It’s gonna be okay, y’all. Let’s play.

Right now many of us are settling into a long and somewhat unsettling bout of social distancing or quarantines and the world is scary.  So first off, here is a reminder that whatever you feel is okay to feel.  If you’re scared or sad or relieved or silly or laughing or crying or a combination of all of them in rapid succession that is perfectly human and I salute you.

Secondly, I am a natural introvert so I’ve been training for this for my whole life, but don’t let anyone tell you that this is easy for hermits.  Personally, I’m feeling very grateful that Victor and I already work from home and Hailey has been in correspondence high school so this shouldn’t really feel very different for us but honestly it really is and it’s very easy for me to fall back into my agoraphobic tendencies and spiral into a depression or let my anxiety spin me out so remember to take care of yourself and others mentally during this time.  Go for walks if you can, drink a lot of water, laugh as much as you can, give yourself permission to discover a new way of life and remember that this is a strange adventure that we will remember living through for the rest of our lives.  For example, this was my yesterday:

I have a bunch of drawings I’ve done that I should really be saving for my next coloring book but life is weird right now and I think we all need a distraction so I’m going to be sharing a new drawing every week here for awhile that you can print out for free and color if you want to.  If you don’t have a printer you can order it on zazzle right here and have it printed on heavy matte paper and color it and hang it on your wall.  It’s on sale today.

Here’s this week’s coloring page.  Click to embiggen:

It’s gonna be okay.  Get those colors out.

100 thoughts on “It’s gonna be okay, y’all. Let’s play.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Thank you. I am a teacher and, right now, the uncertainty is starting to get to me. I worry about my students. I know everything is going to be fine, but… ugh.

  2. This has been the weirdest, saddest, scariest week of my life. I’m a natural extrovert and also a severe empath, so the isolation plus all of the fear has been debilitating for me. Thank you for being a bright light, Jenny. We need you.

  3. Yeah, life is weird. We will survive, but we will be changed in some ways. I think that’s what people are most afraid of. They might not know themselves when it’s all over.

  4. Thank you for this! I live near Seattle and we’re closing in on full lock down. It’s a new, startling world that we’re all adjusting to but it gives me hope when I see all of the small and large acts of kindness happening right now. It’s a really scary time but we will absolutely get through this!

  5. You could still put them in your next coloring book even if you are awesomely publishing them here. Maybe your next book could be You Are STILL Here. 🙂

  6. I’ve made a t-shirt and matching headband in response to people who give me the stink eye when I cross the road to keep 6 feet between us- they both say:
    “It’s not rude.
    It’s social distancing”
    Maybe on my next T I should add, I just saved your life, motherfucker. Or my own. Either way, one of us wins.
    I’m thinking I need to attach a 6 foot unicorn horn of Nerf to the headband so people can see how far 6 feet really is.

    The apoCOVIDalypse.
    We will always remember the Plague year.

    Wash hands, socially distance and tell your loved ones you live them. Gratitude is the nemesis of panic.

    Whoever reads this, I love you. I’d cross the road to stay 6 feet from you. That’s how important you are.

    Jenny, THANK YOU for sharing the coloring pages.

    Everyone, eat well, sleep well and laugh at poop jokes because they will never not be funny.

  7. That should read, “Tell you loved ones you love them”
    My autocorrect has lost her mind.

  8. Thank you, Bloggess. I am so scared. We are pretty much shut down here, with a state of emergency declared. People’s behavior is freaking me out.

  9. Severely agoraphobic here, though, this has been quite unsettling to me considering my youngest two girls are 3 and 5. They dont understand why they cant go out because of “sickness”.

    They get “Zombies” though.

    Zombie Apocalypse would be so much easier…

    …and satisfying.

  10. Thank you! I needed this perspective today as I made the (ridiculous) decision to re-read World War Z and it’s unsurprisingly done nothing for my mental state. It’s always good to get words of wisdom, it’s even better when they come from a Queen (of the park!)

