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  • Salisha

A couple of months ago, I wrote about Broadway going dark. Well now, New York seems to me reopening... I honestly felt like the other day was Day 1 of being spit back into the world after the apocalypse. OR like waking up from a coma and rediscovering my surroundings from scratch…

I started the day like a normal day in quarantine: worked out a couple of times, read my Bible, meditated, did a little editing, made a peanut butter and apricot jelly sandwich, juiced, battled the worst PMS, avoided folding my laundry, mentored someone, et cetera. This evening as I left my home for my daily walk, I’d barely looked up, didn’t have my glasses on, and instinctively, I could sense my friend Sarah walking by on the sidewalk. Although we never see each other, neither of us were shocked or surprised or caught off guard to run into the other. It was like running into a friend at school in the hallways. We toured together for years as well as performed on the Broadway together. She feels like family in the sense that her presence is very comforting and familiar. I caught a glimpse of her foot before casually saying beneath my mask, “What’s up, Bockel?”

It was nice to talk to a human that I know. Something that doesn’t happen every day anymore. WELL. She told me about this awesome new park just beyond the normal park I usually find myself in. I was so taken aback that there was another park in MY neighborhood that I had no idea was there. I was instantly determined to find this new (to me) park.

Once I’d made it to the first park, I found myself out on the street. I’d been over there before not since quarantine began almost 75 days ago. It was a whole other world “on the other side of the park.”

For starters, the sidewalk on one side was lined with benches… with people SITTING in them. ‘Weird.’ I thought. Every bench is filled? I haven’t seen that in a while. It kinda freaked me out, so I crossed the street. The New Yorker in me innately kicked in when there was a person in my path, so of course I picked up the pace and walked faster than them. ‘Haven’t done that in a while’ I thought to myself. I walked a few yards before seeing a storefront with clothes in the window. Immediately, I was drawn to the window. One of my favorite things in the world is a good window display. If it’s good and it’s something I long for, I don’t waste much time seeing if there’s anything better deeper in the store. I find a clerk and simply ask for the window display (ie. My favorite gowns, the couch in my apartment—all were the window display. It saves me time because if they had something better to showcase the business, it’d be—can you guess? In the window display.) Anyway, the store was closed of course, but I just gazed in and imagined what the shopping experience would be like in the cute little boutique that it was.

I kept walking. I got two whole steps further before my nostrils were consumed with an old, favorite smell; something I haven’t had in so long but that I instantly craved: Fast Food. But not just any fast food: MCDONALDS! But not just any McDonalds. There were fresh fries in that bag wafting by me. And probably a couple of hamburgers. And when I looked up, there it was: The Golden Arches wide open for business. And I thought, I can just walk up and order McDonalds right now? It’s such a weird epiphany to have in the 21st century. I’ve been hunkered down in my apartment, eating only what I can make with my bare hands. MEANWHILE, the rest of the world has been eating all the good shit. Because when I turned the corner, I discovered an entire line of restaurants with a LOT of people outside of them. They were waiting for food, smoking, hanging out. I think I counted maybe 3 people with masks on? I literally felt like I was in an alternate universe, that universe being Pre-COVID, when the world was normal. It was like the world had gone back to normal for a while and NOBODY told me.

Me as a fat kid drinking a McDonalds milkshake 😂

And then, there it was: a whole new park. A HUGE park. How on Earth did I not know it was there this whole time???

I looked at it in astonishment and also puzzlement. How do I get in this park? It’s not your typical ‘bring a picnic blanket’ type of park. It was more like ‘Bring your hiking boots’ type of park. I found an entrance and stared at it suspiciously. It felt like a commitment if I were to walk in because it didn’t look like New York City on the other side of the threshold to me. It was more like… upstate hiking trail, or backwoods of Arkansas. The sun was about to set… it was a dense looking forest.


I don’t know… …Is it safe?....


I don’t know.


But I was curious. After all, I’d walked all this way to see it. There was a group of 10 people without masks quickly walking toward me on the sidewalk.

SALISHA DECIDE NOW BEFORE THIS HUGE GROUP OF PEOPLE CONSUME YOUR PERSONAL SPACE.


I hopped on the trail.


Every few steps I’d look back, wondering if this was a good idea. I could still see the entrance. I kept going. There was still some sunlight. I looked around. Still dumbfounded that this was in Manhattan; astonished that it hadn’t been bulldozed down and replaced with a high rise. It was really beautiful. And really dense. I got deeper and deeper.


STOP. What’s that? Are those people? HUMANS! COOL! Thank God I’m not alone up here!

Wait… two men…Hmm….Can I take ‘em?... I can’t take ‘em if I needed to. I take a moment to consider my appearance. Definitely don’t look “cute” but possibly still cute enough to get murdered.

Eh. I’m good. I keep going. I pass them.


They stop talking.


I give it a beat. Then I stop walking.


Naw. Let’s go home. We’re done here. I turn around. When coming up on the two guys, I use my superpowers (long story). Then, I acknowledge both with my eyes; Our nonverbal conversation saying, “Hello. I see you. I see you see me. I’m a really nice person but also not afraid of anything. Have fun guys!” I keep walking. Once I get a ways away, I subtly glance back to ensure they’re right where I left them. They were. (Whew!) We good.


