Emily Articulated

The many Emilys of quarantine

By Emily Erickson
Reader Columnist

I recognize that I have it made during this time of quarantine, especially in comparison to many who aren’t so fortunate. I don’t have children to both care for and educate; I work in an industry that isn’t shut down; I live on a beautiful slice of property with ready access to woods, trails, lakes and mountains; and have both a wonderful human and canine with whom I share my time.

Because of my circumstances, I’d love to say I’ve been handling my time in isolation with perfect ease — that I use all of my free time in productive and creative ways; that my cup of inspiration is always full; that I’ve found seamless ways to remain connected from afar. To be honest, and in case anyone else needs permission to navigate their time in isolation in whatever way they need, that ideal Emily is not my reality. 

Instead, like a roster of Myers-Briggs personality types, numerous and distinct versions of myself have emerged in the past month. They’re the Five Emilys of Quarantine:

Zen Emily 

Illustration by Emily Erickson.

Zen Emily thinks everything will work itself out in the end. She spends her time in deep contemplation about the positive effects of a world on pause, like Earth healing itself and our social systems being reset. She reflects on the wonders of social media and how much better than ever we are equipped to connect from a distance, and makes time to read and listen to stories about the world coming together in beautiful ways.

Zen Emily is grateful for her current circumstances and can be found on her yoga mat, sipping tea, taking a hike, sitting in the sun, gazing into the horizon or attempting mindful meditation.

Fuggin’ Mess Emily 

Illustration by Emily Erickson.

Fuggin’ Mess Emily has been wearing the same oversized T-shirt for three days in a row — a shirt that now has a smorgasbord of unidentifiable stains and a hole in the armpit. She found a neglect-dreadlock, can’t remember the last time she showered, spilled a glass of wine on the floor and has officially run out of socks. She idly considers braving the laundromat and has absolutely no idea where all of her spare time went.

Fuggin’ Mess Emily is too flustered to be aware of anything but her own messes and can be found staring at the mound of dirty dishes, rubbing at her hair grease or searching for chocolate chips under the couch.

Creative Whirlwind Emily 

Illustration by Emily Erickson.

Creative whirlwind Emily is in the middle of learning a new skill, planting a garden or creating a new recipe. She has paint smudges on her cheek, dirt under her fingernails and banjo finger picks in her pockets. She is at once working on a pastel portrait, dreaming up a new business and listening to a book in Spanish. She is amazed at the incredible potential contained within a few extra hours of daylight. 

Creative Whirlwind Emily ponders how to institute leisure time as a fundamental human right and can be found splitting logs, refinishing a chair, tuning in to storyteller podcasts and live music performances, and reading up on North Idaho permaculture.

Catatonic Emily 

Illustration by Emily Erickson.

Catatonic Emily has no energy to do a thing. She just emerged from a vortex of news broadcasts and can’t remember when she started scrolling on Instagram. She wonders if this crisis will ever end and contemplates the lasting effects it will have on the local and global economies. She has been laying on the couch and staring at a spec of paint on the wall for the last hour. She has forgotten to eat both lunch and dinner.

Catatonic Emily gets lost in thought spirals and can be found pushing play on another episode of some show on Netflix, listening to melodramatic music in the dark, rereading Harry Potter and only getting up to transfer another pillow from the bed to the couch.

Productive AF Emily 

Illustration by Emily Erickson.

As rare as a kakapo, Productive AF Emily woke up early and put on real pants. She is at her computer with her fingers whizzing in a typing frenzy, has three new job leads and is checking off one to-do list item after another. She is never out of arm’s reach of a cup of coffee and is liable to yell, “Could you put on more hot water for the French press?”

Productive AF Emily is able to allocate attention to all of the things she should finish and can be found beating deadlines, power-eating lunch and hopping on Zoom conference calls.

Ultimately, whether you’re spending your days in a creative tornado, in a catatonic state or catching up on all the things you’ve been meaning to for ages, you’re doing great. Your quarantine self in all its forms is exactly who it needs to be and I commend you. Keep up the good work, Sandpoint.

Illustrations by Emily Erickson.

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