There’s nothing quite like isolation. Isolation has always been my enemy. If you know me then you know I’m a busy person. I’m the person who's always at an event, or meeting, or conference, or school, or work, or I’m planning my world takeover. When I slow down, it’s a moment that is often brief and it’s for the purpose of processing what I am feeling, and then I move on. The feeling usually has to be quite strong in order to invoke a pause. I always felt as though there was no point in simmering in the feelings, it was a quick process with the occasional adult tantrum. I call them my Mrs. Nesbitt moments. You see, my favorite movie ever is the OG, good’ol Toy Story. And there’s a scene in that movie where Buzz is devastated, and he decides that he going to wear a dress and apron and become Mrs. Nesbitt. He’s a depressed, sad, and emotional mess, and when woody finds him, he says, “SNAP OUT OF IT BUZZ!” And then he’s like, “You’re right, I’m just a little depressed that’s all.”, and then he collects himself.
It’s a one-minute clip out of a 90-minute movie, and it’s always resonated with me. It’s a moment that happens, I’m sad, depressed, throw a tantrum and then I move on. I snap out of it. But the important part in the equation is the moving on part. Usually, I drown myself in work and dedication to a cause. For example, when I became homeless at the age of 16 I decided that year to take two college-level courses, and participate in marching band, jazz band, competition theatre, speech and debate team, international club, Interact Rotary Club, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But you get the point. I moved on.
My life is usually going great when I’m only active in a few things. And that was the beginning of this year. I was healthy, eating right, working out, and had only involved myself in a few things and was just enjoying the time. Time with my husband and family and school and was nice. And then it hit. March 13, (Friday the 13th) I began crying when it set in. The world was beginning to shut down. And in the process so did I. There was no moving on. There was instead a standstill, a pause, and I was just sitting. Simmering. Drowning.
I work in a hospital and I’m public health and political science double major and I’m a person of color. This year I carried a weight that had such a depth, and complexity in it that it’s hard to describe.
But it was sort of like the weight of having too much knowledge, death being too close to home, and knowing that it was all inevitable yet preventable. It’s the weight of a ticking bomb strapped to your chest combined with the dread in the car on the way to a funeral. This year felt like that. And of course, there were memorable moments scattered throughout but the year felt heavy.
The only good news there is to share is that I’m here to tell the story. I lived through it and you may be thinking, “oh Sarah, you are so dramatic”. And I wish that statement was true. I wish it was all just dramatics. But sadly, there was a moment where I truly thought I may not live that much longer. I texted everyone I truly adored and loved and told them I loved them just in case I didn’t make it.
March 13th. It rests in my heart. It was the day Breonna was killed. It was the day I realized that this life is too short. It was the day I realized that this pandemic was happening, and people were going to die. It was a day filled with fear. And I remember thinking, “this too shall pass.” It’s a quote I carry around and take out on the days in which I think there’s no possibility of tomorrow. And I truly believed at the time that the fear would pass. But it didn’t. It just got worse. More people died. I lost time, and memories and moments. I got sick and spent two and a half months of time in a body that was not mine, but instead a manifestation of everything I had fought so hard against. It was a manifestation of a COVID-19 nightmare I had had just months before.
I sat through hospital visits, several doctor’s appointment, speech therapy appointments, occupational therapy appointments, physical therapy appointments, and mental health therapy appointments in an attempt to feel better and to rid myself of the nightmare that had once been just a dream but months later had become my reality. And the worst part of all of it is that there was no moving on. There was no community project, there was no school event, there was no driving from thing to thing. There was no moving on. And instead, there was isolation.
I haven’t written a post for this blog because there is no good, positive, inspiring ending to this story or to this year. I’ve always been told that I’m an inspirational individual. I inspire people and therefore, I try to write with that in mind. I don’t want to share the bad without the good. But it hard to find the good when there is no end to the nightmare. I still go to work and encounter and relive the trauma every other day. There are still people dying. There are still incidents of people getting shot for no reason. There are still people developing COVID lungs. And I’m still in the pause.
While I’m in this season in my life, I’m attempting to find joy, light, and I’m trying to be kind to myself. I’m attempting to shower and wash my face and go outside for a breath of fresh air. I’m trying. But that’s the most I can say. I wish there was good news. But the only good news is that I’ve lived this far and hopefully there is more waiting for me. Why do I share this? The only reason I have chosen to post this depressing, sad, shitty blog post is that I don’t want anyone to feel alone. Just know if you are where I am, you are not alone. And I love you. And we will continue to fight, together.
After finishing this post, I did want to take a moment and thank God for what good there was. I pulled out the good’ol achievements list. And realized that although I am exiting this year with dread, and fear, and uncertainty, and resentment, there are some noteworthy things that did occur.
1. I went to D.C. to visit my sister and it was awesome. (pre-COVID)
2. I was in the Vagina Monologues and it was life-changing. (pre-COVID)
3. I earned a 4.0 GPA in the spring of 2020
4. I was awarded an outstanding poetry award.
5. I was appointed to the President's Representatives on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (PRIDE) committee at Shenandoah University.
6. I participated in the BLM revolution and voted in my first presidential election.
7. I now own a car.
8. I was an orientation leader for the 2020 freshman class at SU.
9. I made A/B honor roll despite having to take a medical leave of absence.
10.I survived COVID-19 and continue to fight for my health, and mental wellbeing.
The Humility in the Unknown “Sars-Cov-2 Tales” blog series is coming to a page near you! Enjoy a medical mystery nightmare, right here, beginning at some point in 2021 because the writer is still consistently attempting to recover from COVID months later! See you there!
******SONG OF THE YEAR*******