Breakfast Original

I was doing some Notion housekeeping yesterday and came across my original Breakfast Letters. This project was something I first did each day in August 2020. In the moment, based on my posts, this first summer of the pandemic was incredibly challenging and scary. Except, through reviewing these posts and my camera roll from that month, it was somehow quite a beautiful time also.

I’ve never kept a formal journal before, so this is as close as I’ve gotten to understanding what it must feel like to reflect on personal thoughts from a different time. These thoughts, while from the same person and the same brain, are entirely based on a version of reality that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s unsettling to think about and even more so to read these posts–little mental time capsules. While this person is struggling in different ways, it seems so insignificant compared to what would happen later, compared to what is happening now. I’m not sure I took a single breath while reading through these.

While the details are quite different, there were some familiar themes. Bugs were already a weird, big part of my life. It was approaching the end of monarch season, and I was overjoyed to share that I had raised and released just over 45 butterflies. This was also the year we had the yard certified as a monarch waystation and got more into native flower gardening. Since then, I’ve learned so much about monarch disease mitigation and optimal feeding, and my release numbers are now between 85 and 110. I love seeing how excited we first were and that this excitement has only grown with experience–it’s still a highlight of the year.

Additionally, this summer marked the early stages of Ben and I getting into feeding our backyard birds. I know so much more about this now, but it was fun to witness the naivety and sheer curiosity of it all–all from the viewpoint of someone who hasn’t dealt with starlings, mice, and hawks yet. I wrote about birds again this time around, but from a completely different experience level. And speaking of birds, I also started talking about ordering fertilized quail eggs at this time, and wow, did that not work out as I envisioned.

There was a post entitled No Roots” about the absence of roots where we live with undertones of feeling loss around not having a family. We moved here for the promise of family, and it didn’t work out. The promise of support, bonding, excitement, and a shared life. So, we recognized it was something we needed and wanted but were ultimately left without again. There are a lot of people that make up our extended families, yet being among them has always been the loneliest place to exist.

Even though it’s always been this way, though, I have yet to fully learn to give up on what I wish could be. Additionally, with the loss of the gym and school from COVID in 2020, this absence and subsequent lashing out was made even more profound. This situation hasn’t changed and is apparently something I’m still not okay with, as evidenced in yesterday’s Scenery Change post. It’s not all about family, but it mostly is I think.

Ben was in a lot more of this older writing compared to now. He was still my little sidekick back then. This was perhaps the most painful part of this reflection. I realize that it’s a natural part of getting older, but I also can’t help but wonder if I’ve done something wrong or if there’s something I can do to make things just a bit more like that again. I miss him and am now motivated to figure out how to have whatever version of what we had that makes sense for a twelve-year-old.

I also have much more to say this time, with these recent posts being at least twice as long. My posts before were still around observations, grievances, celebrations, and curiosities, but this time, there’s more of a journey involved. This journey has been beneficial and maybe even crucial in maintaining enthusiasm for this endeavor. In a single post, I’ll fully break down what would just be one of a million passing thoughts a day. Sometimes, I’m more confused; other times, I’ve taken a seemingly negative thing and changed my entire perspective. Either way, it’s nice to explore thoughts instead of constantly pushing them down to a place where they can potentially fester before reemerging more powerfully, and ignoring is no longer an option.

Finally, it was incredibly bizarre to realize that these posts were written before my ADHD diagnosis. Some of these things that I was chalking up to pandemic chaos and stress were actually related to ADHD instead. I was looking for answers but didn’t know enough about this stuff at the time to look in that direction. I don’t think things would have been easier if I had known, but I know that I would have been more empathetic and kinder to myself. Medication hasn’t worked out so far, and I was in therapy for years before finding out, so the most significant benefits a diagnosis has afforded me have been education and not being so hard on myself. Name it to tame it,” as some say.

Even though COVID overshadowed every thought, and my camera roll was full of case number screenshots as well as butterflies and rainbows, it was still an exceptional summer, something I can only now fully see. While there are common themes, it’s clear that I’ve made progress and grown when comparing the words, the insight, and my interpretations.

That summer will never happen again. This summer will look different, but I hope I can see that that doesn’t have to mean worse and learn to better understand what good times look like as they are happening–something I hope I don’t have to try to remember forever.

See you tomorrow over breakfast.

February 20, 2024

A tiny project byJoni Trythall inspired by friends at Wiggle Work.