  11. So I’m in the age group (old) where I’m supposed to go into isolation. That means I have had to cancel a trip I didn’t want to take, postpone a presentation that I was way behind on preparing and was stressing over, and opt out of social events where I would have had to talk to people. And I found out that Total Wine delivers! This plague year doesn’t look quite so bad for us introverts now, assuming we live through it….

  12. Thank you, Jenny. I’m in the hospital right now (hoping to go home today) and I’ve been here since Sunday). I’ve been bored and lonely, so I’m looking forward to printing your fantastic drawing and coloring it!

    Thank you also for your sense of humor and unique perspective on things!

  13. I am easily observing 6 feet of separation when outside via my 11 pound dog snarling and lunging at anyone she perceives as a stranger. Her current nickname is “Death From the Ankles Down.” I highly recommend this method, but would love to see a picture of the headband with a 6 foot foam unicorn horn attached. That just has Etsy success written all over it!

  14. Thank you for sharing yourself, your art, and bringing your tribe together as we distance from our ‘normal’ lives. Stay healthy, everyone.

  15. I’m starting week 3 of TMS and my anxiety is sky high. Short term disability wants me back to work on March 30. FU, Met Life. I won’t even be done with the treatments by then. I was feeling better (stopped crying all the time) but then I was forced to pay attention to COVID and I feel utterly hopeless again. I want my Mom but she’s long gone. I’m 63 now and planning to retire this year. Jenny, I know that depression lies, but I feel hopeless and it doesn’t feel like it’s temporary. TMS worked for me last year. I just want my Mom.

  16. I love the joint-community-social-distancing going on in your dog park. That is hilariously awesome, that random people just start shouting at each other and divvying out the park in sections.

    I find it mildly ironic that most people are rescheduling appointments, yet Immigration Canada (finally) contacts me and demands I take a medical exam (and accompanying labs and X-rays) within 30 days. I feel like I’m being asked to walk into a Dragon’s den. They have brilliant timing. I’ll give them that. Also, the medical office asked that I wear a mask in. Everyone has to. I was like, where the f*** am I supposed to get one of those? Think they were probably sold out at roughly the same time as toilet paper, and I was a little behind the eighth ball there.
    Guess I’m just gonna be all bandit-like and rock the bandana. Unsheathe a toy sword if anyone gets too close or something. I dunno.

  17. That is an amazing drawing. Congrats on your piece of park ownership! I hope they don’t charge you taxes or maintenance fees. <3

  18. Thank you! Hang in there – us introverts have got to show the rest of the world how to manage these strange and challenging times

  19. Thanks for this! I just saw an article about Zentangle and thought this would be the perfect time to learn. I love your drawings! They’re so beautiful!!!

  20. Strange request…I would love to color that lovely drawing, but my printer doesn’t work. I am also out of work, and therefore cash. Is there anyone out there who could mail me a copy?

  21. While extroverts are freaking out, wondering how they’ll survive without social interaction, introverts are finally in their element and no longer having to make up excuses why they have to stay home. This is our time to shine!

  22. Went to four grocery stores today just to get normal supplies. Biggest surprises was that apparently people have bought all of the Morton’s salt in Massachusetts. We knew there would be no toilet paper (stupid us failed to panic stockpile). Also no chicken anywhere. On grocery store number 4 we finally found a jug of distilled water for my husband’s CPAP.

    But really. Can someone please explain the Morton’s salt?

  23. Thank you Jenny – As an introvert, I expected to feel relief to be told to work from home… I think you helped me understand why I’m not feeling relief at the moment, and reminding me that’s okay. This is why I love you and the tribe you have created!

  24. Lol the claim jumping at the park!! Jenny you are a delightful wonder and a gift to the world! You have no idea how much we love to read what you have to say and I love reading what you, tribe, have to say too!!
    If anyone needs suggestions on what can help, the following helps me: meditation daily sometimes twice a day, doing personal reiki daily/reading up on reiki, prayer, doing the KonMarie method, and funnily enough watching the wildlife outside.

