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Checking In


checking in personal rebecca plotnick

How are you? I feel like it has been a while since I have written a personal post. I have moved out of my old place into a new space and it still feels odd. I know it takes time but I am just not there yet.

The world seems like a strange place right now. I am a travel photographer who hasn’t left the country due to Covid19. My last flight was in March from Utah. I wish I had a crystal ball that told me this was going to happen, I would have switched Utah for Paris.

My anxiety levels are high. I don’t see a lot of friends like I used to due to Covid19. I have always worked from home, but I found ways to be social including my daily dance class. Now those are done on zoom from my bedroom. The girls don’t really stay after class and socialize, everyone just signs off once the class is over. My weekly trips to the farmers market aren’t as fun as they used to be with socially distanced lines and masks. Dinners out to a restaurant with friends are a distant memory. I know others are going out and that is their decision, I am making my own decisions that are best for me.

I am so grateful that I got to spend time with my dad a few weeks ago. I missed my niece’s 7th birthday and zoom cake wasn’t the same. My nephew turns 4 next month and he isn’t as great on Facetime as he is in person so connecting with him is hard. I send them care packages with stickers, books, and cookies as often as I can.

I feel I am in a bit of a creative rut right now. I was in a groove for a while and sometimes it just stops. If you are creative you know what I am talking about. The creativity can run like water and other times it doesn’t. I know it will come back, it always does.

I had a breakdown yesterday, I was emotional about everything… I cried for most of the day. I pulled up a yoga class and rolled out my mat. Afterward, I took a long shower and did some beauty self-care before putting on my pajamas. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep. I was taking on the stress, anxiety, and all the worries. and I couldn’t stop. I turned to CBD pills which eventually put me back to sleep until the morning.

I know that what I am feeling right now is only normal and I am sure some of you are feeling the same way with stress and anxiety or a whole bunch of other emotions.



patience quote

I saw this quote on Instagram and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I need to be patient and take one day at a time.

To look at the positive, I am healthy and so is my family. My photography business is surviving.

I would love to know how you are doing? Feel free to share below or shoot me an email.

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  1. Oh my. You are NOT alone. I am feeling much of the same on so many levels. A year ago. I was returning from a two week trip to Paris and Switzerland. That aside, COVID, politics, and the state of Chicago and. In my opinion, the lack of leadership in Chicago, have taken their toll.

    I wish I had the magic saying, word, Crystal ball to say it will all be ok. Truth is. I know it will be… albeit I don’t know when. Perseverance is the word that comes to mind. Faith, prayer, and honesty… humbleness in knowing that those of us who are always seemingly strong… are human and vulnerable. And that is what draws others to us.. near us.

    Rebecca, you bring so much to so many. You don’t have to carry us all. Thank you for sharing your post… your thoughts… and your humanity. You are not alone. Perseverance and Faith … and honesty will prevail.

  2. Very interesting to read your post. A few weeks ago I went through a very blue time. Feeling isolated, sad, nostalgic … missing my children around the world and even the 2 who live nearby! Nothing felt right. This is so unlike me.
    I’d resigned from my library position because they weren’t handling COVID issues properly, a favorite uncle passed away and my 4th son who’d been staying with me during the quarantine left for France.
    I started journaling and thinking about my feelings and just letting them all settle in. Read Rumi’s “The Guest House”, it may help you.
    Additionally, a lot of people have been posting about their low grade depression over the past month. Michele Obama mentioned it in her podcast (#2)with Michelle Norris too. You’re in good company and you’re not alone. It gets better.
    Joanne

    • Hi Joanne,

      I am so sorry to hear you are struggling too. It seems the resignation from your job was difficult but probably the best decision if it wasn’t safe. I will check out your book recommendation. Sending you lots of love! I hope you are feeling better. xo

  3. So sorry you are feeling low and uninspired these days. It’s definitely normal, whatever ‘normal’ means anymore. This too shall pass. Sending big virtual hugs from Paris!

  4. Hi Rebecca,
    A few years back, I lost my job (I’m reemployed now.) and it took a little over two years to find another. I was concerned about not being able to work on my condo, not travel because of money, of course. I knew I was beside myself but didn’t fully realize how it was affecting my emotions and, above all, my thoughts. It was a good experience for me only because I now know how I can be so negatively affected. Along with many many people, I had to cancel my Paris trip this year but while in quarantine for 3 months, I started an art blog on Chicago Loop public sculpture.

