Up Close and Personal: A Few Things 2020 Quarantine Has Taught Me
Thus far, most of us has been in dealing with this pandemic for more or less half a year now. And as much as we will COVID away and wish that we could resume to life before this virus, that’s just isn’t possible. Therefore, we settle for the next best thing: quarantine.
As of right now, the best thing we could do in this pandemic is to stay home as much as we can and mask up. For some, staying at home and everything turning online has been a dream come true. Yet for others, they have had a hard time––and are still having a difficult time––trying to balance personal life, work and mental health while trying to keep themselves safe from this virus that is currently ravaging the world.
Your girl was one of the others. And it’s worse because I live by myself, and have basically no social interaction for months other than me, myself and my thoughts to bounce off of. At some point, I was literally crying myself to sleep every other nights because of how lonely I felt. Quarantine is a lot to the human brain, and if you’re not feeling your best during these trying times, that’s okay too. That’s normal. A lot of people are going through it too, you’re not alone.
I was there too, and as we all know, it was not pleasant. I have had to push myself hard, and out of my comfort zones time and again. This quarantine taught me a lot about myself, things that I didn’t even know before. In this post, I will share some of it with you.
WHAT I LEARNED IN QUARANTINE
1. Ask for Help
I would say that this is one of the major things quarantine have taught me: having enough humility to understand when you are drowning, gasping for air and ask for help.
I’m not sure about others, but for me personally, my whole life has always been about me sucking it up and acting as if I always have things under control. No slip ups. No weaknesses. Even when it hurts I suck it up and keep on moving on because the show must go on. This was how I have lived my life for 2 decades. It was also the same kind of mindset that I brought into quarantine. I occupy my time with hobbies, learning new things, experimenting with new recipes.
At first, I was fine. Oh let me tell you, I was more than fine. I was thriving. My apartment feels so much more lived in now, it feels like home. Before, it felt like a hotel. A place where I just come home to sleep, only to head out again bright and early tomorrow morning. While in quarantine, the apartment felt so much more lived in and warm. I thought I was going to be okay, I mean, I was doing so fine just by myself I don’t need nobody else to keep me company.
Or so I thought. Until one day, it was as if all the fuel that has been keeping me running suddenly ran dry and I became a husk of a person. All my energy drained, and all I wanted was a kind voice to tell me that everything was going to be okay. But no one was there. There’s no one but me. Because I have forced myself to be this strong woman all my life, I have pushed a lot of people away and at the end of the day, I have no one but me. The loneliness I felt when I realized that, I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy.
So I started to reach out, and learned how to connect with strangers who eventually become acquaintances and then friends. That is when I realize, as busy as people seem to be on the outside, many people are lonely on the inside. Many are also too afraid to take that first step in trying to get to know new people. What wrong is there that instead of waiting for friends to come, we are the one who’s proactive in seeking them out instead?
2. We are Humans, Not Clams
Some people are open books, and some are not. I am in the latter group and I pride myself in that. I keep everything to myself, like a fortress who protects her secrets and thoughts at the cost of her destruction. I don’t only enjoy in keeping my walls high and impenetrable, I have also mastered the art of doing so without people noticing.
Let me get you in on a little secret, people love talking about themselves. When I say love, I really do mean love. Some love listening to themselves talk, some nod quickly through when others are speaking just so they could shut others up and talk more. And in knowing that, I exploit that fact. How? By asking questions. I will ask so many questions that by the end of a conversation, I know so much about them, their lives and their personal problems without telling them anything other than some basic info about me. And they didn’t even realize it.
Now, this is still something that I practice all the time simply because trust issues and whatnot. However, as of late, I have been trying to open up more to my close friends. I stop trying to keep my guard so high all the time, and push myself to share more. And you know what I realized? If they are truly your friend, then no amount of secrets that you have will scare them away––of course, unless you have a secret dead body stashed somewhere, then that’s a whole another conversation altogether.
3. Yes Man!
All my life, it has always been drilled into me that I need to be more cautious. With people, with experiences, with life as a whole honestly.
And during this quarantine, I don’t know where it came from or where it started, but I have became a little bit more of a yes
man woman. All of a sudden, I am more ready to do or start anything. Part of it I am sure is probably due to the fact that I am home most of the time, so any kind of new stimulating experiences generate an instant yes from me just to chase the boredom away. Who really knows.
How long this “Yes Woman” this will last is anyone’s guess. And as for me, I am just trying to ride the wave while it’s here. No ragrets, remember?
4. I Have A Diary. Of Feelings.
Hoo boy, this one is a game changer. I have always been against journaling or diary-ing as my parents would force open my diary as a child and read it aloud in front of me to show that they’re the alpha in the household. So you know, that was a fun childhood trauma right there.
So throughout the years, I have learned to bottle up my emotions and just push it down real deep inside where the sunlight can’t reach. That coping mechanism has always worked fine for me, as I keep myself as busy as I can to forget about whatever was bothering me at the time. However COVID put a stop to that when all of us had to stay home in order to stay safe. And thus, I was brought face to face with all the problems and emotions and feelings that I have kept inside for years.
Long story short, it was not a very pretty scene. As you can probably tell by now, there were a lot of snot filled tissues and sleepless nights.
These days, my outlet for negative and/or positive emotions and thoughts are so much more healthier. I found a journalling app where you can put a lock onto it, and I felt so much safer and so much more at peace knowing that my journal goes where I go at all times. And it’s locked with a passcode where no one but me knows the password to. And yes, while I know that journaling is not for everyone, but do give it a try if you’re ever in need to just vent and let out your emotions. I have found that writing everything down can be surprisingly cathartic at times.
5. Nobody Cares, You Do You
This is something that I have realized a while back, but it seems like it takes a quarantine to really drive the message home. Prior to all this mumbo jumbo that has been the year 2020, I pretend to not give a shit about what other people think of me, but this year for some reason, I have finally faked it till I made it.
I can now positively say that I seriously do not give a goat’s fart what anyone thinks about me. Like that one quote that says, “people who mind won’t matter, people who matter won’t mind.”
People used to say that I’m weird, sometimes too weird for them to get. Other are intimidated by me, saying that I came off too strong. And I have always tried to change myself and fit into their mold. I have always tried to accommodate to their wants and needs, so that people can like me more. But to want end? Why would I sacrifice so much of myself in return for so little?
These days, I do whatever I want and act however I feel. Friends who say that I’m too much for them, or disapproved of how weird I was and asked for me to tone it down, I took a scissor and snip off our friendship and set them free. 2020 as a year is enough work in and of itself, and I really don’t need more negative people to pull me down.
Every year, I would always write a set of goals that I’d like to achieve. Most of it is surrounding my studies and career, although I did always try to better myself mentally every year. While I do pay attention to my mental health, I must admit that I haven’t been caring for myself as much as I should have. 2020 seems to know that, and have locked me in the confines of my own home and company and shove me to face all my problems head on.
I wouldn’t say getting to where I am today has been easy. There have been a lot of tears and dark thoughts, some screaming and yelling a long the way too. But I’m proud of how far I’ve come compared to the beginning of the year. Each year come with its own sets of challenges, and there will be times where I feel like I’m not strong enough to handle them. Despite if I fail or succeeded, what matters is that I kept on pushing forward and gave the best that I’ve had. And I can only hope that you do the same, too.
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