Put on your positive pants!

I’m well overdue a blog post. Not because my readership (I jest) demand it. But because writing is one of the best ways of keeping me sane.

The past few months have been tough. I’ve had illness after illness, punctuated by the occasional infection or ailment. I’ve been functioning well below my usual ability, both physically and mentally. All of this has taken its toll. Then Coronavirus came along. I have been fortunate. I don’t think I have been affected, physically; though many of my symptoms matched, so self-isolation ensued. In many ways, I live quite an insular life anyway, through choice. So, I have not felt the imposed lockdown as keenly as others. But I am a contrary bugger and, as soon as I’m told not to go out, I’m suddenly itching to explore the great outdoors, do all those things I’ve never done even though I’ve had ample opportunity.

Lockdown has tested our family. We are entering our fifth week and relationships are ever changing. Little Chick swings from wanting to be inside our skin to rejecting us completely. It’s all extreme. There is no middle ground. Perhaps because of this, mine and the Other Mrs Reed Warbler’s relationship has followed a similar pattern. We go from acting like teenagers in love to an embittered couple on the brink of divorce. Again, there is no reasonable behaviour between these poles. Overall, I would say that our relationship with Little Chick is improving daily. The problems caused by school – fear of rejection, anxiety, dysregulation, over-stimulation – have lessened. He misses school though – bloody hell, so do I – but his sense of loss is, mostly, manageable. We’ve even experienced periods of good nights, even restful sleep, helping us to restore our depleted reserves of energy and patience, both of which are in great demand now.

I have started drafting this post in my head several times. I never committed to paper because it was all too maudlin. I feel the need to be honest as much as possible, but nobody needs to hear ALL my doom and gloom. I needed to expel the negative feelings so that I could start afresh, with renewed vigour and hope. I asked Ali for an illustration, requesting a pair of pants – boy’s briefs – that I could use to highlight some of the accomplishments of the past weeks and months. Little Chick is extremely secure in his toileting now and this is a breakthrough for us all, and one that will especially benefit him when he returns to school. Previously, he would don his pull-ups whenever opportunity arose but, now, he is shunning them for big boy pants. His power pants. He pulls them on and strikes a pose. Hands on hips, chest puffed out, chin in the air. He knows he is powerful. He has mastered something that challenged him. Once again, he has overcome the obstacles before him.

The Other Mrs Reed Warbler and I also have power pants. These are the pants that, allegedly, hold in our stomachs, fooling casual observers that we are svelte. Because we have mirrors, we know that the power pants have limited capabilities. But they make us feel more confident, if only because we know we have ‘made an effort’. And confidence is not to be sniffed at. It leads to positivity and triumph. So, I have renamed them: now, they are my positive pants.

We are now in the fourth month of 2020 and, honestly, I don’t feel like my year has started yet. My best-laid schemes have ‘gang aft agley’, courtesy of Little Chick or Coronavirus. And for a while that bothered me. Ate me alive, bothered me. But now I know these things are beyond my control. So, I need to put on my positive pants, plant my hands on my hips, thrust out my chest, lift my chin(s) skyward, and know that I have the power and positivity to take on the things that I can control. I can draw a line under the first quarter of the year. I can choose to forget what could or should have been.

One thing I can control is writing. Even if it is infrequent and irregular short bursts of scribbling, I need it. I can control my narrative – literally and metaphorically. I have also realised how much I miss photography. Not just snaps on my iPhone, getting out there and capturing moments. Obviously, I can’t control where I go and what I see to the extent I would like right now. But I can control how I deal with that. And I will, deal with that.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or low because things aren’t going your way and everything seems out of your control, please realise that you are not alone. If I can help, by listening or sending you memes, please let me know. I hope you are all happy, safe, and well. And I hope you are all in possession of a pair of positive pants, even if you’re not quite ready to put them on yet.

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