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Kim Hensley Owens

Updated: May 18, 2020

How am I?

I usually try to answer this common question quasi-honestly; if I feel good, I say so. If I’m tired but in the process of caffeinating my way to a better place, I offer that detail. Pre-coronavirus, I say “okay” a lot. Now how am I? I don’t know.

I spent the first two weeks of isolation time obsessively checking the stats—searching anywhere at first, then settling on Worldometer. I’d check stats, I’d cry, I’d try to focus on work and get my mind off it all, handle a kid tantrum about online school, do some dishes, and then I’d check the stats again and start that process all over what seemed like dozens of times a day. I was not okay. Then I limited my stats check to twice a day; got into a bit of a home-school-work rhythm; became slightly functional as a remote worker and a hands-on parent-educator/tech-support parent; and I was “alright; hangin’ in” for a week or so. I spent another week plus saying “Not great” after I had to tell a dozen people our program had no teaching positions for them next year. Round about then my hip went out (labral tear + years-ago repair surgery + exceptionally excessive stress = relapse/downward spiral into disability territory) and I was pretty far from okay again for the next few weeks, in near-constant physical pain on top of the psychological and intellectual stressors of isolation, parenting, and working for a university that feels more like a Jenga tower than an ivory tower right now.

Sometimes I feel okay—this afternoon I spent an hour coloring a Dr. Seuss book with my daughter, listening to Kacey Musgraves and Dolly Parton and First Aid Kit. That the hour was “extra” time because we were having leftovers for dinner and because the sunlight tricked us into thinking it was earlier than it really was made it all the better. That felt okay—good, even. And despite my firm belief that the state shouldn’t “reopen” when cases and deaths are both on the rise in our state, I am incredibly grateful parts of it did. I lucked into a therapeutic massage appointment during the two day window between when appointments were allowed and when the masseuse was heading to Phoenix to watch her grandkids for a month—and thankfully this woman who has once before worked a hip miracle for me did so again (this time with masks!). Now I can mostly walk again and have stopped calculating when I’ll be old enough to qualify for a #%&*^@ hip replacement.

So how am I? I’m stressed; I wish my workplace was run by a person with a heart; I miss the real world; and I want to hug my mom. I’m also hopeful and pragmatic and slightly obsessive. I’m not crying most days, and I’m doing physical therapy as I (re)watch The Sopranos long after I should be asleep most nights. So I guess I’m pretty good, all things considered. How are you, Rashid Robinson?

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