    One of our residences happens to be what we thought was a single bunny who I named Frederick (he seemed like a British bunny to me lol) but we were proven wrong the other day after we watched a fuzz ball peek out from nearby bushes! Fredrick is a papa bunny and has a sweet little baby bunny who is the size of my fist. I actually watched it hop the other day and I thought I was going to cry from the cuteness! Thank you, nature! Now I watch my patio like a weirdo everyday ☺️

    Yay quarantined weirdness! Lol.

  25. Not so scared of shelter in place, but more scared of seriously maiming a family member who gets on my nerves one.too.many.times. Therefore, I come here to get a laugh and decompress. The comments are as funny as Jenny’s original post.

    Similar experience walking the dogs this a.m., the first morning of the quarantine. I would shout “this way” and point so the other walker/runner would know which half of the path was theirs and which half was mine. You can have the duck pond, I have the left half of the shoreline trail from the blue bridge to the ferry landing. If it gets any worse, maybe I’ll divide up six foot square portions of “my path” to other walkers/joggers and we can jump up and down in place to preserve [anti] social distance.

  26. This may be a duplicate response because we have to sign-in via WordPress….so I apologize if it is a duplicate. I have changed it a bit.
    I’m a bit worried about this pandemic, but mainly because I don’t trust the powers that be to manage things effectively. As to myself, I was born in Kansas and have a LOT of childhood memories of my mom, aunts and grandma stripped to their slips, drinking sloe gin fizzes and preparing various fruits and vegetables to can. My sister and I were usually toodling around, probably getting in the way, but also, hearing their stories of what it was like to live through the Great Depression (and Dust Bowl) and WWII. I must have absorbed those stories because I feel pretty competent to survive this on minimal things. I love to/and can cook with pantry staples, and my activities are usually of a solitary nature (reading, knitting, etc.) As long as I can access my local library’s online materials (currently closed for at least 2 weeks), Netflix and AmazonPrime, I’m good. It’s the rest of the world I worry about; this will have such serious repercussions, both financially and emotionally….
    I guess what most worries me are the kids now not in school; I’m a retired teacher and I know what a lifeline schools are to so many of the kids I taught. Most of them were from homes where the parent couldn’t stay home, and who often had more than one job- so the school became their safe zone. Now, they are on their own, and remembering all the stories they used to try to terrify me with, well…. this is not good. But, at the rate the virus is spreading, closing all these schools, activities, etc. is needed. It’s what worked in 1918… so we have to dig down and discover how those folks survived and endeavor to do the same.
    Oh- and in homage to my Kansan grandma (whose language could make a sailor flinch), when I can jams, etc., every summer, I drink a sloe gin fizz or two in her honor. There’s a British sloe gin that is incredible….!!

  27. and p.s.- I’m thinking of making a tee that says ‘Anti-social anyway. What else is new?’

  28. Someone bought groceries for me this morning, and when I went to pick them up I drove by the local (city) high school, about 75% qualify for free school breakfast and lunch. There were two big yellow school busses delivering packaged meals, as it was one of the scheduled meal drop off sites, and six or seven adults (in gloves) were setting up chairs and tables so they could sit and wait for the kids to come by to get their meals. The human spirit never fails to warm my heart.

  29. My small culdesac is filled with toddlers laughing and having a good time. Their parents are chatting nearby. I didn’t know this many kids were living so close. It’s normally people coming and going to work. Everyone is out walking dogs or pushing strollers. It reminds me of when I was a kid. It’s nice.

  30. Julie,

    Yeah. My mom died about ten months ago, and I have been feeling about six-years-old since then (I’m fifty-seven). Now I’m torn between “I wat my mommy” and being glad that she’s not having to contend with the virus. But if I get ill, then I will go full-on Mommy-wanting mode.

    Ruth

  31. We’re in public health (IKR? oxymoron?) and my wife has been sent home for having asthma; I’m trying to keep my officemates healthy and positive while we wait for the orders to stay home. Actually, the two gals have to stay home, and the two guys can come in. For now.

    I’m so grateful for your brilliant, beautiful creativity right now.

