Corona Chronicles

Today I had another one of those weird mini breakdowns that was brought on by COVID-related stress. But it wasn’t because I was tired of not being able to do anything… It was kind of the opposite.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I have not been as careful as I was in the beginning of this pandemic. I have gone out to eat at restaurants with a couple close friends a few times, and today, in the midst of wondering when we’ll be able to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, I realized that because of these outings, some people might not see me the same way. They might think I am reckless and/or selfish. They might think I don’t care about the virus, and that I am willing to put loved ones in danger by not staying quarantined the entire time. 

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite my best efforts, I sometimes found myself in a mind state where I felt so alienated from the outside world that I craved companionship that felt closer to normalcy. In those moments, I happily accepted an invite out with friends so that I could reconnect with them in ways that social media couldn’t replicate: exchanging appreciative looks over delicious food, laughing at old inside jokes, and singing together enthusiastically to our favorite songs.

And today I felt guilty about that. Not just because of how others might see me, but also because I was disappointed in myself for not having enough willpower to stay at home like I’d vehemently chastised others to do back in March.

At the end of the day, I need to give myself grace. As much as I’d like to say I’m satisfied with the few moments I have had with friends, and that I will stay away from them for the duration of the pandemic, I can’t say with certainty that that’s true.

I can say that I will limit my excursions, and will quarantine myself before visiting folks that are in at-risk groups. I will continue to wear a mask when I’m out around people I don’t know, and will continue to socially distance when possible. I will continue to monitor COVID numbers in my city so that I’m not out gallivanting during a spike. And I will continue to remind myself that this situation is temporary, patience is key, and perspective is everything.

The End of the World As We Know It…

2020 has been a fuckin nightmare.

If you’re lucky, you’re able to work from home and still get paid. If you’re less lucky, you still have a job, but have to put your health at risk because of the pandemic. And when you’re not working, where do you turn? Your phone.

Except, our screens are no longer used primarily for communication. In this time of COVID and civil unrest, our devices have been used for Zoom meetings, to check in with friends/family, as our tool to research and share news stories, AND as our entertainment.

Social media outlets have always been used as sounding boards for various topics, but now they are being used more and more to out racists and share videos of harrowing encounters with police. There is a lot of frustration and pain being felt right now, and as much as I identify with the posts I’ve seen from friends and the folks I follow,  the avalanche of information sometimes becomes a bit overwhelming. I used to get on Instagram to take a break from the news stories posted and re-posted all over Facebook, but lately, posts of goofy viral challenges have been replaced with pictures of protests and thought pieces on why it’s challenging being a black person in America.

I’m not complaining, trust. I have shared on both platforms and will continue to do so. I guess I’m just pointing out that doing a social media cleanse seems so much more daunting when you’re stuck in the house 24/7 for fear of catching/spreading a potentially fatal respiratory virus.

It’s stressful to not be able to do a fraction of what you were able to do just a few months ago. There are no birthday parties to attend, no vacations to take, no boozy brunches that linger late into the afternoon. Being afraid to hug your parents FUCKING SUCKS. I’m starting to forget what date night feels like. I miss chasing my godchildren around the park, grabbing a drink at a rooftop bar, and taking a walk to the local bagel shop before tackling work e-mails. Being car-less is ESPECIALLY wack right now, as you can imagine. I can’t remember ever feeling this trapped. Add to that the fact that mistrust in 12 is at an all-time high, and it’s enough to make you want to take up drinking as a nightly hobby.

So I take solace in the little things, because being grateful for what I have keeps me from screaming at the sky. I take walks in the courtyard, I blast music while teleworking, I discuss my favorite TV shows with my girlfriends via Marco Polo, and I indulge in delivery twice a week.

We will get through this. And my hope is that we’ll be stronger, smarter, and more empathetic on the other side.

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