20 Things I Learned from 200 Days of Meditation

  1. Some days I’m more focused than others.
  2. Meditating at the same time every day is ideal.
  3. Self-judgment only makes things worse.
  4. How many times I come back to the breath is more important than how many times I linger away.
  5. I can go for more than ten minutes without needing to look at my phone.
  6. Thoughts and urges are temporary.
  7. It’s possible to have a quiet mind.
  8. It’s good to feel feelings.
  9. Meditation makes life feel less scary.
  10. Deep breathing is calming.
  11. Belly breathing as often as possible is relaxing my back and neck muscles.
  12. I can form new habits over time.
  13. Change is only what I want it to be. It can be overwhelming but it can also be productive and exciting.
  14. I may not be able to control a situation but I can control how I respond.
  15. Being present is a beautiful thing.
  16. Awareness of how situations impact me emotionally.
  17. There’s more time in the day than I think.
  18. I don’t have to run away from my feelings.
  19. There are healthier ways to cope with overwhelming feelings.
  20. I’m happier when I take care of my mental health.

A Healthy Balance

I’m not used to having my anxiety come from external forces for an extended amount of time, especially at this magnitude. I’ve spent the last week in my head, trying to avoid the news as much as possible. I have gravitated towards good news, positive quotes, and tv shows while locking my feelings in a closet in my mind. Last week, I meditated a lot. This week, I created endless stories in my head on a loop. Silly stories, happy stories, stories where things turn out alright. This is how I used to deal with anxiety before I found meditation. It’s not that I’m in a bad place mentally, I’m just fearful and as a result, I reverted to my old coping tactics while continuing to meditate and go for walks. I’m still trying to find a healthy balance.

I think the news last week became too overwhelming for me. I was keeping up with it, trying to read as many stories as possible. I know it’s worse this week, I look at the numbers once a day with a pit in my stomach. Many states, including where I live, are on a ‘Stay At Home’ order. The news is overwhelmingly terrifying, no matter if you watch the news, read it online, or listen to podcasts. We’re living in an uncertain time where a large number of people are getting sick and some of them are dying in a short amount of time. I see stories online of healthcare workers sharing their stories of being on the front lines and it’s heart-wrenching to read.

I recently started reading Glennon Doyle’s Untamed and in her book she says, “feel it all.” Whatever you’re feeling at this moment, it’s valid. The times we’re living in are causing stress and fear in a lot of people. When we’re told we can’t continue our daily lives, we can’t go out and be around people, it’s jarring. As a global community, we’ve never experienced something like this in our lifetimes. Whatever you’re doing for self-care is good as long as you’re not locking away your feelings in a closet for too long. Don’t be afraid to feel your feelings.

Self-Care
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
How to be Lonely – New York Times
The House of Belonging by David Whyte
i have already watched this a million times – Twitter
Brothers convince little sister of zombie apocalypse
Pamela Adlon Has the Recipe for Staying Sane During a Pandemic – W Magazine
Mental Health Tips from People Who’ve Been There – John Green
House-Sitting for Joan Didion – Vogue Magazine
I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share – New York Times

Nurses Stories via Twitter
1
2
3

Articles
Can Trump Legally Order the Country Back to Work From Coronavirus by Easter? – New York Times
Liberty University Is Staying Open During The Coronavirus Pandemic And Students Are Confused And Concerned – Buzzfeed News
Coronavirus Threatens an Already Strained Maternal Health System – New York Times
Stop Yelling Out the Window. Just Give Doctors the Masks You’re Hoarding. – New York Times
Doctors Are Writing Their Wills – New York Times

YouTube Informative Videos
3D-Printed Face Shields Are Protecting Hospital Workers From Coronavirus – Vice News
I’m a Doctor on the Frontlines of COVID-19. Ask Me Anything. – Jubilee
How the Coronavirus Pandemic Compares to the Spanish Flu – The New Yorker
What a World at Home Looks Like

Stay Home Poem

We sit at home and wait to know that it's safe.
We don't know when that will be.
Weeks, months, it's all up in the air.
I go for a drive to relieve stress.
The snow reflects off the mountains.
People are outside walking.
That's all they can do these days.
People in clusters.
People in cars.
Some trails are closed.
Others are over-populated.
The news is overwhelming and bleak,
I peak then shut myself away.
Choosing to think of happier things,
Instead of drowning in the scariness of now.

