“I didn’t realize at the time, how much anxiety or stress I was carrying, because I was just trying to make it through the day.” said Kyra Peralte, Entrepreneur and Author. When the pandemic hit, like many of us, she slipped into crisis mode. “We immediately started reorganizing our days to accommodate having the kids at home 24/7. Because we don’t know when this is going to be over, my husband and I made a pact, to pull together and be creative.”
What happens when stress moves from the mind into the body? When the weight of worry became a physical sensation, it terrified Kyra. But it also opened a deep curiosity. She wanted to know how Covid stress was affecting other women. And she didn’t want the polished version, she craved candid connection. This moved her to lift herself and others, from suffering in isolation, through the magic of story.
When Stress Takes Hold
“I felt a drop of cold water on my neck. I looked up and thought we had a leak. I was sitting in what I call my Corona-bunker.” Kyra continued to feel the cold water. “It kept happening in different parts of the house. I was taking a hot shower when all of a sudden, I felt the ice cold water and I thought, okay something is going on.” Scary! “So, I looked into it and discovered that it was a response to stress and anxiety. And I had no idea, because I’ve never responded to stress that way before. Maybe I’ve never been under this type of stress before!” Kyra’s discovery led to her big idea.
Connect to Heal
Kyra said, “Having little kids at home that need attention, love and presence, while trying to hold everything together in the same physical space, is something I’ve never had to do. So, I started to wonder what other women were going through. I wanted to be a fly on the wall, to have them invite me into their homes and let me see it. It was so important for me to experience it that way, because I was yearning for authenticity. I didn’t want a manicured explanation.”
Home used to be a refuge where we could be vulnerable. But we’re now onstage from our homes. So, we clear the corner, glam up, set the background and edit how we appear. And we begin to censor not just how we look but how we feel. Kyra wanted more.
Choose The Right Vessel
Kyra said, “Emojis don’t do sincerity. They don’t do it as well as being able to read another woman’s story, that she handwrote or to see the scratched out words and the white out on the page. I wanted to see that messiness in the diary because that messiness to me is like life.” Writing in a physical book, like the diaries of our youth, creates a sense of intimacy. No one is watching you express yourself and you choose what to share. There’s safety and freedom in that.
Kyra added, “Life is not all well put together and doesn’t unfold perfectly. There are things in life you may have to scratch through and then start again. And I wanted to have an experience that was as close to real life as it could be.” Brilliant. She explained, “I felt like I released a vessel meant to go out and carry stories. That’s how I see the book, as a vessel that’s carrying stories from place to place. And I am touched deeply by the fact that women want to share and experience something like this. We’re all strangers, taking a risk but I am looking forward to the time when the diary returns. And we all meet each other for the first time.”
Honor Your Needs
“I thought, if I wrote what’s going on in a book and sent it to women, would they write in it and send it right back? I knew it was crazy because we were in the middle of a pandemic. I was wiping everything down from the grocery store and didn’t know how folks were going to respond to getting things in the mail. But I took a chance and ordered a black and white composition book,” Kyra said.
She told a group of women entrepreneurs that she wanted to do this. “And immediately, a couple of them reached out to me and said they wanted to be on the list. I sent the first woman the book, then she sent it to the next woman, and it kept going,” Kyra explained. Wow! “So, the book has been circulating since I started this in April. It was before George Floyd and all of that started happening. There’s a book right now somewhere in Australia, there’s one in South Africa and I have books in the US on their way to London, Canada and Turkey. It’s been inspiring. And I feel connected to them in this in this deep way that I cannot explain from participating.”
And Find Your Release
Writing about her pandemic stress in the first diary, allowed Kyra to heal. “it was scary to have my body respond that way.” We’re socialized to ignore discomfort. And we often tune out the powerful alerts our bodies send. Kyra added “I haven’t had that cold water feeling since I wrote the first entry. I was forced to pull back and listen. And I think that has something to do with the medium I chose to hear from other women. I wanted to change the frequency, I didn’t want filters on.”
Listening, to her own signals and those of others, has allowed her to set new boundaries. “Listening to that frequency has allowed me to say, ‘this is my plate and this is all that I’m going to fit on it.’ I said to my husband one day, ‘if it doesn’t fit, we must quit.’ So, I’ve been saying no to things and also letting things ride.”
Let. It. Go.
We need to give ourselves and everyone around us grace. Kyra explained, “I’m not letting myself feel like things have to be presented in this perfect manner. We’re working at home and I have kids. So, it’s not feeling embarrassed by the interruptions or crying in the background. Why should I feel embarrassed? They’re children, this is how they behave.” Exactly.
She added, “I was teaching a class and one day, my tenant was playing some loud music and my students heard it. I said, ‘we’re at home, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that is my tenant and I’m not going to complain. Because he has a job, he’s happy and everything is all good. He probably needed to turn up his radio that day and allowing ourselves and other people to do that, is one way to help us get through this.” Amen.
And Allow the Surprises to Come
Kyra said, “Some women have expressed that they cried reading other women’s stories. Or, that being able to read other women’s stories gave them an insight into the lives of others, they would not have had. And some, found it difficult to write when they got the diary. Or they had an intention to write about certain topics but when it arrived, different things came out after they picked up the pen. Everyone has had a different type of experience with it. But so far, they’ve expressed gratitude for having an experience with this sort of release and connection.”
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Kyra Peralte is CEO, Founder of Roofheads, a technology-driven app that disintermediates real estate transactions (available in beta program for iOS and Android.) She’s also an author, children’s mobile game creator, Mermaid Quest,Space Troop (available iOS and Android), and creator of global storytelling experience for women, The Traveling Diary: A Sisterhood of stories. She enjoys crafting, teaching, and spending time with her family. She is married with two inquisitive young boys, Parker and Maxwell.