    Rebecca, I just know that you are going to look back at this time as a growth period for you.

    • Hi Bonnie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am sorry you lost your job a few years back. It is so scary! I was laid off in 2008 and it changed my whole life. I had to be creative and reinvent myself. I didn’t have much money saved when I was in my 20’s. I never thought it would happen to me. I have always been cautious about saving ever since.

      I feel like since we are in the middle of this Pandemic, I won’t be able to fully step back and appreciate how much growth, strength, and creativity I had in me to keep me going.

      I am really happy you have found a source of joy with your art blog. Keep it going and watch it evolve.

      xo Keep in touch!

  5. Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for such an honest post. Please know that you are not alone in how you are feeling. Things that previously brought joy are either no longer available or have an element of stress due to wearing masks and social distancing. Things that were stressful before are now even more so. It is just a very difficult time. Your lovely blog brightens my day. I hope you will take comfort in knowing that you have a community of readers who understand what you are feeling. Please take good care.

  6. Your website keeps me semi sane. I wonder if you would consider making a list of good French movies now available to stream on various websites. I know the website Kanopy and Hoopla which are free for users of any USA library system which has these enabled have some good titles but I would appreciate hearing of the newer movies and French tv shows which are available. Thank you again for all you do
    And you are right. My homegrown arugula with peaches and goat cheese has been a taste of summer

    • Hi Susanne,

      Thank you! I actually don’t know that many French movies but I can ask around for you. Have you watched "Call My Agent" on Netflix? I have heard great things!

  7. Thank you for sharing. It has been a surreal time. I find myself struggling with my focus and motivation, but I make myself verbalize what I am feeling. The catharsis helps: be it to speak, cry or vent in some other way. I will say, I am now much more cognizant of the little things in life; what really matters. I lost my mom to COVID in April. Because my wife is immune compromised, we have yet to go from DC to New York to pay our respects. That said, during this process my brother and I have become closer than ever. Mom is certainly happy about that.

    I know in my heart that things will improve, albeit slowly, and that gives me hope to carry on. As much as I long for Paris, I see your images in my home everyday. It gives me strength and reminds me I will return. – Juan xoxoxo

    • Juan,

      I am so deeply sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom. Thank you for sharing this personal piece of your life with me. I am sure it helps to have your brother close to keep your mom’s memory alive. Sending you a big hug!

      I hope your wife stays safe and healthy at home and you are able to make it to New York soon.

      You will return to Paris soon and it will help in the healing process when that happens. I am confident in that. Please keep those memories of your mom strong and vent when needed.

      Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.
      Rebecca

  8. Hi beautiful Rebecca, I know it’s been a rough year for all of us but we just have to be patient keep the faith that this too will all pass and become a thing of the past no of us will ever forget the year 2020 I call this the lost year !!! I too Rebecca have had breakdowns . I’ve been sick 😷 since March with a cough that just won’t go away I’m home not working because of it been treated by the doctors. So yes it’s not been a good year for all of us and not getting anxious as my daughter is a school teacher and they are returning back to school so worried for the teachers as the children . So yes Rebecca I guess we’re all suffering in silence in our own ways . I love you girl you keep us going with your blogs and posts which I love ❤️ thank you for sharing with us trust me your not alone we love you and we’re all here for you . Time will pass and we’ll all go back to our normal we need to be thankful for everyday be patient and have faith love you gorgeous girl be safe stay well keep writing your a breath of fresh air Clara xo

    • Hi Clara,

      I am so sorry you have been sick with a cough. I am sending you lots of love and I hope you are on the mend soon.

      I pray that your daughter stays healthy as the new school year starts. ❤️ The students are lucky to have her. I hope she has an easy transition into the school year.

      Keep in touch and please let me know how you are feeling. xo

  9. First of all thank you for being human. I have been feeling the same emotions and as a psychiatric RN I felt ashamed for not being able to " get over it." Isolation and change at the same time is challenging. I have been freshening my home with your photography which brings me great joy. Thanks for sharing your talent’s with others. I am not one to use social media and post on a blog however, I felt compelled by your vulnerability. We all need a good cry now and then. It’s during times of isolation that I have had the most personal growth to slow down and look within.

    • Hi Diane,

      I am so sorry! I don’t know if we will "get over it". I think everyone handles this in their own way. I have had several coping strategies including increased OCD around the house as a way to control something in my life. I hope you find a way to connect with friends and family during this time at home.