Part Four

Today is World Poetry Day. Poetry is so important, especially for this uncertain moment we’re currently living in. A few weeks ago, I posted a poem called Mantra for the Madness. It contains a lot of the fears and anxieties I had about what could happen. Flash forward two weeks and our society has completely changed.

Take some time today to read some poetry. Comment below what some of your favorite poems are.

Some of my favorite poems I’ve written.
Mantra for the Madness
Beach Day
Brain Reset
A Reminder to Be Respectful
Before I Had the Language
Saturday Drive
XXIV
Outside of the Box
Love Is’t Defined by Gender
Different is Beautiful
The Lies You Unlearn
The Beauty of Spring
Before I Say Hello
Hello Stranger
Divided Mind
Hard Truths
Important Note

Some of my favorite poems written by other people.
Atlas of the Difficult World by Adrienne Rich
Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
The Stranger by Adrienne Rich
Lost by David Wagoner
The Guest House by Rumi
September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden
The Love of October by W.S. Merwin
Two Poems by Dan Beachy-Quick
American Sonnet for the New Year by Terrance Hayes
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Laguna Blues by Charles Wright

Part Three

I’ve been doing a lot of walking on the trails by my house lately. I began early last week when I decided to stop going to the gym. The trails weren’t too crowded then. I walked Monday thru Thursday then took a few days off because of the weather. This week, I have never seen so many people on the trails. Walking, jogging, running with dogs, families walking in packs, the occasional rollerblader trying to rough it out. It’s a busy time to be outside when you have nowhere else to go.

I realized that if I walk early in the day, I’m less likely to encounter so many people. When I pass people, I wave and give a little nod, trying my best to keep my distance from everyone I pass. It’s important to keep moving. My lungs feel good for the hour I’m outside, listening to a podcast or audiobook to try to keep my mind off of what’s happening as much as I can. Unplugging and disconnecting for a bit is good for both my mental and physical health.

Yesterday, as I was coming up to my usual turn around spot, I noticed something in the distance by the bench. I couldn’t make out what it was so I decided to walk closer. I figured it was dog poop since I had been seeing a lot of that lately. People don’t know how to pick up after their dogs. But, as I got closer, I noticed it was a pinecone. There wasn’t just one pinecone, there were ten of them in a row. I smiled. It was a little light amongst the darkness that shined bright. A reminder to smile at the unexpected moments that bring me joy.

That being said, it’s also super important to be informed and stay aware of what’s happening. It’s scary and can be overwhelming at times. I have found that for me, I have less anxiety when I limit how much information I take in at one time. So, I will look at the news, look at social media, read some articles, then I disconnect from it. I do this several times a day so I stayed updated on what’s happening while also not obsessing about it too much. I will provide some links below to some articles I’ve been reading and some videos I’ve been watching.

Another thing that’s helped my anxiety a lot during this time besides going on walks is Calm. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been meditating several times a day for the last week or so and that’s really calmed a lot of the physical anxiety I have felt. One thing I use in meditation or when I want to quiet my mind for a while is an Herbal Animal Eye Pillow. Someone recommended them to me because I have thyroid eye disease but anyone can use them. They look like stuffed animals but they’re filled with a lot of natural herbs that are really calming and soothing. They’re like a weighted blanket for your eyes. I have peter panda, which has lavender, orange, and Echinacea in it. I’ve used it every single day since it arrived in the mail. It’s been a saving grace for my eyes and my anxiety. At the moment, many of them are sold out. But there are some still available that I’ll link down below. Like I said, anyone can use them and I love mine so much.

Stay safe. Stay calm. Watch some animal videos. Read some books or short stories. Stay updated. Drink water. Take care of yourself. Breathe.

Herbal Animals
alexander graham bull with lavender, and lemon balm.
buddy bullfrog with lavender, orange, and linden flower.
camelia earhart with lavender, chamomile, and rose.
harry elephante with lavender, spearmint, and peppermint.
hoggy carmichael with chamomile, lavender, and orange.
isadora dolphin with chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm.
lena horne unicorn with lavender, lemon balm, and rose.
sydney greensheep with lavender and peppermint.
sylvester stallion with passion flower, orange, and peppermint.

