Honestly & Pandemically Speaking

Wednesday, May 06, 2020


I subtly talked about it with friends and loved ones. I mentioned it lightheartedly in random chit-chats. Most times, I don’t think about it. I alloted more time on doing things that made me feel okay, not too good and not too bad, like it’s just another normal day and I just had to stay in. I’d tell myself, I’m a homebody so I can, in a sense, enjoy this.

I knew I was affected by the current sitch of the world emotion-wise. But of course, I wanted to count myself among the stronger ones who wouldn’t let their feelings control their mindset or actions. I’d tell myself that I am not my emotions.

But who was I kidding? Only myself, obviously.

I’ve instinctively turned my back on my feelings. Maybe I thought that if I didn’t face them, I’m not exactly denying them – much like how a white lie works. I had to pretend to not see what’s in front of me or else I won’t be able to function in a world where suddenly, fantasy seemed to have taken over reality.

Pandemically speaking, no one expected this to happen. I’m sure you know the “it” and the “this” that I’ve been talking about. How much things have changed. How hard it is to grasp the concept of a new normal. How true these all are. How much we wish they aren’t.

All the plans and the disappointments that replaced each. Our known normalcy fading fast and desperately being redefined within a matter of days that turned into weeks, into months… praying for all of these not to stretch into years. The frustration over postponed dreams and moments for which we’ve spent brave years of waiting and enduring. The inevitable lament over what seems to be the falling apart of many things as we know it.

I know there are people who have it harder. Being sad even with the comforts I’ve been lucky to have is not a sin. I feel what I feel and it took me months into this global health crisis to actually accept my own emotions. I can now admit that I’m not doing well and that’s okay. Just because I can still eat well, doesn’t mean I’m not suffering. This feeling of being powerless, unable to do anything of great effect, is emotionally paralyzing. You try to move around each day and go about your usual routine but deep inside, you feel like you’re not doing anything that actually matters in the bigger spectrum of things.

They say staying at home is already helping but upon seeing exhausted and suffering frontliners on the daily evening news, you just can’t help but feel useless. And no, you can’t stop watching the news because you have to know. In these times, not knowing only brings you anxiety. Even when you don’t watch the news, you fear for your loved ones and wonder how they are doing. Are they healthy? Are they eating well? Are they safe? And all at the same time, you wish for everyone’s safety, even for those you don’t personally know. You hope with all your heart that the whole world is safe. You fervently wish you can be with your loved ones soon. And even if you’re not the outgoing type, you now wish to meet more people and get to know them for who they are.

I haven’t written anything in my journal since the community quarantine started in this part of the world. That was me trying not to face my feelings. Maybe then, I thought that I could just be honest with myself once this is all over. But even as I decided to do that, there were nights I needed to cry my eyes out before I can lull my desperate self to sleep. There were even times when I'd shed tears in the shower all of a sudden. Still, I told myself that it was fine since we’re in the midst of a pandemic. I continued to express how I felt while I was giving myself the cold shoulder. 

It really wasn't the healthiest of combinations. I was half being honest and half lying to myself. It was like I was being real and faking it. I’d like to stop that now. Thinking about it, I am strongest when I'm honest and unafraid to be vulnerable.
  
***

KAREN’S NOTES 

(to self and to anyone who cared to read ‘til the end)


This is a confession of the feelings I have now 
during the COVID-19 pandemic. I wasn’t honest
with myself for quite a while and even pretended
that these feelings didn’t exist.

As I read this before posting, it felt like 
suppressed tears stinging and warming up 
one’s eyes and then welling up to finally 
and freely, fall.

TY for reading! 

Photo by Stephanie Harvey on Unsplash

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