I find the sidewalk. I still have some sunshine. Realize the water is so close and so beautiful. On my way back home, my watch buzzes to let me know I got all my steps in. I contemplate a few things:

Why is my therapist so hot?

I’m going to need a literary agent if I want to attract a mainstream publisher…

So glad I didn’t die in that random forest.

Should I give my favorite necklace to my new goddaughter?

McDonald’s…yuummmmm…..


I made it home safely. De-gloved. Disinfected my mask. Took off all my outside clothes. Made spaghetti in my underwear. I cannot believe how boring life is right now…


I kind of love it. In a weird way.


The smell of McDonald’s was my LITERAL highlight.


I’m going to do my best and make the most of it because when life gets back to normal, the grind will never stop.


@salishathomas



  • Salisha

How’s your Quarantine Journey going? It’s a roller coaster, amiright? At the beginning of all this, I was a disaster: stressed, anxious, upset about Broadway closing, in my head about ALL the things. It was bad. And I have quite the imagination, so imagine everything times TEN. I’m happy to report that I have made a 180 and have not just been surviving this pandemic, but dare I say.... THRIVING. But to be honest, I didn’t just stumble into it. It has taken a conscious effort on my part to put my mental health first and to actively treat myself to what my mind and body needed and truly craved. I needed to consciously set time aside for mental self care and my physical and emotional self care. Here are TEN fun self care activities that have turned my time in isolation from Possibly needing to be committed to a mental ward to GLOW UP CENTRAL.


1. GET DRESSED AND MAKE YOUR BED. I like to work from the outside in, meaning that when I look good, I feel good. When I wake up, I wash my face, brush my teeth, make my bed (after I’m sure I won’t be climbing back in), and put some comfy cute clothes on. It is an instant Perk Me Up and serves as a mental self care WONDER!



2. GET PHYSICAL. The idea of working out.... isn’t fun. But you know that feeling AFTER you finish a workout? Ah. Totally worth it. During a quarantine when you automatically will be moving your body less, it’s important to make a conscious effort for exercise. Working on Broadway and living in New York meant being active was a part of my routine whether I liked it or not. I still have the same amount of energy NOW, but when I don’t utilize it, it can easily turn into anxiety, stress, frustration, or just being BLAH. Can you relate? If I was quarantining with my husband, I’d be having a LOT of sex. But I’m not. Instead, I workout in a couple different zoom groups. (I love My Workout Party at www.myworkoutparty.com) It’s less about getting ripped and more about just MOVING! When my endorphins are flowing, I’m a happy camper. And not to mention, when you’re consistent, who knows? You might see an ab or two. Heeeyyy!! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

I get my 10,000 steps in every day Rain or Shine. (In fact, I prefer taking a walk in the rain because there’s only a fraction of the people out.) But when the suns out, I make it a point to just stand in it for as long as I want and get that vitamin D. If I’m REALLY feelin fancy, I’ll play my music and dance like no one is watching. Disinfect your mask overnight if it’s reusable, and if you don’t have gloves, grab a tissue for door handles, and baby keep it pushin!


3. PLAN AHEAD. Another strategy for self care is to plan ahead. I’m not a planner. In fact, I’m more of a fly by the seat of her pants kind of girl. (Ask my sister. It drives her nuts. 😂) But every night before bed, I grab a pen and paper and write out what I want to accomplish the next day. It gives the next day purpose and a sense of direction and a goal of something to accomplish... instead of having endless hours of wasting time. In addition to this, I write out my meals for the following day as well. It’s a game changer if you’re trying to not eat the whole world LOL. Make a plan. Stick to the plan. And schedule in your cheats (So you don’t feel bad when you cheat!)


4. MEAL PREP. Okay so I live in NY. I’m used to eating out 2-3 meals per DAY. Everything delivers. Even during a PANDEMIC. I’ve never enjoyed cooking for a day in my life. Except lately... I’ve been getting grocery delivery once a week and actually putting thought into each meal. I look in the mirror and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I’m like... is that Black Martha Stewart I see? It has been so much fun trying new recipes and trying to duplicate some of my favorite meals from restaurants. In addition to transferring some of my creative juices into meals, I seem to have lost a few pounds in the process. I’ve finally nailed a sunny side up egg. And this upcoming week? CREPES!



5. MEDITATION. “A calm mind loosens the grip of stress.” I’ve been using an app called Calm. It’s the first and only app I’ve ever paid for. And it’s worth it! Ten minutes a day to just sit without fidgeting. Without playing on my phone. Without getting up to check on something. I turn off all the noise and just sit and follow a guided meditation. If you’re in need of mental self care, meditation is the way to go. It focuses my energy. Quiets my mind. And since using the app, I’m oddly way more productive! BONUS: There are Mood Check Ins and then a corresponding meditation they recommend based on your current mood!