      We all need a good cry now and then that is for sure. Being in touch with our emotions is never a bad thing. I am happy to hear you have had some personal growth and slowed down. I have a lot of reflecting to do as we enter our sixth month of this in September.

      Sending you lots of love. xoxo

  10. I’m not coping well at the moment. I’m in Marin county north of sf and it’s been so hot
    104 yesterday Our cat died in late June and my husband does not want another as his allergies are better. I’m just so lonely.
    There is nowhere for me to go because I have a compromised immune system.
    Most of the few friends I have are also depressed. We text but less than at the beginning. I’ve not seen anyone but my husband and a few workmen in real life since mid March. I feel like I’m in a jail but with better cheese. Fortunately we can get good fresh oysters and good local goat cheeses and good wines from France for about ten dollars. I’ve grown tired of reading so I’ve been streaming all the old classic French movies I can find on my library app kanopy
    And now for some reason I’m into dark Scandinavian noir modern mystery series.
    I still do my art work but I feel so isolated and alone. I miss my freedom. I miss window shopping

    • Hi Susanne,

      I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. My condolences to you for your cat. The loss of a pet is never easy.

      Have you tried any online forums/Facebook to connect with other likeminded people that might help you feel better?

      Fresh oysters sound amazing. I had a lovely visit to San Francisco a few years back and I fell in love with Cowgirl Creamery.

      Keep working on your artwork and I hope you feel better soon. Sending you lots of love and a virtual hug.

      xo
      Rebecca

  11. Bonjour, Rebecca,
    Aaaah, YES! I can definitely sympathize.
    As I create an "office" in what was my upstairs guest room (no guests for the foreseeable future), the prints recently received from you will help to make my workspace mine. The rest of the house is more French-seaside style with plenty of blues & whites, LOTS of shells, etc, but this new area will be more personalized. I adore the Montmarte neighborhood, and appreciate all the little items I have gathered over the years that say "France" but didn’t want to bring to the office and take the chance of losing them. So the antique crocks and pottery will now have a home and make a place for my fountain pens & other office tools, and savor of Paris to me as I work.
    As you set up your new home, I’ll be joining you in spirit. Keep sending photos of your space as you curate your very own Paris in Chicago.
    In return, I’ll send you a little of the fresh breeze outside my ‘office’ window this morning.
    Merci for your postings.

  12. These are mentally difficult times. I feel like it’s particularly hard for those of us that live in a big city; we are used to being around people all the time, whether or not we want to be . I’m in NYC , work on Broadway which is closed indefinitely and little by little , everything that makes the city tick is being cancelled. While it’s to be expected, it hits hard each time those announcements get made. It’s difficult to remain focused. I’m also in school and I often have to force myself to study.

    I will say that your blog is a much needed respite . Since I only recently discovered it, I’m still catching up. I get lost in your links and look forward to the day that I can purchase some of your prints.

    • Hi Kristen,

      Thank you so much for writing! I honestly can’t imagine studying right now, I give you so much credit. I can read small articles for my weekly links but I haven’t been able to read a book in months.

      In my old life before Paris and this business, I had an office on 55th and broadway. NYC was one of my last trips in February that I took before the Pandemic. I had dinner in the city with my Aunt and Uncle and I walked the city. I can’t imagine what it is like right now.

      Sending you lots of love and I hope you continue to find joy in my photos and writing as you navigate through this time. Good luck in school and keep in touch! xo

  13. I feel much of the same that you posted here. So much to be thankful for – I have always worked from home so not much has changed there. My family is healthy. Our livelihoods have not been compromised and we have access to everything to we need. There is still loss though – of socializing, public places, of seeing family (we live in Florida and have no family here – everyone is either a 10+ hour car ride or airplane ride away). I’m also navigating life with a high risk toddler. She is such a bright spot in all of this but there are days I’m also consumed with worry. It’s been hard to see others out and about, going on vacations, etc. when we have made the personal decision to be more cautious and remain in a more lockdown mode.

    I’ve allowed myself to cry and feel down on the days where it’s all overwhelming. It can be cathartic to do so and then I try not to dwell on those feelings. It’s also helped immensely to talk to my sister in law – we don’t try to offer 1000 solutions to "fix" crappy days. We just try to be sounding boards where someone acknowledges that you’re feeling down. It’s been really helpful to be acknowledged in that sense.

