My Pandemic Reality, Just for Today

(Author's Own, Onondaga Lake, Syracuse, NY)

I have not written anything that isn't a school paper or assignment in a solid month.

Granted, that month has been filled with moving away from a discriminatory living situation and then subsequently moving three more times before landing in a place we kind of call home. But, I struggle to find the silver lining these days.

I do not feel depressed but I do feel hopeless: hopeless that life will return to a normal I understand, hopeless that my life will ever be the peaceful and relaxing journey into the suffering of others and helping of all that I strive so hard to have, hopeless that chaos is more like a constant season as opposed to the winter storm we can shake off come Spring.

I am tired of always being on high alert, tired of working so hard and feeling like I do so little work on or for myself, and tired of filling myself with positivity because others around me have so little left.

Jeez, maybe I am depressed.

March marks one year we have sat in the pandemic bubble.

I do not know where life is leading me but I do know I have so much more to give and that I won't feel this way forever. But I hate saying that, and sometimes I just want to sit in the bitterness and depression. I do not want to do things that MAKE me feel better I just want to FEEL.

I am unable to hold things together as I did a year ago. Rage and anger fill the place where understanding and empathy rested in my heart. It has grown like a disease, these emotions, and I am so scared it will grow out of control soon.

Even as I write this, I can't stop the familiar dampness running down my face. This year has given me so much heartache, I have no more room for it. I fill it with rage because the anger is blinding and provides the only distraction that works anymore.

I share all this because I hope I am not alone in seeing these changes after a year of continued trauma.

My grandmother is gone, my family refuses to speak to me, I left the job I loved and fought for because I no longer was able to mentally handle it, I found out I have a sister my mom never told me about who she gave up for adoption, I have been harassed and discriminated against by my apartment community and I have watched my partner crumble alongside her industry of massage that is non-existent anymore. In one month I will celebrate my second pandemic birthday and in June, my VIRTUAL graduation with a degree I worked hard to achieve.

But, my accomplishments are also many. I work as a crisis counselor on the only FEMA-funded COVID 19 emotional support helpline in the state of NY, where COVID began here in the US. I have begun a writing career that I know I will return to soon when I am ready to place pen to paper for more than a rant or essay. I spent the first year of what I hope to be many more with the first person I have ever thought of as my soul mate. I have traveled, safely and sparingly, around the great state of NY.

More importantly, I have helped others. Friends, coworkers, clients, partner, and family alike. I am not able to be constantly available like I used to allow myself to be but I am always supporting those who ask and seem in need. I found my empathy and, while the rage sits close below the surface, I am finding ways to channel my anger into compassion.

I am trying. I feel hopeless today, in these moments, but I am trying. I am working hard daily to better my life and the lives of those who have little voice and options. I know in my heart these things won't last forever.

But in case you felt alone today in your anger, your rage, your sadness, your thoughts of being tired and hopeless: I scream from the hilltops, you are not.

So tonight, if your thoughts look like mine, find hope. Search so hard for it in your family, relationships, and hobbies. Or, like I am, search for it in that furry friend of yours who always loves unconditionally and never judges.

Namaste, my friends, I love you all and if your hope is hard found-Please know I will find some to share with you if you need it, all you need is to ask.

(Author's Own, A Girl and Her Beast)