tears and middle-of-the-night-waking-up fear. We are all in this together.
As the weeks march (or creep, for those of you who have kids at home) by, the wondering intensifies. I know “This too shall pass,” and we will get through this. Will the re-opening of our world be rocky or smooth, slow or quick? Who knows. We don’t know how things will look on the other side of this.
This is going to leave a mark. I guess what I’m feeling is that I don’t want this “Great Pause” to not leave a mark. I want to remember what it is teaching me;
What is most important on this earth are the people I love.
Kindness and vulnerability are what draw me like a moth to a flame, comfort me, and make me feel that I am not alone - I want to BE and GIVE this.
Art is an expression of my soul.
In this unprecedented moment of history, art is one of the things that is carrying me through this wild time. There are also many, many hugs from my sweetheart, naps, walks, listening to podcasts, bouts of weeping (who doesn’t feel a little better after a good cry?), spending endless hours on the phone with my people, and of course, the aforementioned cocktail hour(s). My sister, a freshly minted CrossFit coach, has been creating mind-blowing abs because what is saving her bacon right now is the physical exertion, relief, and joy she gets from exercise. My parents are working in their yard. My mom and many others are sewing masks. My friend, Tanna, is baking and cooking gorgeous things because they fill her tank. Others are utterly captivated with that Tiger King (we don’t own a TV, but I hear it’s a thing). In my neighborhood, windows, sidewalks, and fences are plastered in rainbows; our kids are bringing their wholehearted energy to making beauty, and spreading hope and cheer.
In the poetic words of my friend, Shannon: “This is like a f*cking rollercoaster. It’s up and down and you never know what is around the next corner.” We all feel like this.
We are really all in this together. This is hard, strange, and disorienting, and in it, we see some surprising beauty too. For me, it is awe, gratitude, and deep affection for the essential workers who are out there making it possible for us to be home: The checkers at my Safeway and Trader Joe’s, the post office workers, and the folks at Home Depot, to name a few. I will never look at you the same way. Thank you.
We are all feeling it in different ways. How are you doing? Where do you turn for comfort? I would love to connect with you. I will be here in my pajamas,...
Kristin is a designer with CW Design & Decor serving up beautiful designs to clients on Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County, Seattle, and Tacoma.