So as many of you know, coronavirus (I only read that word in Cardi B’s voice now and I am both grateful and upset that video exists) has swept across the world like the wind from hell and everyone is inside right now. All. The. Time. I understand that these are stressful times. Everyone is dealing with the financial, social and health-related impacts of the virus differently. I’m just going to take a moment to let you know what’s rattling around in my head.
I lived with one roommate from the States who moved out very quickly after things began to escalate, for fear of not being able to return home when the borders closed. It was an accurate assumption, however it left me in my apartment alone. Yes, my dad’s head is somewhere exploding because he’s thinking “If you tell them you’re alone, someone will come murder you.” No stupid, because to murder me, you would probably need to get within 2 metres, and that isn’t proper social distancing.
So, something you should probably know about me, is that I’m pretty good on my own. As a child, my parents always joked about the juxtaposition between my sisters and myself. While they thrive in the company of others, I definitely need my alone time to unwind. So, over the first three days things were going just dandy. Quarantine was a new thing. I had Netflix, books, puzzles, homework, and music to keep me company.
However, things came to a bit of a head on my 4th day alone (7th day in quarantine). As many people have, I got life ripped out from under me when quarantine began. Classes went online, social events got cancelled, everything I had been planning for months was gone. Erased. I was supposed to visit my sister in Toronto (nope). I had a formal for my sorority coming up (nu-uh). I had lunch plans, girls’ nights out, study dates and date-dates all lined up in my life (no, not happening, cancelled, and no sir-ee).
At first, I was mad. I made that pretty clear from the get-go. I was angry that I had put all this work in, but quickly I started to realise everyone else was in the shitter as well. My friend’s sister probably won’t get to go to prom. My Oma is in an old folks’ home in which she’s no longer allowed to leave her room. My situation is pretty trash, but everyone’s situation is trash.
So, I started to settle and it just kind of became a mundane annoyance in the back of my head.
It also felt surreal. Everyday felt like I was living in a dream. Have you ever had a dream where you realise something is off? Like you’re sitting in your apartment and a purple rhinoceros comes out of your bathroom and asks to borrow your shaving cream and you go, “Fuck, that’s weird”, but then you wake up. And once you wake up you realise how weird the dream actually was; how did you not realise it was a dream? Like your apartment was in black in white, or you had goat legs, or you were on your couch with your boyfriend Shawn Mendes (a girl can dream)? Life felt – and still feels – like that dream. I keep looking up expecting to see my purple rhinoceros and I wake up to the panic of realising I’m late to my PSYC305 class. But I don’t wake up because this is the real world now.
Anyways, so it was my 4th day alone when everything hit me. My sorority has this tradition to wish off the graduating class. It’s super cute and people write us letters. Anyways, for years I had been imagining how I would get my letters, what it would be like to be with my graduating friends and reading them in chapter meeting. Although, as I read my letters, alone, on the floor of my apartment I finally realised something.
This is it.
This is how I end four years of school. How I end my time in a sorority. How I end my music career in Vancouver. How I end living in the same city as my big sister, as my friends. How I end all my relationships, all my memories, all my time in Vancouver. Alone in my apartment.
And I started to cry.
At first, they were kind of quiet tears. And then they weren’t. They were big, ugly sobs. Because I had worked so hard to get here. I had a real “underdog” story of almost dropping out of school, overcoming mental health, getting my grades up, making friends, pursuing my career as a musician. And all of that boiled down to the next three weeks alone on my living room floor.
And yes, I like my time alone, but it’s starting to take its toll. It’s starting to wear me down and cabin fever is setting in, although I’ll take that over COVID-19 fever any day. And I’m losing motivation and I’m finding it harder to do things I love. Because not only am I alone all the time, but I have nothing to look forward to. My mental health is predicated on the fact that I have a life that I love but if I’m being honest, I don’t love this life right now. I don’t love having to leave Vancouver before I’m ready. I don’t love that I haven’t had a handshake let alone a hug in over two weeks. I don’t love that sometimes I just start crying in the middle of the day and I don’t know why.
I’m trying really hard not to come across as conceited or self-centred. But it has taken all my effort over the last couple years to get to a place in my life where I run my mental health more than my mental health runs me. But I can feel the pieces start to fall out of place and I’m wondering how much longer I can hold the picture in focus. And how long it will take me to get everything back in place if I slip.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to start walking around hugging people, because I understand this is for the greater good. I get that this isn’t about me. And I’m staying home for the same reasons you are. For the healthcare workers like my mama, and my cousin in New York. For my Oma. For people that are immune compromised. For the hundreds of thousands of people that are still out there everyday even though we all get the luxury of keeping ourselves safe. I’m staying inside because I’m not selfish. But I’m sad, and I’m allowed to be sad.
I don’t think there is a solution to this. But I wanted to get some stuff off my chest and for some reason was the best way I know how, because maybe someone else is looking at their computer and thinking “This sucks”. Which it does. And if you’re doing that, and you’re reading this, don’t worry. I’m on your side.
From me, with love, to you,