I know these are “dark uncertain times” and in the grand scheme of things- sitting on the couch to save humanity is a pretty sweet deal. We are not called to war, most of us are not front-line workers- and we are locked up in the comfort of our own homes with endless streaming services, virtual at-home workouts, creative projects on the back-burner, and a fridge full of food. It seems like we are more than lucky- in a lot of ways we are but this is most of us not all of us.
I have been scrolling through a lot of “pandemic positivity posts” lately, and while I am not trying to sound like a cynic….this is really not helping. I believe in supporting one another, whether it be as simple as following someone’s new business account or liking a pretty headshot photo to boost someone’s self-esteem. Whether it be promoting your career path, your creative endeavor, side hustle, or whatever you think is funny at the moment. Social media is no longer just personal, it can be a platform to build your success. To make a long story short, I really do not care how you wish to sell yourself on Instagram- but the last thing I need while the sky is falling is to see how “happy you are” and how “easy this is for you”.
I am seeing a lot of posts that claim “quarantine lifestyle is just my regular routine” or discussing the silver linings, and hidden beauty of this pandemic. I am happy you are healthy and not suffering. While I am genuinely capable of understanding some of the environmental advantages and enjoying more “me time/sleep time”- however, I would be lying to myself if I called this a “blessing in disguise”.
If pretending to be positive is helping you sleep at night- then kudos to you. I get it, I am a huge fan of the “fake it until you make it” mentality. Yet there is a point where I can’t even pretend anymore. If this is easy for you, do me a favor and do not tell me that. Not everyone is lucky enough to be isolated with a partner, best friend, roommate, or family.
Many of us are now unemployed or on temporary leave and do not have “work from home” to distract us. If you are making the new adjustment to work from home, the transition is not always seamless for everyone. Some people suffer from ADHD and focus problems and heavily rely on an office setting to be productive. While we are blessed with the gift of time during isolation, this atmosphere may be difficult for some of us. Not everyone can adapt so easily with change.
I am constantly seeing this particular post all over social media “If you don’t come out of the quarantine with a new skill, your side hustle started, more knowledge, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline”.
I want to point out before I even begin to comment on that statement, I am extremely productive. I am known for rarely being home, constantly going from one job to the next, one event after another. I absolutely hate doing nothing. I can not just “chill”, even if I am at a friend’s pool- I can not just sit there and tan (mostly because I am a redhead and I burn) but I need to be reading a book or talking on the phone- I am incapable of just sitting there in peace and silence. This so-called “quarantine and chill” is my version of hell.
Normally I would be running around making sales, going to events, the gym, social obligations, and I would be too busy to let “anxiety” slow me down. With the world on lockdown everything that makes me “me” has been taken away. I no longer feel powerful, pretty, successful, loved, most importantly I am no longer happy.
Our physical health may be safe at home, but that does not mean our mental health is. With every day being more uncertain than the next and a timeline that does not seem to have a foreseeable end date anytime soon, it is difficult to stay positive. I am saying this as someone who prides themselves in being productive and strong- I have never struggled to motivate myself until COVID-19.
If I was reading this story of “quarantine life” on paper I would have assumed – I would have jumped at this opportunity to make the most of this extra time. Yet reading about something in history and living it is two different things. History books can explain the facts, but they can never truly convey the emotions we are all collectively experiencing right now. A lot of work (especially more creative-driven work) is mood-based- it can be hard to paint, write songs, draw your fashion sketches, rehearse lines, write stories, dance, with constant mood swings and depression that has sunk into your soul. Quarantine block makes writer’s block look like a walk in the park (which also btw is basically against the law now).
This may just be a grim day but it does not feel like this moment will pass, this feels like what life is now and it’s awful. Our businesses are dying, our health (physical and mental) are in constant danger, our love is being distanced, and our freedom has been completely taken. Some of us are separated by border restrictions from friends and loved ones, and we have no idea when we can see them again. Others could be trapped and stranded abroad, desperately waiting for a safe way to get back home. With all of this deprived of me, COVID-19 has given me the gift of time to overanalyze, panic, cry, to mourn for my former life.
Even if your life is not “that different” from a quarantine lifestyle please respect that maybe ours is and this is far from easy for us. I am genuinely happy for the fortunate people that are barely affected or have only needed to make minor adjustments, unfortunately, not all of us are that lucky. While this may come off as childish, these so-called “positivity posts” are producing the opposite effect. These posts are forcing me to compare and become envious. I am not trying to sound like a spoiled uninformed millennial that is bummed they had to cancel their vacation. I am not mad about canceling a trip – I am mad about canceling my life.
Sometimes it feels like some people are sacrificing more than others not to point fingers- but when I read these “positivity pandemic posts” it feels unfair. It reminds me that I am more miserable than you. I didn’t write this to play the blame game, just devil’s advocate. I wrote this for the people who can’t write something positive. I wanted to remind everyone that it is okay to come out of quarantine WITHOUT a new skill, a side hustle started, or more knowledge- just focus on coming out alive healthy ( both physically and MENTALLY).
Also a special shout-out to the positivity posts that are actually helping people, people that are donating to charities, helping people find remote “work at home” jobs, donating food/ any other household supplies, supporting small businesses (purchasing gift cards), and of course last but by far not least our front-line workers.