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Fielder's Choice

How am I doing in the wake of nearly everything being shut down?

I could be better.

Black Seats Fulham by Kinolamp is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

How am I doing in the wake of nearly everything being shut down?

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

I could be better. Overall, I’m okay. There are good days. Some aren’t as good. It’s a roller coaster. Or, what I imagine a roller coaster to be like, at least. I don’t do well with rides. Never have.

Sleep eludes me most nights. It’s ironic, really. Any of my friends could tell you that I can fall asleep anywhere. At any time. And then I’ll fight with them when they wake me to send me to bed. “I’m up, I’m up!” (Sorry, Mark.) But then when I try to put myself to sleep for the night, I lie awake. Or, if I do fall asleep, I’m up every hour or two. My mind doesn’t like to rest.

It was about 10 years ago when I realized I had anxiety. Panic attacks are the absolute worst. I’ve found ways to cope with them. Sports. Theatre. Entertainment in general. These things are extremely important to me. They’ve ingratiated into my soul.

I digress…

That’s all to say, this shutdown has been difficult for me. Like so many others around the world, my jobs are shut down. Who knows when they’ll re-open? Like so many others around the world, I’m not a person who is 100% healthy. I’ve been asthmatic since I was about 10 years old. So the thought of this respiratory virus spreading across the globe like wildfire is terrifying. The fact that so many around the world, those I don’t know and those I recognize from their public prominence, are coming down with it scares me. I worry about the people I love.

So I’m sitting here, in my Brooklyn apartment, without the routine of going to work each day, thinking about the health and safety of myself and others, wondering when I’m going to crack.

A bit morbid, I know.

I woke up this morning around 7:00 and had an overwhelming feeling of heaviness. A faint memory of a weird dream I had last night did help to lift some of it, but I felt it nonetheless. Then I rolled over and saw a message from Justin Colombo in our Editor’s room, asking someone to take a look at something he had written to see if it had any legs.

Boy, does it.

I read his Opening Day piece and it really embodied everything I was feeling. The complex feelings of both anxiety and hopefulness. It honestly turned my day around. So for that, cap, I have to thank you.

It reminded me to not look at the negative through all of this, but focus on the good. Focus on the essential workers who are keeping the wheels turning. The doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, cashiers, delivery drivers, food service workers, truck drivers, IT folks who make sure your video chats are running, and so many more. Thank you to all of you.

My path forward

I’m an artist. An actor. A writer. Musician. I feel an overwhelming need to create. With that, comes the fear of failure. The fear that I’m not hitting my potential because I haven’t written the next Hamlet, A Raisin in the Sun, or Ragtime. That I haven’t turned myself into the next Harold Pinter, August Wilson, or Lynn Nottage.

Fucking breathe, Kev. Seriously. In through your nose for four. Hold for four. Out through your nose, slowly, for seven.

I don’t need those things. What do I need? To be proud of any progress I make. And I am. I’ve written multiple short plays since I’ve been home. My roommate and I worked on an acoustic cover that we’ll probably throw on YouTube this weekend. Filling the Void pieces are helping me relive some incredible moments in sports over the years. And, honestly, helping me to get out some of these pent up emotions. I’m truly thankful I have this outlet, and for this amazing group of people who write for The Turf. Y’all are the best.

And while I’m checking myself, I also am checking in with others. Raise your hand if you’ve been on more video calls in the past 10 days than you have in a year. <slowly raises hand>

Look – I have no idea when this is going to end. Hell, I don’t know how to feel each day when I wake up. Isolation is unsettling. I obviously can’t speak for you, but I keep everything close to my chest. The pressure that then builds inside me is akin to shaking up a bottle of Coke and never opening it. Tension becomes the norm. I’m pretty sure at least some of you can relate to that.

But fuck the norm. These are trying times. It is 100% okay to feel 100% confused or 100% unsure or 100% scared or any percent of anything that’s outside or in between. We’ve never been put in this situation before. You’re not alone. I saw a meme today that read “I’m starting to understand why my pets try to bolt outside the second the front door opens”. Like…damn, that tracks.

This morning, for the first morning in the better part of a week, I got dressed. And no, I didn’t simply throw on a different pair of sweatpants. I showered, shaved, put on a button down and jeans, and did my hair. It felt good to slap this new normal in the face a bit.

We’re in this together. You don’t need to feel 100% great about things right now. I don’t. And that couldn’t be more okay. So let people know how you’re doing. It’s something I struggle with, but I’m hoping the simple act of writing this down today helps me be more open and honest about how I’m feeling. Because I don’t want to be that bottle that gets so pressurized that it eventually explodes and the cap flies off. And you shouldn’t either.

Check in with the ones you love. Let them check in on you. Appreciate the hard work so many people are putting in to keep the world moving. Find ways to keep yourself moving forward.

As always…Remember to Wash Your Hands. Stay Home. Stay Safe. And we’ll see you tomorrow.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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