Coping. Or not.

The quarantine is taking a toll on me.

I have a history of both asthma and pneumonia, so my family adamantly refuses to allow me to help shop. (Which is annoying for other reasons: sometimes you just need Phish Food, and you can’t run to the store and get some.) I can’t bring in income because even if I were working at the job I held most recently I could not work at home. My thoughts of getting a part time job until the November election are pretty much hosed.

I feel useless. I help clean, but due to medical issues there is a limit to what things I can do and for how long. After my tremors caused me to drop a small plate a few days ago, it was decided that I should no longer do the dishes. Unlike Shel Silverstein’s boy, I wasn’t trying to get out of doing the dishes.

Today was the hardest, though. I decided to sort my jewelry. I had more than I remembered, and looking through only fueled my creeping depression.

I have a lot of jewelry, almost all of it handmade (except earrings — the Rocket Scientist usually gives me those). I use to love making jewelry.

I can’t make it anymore. I have probably well over $300 worth of beading supplies in my beading bag — enough to make a lot of pieces, although I really need a bunch of Swarovski crystals in various sizes. (Just as well I don’t knit.) My hands have been getting worse and worse — typing takes forever. The fine motor skills needed for beadwork — let alone wirework — have deserted me.

And then there is the jewelry I have. I have made jewelry for sale — years ago. I sold to friends. Some of these pieces I made with the thought of sale, I think. I can’t really remember. I know sometimes I made bracelets because I didn’t have one that matched my outfit. I would wear bracelets almost everywhere. Why did I stop that? I don’t know.

It’s not just the jewelry. I am bad about keeping in touch with people, and I have made life more stressful more myself. I worry about two friends in particular, who do not use Facebook, so I can’t check in with them easily. One emailed me back after a few days (things were crazy for her). The other I have not heard from, but he is in prison. I doubt the prisoners are social-distancing, and I had to write him a physical letter, and I have not heard back from him.

Thank heaven for Facebook. I can get a good idea how many (maybe not all) of my friends are doing. I think I will wait until the outbreak is over to decide whether to give it up, as I have my Twitter feed. I do have to limit how long I spend on it every day. I find myself wanting to cry, sometimes.

It’s a matter of finding something meaningful to do. I have started an “Art of the Day” in my Facebook feed. Every day I post a picture of a piece of art — usually a painting, but also pieces of jewelry, or sculpture. (One of my posts was a picture of the Lewis Chessmen in the British Museum.)

Finding artwork to post is fun. I trawl around the Google Arts and Culture collections, looking at museums I have never been to. I also checked out the websites of museums I do know: the Rijksmuseum, The Louvre, The Orsay, The Met, The Getty.

I started doing this not just to have something to do, but because all of us need something to look at that has nothing to do with the coronavirus, or the corruption in the White House that is spreading tentacles outward (much has it has been since DJT took office), or voter suppression, or anything else. I am trying to make people’s day just a mite better.

Maybe I’m not so useless after all.

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