Identify your pandemic pattern. - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Identify your pandemic pattern.


The One Who Cares lies nested within
the one who pretends she doesn’t.

The One Who Cares wants
to give up because humans are too brutal
to stick around and witness.
(She mourns the loss of the rainforest,
the ice caps, the coral reefs. She weeps
for all the plastic in the ocean that will be here
long after she’s died.)

She is full of grief
for all the ways we humans shut down, numb, disconnect,
go to sleep, give up, give out, and refuse to feel. (She
does not respond to phone notifications
in a timely manner, which is one of her charms.)

The One Who Cares lies hidden
behind The One Who Gets Things Done:
the one who has a schedule, does the laundry, feeds the dog,
pays the electric bill, stays on top of the news. The one who
Gets Things Done rolls out her yoga mat, meditates,
and eats a nutritious breakfast.

The One Who Cares sinks into the body when she can,
lets tears fall down her cheeks in the bath,
and breathes, breathes, breathes.

She has few answers and asks eternal questions.

(She is often overwhelmed and leans into victimhood
if left unchecked. I cannot give her unfettered time
or she would pull me under, again.)

So she nests, watching all those tasks get checked off the list,
waiting for her moments to feel, to spin the globe of concern
and take in the bodies floating on the Ganges, bloated with Covid;
the white supremacists tightening voting restrictions; the Black bodies
piling up at the hands of police; the next reveal
of the rapist who remains in office. (And the next, and the next.)

The One Who Cares is most present
with reality but cannot remain there for long
or she is held down, held under, unable to move
until The One Who Gets Things Done picks her up,
dusts her off, and says,

Yes, yes, yes.
Feel all that. Use every breath
to move the whole world through you.
Let the entirety of existence be what it is,
and then we’ll get back to work.

Whether The One Who Cares and The One Who Gets Things Done battle it out in your life or not, finding some spaces where internal battles are being waged is the name of the game for this episode of That’s What She Said.

When does asshole brain take the driver’s seat in your life?

For me, it’s part of my hormonal cycle. I’ve been working closely with my doctor for all sorts of tests, and we found that a.) I have no measurable levels of testosterone in my body and b.) on day 20, my hormones plummet like Thelma and Louise going over the cliff at the end of the movie. I don’t make major decisions or big plans on Day 20, which I’ve marked in my calendar, ’cause that would be setting myself up for failure.

It used to be when I was comparing myself to others and fighting with people’s social media posts in my head. Scroll, GET OUTRAGED, close app and mull over VARIOUS OUTRAGES until tomorrow. Repeat daily.  (Related: I deleted social media and then this happened.)

Asshole brain might take over at a particular time of day or point in your hormonal cycle. Maybe it rears its ugly head with particular clients or relationships. Perhaps it only appears when a project is mentioned or you’re facing a deadline.

No matter when it appears, knowing the dominant asshole brain pattern in your life helps you to make life easier for yourself.

My asshole brain gets out its fancy pants and loud microphone after 7 p.m., so I have never done a coaching call or held a workshop at that time. I wrap up while the sun’s up, ’cause that’s when my body is most awesome.

What do I never ‘let’ myself do?

For me, it’s spending money on travel that’s not work related. You want me to blow cash on a sweet hotel and fancy foods with a big souvenir budget when I’m being paid to speak or teach? No problem.

You want me to spend that same amount of money on…my own joy? UGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

It used to be stepping away from the computer when work was done for the day. I would sit at the screen for eight hours, every day, whether I had important work or I was just bopping around on social media, clicking links like a mofo. (Related: it took years for me to master the Quietly Subversive 3-Hour Work Day.)

You might never let yourself spend money on your needs, take time off, pay yourself in your business, or say “no.” (Related: how to say “no.”)

You might not let yourself have strong enough boundaries to create time for your work, time for your business, or time that’s simply not someone else’s to claim. (Related: boundaries are awesome.)

What do you never ‘let’ yourself do – and how might you interrupt that pattern, starting right now?

What do you need to admit or voice about the way pandemic has impacted your life and being?

