Dear diary, I’m writing this entry on the first night of my leave while listening to a song about the moon. The day started dim as typhoon Quinta traverses cities, and it’s a great time to be in pajamas and enjoy a mug of hot thick chocolate. It’s a pleasant feeling to hold a warm mug and be entirely aware of its heat with your hands. And because you’re conscious that what it holds can scald, you become careful and you savor things slow and with full attention.
Sluggishness is a charm that comes with the cold weather, and this pace is what many of us need now. Because at this stage, just how many times have we been taking on too many things too fast? So before we even tear ourselves, we could use a slowdown from the surge of baggages and responsibilities.
It’s a dumb announcement, but I miss my old life. I think I’m going to smile more at people when this all ends because it’s one of the ways I want to make up for how I took things for granted.
I discovered a lot of things about myself in this period, and one good conclusion is about how lucky I am to have reclusive hobbies in a time when staying home is a duty. I don’t need to go out to enjoy life even pre-pandemic – just give me a phone, laptop, and a stable internet connection because I’m gonna tune in to some manhwa and anime, and I’m good. But of course, I’d travel in a heartbeat if the situation is safe for everyone.
People say that COVID-19 gave us time to gather and be with our family who matters the most. But truth is, there might be more moments when we’re just consuming adjacent space and air because tasks piled up to the point that you might not have time and energy for what supposedly matters.
“We should be grateful about this chance to be home, that at least we are overworked because it means we have a job” is the most oblivious shit that makes me want to slit the neck of whoever will say this. I want to shout ~”Eat this work, bitch!” while I’m throwing grenades. You see, gratitude is not my survival mantra. Seven months into a mishandled crisis is far from what I’d derive gratefulness from.
I think I harbored an explosive temper that fluctuates from I don’t give a shit to why didn’t you fucking stop when I was still nice? My second mood can only be expressed in sharp red font, and I’m trying to work on my temper. I’m sure others have their versions of quarantine monsters, like a Frankenstein of sloth, gluttony, and greed stitched together. After all, no one can be seriously fine in this state.
Drawing thicker lines of boundaries each day is what made me feel better since it allowed me to have more time and attention for the other aspects of my life. The understanding that we all need boundaries is commonsense, but observing them for yourself and for others is where the devil comes in. Do you know why it’s hard to stop allowing others to overstep the line? It’s usually because you assume they might take offense or because you are “grateful” and so you feel the need to comply.
Addressing things promptly is crucial now for businesses but it should be identified what will be prioritized so that people behind the grunt work will not suffer in the background. Everyone also ought to know how to set the right channel for communication — on what message merits a group chat, a Zoom meeting, or should it be emailed? I’m a believer of letting emails stay as emails if they should, and then you just go the group chat route for heads up, assuming that a proper walkthrough already happened through email and that lengthy details will still be discussed over it. ~And oh, I guess chat is okay if it’s with your team and work friends. But in other cases, I find it lazy and unprofessional when someone tries to get my immediate attention without wanting to explain on email. Everyone has tasks queued in, and email is the corporate counterpart of having the courtesy to line up, wait for your turn, and be accountable for everything you cascade.
In an ideal world, there’s a separate channel for group chats because some would want their Facebook messenger to be reserved for friends and family. But no one lives in an ideal world. In my case, I set boundaries by being selective of the chats I respond to beyond working hours. It’s the little thing that I can do for myself because digital space plays a huge part in keeping boundaries and mental health.
I know I sound preachy now — so my name is Kim Zafra, I’m a corporate worker who telecommutes in this pandemic. I have two kids and one is remote schooling while my husband is relocated faraway in a different region — and thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
*Two nights ago, I was wrapping up this entry after downing only two glasses of wine. (*Wrote the entry on Monday and made the blog image this Wednesday.) I think this is the first time after college that I wrote while intoxicated. I started out as a beer girl (not to be confused with beerhouse girl). And then I moved on to gin, then cocktails, and vodka, before I finally landed in wine because I get the impression that this is the “healthy” alchohol, which I think is backed by studies that I don’t give time to read.
Rosé has got to be my favorite wine. I like its clean color because it looks clear with an unmistakable tinge of blood that gives it a pretty hue like a healthy pig. My preference between dry and off-dry depends on who I’m drinking with. When I’m alone and I need to destress, I like my drink dry and there’s a distinct expression when I gulp. But when I want to be engaged and talkative with friends, I would want a hint of sweetness in my drink, if it’s available. In this time of the year, I have this tradition with my high school barkada to meet for one dinner and drink over hilarious personal stories until ungodly hours. But we all have kids so social distancing muna.
P.S. Miss Manila is such a mood. ✨🍾