  32. I keep trying to share this wonderful blog entry on Facebook, and it says your site has been blocked???!!!

  33. So sweet and generous and good, as always. Thanks for the comforting and the coloring page. <3

  34. I’m calling it spatial distancing because, as an introvert, I have been more social over the last couple of days on the internets and over the phone than I usually am in a month! And I bet I’m not the only one. Blessings and love to all of you Strangelings.

  35. I’m picturing that scene at the park if one of the individuals didn’t know about the virus (maybe they came from November via time machine, or the others went back and this was in November?) and how fascinating it would be to have someone yelling about what part of the park was whose. Maybe you should start taking a flag to plant in your zone. Probably not wise to yell to the other guy that you’re going to build a wall and he’s going to pay for it.

    Julie, it gets better. I would never tell anyone I know how they feel. I don’t. I do know what it was like when I lost my mom, and then my stepfather, about 3 years apart. I was very close to both of them, and it was pretty bleak. Even more so when my 9-year-old grandson, whom I helped raise, was murdered in 2013. But with time I’ve gotten to where when I think of them the first things that come to mind are the happy, funny memories and the gratitude. It still nails me in the middle of the chest once in a while but not often.
    Also, I went through TMS treatment a couple of years ago and in the long run it did me some good. Not a happy-happy-joy-joy miracle, but somewhat better. The thing that made the most dramatic difference for me was EMDR, but that’s just me. CBT, a SAD light, paying attention to nutrition, and giving myself permission to be at whatever level I’m at on a given day instead of beating myself up for not being 100% all help too, as does telling someone who cares how I’m doing.
    It may be a bitch while it’s here, but this too really shall pass.

  36. I’ve never commented before but I’ve been reading Jenny’s words for years. I’m so scared right now. No pressure, but you’ve calmed my fears about so many things before. I’m looking to you. Even though it’s not fair. Even though you don’t deserve this. Jenny, you are amazing and I love you. Now’s the time to say how we really feel, no?

  37. This place always helps me so much. Ot is so amazing how being told it’s okay to feel… whatever. And not have someone logic away, tell me how to feel. I have had all the emotions and now have to deal with not getting to see my family because I have an ultra high risk job (healthcare) with a high risk for exposure, it’s making me so, so sad, and so many other things.

  38. I love this. I live overseas, and most of us are on the downward slope of this insanity. I’m praying my friends and family State-side are going to be smart and not dismiss this as “just a flu” – which I’m still hearing.
    We were planning to return to the US for a vacation in June… and visit NoWhere Bookshop. Get some signed books for ourselves and family, and all plans are just shot to hades. BUT we are happy in our home and self-isolating is SO much easier in a developing country when buying groceries doesn’t include touching a germ-ridden grocery cart or basket.
    Stay safe!

  39. Hello, fellow strangling, though not apart of the book club yet…. this whole thing has been kinda weird for me, I’m a natural introvert and currently work in a craft store, which is not closing yet. So I’m weirdly envious of all of you people isolating. I’m also kinda worried about picking it up from work even though we’ve been pretty quiet the last few days . I’m also glad I stocked up on hand sanitizer long before this broke out. ( i use it a lot at work.)
    So like i stated before, my store hasn’t closed yet… so I find myself in the awkward position wondering if I should self isolate anyways? Worrying I may have it and not know it? Not sure where to draw the line….

  40. Jenny and the wonderful weird community that lives here… Julie_H | March 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm needs us. Can we swarm her with virtual chocolate lab puppies, sneaky ice cream hidden behind the frozen peas, thoughts of warm bath with pink bubbles and a million person hug vibe? JULIE YOU ARE NOT ALONE WE ARE HERE FOR YOU SWEETS.

  41. Thanks for the positive postings, Jenny. We can all be in this together even though we are self=quarantining or self-isolating. Bless the Internet! I know it’s old news, but I thoroughly enjoyed your paper flower tutorial. The flower part was interesting, but the way you talk to Dorothy Barker (great name) is how I talk to my pets! A request: do more videos with you talking to the cats and dog while you are doing something (dusting the taxidermy, for example). Please!?