News
10,000 Cases now in the US, BuzzFeed News – Twitter
Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020 – CDC
Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S. – The New York Times
Do Not Travel Globally – U.S. Department of State

Articles & Stories
The Coronavirus Is Here to Stay, So What Happens Next? – New York Times
My Coronavirus Test: 5 Days, a Dozen Calls, Hours of Confusion – New York Times
‘I was pretty sure I was going to die’: coronavirus patient urges others to take it seriously – Fox 31 Denver
The Unending Anxiety of Coronavirus Content – New York Times
That ‘Miracle Cure’ You Saw on Facebook? It Won’t Stop the Coronavirus – The New York Times
No Age Group Is Immune to Coronavirus – The Cut

YouTube Videos
People Tell Us How Their Governments Around the World Are Responding to Coronavirus – Vice News
Air Travel During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic – The New Yorker
What can WE do? – iJustine

Self-Care
The first minute and twenty seconds of this video. – YouTube
10 Ways to Ease Your Coronavirus Anxiety – New York Times
Bright Minded with Miley Cyrus – Instagram
Pablo Neruda Poems – Poetry Foundation
Ashley C. Ford Radio, video one – YouTube
Dressing Up Is Making Me Feel Better – The Cut
5 riveting memoirs to read right now – i-D
Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett, Min Jin Lee and Others on the Books That Bring Them Comfort – The New York Times
Ten Free Ebooks from Haymarket Books
Lazy River by Zadie Smith – The New Yorker (Free Story)
My very responsible 65+ parents are social distancing and threw themselves their own St. Patrick’s Day parade – Twitter
China sent medical masks to Italy, & wrote on the boxes a quote of a Roman poem – Twitter
I’m not crying, you are. – Instagram
Look at All These Baby Goats – The Cut
Penguins in the Amazon?! – Twitter
the Shedd Aquarium is closed to humans, so they decided to just let the penguins walk around because sure why not – Twitter
“Oregon Zoo took the baby elephant around the zoo to visit the other animals.” – Twitter
Bodega Cats – Twitter

Part Two

Because we are living in uncertain times, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to blog. I don’t know if it will be every day, every other day, or every few days. But, I want to share information and stories with you I think are important, along with some positivity. The blog post I shared yesterday was very well received, which makes me happy.

Over the last week, this change has really begun to settle in. With closures of restaurants and schools, entire countries and cities shutting down, I’ve gone back and forth from feeling alright to feeling panicky. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. That being said, a lot of people doing what it recommended by health officials and staying home. This gives me hope.

For those of you who is choosing to continue to live your normal lives, please reconsider your choice and look at some of the links I provided on my last post. Also, check out this Instagram post by Nikki Reed that provides some powerful thoughts on why social distancing matters right now. She sums it up perfectly, in my opinion. It’s important we all work together by staying away from each other as much as we can.

San Francisco is sheltering in place. New York City’s Mayor is urging New Yorkers’ to prepare to shelter in place. Things are getting serious as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise. Mental health and self-care are always so important but they’re especially important right now. You can read a Therapist’s Guide to Emotional Health in a Pandemic or go down a rabbit hole on Bon Appétit’s Gourmet Makes (FYI – the Reese’s episode is my favorite.).

I’ll end with this important video from the Atlantic. It’s an urgent message from Italians telling Americans and citizens in other countries what they wish they had known ten days ago. If you click on anything from this post, please click on this. And share it with everyone you know and love.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home. Go for a walk outside if the weather’s nice. Keep your distance from people. Call your doctor if you’re feeling sick. Drink water. Stay safe. Stay calm. Take care of yourself.

News
Cases surpass 5,000 in U.S. – NBC News
National Parks Are Finally Taking Coronavirus Seriously – Huffington Post

Articles & Stories
10 Days Later: What Italians Wish They Had Known – The Atlantic
The Diary of a Grand Princess Crew Member as the Coronavirus Spread on the Ship – The New Yorker

Podcast Episodes
It’s like a War – The Daily
Why People Distrust Experts And What We Can Do About It – NPR’s On Point

Self-Care
A Therapist’s Guide to Emotional Health in a Pandemic – The Atlantic
Gourmet Makes – YouTube
Lizzo’s IGTV “Because I Love You” – A meditation and mantra to promote healing during this global crisis.

Life’s Going to Change

I’m a young woman with lung disease and a thyroid autoimmune disease.
I was born three months early.
A ventilator helped my under-developed lungs breathe for the first six weeks of my life.
I was on oxygen for the first 2 1/2 years of my life.
I’ve been on oxygen a couple of times since.
I take an inhaler twice a day every day and a rescue inhaler as needed.
I was breathing the wrong way my entire life up until recently.

I know what it’s like to have scarred lungs.
I don’t want your lungs to feel like my lungs.
I don’t want my lungs to feel any more abnormal than they already are.

