Tara Tag dared me to write a post answering this question:
What has been beautiful about self isolation?
After Hurricane Sandy hit NYC, I’ll never forget my friend Hunter saying to me, “Even the city that never sleeps is sometimes forced to take a nap.” These past few weeks feel like a similar situation: Our beloved city, our profession, our art form is being asked to take a nap. And we all know that naps are sometimes the reset we need to take us out of the temper tantrum we’re having and bring us back to reality, calm, and focus.
During my nap, I feel like I have been given both an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity to go inward, to go solo, to release my social butterfly and meet my inner wallflower, to learn to embrace quiet and stillness, and to find my own sense of movement, pace, and purpose within. I’ve been given an opportunity to eliminate any extra movement (think commute, the constant running around between places I do during the day, movement between groups of people, jobs, buildings, classes, career hats that usually get stuffed in my overweight backpack, etc.). I’ve been granted the opportunity to not have to go anywhere, so if I do go somewhere, it’s because I’ve intentionally deemed it important (like a run in the park or a trip to the grocery store). I’ve been granted an opportunity to reduce the excess city noise and remove some of the strings that incessantly pull on my daily life. Odd jobs have fallen away, energy sucking people and activities have fallen away, things that had mindlessly become part of my NYC routine have fallen away, and now I have the space to consider if these things are even necessary and wanted additions in my life.
I’ve been given the challenge to reconstruct my business model(s) and to remain financially afloat (#gigworkers unite! In 2019, I filed 12+ 1099s/W2, so how does one reconstruct so much piecemeal income into fewer resources?). I’ve been given the challenge to reconsider how I can use being remote as an advantage in terms of being a creative artist and with building and maintaining client relationships. I’ve been given the challenge to make my home artist and creative visionary friendly and to build and foster the industry relationships that are important to me from a computer screen. I’ve been given the challenge to make my apartment a place to nurture creative inspiration, a place of light, warmth, peace and love, and a place of functional business operation. I’ve been given the challenge to keep up the search for the new CEO of Jenna P and to keep the fired mean boss lady who used to live inside my head AWAY FROM ME, especially as I’ve adjusted my daily health routines (oh hello, new "home gym"). And I’ve been given the challenge to continue to show up for those who matter to me despite the physical distance between us.
I now appreciate things I didn’t “have time” for before. I look up more- at the sky, the trees, the buildings, the masked faces. I admire the clouds, the architecture, the cherry blossoms, the colors. I now find daily cooking and baking to be restorative and creative practices, and I enjoy spending time preparing meals and thinking about what I’d like to make. And I am working every day to nudge forward building a work structure that makes me feel both accomplished and fulfilled. I want my work and my commitment to my clients and my network and my artistry to feel essential, even if I'm being asked to stay home. I recognize that it doesn’t look perfect now, and it won’t look perfect tomorrow, and that I can keep exploring with curiosity to figure out what routines, habits, boundaries, practices, behaviors, narratives, language, people, and things help me be the best version of Jenna P.