One Year Later

I am so ready to go back outside.

My first day at home was St. Patrick’s Day 2020.

I only know this after scrolling through my phone and seeing a picture of my pathetic work from home setup that I sent to my friends. This was back in the “See you in 2 weeks” dreamscape that we were all living in. I wore my green hoodie from my alma mater and began my journey of curving of my shoulders by being hunched over a laptop for 8 hours.

Little over a year later, I’ve now upgraded to sitting at an iMac and in a chair and I am still hunching. This past year has been a roller coaster ride of emotions from Black Box Summer, the anxiety that was the election, the joy of celebrating someone losing a job, and all of January. Time has become a thing that moves too fast and too slow. Everyday is the same and yet feels like 3 in 1. I will never fully be able to describe. This is a “You had to be there” moment.

The odd thing about all of this is that I feel like one of the luckier ones. I haven’t gotten sick. I still have a job. I have come out okay. I will not be unpacking the melancholy that surrounds that statement, I will save it for me and a therapist.

What I will say is that I can’t imagine what we will be like when we have to venture back into the real world. I tend to joke that I may just wear a mask outside for the rest of my life but I do not know how much I am joking.

Even in the midst of all the death, sickness, and fear that has been swarming around us this past year, there are some silver linings. I am more radical today than I was a year ago. I strive for more justice in the world. I shop local and want to donate more and overall I am pretty content with my lot in life while striving in my goals. Hell, even my goals have gotten easier to manage. It’s amazing how being derailed a whole year lets you celebrate the victory of “Went to bed on time!”

My emotions, once somewhat faded, have gotten more vibrant as I have had this time alone. My smile is bigger, my laughs are louder, my tears are faster to come and more cathartic. I am in touch with myself in a way I haven’t been in years and all of that has trickled down into my stories. As I look at the things that I have written and they show more.

They have more urgency for equality. They yearn more for hope. They are stories of how we survive what the world does to us. They have more joy in the joyful moments and pain when there is sorrow.

This time alone has allowed me to feel more, learn more, and be more. I am hopeful that it isn’t in vain.

I have faith that it isn’t.

I think this time has made me a stronger writer, a stronger storyteller, and a better human being. I am forever changed.

I also am ready to go back outside again.

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