This virus isn’t a hoax or some made up scam.
You can’t test for this virus by holding your breath for ten seconds.
You can have this virus, not know it,
and pass it to those who are more vulnerable and at risk.
Despite what the White House is saying, currently not everyone is able to be tested.

Life’s going to change.
We’ve already seen it changing with schools closing,
sports seasons ending,
and restrictions on large gatherings.
The likelihood of this continuing is high
with confirmed cases continuing to rise every single day.

Countries around the world have shut down,
forcing people to stay home
to help reduce the spread of this disease.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens in America
in the upcoming days or weeks in some way,
even if it’s decided by individual states.

Here’s my message to you – don’t be stupid.

I don’t care what you believe in or what political party you’re in, wake up.
This shouldn’t be about politics or religious beliefs, this is a public health issue
This disease doesn’t care who you voted for or what god you do or do not believe in.

If you want to work out, work out at home.
Go on a walk if it’s nice outside.
Find an exercise or yoga video on YouTube and follow along.
There are apps and websites for guided meditations that can calm anxiety.

If you have to go to work
and your employer doesn’t have a work at home option,
keep your distance as best you can
and wash your hands as often as possible.

Health care workers,
thank you for treating those who are sick
and doing the best you can during this stressful time.
Store employees,
thank you for dealing with panicked shoppers
as calmly as you can.

Stop voluntarily going out into crowds.
Stop going to concerts, nightclubs, and bars.
Stop attending church services and religious ceremonies.
Cancel or reschedule your travel plans.

Use your better judgment.
You’re not resilient or undefeated by a disease humans have no immunity to.

Yes, most people who get it will recover.
Some will may make a full recovery,
others will have scarred lungs for the rest of their lives.
And some people who get it will unfortunately die.
This isn’t the flu or common cold,
it’s something we’ve never seen or experienced before.

This isn’t a time to be selfish or stubborn.
This isn’t a time to resist change.
The normal you’re used to will fade if we want this disease to stop spreading.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to accept the change before it happens and change your routines before it’s possibly forced upon you.

I don’t say these things to scold you or frighten you.
I say these things because you need to be aware.
Aware that some media outlets will downplay the seriousness of this situation.
Aware that misinformation will only harm you.
Aware that choosing to continue to live life as normal isn’t a smart choice.
Aware that choosing to live in your bubble is dangerous for everyone.
Aware that panic buying isn’t helpful.
Aware that everyone needs everything you need
and you don’t need everything at one time.

As a global community, we need to look past our differences.
We need to distance ourselves from each other for our safety.
It’s better to be prepared and aware than ignorant and resisting change.
This change isn’t forever, it’s just for a while.
When this is all over, we will know better and we will do better.

If you’re feeling sick, stay home, call your doctor.
If you’re sick and if you can get tested, get tested.
If you have underlying health issues, stay home.
If you’re healthy, please stay home or limit where you go.
Wash your hands as much as possible.
Use hand sanitizer when you’re unable to wash your hands.
Try to break the habit of touching your face.
Use Clorox Wipes to wipe down surfaces and technology.
Stay hydrated, drink a lot of water.

I know this blog post is heavy.
What we’re going through is heavy.
I do hope I’m wrong and this isn’t going to be bad as they’re predicting.
Again, my goal for this post isn’t to rain on your parade,
it’s to make you aware that it’s raining
and that it’s best to stay inside as much as possible for the time being.

I’ll provide more links down below to stories and facts.
I will also share some of my favorite things
that bring me comfort during uncertain times.
If you have anything you use for self-care, comment below.
I want all of us to be safe and informed.
We’re all doing the best we can.

Links Referenced in Post
How to Breathe Correctly / Calm Anxiety
No, Holding Your Breath is Not a ‘Simple Self-Check’ for Coronavirus
Testing in the US
Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Testing
Limiting Social Events in the US

Facts
CDC
Key Facts
Higher Risk
If You’re Sick
Reducing Stigma
FAQ
Tracker of Every Reported Coronavirus Case in the U.S
Tracker of Every Report Coronavirus Case around the world.

Stay up to date on the Coronavirus.