  42. I love you for a million reasons, but the one from today is the fact that you say “embiggen”. I thought I was the only one!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  43. Thanks for the pic! Living in the middle of nowhere is beneficial right now. I have telework, lots of books, and plenty of yarn and patterns. All will be well – I hope. Hugs to all those feeling anxious <3

  44. I saw my first robins on the lawn yesterday. And snowdrops and crocus are blooming up here in the Northeast USA. The birds are singing and the sun is shining, and the squirrels are wrestling on the lawn. Going to the park or hanging out on the lawn watching nature going on as if the Covid-pocalypse wasn’t real. I’m calling my mother or texting her daily because she’s very social and suffers from depression and this social distancing really makes things much worse for her. She does like to garden, so I’m encouraging her to get out in her garden. My husband suffers from anxiety and depression, his job makes him work with the public, and even though all sorts of places have shut down and restricted customer contact, his company is dragging their feet on social distancing for the employees of the company that have the most public contact. (The corporate yahoos are working remotely, though.) I have anxiety which weirdly isn’t ramping up in this super anxious time, I guess it’s my mother’s insistence that no matter what the crisis you just gotta do what has to be done to survive in life. As a single mom with 3 kids she always managed despite her constant major depression to make sure the important things were taken care of for us kids. She taught me to appreciate the little things like nature, music, arts & crafts, books and movies. My dad’s sister and my mom’s father died months after 9/11 and I was the only person to take care of my aunt during that crazy time. My grandmother passed 10 years later. I’m so glad they’re not here to experience this crisis, I miss them but I’m grateful they’re not here. My family is spread all over the world, and I worry about all of them. I’m going to send a group letter later to tell them all I love them. I’m going to practice kindness on everyone I see when I have to go out to the store for supplies. My husband says he’s going to practice patience while driving and not honk his car horn unless someone’s in danger. He wants to respect how on edge everyone is. I’m going to check on my elderly neighbors from six feet away from their doors. I’m most happy socially distanced in the regular life, but there are a lot of people in this world who are suffering ongoing anxiety and depression and social isolation for the first long term time in their lives right now. Us strangelings are really, really good at it. I love you Jenny, for giving us the laughs we need and creating this community for us to share our pain, and all your community members for contributing by persisting sharing their lives in this crazy time. You are all awesome and you make it easier for me to cope.

  45. I’m an introvert and I work at home and homeschool my kids and my husband is disabled. So this is old hat to us. Except that now we can’t leave the house, even if we want to. Because anxiety and important social distancing. We still get groceries and medicine and go to the doctor, but every time we do, I’m terrified. Thanks, brain. Thanks contagions.

  46. Thanks Jenny – i always appreciate your way of making me smile – even through sadness. I’m really under the blanket of depression and it is awful…and everything is just overwhelming me. Can somebody send a note to the universe that NO ONE wants another email on the plague? IT AIN’T HELPIN!!! XOXO all – please take care!! XStacy

  47. As usual, thanks for your post. I don’t always comment, I mean, I hardly comment, but I read your blog a lot and it HELPS me cope with my life–much of the time. Truly. I stopped today and thought about how I don’t tell you that. I always figure you probably don’t read all your comments. But maybe you DO. You probably do because I would, so why not you? So, I wanted to let you know, and thank you for your words, and for sharing your candid thoughts with the world. It’s not easy to be vulnerable. I know. So, from one brain-cootied person to another, I’m very grateful for you and all your quirks and wonderful facets. I suffer from mental illness too, among other ailments, and gosh darn, I’m just glad you are here. Why not let you know, Jenny? Thank you so much.

  48. Why is everybody struck by “embiggen”? It’s a perfectly cromulent word, after all.

  49. Jenny, would you be upset if I used your drawings for embroidery?I’ve been looking for something interesting and inspiring to do.