6. GHETTO SPA. Every evening, I like to partake in what I like to call ghetto spa. Which is me sitting on my closed lid toilet (lol) with my feet soaking in a hot bubble bath. No texting. No talking on the phone. Just some music playing and a book in my hands. It’s my favorite part of the whole day!! Then, after I’ve read a few chapters, I climb all the way in and just live my best life!



7. STRETCH. Another self care idea is to stretch! In the evening is when I like to stretch. I call it ghetto yoga because a lot of my stretches look like some yoga moves, but I don’t know how to do all that fancy stuff. Haha! When I’m out of the bath and have my jammies on, I’m nice and relaxed and in the mood to stretch out on the floor. My favorite is Child’s Pose. They say if you sit in child’s pose for 5 minutes a day, it’s really calming and relieves stress. (Spoiler alert: it is and it does!)


8. TIDY UP. This is one of my favorite Stratford for self care. Each night as I’m winding down, I go into the kitchen, and load up that dish washer. I fluff the pillows on the couch, and put a few things away. It takes all of 5 to 10 minutes but the benefits when I wake up the next day to a clean home is SUBSTANTIAL. If you’ve ever read or watched Marie Kondo on Netflix, you already know the magic behind this!


9. READING MY BIBLE and prayer is also a part of my daily routine and spiritual self care. Studying my scripture and cultivating my relationship with Christ keeps me peaceful and grounded. THIS step is the easiest to bypass and forget about. It’s the easiest to put off, but when there’s so much chaos just outside of my door, having peace during these times is more valuable than unlimited chocolate bars.


10. DATE NIGHT STATE OF MIND. Last but not least on my self care list is a Date Night State of Mind. At least one night a week, either with a special person, a group of my friends on Zoom, or just myself, I like to have “Date Night.” I light a candle, fix something special for dinner, and set the mood for a cozy night in. It makes me look forward to the evening, whether I have virtual plans on a particular night or just plans with myself. It feels special!




So these are ten self care ideas that I live by each day that have turned my Quarantine Routine into what feels like a Retreat. And of course, starting and ending my day with gratitude puts my heart in a great place to choose joy and share love.


I hope you have fun trying these self care ideas out and adding some to your own Self Care List. Please feel free to comment and share what you think and if there’s something I should add to this list! It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I’m all about new hacks to keep my mind at ease during these crazy times!


Thanks for reading. Go ahead and hit that SUBSCRIBE button. And follow me on Instagram @salishathomas.

  • Salisha

I have on a full face mask that covers my cheeks, smile, and neck. I have a beanie on top of my baseball hat. I have a sweatshirt on top of my sweatshirt. Indeed, my entire body is covered except for a slit revealing my eyes. I pass a man during my daily walk in the park alone. I cross the street, because — COVID (obvi).


And then magic happened. I flash him a smile as I cross as if to say, ‘I’m not crossing because I don’t like you, but you know, the pandemic and all.’ I’d forgotten that he couldn’t see my smile because... he smiled BACK. And THEN, we lingered! Not with our bodies. Actually we definitely kept walking. But our eyes. I think.... we were.... flirting???? IS THAT POSSIBLE? He can’t see my body under all these layers, nor my face. But we’d passed each other completely yet our eyes were still locked. Dare I say... I had BUTTERFLIES?

I used to have butterflies everyday. Cut to— Salisha locked alone in her tower... I haven’t touched a human in WEEKS.


This is what boredom looks like, folks.

That’s how I met one of my exes. I was on Disney grounds watching a show I’d never seen. And there was this White boy on the drums. And the whole show... our eyes kept meeting. It felt sexy and fun and anonymous. But after the show when I went to play in the Park with my friends, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. And I sent a note backstage. It definitely wasn’t in my head. He responded, and we dated for about two years. EYE BANGING IS TOTALLY A THING.


Cut back to- this man in the park here in NYC. If he didn’t have two little girls racing ahead of him on their bikes, we possibly could have had a very romantic conversation standing 20 feet away on opposite sides of the street.


I actually have gone on one date during all this. A socially distant, yet IN PERSON date. Folks, that was a first. My first few days into quarantining, I was FREAKING the eff OUT. 😂 And I went up to an ambulance and asked the guy in the driver’s seat a million questions. The next week the Ambulance Guy and myself took a long walk 6 feet apart and watched the sun set over the Hudson. I just needed to hear a first responder say, “Miss... you’re FINE. I’m looking at you and can say with confidence, you are OKAY.”


Here’s some good news folks: Today is a beautiful day. If you’re reading this, you’re definitely still alive. So that’s good. I got word that... (whispering with cautious optimism) the numbers started to go down yesterday. During my workout on Zoom with an Instagram community I heard about, the founders announced that they’ll need to change the workout times because.... a lot of their friends are going back to work. OKAY, they obviously don’t live in New York, and that MAY be slightly pre-mature BUT, it’s still good news. Because— there’s a LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.

It’s so important to keep being safe right now and to not go buck wild touching everything. It’s not time to relax any sanitary standards (that should, in my opinion, stay in place forever). But there’s a light. I FEEL hopeful.

The trees are blooming. The weather is getting warmer. Everything is temporary. You guys. Let’s keep our chins up. We are going to get through this.

We are all in this together. ♥️

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