Updated: Nov 28, 2020
When You Know You're Not Alone
June 15, 2020
As the pandemic continues and the stay-at-home seems never-ending, I've become one of many whose emotions continue to drift up and down from social isolation. Usually, when emotional downturns happen, I feel alone because it appears everyone's living happier lives. However, now with the pandemic, I'm reminded that I'm not alone in my loneliness and difficulties maintaining a constant stream of hopeful happiness. My house's four walls are now becoming the main place I see, day in and day out. Right now, my outside time consists of taking walks around the block. Inside my home, the next sewing craze goes on to keep me productive and sane. I'm not one who does well when life just stops and then asks, now what? Somedays, however, with my world becoming smaller, I feel like doing nothing but watching documentaries as a way to experience the world outside my shrunken world.
With my emotional moments, I know I'm experiencing someone else's isolated shoes during covid. This gives me compassion at a time when I don't have much contact with people. I'm remembering I'm not alone in my difficulties while working on the positives I can.
Being Labeled a "Failure" Among Many
March 23, 2020
As emotions continue to ebb and flow, in my house, today I woke up to another blue sky.
As I sat sewing again, I was thinking about my "loser" societal lot in life. I was contemplating the question if I'd been able to move life forward financially, before another crash, where would I be now? Would I be better off, or back in my current situation? I remembered, I'm not the only "failure" society has labeled; therefore, I must not be really a failure. Many people find themselves in my impoverished predicament while struggling the best they can. Now with covid, more people are coming. With these new covid survivors, they need hugs and compassion, not judgmental labeling.
I was also remembering 2008 and how far I'd come from that downturn. This includes my now AA education, which I just finished this semester. Funny timing. However, that's the positive part of this equation. But with this graduation comes a $10,000 student loan debt, I took out to help survive the first financial 2008 ripple. In this new downturn, I must figure out how to pay the money off. However, I'm not out of ideas yet, hoping my artistic spirit will pull me through the present while hoping my scholarly self will pull me through towards a better future. My recent back injury that occurred in August also doesn't help, before the pandemic even happened. I was remembering how hard I've continued to pull up my impoverished bootstraps while wondering, "am I ever going to make it "? How much harder do I have to work, just for s*hit to happen?
I'm in a constant state of finding ways to inject myself with hope.
While remembering the documentary "Human Flow," I was reminded about all the other women trapped in different countries, living in refugee camps. They don't have a sewing machine or educational opportunities. Even if my efforts fail, at least I have a chance to work towards the future. Even if it's just learning a new skill, or creating a new crazy creative hat, bag, or working on my site to help others. My life isn't dictated by running from bombs or forced marriage arrangements.
When I think of these women looking into my life, who have no freedom, they speak to me saying:
"How do you not see what you have? You have a sewing machine. You have crochet hooks and yarn. You have an education, your books, a clean place to live. You have food in your kitchen. You have a real bed to sleep on. You have your family support. With this support, a roof over your head, with a bathroom where you can sh*t and shower. Your life is healthy. You are free! You must continue to do what you can with the opportunities you DO have. You have more than I have, as I'm not free. You have hope!"
Becoming Useful from Useless
March 22, 2020
Times continue to be tough as the bumps and stresses carry on. But today, at least, when I woke up, the sky was bright blue. I stopped obsessively making fabric boxes to deal with my covid anxiety, which makes my mom happy. Instead, I started working on sewing a complicated bag that I could hopefully sell; I just have to make the bags. I'm also almost finished with my last Black Death paper for World History 1. Now only three more papers to go, and one final, to finish off the incomplete work I took on when injuring my back last semester.
Life has continued to throw its punches, one after the other: back injury, the house being sold, my family's renting (where will we go, we don't know), and now a pandemic where schools shut down—everything going online too soon. People are panicking, others are dying, shoppers are hoarding: toilet paper, sanitizer, flour, food... we're living in an infectious war zone.
With this new crisis, I just feel like giving up on my education, just throwing in the towel. But I'm too close to the finish line. I've worked so hard. My thoughts wonder, with such an uncertain future (again), from the 2008 crash I already survived, why does my education matter now? Here we go again! I understand what it's like to lose everything in a flash, and now more people will be going through what I went through, soon, not knowing what to do. I feel them and understand the confusion, the feelings of hopelessness, and helplessness that comes with this type of crisis. Living in complete shock.
I can't take seeing any more of this societal meltdown. My concentration to even work on my education is off. The future feels so distant, and the present is all that exists - and can exist at this moment. All I can do is sew, sew, sew out my anxiety. As long as my machine is buzzing, I'm fine. When it stops, every emotion floods back, filling my body. If only I could stop time, but I can't. With my education, I just have to wake up, do what's possible, and see where I land two months from now.
At the moment, I feel useless during this crisis. I'm a problem solver, and when I can't solve the dilemmas surrounding me, I fill with anxiety. During this time, being trapped in an educational system that promises a better future I'm still waiting on, makes everything more difficult to face. Where's the future headed while investing in the next degree and class accomplishment? However, even though my school investment hasn't panned out yet, I was reminded that I'm not completely useless in this pandemic moment.
I have many gifts and talents beyond institutionalized learning. At this moment, my ability to sew and crochet saved my sanity and a few bills this month. To save money, I also made unpapered products, even though I'm the only one using them in my household. Having unpapered products will continue to calm my nerves when no paper products are found on the shelves. That was traumatic.
In this throwaway society, no one realizes how dependent we are on such items of convince. Even Amazon was out of stock. With my ability to see past baby blanket and car rag labels, with a few sewing skills, I'm no longer dependent on napkins, tissues, sponges, and paper towels - toilet paper, however, would go too far.
I just have to keep remembering the things I can do and what uses I do have. Tomorrow I might mop the kitchen floor as a useful task to tackle. It's the small things, which matter most during a crisis.
A Meaningful Life
Feb. 1, 2020
Life's an adventure full of unexpected stops while questioning what's next. I just have to go through this tunnel called "Present" to take hold of what's on the other side towards "Future" Avenue.
Humans go through many trials and tribulations within one lifetime. I've continued to get beaten down by the storms, the winds, the tornadoes that rip through my plans and dreams. They get swept away under bridges forcing me to make new life plans and paths while reexamining, even reinventing, how I'm going to survive this time. Am I going to finally break? Am I going to be able to keep up the fight against the odds? Is my body finally going to give out, and my mind with it? Will I be able to wake up one day with no back pain from my injury? Will I heal so I can move on, and now covid's around the corner.
I continue to wake up while fighting to not give up. I know life, my existence, has meaning, even on days when the meaning of my life escapes me. Then I question, "Even though I feel no meaning present right now, if I give up, what about the people I wish to help in the future? Help with my education, along with my story of resilience, to help others not give up on themselves?"
If only today I could collapse, but instead have to find the strength to move forward. Moving forward might be crocheting another crazy hat. Doing one thing during the day is better than nothing at all. Life's meaning and hopefulness come in small packages. Humans can survive many things when life holds meaning. Remembering life's purpose is one of the best survival skills I have, to keep my head out from under the covers (most days).
This hope comes from remembering life isn't about me, but the ways I'm connected to this planet and humanity. I'm a small drop in this big ocean. Every raindrop has a chance to make a difference in the life of another human being. This action then can ripple out into the vast humanitarian sea. When I finally die, the ripples left behind will hopefully create a better world: one day, one person, one creative hat moment, one mask, one bag, one degree, and educational experience at a time.