  50. I used to be an avid hiker and even now, that’s denied to me because of an injury that happened earlier in the year. Even though I’m mostly not in pain any more, I’m still in enough pain enough of the time (like maybe 1% of the time) that I’m scared to go out because I’m afraid I’d get stuck somewhere, in too much pain to walk back to my house. 🙁 And it SUCKS. Because the weather was SO nice today. D:

  51. Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you
    A million times
    For always making this a safe place to spend a few minutes

  52. Thank you for this. I am having a tough time for sure. Depression and anxiety wants me to stay in bed or sulk but I have to “work” (I’m a special education teacher) PLUS I have a 2 year old. Also I love your coloring book drawing. It’s amazing.

  53. I am in love with this!!!! I may have done something wrong because when I tried to print it it came out super fuzzy and the lines kinda blended together. Has someone printed this successfully that can give me some pointers? I have a PC.

  54. I only go out when I HAVE to and no one comes to visit (yeah!!) So my life isn’t going to change much in that regard. Unfortunately the way it is changing is I keep ordering from HEB but they are consistantly out of t.p., Dog food, and cat food. It is going to get ugly in here.

  55. Julie H – hang in there. This too shall pass. You may not have your mom, but you do have this tribe. We can not replace her, but we’ve got your back. Talk to us when you need to, care of Jenny’s blog.

  56. I’m a work from home writer who considers it a good day when I don’t have to leave the house except to hike in my desert foothills (which are right out my back door). But it hasn’t stopped snowing for 5 days, there’s no hiking, and having my chosen lifestyle made mandatory is scary. Bright spots are common sense protocols given as advice (rather than panic), the numbers of people recovered from the plague, husband, cats, and the Bloggess. Thank you!

  57. Thank you for this post. I’m trying not to get enmeshed in all of the social media focus and almost never read through comments, except here. This is such a wonderful community of support, perspective and humor. It helps to see that there are others like me out there and be able to share. Thanks to Jenny and the tribe.

  58. Im so scared about food. Everyone is panic buying everything, and fighting over things in supermarkets, and its scary. Im trying to study for my degree and my head is very much not in the game. stay safe all

  59. Thank you, thank you for this coloring page – but when I print it the background is gray and I can’t get it to fill the page. The gray fills the page instead. Is there another way I should print? Thank you!

  60. I love your attempt at diversion, but I am freaking the F out right about now. I live in the state that is always colored the worst color with regard to people sick and dying. I’m trying to hide my anxiety and be strong for my mother who is 90 and also freaking the F out. This afternoon I’m visiting an older folks residence to cut the hair of whoever needs it. That was supposed to calm me down but now I’m scared of what I might bring home. … helps to just put that out there. Thanks.

  61. I just discovered 6 extra rolls of toilet paper and 3 boxes of Kleenex (sorry for bragging) that my OCD, stuck over seas, military husband stocked up on. I’ve never loved him more. What’s the paper anniversary?? That just ensures that his t shirts will not become shit tickets a little longer:)

  62. Jenny, I was going to write you a nice letter with my fountain pen on my pretty stationery because Miss Manners taught me to. But paper letters are germy and I want to tell you about this.
    My darling sister of my heart- I adopted her and her family as my own decades ago- lived in another state and we’d have long phone calls from time to time. But it got hard as her demons crept up on her. I tried to talk her out of it and she’d tell me she was seeing a therapist and going to AA but it didn’t get ahold of her like the demons did. I sent her your coloring book and nice pencils, using your messages on your art to remind her how dear she was. It didn’t work. She was worse off than she told me. We lost her in July.
    When I went up for her memorial I saw your book again on a table. People were using the colored pencils to fill in your designs that they liked and then writing notes of their own in the margins to wish her well on her journey. I think one of her sons kept the book. Your art touched all their lives and created a place for our sorrow. Thank you.

    (I hope you can feel the love I’m sending you. I’m so sorry. ~ Jenny)

  63. Rachael #89 Rather than letting your demon printer print, open the file in a graphics program and click Page setup. It’s trying to average the white (maybe?) but you may have sliders that will allow you to adjust the contrast.

  64. I love the drawing. I am an avid color and didn’t know you produced coloring books! Will have to check them out! Thanks.

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