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Living through a Pandemic

2020 was a blur. And as much as I would love to only focus on just the good things that happened last year and things I am entirely grateful for (as written in another blog post), I feel the need to address the reality of the pandemic in 2020 because I’m practicing something called “realistic positive thinking”.

RACHEY after a typical 15+ hour day at work.

How did the lockdown affect you?

I want to preface by saying, I know 2020 was—more or less—hard for everyone. Some people were on quarantine lockdown and feeling the loneliness, anxieties, and claustrophobia in their confinement. Others were considered “essential workers” and were affected by the pandemic by having to be out in the world and operating with the fear of being at-risk every minute they are not safe in the confines of their at home.

I was the second person described above.

Last year, I barely got a taste of the “work from home” experience because my role and the work I do requires me to be full-time on site.

RACHEY sitting in the car until it feels okay to leave the car.

Facing the hell that was 2020

Part of moving forward and finding a good balance between being “realistic” and “optimistic” is addressing the rough reality of what it was like living through it last year up until now. I need to address it, understand what going through what I went through meant to me, and figure out a “realistic positive” path forward.

Something called “Toxic Positivity” creeped in

In other words, I admit that I developed toxic positivity habits in 2020 that I’m not happy with. But I did what I did, and thought the way I thought to get myself through the year.

RACHEY getting through late nights to get her final project for school out.

The whole world shifted

While a crap-ton of jarring, world-paradigm-shifting events were occurring, I compartmentalized.

As someone who takes pride in spreading awareness about issues, I felt guilty about not “saying” or “spreading” more than I did.

Mind you, I was and am hyper-aware of the toilet paper dilemma, the Australia bushfires, the two-inch murder hornets, the stock market crash, the ridiculous COVID-19 relief provided in the US, Harry and Meghan quitting the royal fam, the first and second impeachment trials, the #MeToo victory in the HW verdict, the Black Lives Matter protests and injustices surrounding the movement, the many deaths (of Kobe Bryant, Gigi Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and many other humans who should have had more time), the Beirut explosion, the USA presidential election, the West Coast wildfires and close-to-home evacuations, the invasion of the Capitol… all of it.

Again, I did what I could within the limits of my energy, time, and money. I donated, reposted, and discussed what I could, when I could, where I could… and I know I did my best (and continue to do my best) to stand up for what I believe in.

RACHEY after laughing and crying and going through a range of emotions.

My organized dumpster fires

Consequently, dealing with the external state of the world took a toll on my internal, personal, microcosm state of my world.

I pushed all thoughts and feelings about events during the day, overworked, and was too tired to unwind and process everything both internally and externally, and both physically and mentally.

Very quickly, I found myself in a vicious cycle of wake up, work, sleep (a little), work, go to school, nap, work, eat unhealthy food, work, have a few minutes to spend time with my husband and fur baby, work, study, sleep…

Imagine an organized group of dumpster fires. That was me. That was my reality.

And I say “organized” dumpster fire, because I compartmentalized and because there were still some good things coming out of the chaos.

RACHEY, tired.

Now, where do I go from here?

At this point, you and I both know that I cannot operate the same way I did last year by allowing myself to be toxic positive, or by continuing to compartmentalized, or by continuing to dive into work and not give myself time to rest.

If I continue to do what I did last year (and I admit, last year up until now), I cannot expect to move forward and upward.

If I want to make it through the rest of this pandemic without completely ripping my whole self and well-being to shreds, then I need to do something about my ‘toxic positive thinking’, overworking, unrealistic compartmentalizing, lack of boundaries, and fear that I’m not doing enough when I take a break.

RACHEY trying to figure out when this will be over.

I need to find my center again.

I need to find my inner peace.

And I’ll do it in the best way that works for me.

I will heal and become stronger through expression and art; through my singing, my drawing, my editing, my journaling… Most of all, I will get through this with the help of my writing. Because at the core of all the things I hope to master, writing will always bring me home and this blog is a piece of that home.

RACHEY after a good cry.
About Author

I write about anything that comes to mind. I'm a grad student, freelance writer and editor, self-taught photographer, and croissant enthusiast. I follow my neverending bucketlist to the corners of the world. I live by the motto to "study and live in all forms of culture". Welcome to my cute, little online world!

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