Exploring the side-effects of post-vaccination life

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When I arrived at the curb in front of my parents’ house, I jumped out of my car, left my purse and groceries behind, and ran toward the front door, which my mom was already opening, with Dad close behind.

If it wouldn’t have broken her back, I would have jumped into Mom’s arms like a toddler finally released after ten hours in daycare. Instead, I held her as tightly as I could. …


Ask it whenever a task in front of you feels insurmountable

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How will I handle that uncomfortable conversation? How will I get all this work done? How will I show up as the parent my kid needs?

Whenever a task in front of me seems insurmountable and I feel myself becoming more and more stressed, I’ll ask myself a question that immediately calms me: What if it’s easy?

For some reason, considering this possibility knocks me off the struggle bus and drops me back into the realm of control. Suddenly, I’m thinking, “Huh. Right. It might be easy.” And I’ll proceed to act as though it is.

Just the other day…


A Seven-Step Program for Americans

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Dear America,

You did it. You kicked him to the curb. Congratulations. Ending an abusive relationship is not easy. Unfortunately, your work is not over. Navigating the post-break-up aftermath can be just as challenging. As you embark on your healing journey, take these thoughts with you:

1. Unplug the Feedback Loop

An abusive president has been living rent-free in your brain (and your White House) for far too long. Over the past four years, your central nervous system has been fed outrageous injustices, impossible lies, pervasive gaslighting, and terrorizing stupidity, on a twenty-four-hour cycle. By…


I’m worried about you.

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Fellow Citizens of the Apocalypse,

First, let me say, I get it.

In the Archive of Traumatic Incidents, 2020 will take up more than its fair share of shelf space. And that’s just the headlines. Add in a section for personal tragedies, and 2020 will need its own library.

Between the pandemic, rampant civil rights violations, natural disasters, economic implosion, and the collective impact of the Trumpmageddon, no one I know has walked through the past nine months unscathed. We are all hurting. Some of us are hurting harder than we’ve ever hurt before.

So yeah…


Sure, crisis can lead to opportunity, but first it triggers a flight-or-fight response.

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How does a Nextdoor post selling a used bike spark a wildfire of name-calling, indignation, and rage in the comments?

How does a simple request — cover your face to protect yourself and others from a potentially deadly virus — erupt into a screaming match in the grocery store?

It does. These days, apparently, everything does.

Why? We’re in crisis. Collectively. As a nation. …


F*ck all that. F*ck every list of “7 Tips for Keeping Your Spirit Up” and “Low-Budget Self-Care Activities You Can Do at Home.” They’re not helping.

We’ve all heard it: Self-care is essential! Put your oxygen mask on first, then help others! I will be the first to testify to the transformational power of a yoga class, a morning meditation, a long hike, or a laugh until you cry conversation. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s true: “If mama happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

I will not, however, start hounding people about their self-care routines when they are already…


We’re not just in crisis. We’re in crisis without the comforts that help us get through tough times.

Unlike folks who started working remotely during shelter-in-place, I’ve been working from home for nearly 20 years. Before COVID-19, while my two kids were at school and my wife Sarah commuted fifty miles to her office, I had long stretches of uninterrupted time to get my work done. Now? I’m sharing my workspace with a high school student, a middle school student, and the operations manager of a winery. …


Crisis has no map, but our brains keep asking: How many stops left? When will we arrive?

“My wife has trouble with a little thing called the truth,” said the man talking too loudly into his phone as he passed me on the trail.

Well this is about to get interesting, I thought, allowing a COVID-safe yet eaves-droppable space to grow between us before I followed, matching his pace.

“She thinks the shelter in place will end in a month,” he barked, huffing his way up the hill ahead of me, “but I don’t see it ending for at least…


What losing my eyesight taught me about living through crisis.

I heard the sound of plastic hitting the hardwood floor before I noticed my eyesight had changed. I looked down to identify what had fallen and saw what appeared to be a lens on the ground.

I still didn’t notice I was seeing differently.

“How weird,” I said to Sarah, who was in the next room. (No matter how many times we say we’re going to stop talking to each other through walls, I keep doing it.)

“What?” she called from the kitchen. (She keeps doing it, too.)

I felt…


Eventually, you’ll Marie Kondo your belongings down to the spelling bee trophy from sixth grade and the one coffee mug that brings you joy. What then?

April 3, 2020. Walnut Creek, California. Day Seventeen of Shelter-in-Place.

Young children can make a whole world out of anything. A walk from the front door to the mailbox can become a death-defying balancing act across boiling pits of lava or a traipse through a fairy garden.

That’s why I loved being a stay-at-home mom in the early years of my sons’ lives: everything was an adventure.

If I moved the chairs away from…

Cheryl Dumesnil

Poet. Writer. Editor. Coach. www.cheryldumesnil.com

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