art detail

For six months now I spend most of my time alone and in silence. I live alone. Well, I have a dog, so technically it is not “alone alone” but my dog does not speak back so it is impossible to hold a true conversation. It is all one-sided. I have been working from home and as much as I love it this means no casual conversations with co-workers and except for occasional meetings, I don’t speak. I don’t mind silence. I welcome it. Silence is golden, they say. However, I am finding that my speaking skills and vocabulary are going down. I often grasp for words. They don’t come easily anymore, especially the lingo I use for work. It’s a huge hindrance especially if I give a workshop at work.  The other day I actually used the word “thingymajig” because I forgot the word “icon.” I come across as an immature rather than a knowledgeable Instructional Designer. I have somewhat excuse as English is my second language so people can forgive a lot as they probably think I am just not in a full grasp of it. Which at this point I am not, of course. So, it is true. This however hinders my confidence and even self-esteem. I don’t know how to get over it. Maybe I should just read to myself out loud. This way I at least practice the sound of words. Memorizing them is another story. Even writing now is a slower process than it used to be. Again, grasping for words.

My Russian though is improving as I speak to my sister quite often even though I cannot talk to her without drinking a glass of wine because often times it is incredibly frustrating. However, it’s good to get to know her better so she feels more like a sister and not a stranger on the street who came up to me one day and said, “I am your sister. You have to take care of me now.” But there is a downside. She wants me to make every decision for her just like my mother used to be. She is co-dependent in character and I cannot handle it very well as I have been self-sufficient all my life. I don’t get how you release control of your life to someone else, how you don’t know what you want in life because no one told you what you should and must want. Sometimes it even puts her life in danger. She was diagnosed with breast cancer some years ago and believe it or not she did not do anything about it. When she finally went to the doctor at my urging and he told her that she needs a round of chemo, she flat out refused and even told me that her body will heal itself. That sent me into a bout of furry and I had to scream at her over the phone that inaction is a death sentence. It took three weeks to convince her to do it. She is now cancer-free (or at least in remission). Our mother died of pancreatic cancer. How could she not act when she saw what happens?

I think cancer attaching my family is because they moved to a shitty town in Belarus that is downstream of and just a few miles away from Chernobyl.  Most of the town has cancer of some sort. Now my goal is to move her out of there and believe me it is not an easy task. It is easier for her to make an excuse that she has a flat and won’t be able to sell it so she cannot move. If you ask me when it is a matter between life and death you would run away from that place even if you have to abandon a chance of potentially making $35,000. Anyhow, I keep talking to her and keep telling her what to do as much as I can. That’s all I can do.

So, at the moment I am stuck between feeling inadequate due to my diminishing speaking skills and completely powerless due to not being able to control what happens to my sister and the world in general. Too many unknowns for me to deal with. But I suppose there are many people in the same boat due to COVID, losing their jobs, and generally not knowing when it all will end. I am not even going to mention the upcoming election. So, it is time to do art, bake bread, and hike or run. Those are all the things I can control. Those are all the things that make me feel better.


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