A state-by-state breakdown of US coronavirus cases

Articles & Stories
The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors
How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart
The best thing everyday Americans can do to fight coronavirus? #StayHome, save lives
How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells
America Isn’t Testing for the Most Alarming Coronavirus Cases
After Trump promised ‘anybody’ can get coronavirus testing, patients and doctors still complain of roadblocks
‘Shut It Down’: Colorado Woman In Italy Issues Stark Warning On Coronavirus
Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day
Cancel Everything
A coronavirus cautionary tale from Italy: Don’t do what we did
From an Italian to the rest of the world: you have no idea about what’s coming.
A newborn baby in London has become the youngest person in the world to test positive for the coronavirus
YOUNG AND UNAFRAID OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC? GOOD FOR YOU. NOW STOP KILLING PEOPLE
This Is How You Live When the World Falls Apart
Please Just Stay Home!

News Podcasts
The Daily
Up First
Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction

My Self-Care
Calm App
Mindfulness & Meditation Playlist on Spotify
Late Night Jazz Playlist on Spotify
What I’m Reading
James Baldwin: The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity
The Paris Review Podcast
The Paris Review Crossword
The New York Times Daily Mini Crossword
Peppermint Tea
Yogi Green Tea Kombucha
Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater
Peanut Butter-Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
American Girl (Tom Petty) – Billie Lourd
Taylor Swift: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Lizzo: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Florence + the Machine: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Taylor Swift – Lover
Saxophone player playing John Lennon’s Imagine in Italy
Little Women Trailer
Little Women Screenplay
Frances Ha Scene David Bowie – Modern Love
73 Questions with Greta Gerwig
73 Questions with Lena Dunham
Patti Smith on Youth and Friendship
Patti Smith on Authors She Loves
Ours Poetica
Ashley C. Ford reads “Unwished For”
Rumi – The Guest House
David Wagoner – Lost
W. H. Auden – September 1, 1939
Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
Wise Words from C.S. Lewis in 1948
Adrienne Rich’s Poems
Self-Portrait of a Panic Attack
Laziness Does Not Exist
Write Until You Bleed
Hello, 911? By Samantha Irby
Unbuttoned By David Sedaris
Meditation Is Not About Quieting the Mind
On Self-Respect by Joan Didion
Nitch

More Self-Care!
Calming Meditation Music
Diaphragmatic breathing Meditation
5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere
Guided Meditation to Let Go of Stress and Anxiety
Guided Yoga
Serenity Prayer
ASMR

My Health Story
My Body Has a Mind of Its Own

***

March, 17th, 2020 – Update Part Two

News
Cases surpass 5,000 in U.S. – NBC News
National Parks Are Finally Taking Coronavirus Seriously – Huffington Post

Articles & Stories
10 Days Later: What Italians Wish They Had Known – The Atlantic
The Diary of a Grand Princess Crew Member as the Coronavirus Spread on the Ship – The New Yorker

Podcast Episodes
It’s like a War – The Daily
Why People Distrust Experts And What We Can Do About It – NPR’s On Point

Self-Care
A Therapist’s Guide to Emotional Health in a Pandemic – The Atlantic
Gourmet Makes – YouTube
Lizzo’s IGTV “Because I Love You” – A meditation and mantra to promote healing during this global crisis.

***

March 19th, 2020 – Update Part Three

Herbal Animals
alexander graham bull with lavender, and lemon balm.
buddy bullfrog with lavender, orange, and linden flower.
camelia earhart with lavender, chamomile, and rose.
harry elephante with lavender, spearmint, and peppermint.
hoggy carmichael with chamomile, lavender, and orange.
isadora dolphin with chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm.
lena horne unicorn with lavender, lemon balm, and rose.
sydney greensheep with lavender and peppermint.
sylvester stallion with passion flower, orange, and peppermint.

News
10,000 Cases now in the US, BuzzFeed News – Twitter
Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020 – CDC
Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S. – The New York Times
Do Not Travel Globally – U.S. Department of State

Articles & Stories
The Coronavirus Is Here to Stay, So What Happens Next? – New York Times
My Coronavirus Test: 5 Days, a Dozen Calls, Hours of Confusion – New York Times
‘I was pretty sure I was going to die’: coronavirus patient urges others to take it seriously – Fox 31 Denver
The Unending Anxiety of Coronavirus Content – New York Times
That ‘Miracle Cure’ You Saw on Facebook? It Won’t Stop the Coronavirus – The New York Times
No Age Group Is Immune to Coronavirus – The Cut

YouTube Videos
People Tell Us How Their Governments Around the World Are Responding to Coronavirus – Vice News
Air Travel During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic – The New Yorker
What can WE do? – iJustine