For me, it’s missing the work I used to do with people face-to-face, in person, while breathing the same air. Whether speaking or teaching, I used to get on a plane for my Truest Work four to six times a year, and that work/travel combo fed me deeply.

As the years of pandemic roll on, I miss the in-person work more and more. There’s an amorphous, ongoing aspect to this grief that recently prompted me to start working with a therapist. What do you DO with what you’ve lost for the moment, but maybe permanently, but maybe NOT permanently…? I don’t know, so I’m getting help to sort it out.

Early in pandemic, I needed to admit that Long Covid kicked my ass. I was too deep in fear to say things about it, since asshole brain had convinced me that I’d never be able to breathe or think or be witty or exercise or laugh ever again. Those fears subsided as my basic abilities and instincts returned, but WOW it was scary for a while.

Whether you’re flourishing or floundering in pandemic life, admitting the ways it has impacted your life and being is just plain helpful.

You can stop pretending that you’ve got it all together, or that you looooove homeschooling, or that you don’t find performing continuous risk assessment stressful af. Acknowledging where you are gives you the ability to move forward in a way that’s both deeply rooted in reality and completely honest.

We don’t need you to be amazing and stunning and #winning in every aspect of pandemic life. But we do need you to be honest about where you are and what you need.

To put it another way…where are you censoring yourself?

What’s roiling up within you that you don’t say? What drives you batshit crazy but is tolerated in your everyday existence? What are you holding within you that is beating on the walls of your interiors to be let out?

I’m not suggesting that you go on a social media rant delineating every last thing that has ever pissed you off. I am suggesting that admitting how you’re feeling, where you’re struggling, and what’s driving you crazy allows you to both relieve interior pressure (you know, that feeling of IF I HAVE TO TOLERATE THIS ONE MORE TIME I WILL BURST INTO A THOUSAND PIECES AND DESTROY WORLDS) and to ask for help wherever possible.

Uncensored, uncut you has Many Things to Say. Please find a way to express those things, whether through art, in conversation, or in therapy. Don’t let the big feels eat you alive, okay?

Penning bad poems is the only way to get to the good ones.
Same goes for bad photographs, bad drawings, bad drafts —
shitty first attempts –they’re the starting point for your work in the world.

Don’t shy away from making terrible artwork, horrible mistakes, or
unfortunate choices. These are the pebbles that are stacked to form
your shoreline: the only risks that will count in a year’s time.

Go on, take a chance. Make it awful. Let your whole heart out
and see where it takes you. See what your work does when you’re not
looking. See how it surprises you when you let your instincts out to play.

Waste paint and supplies and hours at the computer, writing.
Give yourself to the unknown elements, the chaos of losing control over
what you “should” be doing.

Breathe it in: this is art, moving in you and through you.
May it surprise you every time.

That’s it, you survived!!!!  (Related: your art will save your life.)

Shoot me a note with whichever pattern you’re ready to shift so I can cheer you on – for real.

This work – this knowing of ourselves and then taking action from the place of Deep Knowing – is the work we do in The Imaginarium.

If you’d like to both a.) return to yourself and b.) find a way forward in the midst of pandemic, please talk to me about attending!

The Imaginarium goes down in Philly from March 30th to April 1st or May 18th to 20th. This live, vaccinated-only workshop will help you stay connected to both your interiors and the world around you via some magical structures I’ve set up that involve massive support and accountability. Click here to book a tiny call, or shoot me a note via

Says Nicole, an Imaginarium attendee:  “I have never ever looked forward to December and January like I’m looking forward to it this year, and I didn’t realize I would be so excited for these follow up sessions.”

Current Imaginarium attendees are making massive progress, leaning on each other in gorgeous ways, and sending me frequent OH MY GOD THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS WORK AND INTRODUCING ME TO THESE WOMEN texts.

You don’t have to do the rest of 2022 alone, lemme help!  Book a tiny call!

P.S. One other pattern that might be taking over your life: screeeeeens.  Let’s stop that pattern dead in its tracks.