Write From The Heart

"Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back."

Living With(out) COVID-19

May8

For nearly all of my life, I’ve been a shy, reclusive person. I usually attribute it to my school life spent being either ignored or bullied, my love for video games overshadowing my want to get out, or just me being too tired for socializing. But, admittedly, I wanted to branch out in college- see the Austin sights, make good friends, and, in general, get out of my comfort zone. These trying days have forced me back into that comfort zone I call my home, yet I’ve never felt more hopeless and useless than now.

COVID-19 was confirmed to be a global pandemic at around the time in my university life where I was exhausted and aimless, sometime around midterms. I was getting well adjusted into my apartment on South Congress St., trying to hype myself up out of my mental block. The semester was almost over, we were quickly barreling to the end of our lesson plans, so I knew I needed to bring my best to the table. But, during what I thought would be a normal Spring Break, the university staff sent out an email informing all students that the rest of school would be online. The pandemic wasn’t a background worry anymore, it was going to be reality.
My daily routine changed drastically: I woke up, walked to the kitchen, made a bowl of cereal, then got dressed for a Zoom meeting at 3:30 p.m. I was back in my family home where I spent countless nights playing games by myself, only seeing my college friends through a fuzzy computer screen.

I had a childhood friend over before social distancing was enforced, then only a few weeks later we were lamenting together in a Discord call about our inability to see each other. A few days earlier, I was comforting another friend from Canada, who’s struggling to pay rent after he became unemployed. And even earlier, I cried myself to sleep because my mom had a dangerously high fever and I knew she was out and about for work. Anxiety is the normal nowadays. It’s hard to get through without thinking of the horrible conditions we’re stuck in at least once. It’s harder to fight the feeling that I’m dead weight on everyone because of my powerlessness.
Still, I think of the genuine smiles my mom gives me when I offer to stay by her side- safely, of course. I think of my friends who say that they miss me and wish me goodnight every time we talk online. I think of the people who tell me that I’m wanted and the urge to self-deprecate fades into obscurity.

The pandemic is testing our love for each other and for life, but it can’t win. It didn’t win over Europeans fighting bubonic plague and it won’t now. We’re too resilient for viruses like COVID-19, I feel. We can be fickle, antisocial, hateful, ignorant, or selfish, but the goodness in us comes out in times like these. I truly do believe we’ll be fine. It’s difficult to maintain this thought, but I know it’s true. I just can’t wait to finally eat ramen at my favorite spot in Austin with my friends again. It’s called Ramen Tatsu-Ya. I hope they’ll survive and go back to serving delicious noodles soon.

Below is my submission to The Munday Library COVID-19 Perspective. It’s not much, but at least I can say I’m a part of the history books now.

My card on the front page

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