Self-Care
The first minute and twenty seconds of this video. – YouTube
10 Ways to Ease Your Coronavirus Anxiety – New York Times
Bright Minded with Miley Cyrus – Instagram
Pablo Neruda Poems – Poetry Foundation
Ashley C. Ford Radio, video one – YouTube
Dressing Up Is Making Me Feel Better – The Cut
5 riveting memoirs to read right now – i-D
Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett, Min Jin Lee and Others on the Books That Bring Them Comfort – The New York Times
Ten Free Ebooks from Haymarket Books
Lazy River by Zadie Smith – The New Yorker (Free Story)
My very responsible 65+ parents are social distancing and threw themselves their own St. Patrick’s Day parade – Twitter
China sent medical masks to Italy, & wrote on the boxes a quote of a Roman poem – Twitter
I’m not crying, you are. – Instagram
Look at All These Baby Goats – The Cut
Penguins in the Amazon?! – Twitter
the Shedd Aquarium is closed to humans, so they decided to just let the penguins walk around because sure why not – Twitter
“Oregon Zoo took the baby elephant around the zoo to visit the other animals.” – Twitter
Bodega Cats – Twitter

Beach Day

The sun reflects off the sand and the water, 
Causing reality to brighten passed the point of comfort.

This moment is now blinded by light,
As many people continue on with their time.
How is everyone not impacted by this brightness?
She thinks as she puts her phone back in her bag.

Exchanging her phone for a book
Only creates more frustration,
With the breeze causing the pages the shut.

She decides to take a dip in the ocean,
Hoping it will cool her down.
The cold water causes her to scream
And run within moments of it splashing on her toes.

Sitting back on her chair, she takes a few breaths.
Maybe a nap could make this afternoon better.
She lies down on her towel then shuts her eyes.

Suddenly, she has sand in her eyes
From the kids running by.
She grumbles while pouring water
Into her burning eyes.

She sits in her beach chair wearing a hat and sunglasses
Watching the madness of the beach unfold
As afternoon storm clouds roll in. 

At this moment, she realizes
she forgot to put on sunscreen.

Mantra for the Madness

The sounds of a cold echo between buildings.
He ignores the coughing and sneezing,
Turning up the volume on his headphones,
Blasting a rock song into his brain.
Everyone's worried for no reason.
That's his mantra for the madness.

He walks into a bar as rain begins to fall.
There are people gathered together in booths.
By looks on their faces, they're clearly concerned.
While those at the bar seemingly don't care.
He chooses to sit at the bar.

A robot bartender greets him by name,
Then asks if he'd like his usual.
He nods and looks around at the people beside him.
Most are lost in their phones, sipping on their drinks.
The guy beside him is playing Candy Crush.
He wins a level and orders another drink to celebrate.

People in the booths are speaking in hushed tones,
Whispering their worries to avoid hisses and eye rolls.
He takes off his headphones.
Right away he notices the imbalance in noise.
Everyone's worried for no reason.

Another man walks in and sits on the other side of him.
The second man nods at the first man, orders a beer,
Then sneezes into his elbow.
Those in the booths aren't pleased by his behavior.
The first man rolls his eyes.

The robot bartender hands the second man his drink,
Then asks how he's doing since his wife passed.
He shrugs, shakes his head, then takes a gulp of his beer.
The first man looks at the second man,
Wondering how his wife died.

The second man sees him staring.
A subtle look confirms his suspicion.
He sneezes again then finishes his beer.
Some sitting in the booths exit quickly,
Clearly repulsed by his cold.
He pays for the beer.

The second man nods at the first man before heading out.
Solidarity isn't the right word.
Those sitting at the bar are perplexed,
Uncertain of what to make of their carelessness.
Maybe everyone's worried for a reason?

An eerie chill moves up his spine.
Something suddenly doesn't feel right.
He pays for the drink then gets ready to make a swift exit.
As he walks out, he nods to those still left in the booths.
Escaping into the night, he leaves his music off,
Replaying what just happened in his head.

Change in Vision

Once again, I'm dealing with a shift of something I cannot control.
My eyes are at the mercy of time and decrease swelling. 
This last week, I've noticed an increase of in double vision.
In looking at my phone or reading a book, words split suddenly.
This morning, I woke up to a reality hovering over each other.
Everything on my floor was either stretched or doubled.
I haven't experienced looking forward with double vision.
Certainly not when waking up. It's always been looking up. 
I want to document these changes as they happen.
I had another poem for today but that changed.
It's always an unsettling reality to live in. 
Experiencing new double vision is never not jarring.
I have hope that this is another step closer.
Another step to being done with this disease.