I Have Turned into a Quaran-Teen

I Have Turned into a Quaran-Teen

Has social distance effed you up? Kaitlyn McQuin relates

Who else opens their eyes first thing in the morning and immediately says, “Ugh”? 

Life lately has felt like an angsty teen movie where the protagonist is just hashtag ~over it~ and screams into their pillow in the mornings before getting dressed, eats one blueberry for breakfast, and drives to high school in their Jeep. Wish Upon A Star, anyone?

So. Much. Angst.

But the viewer loves it, and it’s because they know that, in the end, everything will work out and they’ll soon be dancing at prom with the love of their life, laughing and giggling, and then they’ll go to college and study fine arts or something. But the cycle continues! Because then you have another situation a la She’s All That where you’re just painting and painting and painting and then someone is like, “We need to fix you” and you’re like “I NEED TO FIX MYSELF.”

You, uh… you know what I mean?

Quarantine has made me feel like a teen who has been grounded. And while I was never grounded as a child, because I had an intense fear of disappointing people, I can only assume it feels like this. And it sucks. So, if you’re like me and also feel like a hormonal mess of a sixteen-year-old, you’re not alone. 

It starts when I wake up in the morning, which is convenient. If there’s one thing in life I love, it’s waking up annoyed. And then it lasts mostly all day. My feelings of restlessness and agitation do not go away until around 8:30 p.m. some days, which is the time I have chosen over these past few months as the perfect time to start winding down, eat some chocolate, and do whatever makes me feel good. It’s my bedtime. See? Grounded teen.

Sometimes what makes me feel good is watching Little Women for the hundredth time and sobbing at Jo’s attic monologue, wondering who gave Saoirse Ronan permission to be so wonderful. Sometimes it’s rubbing lavender essential oil on my temples and pretending I’m at a spa. And, sometimes it’s, well, other things that make me feel good. 

(I feel like now is the time to ask if you are taking care of you. Like, your needs? It’s important to do, especially now when our world could catch fire and explode at any given second. Wouldn’t you wanna go out with a bang, even if it’s a solo one?)

Speaking of solo activities, I’ve adopted quite a bit of them into my lifestyle over the past four months. They range from daily walks at my favorite park, plopping myself down on my bright teal couch and writing with the front door wide open so I can hear “nature sounds”, and watching a lot of movies and TV. 

And I’m sick of all of it. Grateful? Yes. Sick of? Also, yes.

I desperately miss people. I really and truly do. I desperately miss people and places and snuggling up in a cocktail bar with a cute dude drinking prosecco and bonding over our mutual love of something ridiculous like compulsively cleaning out the lint trap from the dryer or having manners. I miss it. And I’m over embracing solitude and using this time to “discover myself” and resting. 

Thou hast rested enough. Thou wish to frolic over yonder and be sociable.

I miss having a busy schedule that fulfills me and not just a busy schedule, because there is a difference. Since quarantine began, most of my days have been busy, but they haven’t always fed my soul. And that’s exhausting.

I want to wake up in the morning, have exactly two hours to myself (this is science, by the way. It’s an experiment that I have been conducting over the years, and now I have my conclusion, and my conclusion is that I need two hours to myself in the morning to drink coffee in peace, and then the rest of the day can be spent with other people). After Kaitlyn’s Coffee Time™, I want to put on a cute outfit and go out into the world and be around exquisite minds, travel to wonderful places, and do cool things. 

In truth, much like that angsty teen that has apparently taken over my entire being, I am sick of myself, and I mean that in the nicest way possible, as teenagers often do. I’m ready for something new.

In the past when I’ve experienced moments like these, moments of sheer panic at the thought of zero momentum, I would usually travel, or quit my job, or fall in love and move out of state. Seriously, I’ve done all three to help fix whatever mental anguish I was experiencing. As liberating as they all were, let me tell you, they don’t work, which is the fantastic news I know you were hoping to hear.

There’s this saying that goes something like, “Wherever you go, there you are,” but how does this apply if I’m not going anywhere? If none of us are? No shit wherever I go, there I am, because I am mostly only going from my bedroom to the kitchen and nowhere else. I live here, in this house, so of course there I am. 

But it’s true… wherever you go, there you are. It’s true. 

So, what do we do? Because I can’t be the only one who is just longing for a sense of normalcy, or change, or adventure, or something to spice up 2020, but in a good way. This year has been truly on fire, like when you accidentally eat the jalapeño slice from your margarita and you find yourself praying for the first time in years to “save my soul, Lord! Taketh away thy pain!” 

And he’s like, “Who’s this?” 

And you’re like, “… shouldn’t you know? You supposedly made me, but OK, I’ll just suffer.”

I oftentimes like to round out my column with a bit of advice, but I don’t know if I have any this time around. The truth is, I struggle most days. I struggle to stay positive, I struggle to find joy, and I struggle to rest when I need it or take space without guilt. 

But I know it’ll pass, because time always does. And all of this is just a really shitty time.

So, if you wake up in the morning annoyed, same. If you can’t fathom speaking to literally anyone but your own subconscious, that’s fine. If all you can muster that day is brushing your teeth and eating only cereal, go for it. Because there will be a day when all of this stuff is behind us. 

And, once again, we will wake up excited, we’ll scream into our pillow less, and we will choose occasional aloneness and won’t be forced into it.

I can’t wait. 

Until then, if you need me, you know where to find me, and that’s at home screaming into the void.  



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