This Year Has Been…

This year has been…

Hectic
Ever-changing
Laborious
Painful
Laden
Endless
Scary
Stressful

 

This year, as said by so many media reports, political and popular figures, friends, and family has been “unprecedented.” No one knows which way is up, and which way is down. There is so much turmoil that sometimes I find it hard to breathe. I lost count of the number of panic attacks I’ve had this year – episodes that feel like my chest is trying to detach from my body and my head is about to explode. I remember watching the news at the beginning of the year and passively dismissing the reports of a new pandemic that had been sweeping across countries like Italy and China. “That’s so sad.” I said to myself. “I hope that they can find a vaccine soon.” Then the first reports of cases of this new virus reaching the United States were being splashed across the pages of newspapers and the screens of every major news network. I still didn’t think much of it until Spring Break got extended. Then classes were moved online for the next month. Then two months. Then the rest of the semester.

 

Quarantine happened.  My husband worked from home. The virus spread. Masks and plastic gloves were worn, only to be tossed carelessly off the side of the road. What was going on? People started talking about the imminent apocalypse. God was finally seeking vengeance for all the wrongdoings caused by the human race.

 

We deserved this.

 

I was disappointed in humanity. Despite the governor passing a stay-at-home order, no one seemed to listen, and even less cared. I was frustrated, angry, and saddened by what was occurring. My mental health started taking a turn for the worst. I didn’t know who to turn to because everyone seemed just as hopeless and confused as I was. Riots broke out as the Black Lives Matter movement took the country by storm. People were fighting for equal rights, while other people were fighting to keep the status quo. Violence, bigotry, and hatred took over and the world turned into chaos. Then, the clouds started to part just a little. Cases seemed to be going down, and the stay-at-home order was lifted. Some sort of peace was established, and the riots began to calm down. People started going back to work, restaurants and businesses opened up, and churches began in-person services again, but we all seemed to have an understanding that nothing would ever be the same. When we were finally allowed to go out in public it was with the expectation that masks would be worn. These facial coverings took away something more than just our external appearance – they took away part of our identities. Smiles became less frequent, and true social interaction became a thing of the past. I began to wonder if things would ever change.

 

I started my final semester of school in August, which consisted of a teaching internship. I walked into the classroom on my first day feeling as if I was in kindergarten all over again. The children came in all wearing masks. They were seated on opposite sides of the table. Some of the students were only present virtually. I realized how much I missed seeing faces, and how strange it must be for these kids to come back to school wearing new disguises. Even now, as we begin to wrap up the semester, I wonder what the long-term affects of this pandemic will have on this and future generations.

 

But there is hope.

 

I’ve seen so many people come together and join forces to fight this seemingly endless battle. Doctors, nurses, teachers, and other essential workers fought through the virus to provide services that we would not have be able to survive without. They risked their lives at the height of the pandemic to make sure that people were taken care of. When COVID-19 becomes a distant memory, you have my promise that I will remember you. I’ve seen the heroic efforts made by “ordinary” people who put their safety and health to the side to take care of loved ones. The country has united in ways that have not been seen since 9/11. And I’ve realized there is so much good to focus on. Yes, COVID-19 has made 2020 an endless cycle of confusion, stress, frustration and fear. But I also know that everything will be ok. In August I found out that I have a new life growing inside of me. What a symbolic and representation of a new beginnings. I needed this. And as my baby continues to grow, so does my hope that we will come out of this stronger than ever before.

 

Yes, this year has been “unprecedented.” We’ve fought, we’ve triumphed, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried. We grew tired, but we never surrendered. I have fought harder to stay positive this year more than any other year of my life. While there have been times that I wanted to crawl into my own private corner of the world, I knew that wouldn’t be helping anyone or anything. When I couldn’t persist and fight for myself, I persisted and fought for others. 2020 will be a year that no one will forget.

 

This year has been…

Hopeful

Encouraging

Life-changing

Purposeful

Fierce

Uplifting

Laudable