    I hope the mood turns around for you. XOXOXO

  14. Bonjour Rebecca,

    I’m sending you some love from Paris <3

    I know it’s a hard time with the Covid-19 situation in the US, and everything else. I felt the same during the lockdown in Paris for a couple of months. The social distancing, the news on TV, the fear for our peers, for ourselves, the anxiety for the future, and for the business. Now, the lockdown in Paris is over even if the Covid-19 is still here. What you’re feeling is normal and I think it’s a way for your mind to process the situation. I just want to reassure you: it’s just a phase and everything is going to be alright.

    Keep up your good work, your blog, and your beautiful photographs of Paris. As for inspiration, just write and do what you feel right and what makes you happy (this worked for me during the lockdown).

    I wish you the best,
    Leonce Chenal

  15. You are not alone. While many around us go out to eat and on vacation, we are staying home to stay safe. School will be virtual for all of us (two teacher parents) and there’s grief that comes with that too, in addition to relief that I can stay safe. Many don’t know that work from home for many teachers means even longer days and more time away from families. The nasty rhetoric towards teachers and the overwhelming thought of making 150 HS seniors feel included, valued, and challenged through a computer screen adds to anxiety over the state of the world. I exercise and meditate and do French classes online to try to stay sane, but I also find myself anxious and depressed. I haven’t seen friends irl since March. Your blog – photos, LIL, posts like this- is a comfort zone especially during these hard times. Sending you a virtual hug. PS I also have a good therapist who helps me though I’d like to talk with her daily 😂

  16. My sister and I talk/text frequently as our anxiety levels are off the charts. I also live a block away from the major protests in Richmond,VA, so many nights I lay awake listening to surveillance planes/helicopters flying overhead and worry is this the night my home might be damaged. Add this protest “P” to the other “P’s” of pandemic and president and I can so relate to your anxiety levels. All I really want to do is stay in my library with my husband, dog and cat to be safe. I rarely exercise – 90+ degree heat for weeks on end does not help – and probably have been drinking too much wine. However, what I want you to know – as well as the several other bloggers I follow in France – is that you all are my respite and I go to you all to escape.We must just all hang in there and pray that this is a shake-up the world needed. I admire you for sharing and please know that you are so not alone.

    • Hi Barbara,

      I am so sorry to hear your anxiety levels are high too. I can imagine the major protests in Richmond, VA doesn’t help. We have some protests/looting/violence in Chicago and it is really scary. Helicopters flying overhead is a "normal" sound these days. You are very lucky you have your sister to connect with and share your concerns. Sending you lots of love. xoxo Thank you for sharing your personal story with me.

  17. I’m sending you a virtual hug! We readers probably don’t let you know often enough how much we appreciate all the work you do here on your blog and how you have helped us get through this unusual time. Good for you for taking care of yourself! I have these moments too, usually in the middle of the grocery store when I feel like my mask is trying to suffocate me, that I feel like I just can’t take it anymore. And then I find that just being aware that I am having that thought allows me to acknowledge to myself that I am in fact doing just fine, breathing just fine and that this too shall pass. And can I just say, that picture, wow! Gorgeous!

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you! I am so happy to have you reading the blog and your support means so much to me. It is such a strange time. I know the grocery store used to be enjoyable. I may be one of the few that loves strolling the aisles, but with masks and gloves and missing smiles, it just isn’t the same. Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. xoxo

  18. Thank you for your very honest post. I am a teacher and will be doing so virtually for at least the first half of the academic year. I am grateful for my job and the opportunity to be safe but I still find myself succumbing to anxiety especially in the middle of the night. These are unprecedented times. Without a blueprint to follow some days feel quite hard. On the other hand, these are unprecedented times. How lucky we are to have the technology to reach out to others. I try to keep focused on the things that matter to me, even though they might be small concerns but it helps to keep me centered. Sharing thoughts, even though virtual, is also a help to me. Just wanted you to know I appreciate your voice and beautiful photographs. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much, Susan! I am sending you lots of love. What grade do you teach? How are the students? I hope your anxiety improves. Have you tried anything that helps? xoxo

  19. Maybe it will be a small comfort to you, to know that my high point this week was receiving your Chez Janou print in the mail, framing it, and putting it on my office wall. Now I can look at it throughout my workday, and remember having dinner there in October 2019. It seems like a lifetime ago and your photo is helping me connect to those memories during this rough time. Your work really matters!

    • Thank you so much, Jenni! That really is a huge comfort. Your message made my day. I love that this photo brings you good memories of Paris. ❤️