Hi, friends! How are you? No, how are you really? It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? My last post was from March 16th when we were just three short days into quarantining. Businesses were just starting to close and schools were just beginning to prepare for what we all imagined would only be a few weeks of online classes. No one could have imagined that three months after my last post, a post filled with some semblance of hope and optimism, that we’d still be here in quarantine, with many of us still grappling with the same sense of uncertainty, confusion, and disappointment we did when this first started. Most businesses are still closed, schools are closed for the remainder of the school year, and some students are still adjusting to remote learning. There are new ways of grocery shopping, restrictions on social gatherings, and even mandates that require us to wear a mask whenever we’re in public places. Despite recommendations from leading scientists and doctors, some states are just now starting to ease some coronavirus-related restrictions which will give us a glimpse of what it’s like to eat out, shop, and socialize in our new normal.
This new normal has compelled us to be more creative in how we connect with our loved ones, afforded us time for self-reflection and self-discovery–finding new hobbies and joys in life, and hopefully, given us a new perspective on life and made us rethink our priorities. This new normal has put our lives on pause so that we can heal ourselves and this planet. It has also taken us on one wild emotional rollercoaster ride. And some days when I feel like the ride is finally coming to an end, it seems like I’m taken around another draining loop. I can’t be the only one who’s gotten whiplash, right?!
In the first few weeks of quarantine, I’d wake up nearly every morning and feel like this is some crazy dream or nightmare. Whenever someone asked me how I was doing, I would always say “it ebbs and flows.” One moment I’d be calm and hopeful, the next I’d be scared and frustrated. For a while, I couldn’t quite put a name to what I was going through. In fact, I think I spent the first few weeks resisting any hard feeling, and looking back on it now, I think that resistance drained me even more than I imagine. That resistance also prevented me from showing up for myself let alone for you, hence the 3 months between posts. I didn’t give myself permission to lean in and really feel my feelings until I realized that this is a traumatic experience and that we’re experiencing collective grief. Yes, this is what grief looks like, friends, and right now we’re all grieving the loss of the life we had, and many of the hopes and expectations that came along with it.
We are going through the stages of grief where feelings and reactions do ebb and flow, so please know that it’s okay to not be okay right now. And guess what?! You’re not alone in your feelings! This is hard and what we’re going through, the uncertainty, the lack of control, the chaos, the disruption, the loneliness and isolation, the loss upon loss upon loss–there are no words. It’s hard to make sense of that which does not. In times like these, the best we can do is take life breath by breath and moment by moment. And if you need permission to feel your feelings like I wish I did, permission to sit in that rollercoaster and ride it, then here it is and I’ll be in that rollercoaster with you. You’re not alone…I promise!
Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health and eradicating the stigma oftentimes associated with mental health? This is the perfect time to give yourself permission to feel without judgment or shame, to check-in and acknowledge how you’re doing. So let’s check-in: How are you? How are you, REALLY? Comment below!
If you noticed, the website has gone through a bit of a transformation. A new layout, a new design, and a new name. That’s because it was time. I’ve been working on Kermit Says… since March 2014. What started out as an impromptu speaking engagement at my former grammar school’s Beta Club Induction Ceremony turned into so much more: a platform for me to engage, encourage, and empower young people to be their authentic selves! And just as we entered into a new decade earlier this year, it was time for Kermit Says… to do the same. We’re going through a lot of changes right now, and trust me, this change is good! It was time for Kermit Says… to enter a new chapter ready and able to speak to youth who are growing up in a world with new challenges. While I’ve made some cosmetic changes and have a few incredibly exciting projects on the horizon, you’ll still receive the same motivational, inspirational, and conversational content to help equip and empower you to be your best, bold, colorful, whole, and authentic self! I’m just a little more grown-up for a generation that’s been forced to grow up. With that said, welcome to the new and improved Ready to Rise with Kirstin M. Williams, LCSW. Let’s do the damn thing and keep rising together, even in the midst of a global pandemic!