Lately, I find myself immersed in things of little value.
Fixating my attention on anything that can help take my mind off the current predicament. I find myself working more, cleaning more, and eating more when what I really want is to fill the hole in my chest.
I have stopped reading the news because I am crippled by the realisation that I will be stuck here for a long time. With no one to talk to but these four walls, I feel like I am losing my mind. I keep asking myself, “Are we such social creatures that we immediately crumble when denied interaction?”
It has been a little under two years since the first lockdown was initiated, three years since I have been with my loved ones, three months since I was locked up inside my unit and two years since my mental health started spiralling. I watch the chaos unfolding through the small screen of my phone, my only access to the outside world. I watch, wish and pray because that is all I can do.
This has been quite the predicament. Even the joys of leaving home seem foreign to me now. I remember, vaguely, charging for the airport, passport in hand, along with a detailed list of my itinerary. I had my whole life ahead of me only to have it stolen away. Two birthdays cooped up in my tiny room. I cannot be with my friends or family. And just as life goes on, I stare into the screen of my laptop for the umpteenth time today. Countless hours of Microsoft Teams lessons just so I can keep my CGPA afloat.
To say the least, this has been a frightening time. Watching people slowly succumb to this dreadful illness, loved ones separated, and millions losing their livelihoods. I could never comprehend the pain of having to distance yourself from your loved ones when they fall ill, a time when they need you the most. How lonely it must be. Or what it feels like to suddenly wake up unemployed.
While overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and grief over stolen moments threaten to drown me, I still try to become hopeful. What are we without a glimmer of light, no matter how dim? It might very well be the reason why I keep hanging on.
Conversations on the phone with my parents are my saving grace. They have shown me that though miles apart, the love remains. Though I am locked up inside my room, I am not alone. I have people who are always rooting for me, pushing me to go on. My rock. Armed with the knowledge that there shall come a time when the dust shall settle, I look forward to tender hugs and kisses from my loved ones, boba dates with my friends and seeing the world smile beneath the mask.
Until then, I choose to smile and rejoice over what I have now. I have accepted that I have no control over the current situation; what I can control, however, is how I spend my days. I choose to smile when my days are bright and cry when I am sad because there is beauty in vulnerability. I also choose to accept that sometimes life is the way it is just because. And in those moments, I choose to live.
I know that is easier said than done, especially when the world looks very bleak, but I choose to colour mine with bright colours. To search for daily pockets of peace and never give up. To always remember that, like all things, these difficult times shall come to pass. What are you choosing today?