Quarantine Week 2 – CoronaVirus, Essex Fells, NJ

CoronaVirus Week 2

This week I distracted myself with my camera I decided to put myself to use to start a passion project. I am photographing lots of families on their front stoops from a safe distance using the hashtag #allstoopedup and #6footshoot. In 3 days of shooting I have shot 30 families thus far. Getting outside, driving my car, and seeing other humans from a distance has been extremely therapeutic for me. I missed the feeling of being “busy” and juggling lots of things. I think I am better at completing tasks when I have a lot of “balls” in the air. (no pun intended).  It helped me to stay out of my head and keep the anxiety at bay. I have found refuge in my daily workouts. It has been fun to try studios far away as well as different online classes and methods. I took a dance class at GemPack Studios 295, taught by Kelly Gemellaro, I also several online classes at my home away from home, Evolve Cycle & Fitness.  I tried yoga and cardio sculpt and even Brazilian butt lift on a fitness app and I liked it so much more than I thought I would!  I even got up extra early to try the live stream classes at JaneDo  which had me sweating and smiling at the same time.  Week 2 went very fast for me if I am being honest. CBS news picked up the story and ran a beautiful segment on the news Thursday night. It was nerve wrecking and exciting!  You can see the piece here. I hadn’t smiled that hard or felt that deep  joy in what feels like a long time. Feeling useless in a time of uncertainty and pain is a hard place to sit… I needed to do something to feel like I was making a difference somehow. I realized when I started posting silly videos on Facebook and they got such great reaction as well as a request for more happy things, I had to put aside my depression and anxiety and start thinking outside the box.

There have been a few moments throughout the week when I was happy and busy and suddenly realized that even though I was having a happy moment,  my kids were hurting. I became so engulfed in shooting and editing that I kind of forgot that they were still feeling that grief and confusion that I felt the week prior. I worry so much about what this monumental scenario will bring up for these kids when they are older. I am a “glass is half full” kinda person and trust me I believe that the close time together is a gift but that doesn’t discount the isolation and the fear and the obsessive cleaning… side note: It’s important to remember that they are watching us. They are paying attention to our reaction. I am going to try and remember that when I pour my first glass of wine at 3pm and become frantic if I am running low.. (next time.. next time..)

I hope that witnessing me putting my skills to use and raising money for the less fortunate in an attempt to make some kind of a difference during this unprecedented time will show them that when things get uncomfortable is when you have to lean in further and either accept the feelings or try and do something about them. I want them to see with their own eyes that making people smile by paying them a compliment or spreading kindness makes you happy too, and in some cases even happier than them. I want the kids to see that self-care (mediation, exercise, journaling, crying, bathing etc.)  and using this gift of time to do things you wouldn’t normally do is what makes you grow as a person! I want them to know that it is ok to cry and ask for a hug and that being vulnerable and scared is ok too. When we can be comfortable in stillness, we can gain access to places within ourselves that we have buried. Sometimes that is the most frightening thing in the world.

What did we do? We played outside with every outdoor toy we could find, we drew with chalk, played with my bubble machine ( previously NEVER allowed because I use it for my Bedtime Story Shoots) lol and we cooked… chicken cutlets, deserts and what felt like a lot of eggs. Lyla literally climbed the walls and we played board games. Taylor FaceTimed a playdate with her bestie Adelia and had a blast coloring. We also made lots of silly videos and TikToks of course… Taylor got a dr kit. and gave everyone check ups and school was hard… I guess its hour by hour for everyone, no matter your age.

So with this I move into Week 3. This week I anticipate a better system for the kids with regard to school.  (I HOPE). They will have more interaction with their classmates over the internet which will free up some of my time too… and I will photograph another 30 families! I am going to start the 21 days of meditation with Deepak Chopra again and hope this time I make it all the way through. I plan to try and be present and mindful of my own mood and above all, continue to document this the best way I know how, with my lens.








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