Social Distancing - Self DistancingWhen the Covid-19 pandemic caused New York City to go into lockdown the second week of March, it never once crossed my mind how large of an impact this shutdown would have in my personal life. In the picture below I show a poem I wrote during the sixth month of quarantine: My days felt like they were going on a loop. Everyday felt like a continuation of the day before and my mind was tired of it. In my poem I expressed that I felt like a bird that crashes on the windshield of a car, signaling the repetitiveness of my life in my small NYC apartment. I think that this time was one of the most difficult times for my mental health and I tried desperately to find a way of coping. Essentially, this poem represents the mental state I found myself in trying to find different ways to deal with the fact that life had paused abruptly and that nothing was certain anymore. One of the ways that I found myself doing a lot during this time was sleeping. I began to get worried when one day I woke up at 4pm and felt as if I had woken up at 9am. I knew my sleep schedule was a disaster, but I think that this represents how monotone life felt. On another hand, I think that the lockdown served as an opportunity to reorganize my priorities and discover new likes and dislikes. Since I had recently changed my major from Biology to English, this time helped me realize how much I enjoy writing and learning about other writers and their work. I never thought I would enjoy my major as much as I am enjoying it, especially since I can dedicate more time on it thanks to the spare time staying at home gives me. I think that this poem will benefit future historians in their study of the effects the COVID-19 lockdown on people’s mental health. Specifically, historians will be able to be exposed to the anxiety the world felt knowing that there was little we could do to reverse the effects the lockdown was having in our mental stability. Basically, historians will be able to analyze how much the pandemic affected us beyond the physical aspect but the detrimental effects it held against our mental health. All in all, COVID-19 surely fits the line by Charles Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
Quarantine Silver-Lining Moments.It is quite obvious that the Class of 2020 all share a collective disappointment with graduating via zoom but I personally had no problem with it. I honestly believed that it was a blessing in disguise, I didn’t have to sit in the hot sun and wait for my name to be called, wait there awkwardly as the teachers give an mediocre speech about me, and lie to all my classmates face when I claim that’ll I miss them and promise to keep in touch. In the beginning of Virtual Learning, I was the happiest I’ve ever been, which was due to the majority of my teachers teachers that were having a difficult time adjusting to online learning and were only able to assign one work sheet per week. During the first week of the pandemic, I was able to actually find my true self, my dislikes and likes, my ambitions, and my fashion sense. Although it got tiring staying home for the majority of my time, I still preferred to stay home and keep my safe from this deadly virus compared to actually having a social life, I learned that I appreciate my company and being alone more than I thought. As some may find quarantine completely damaging to their mental health and are unable to spend their days inside, it did the opposite for me, It improved my mental health drastically and gave me time to begin my journey of self-love and because of this I honestly would not mind if New York implemented yet another lockdown. I believe it would be beneficial to everyone because it would not only flatten the curve but it could potentially allow us to have less restrictions during the summer.
Self-portrait with mask, May 2020During the pandemic, I often walk in Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery with its rolling hills, lovely views, and fantastic old monuments; it's also where my grandparents are buried. I've always loved the beautiful, timeless melancholy of the place, but during the pandemic, it was also a strange comfort to read the headstones and think of the people buried all around me. Life, sickness, crisis, death are all just part of being human. These dead humans also lived, suffered, died, and now it's just another version of the same thing. The self-portrait included here is based on a photo I took of myself in Green-Wood as I wandered there one day in April 2020, looking to get away from lockdown and to find company among the graves.
“Life in the Time of Covid19 in a Hyper-Super-Gentrified Neighborhood: Making Things Visible”What did my neighborhood looked like during the first phase of the New York State lockdown. How my neighbors responded to the crisis
The Rippling Effects of COVID-19COVID-19 came as a shock to everyone. No one could have predicted the rippling effects it has had in everyone's lives. This pandemic impacts all kinds of people- young, old, single, married, rich, and poor. It is the common thread among all of us. It is what binds us together during this difficult time. This time will never be forgotten. It will be written in textbooks and taught to future generations. Many families are going through a hard time. Who knew a virus could infiltrate people’s lives like this and flip them upside down? No one saw this coming. Many families are struggling financially including mine. We weren’t prepared for this. We thought it will all blow over soon enough. Unfortunately, we were wrong. First, my school closed. Then, my job place closed. Then, my gym closed. It seemed as if the whole world was shutting down right before my eyes, slowly stripping the things I love the most. The thought of being trapped in the house, all day, every day, for who knows how long, gave me anxiety. Slowly, life began to become very boring. Waking up knowing that you’re trapped in the house. Curfews were put up in my city. It’s like we were little kids and the Government was our parents trying to protect us from the monster- COVID 19. I suddenly had so much free time on my hands and didn’t know what to do with it. I decided to pick up some new hobbies. I tried everything. From painting to reading. It was a crazy time for all of us. When we were finally allowed out, I was so happy. Happy that everything will go back to normal, happy that I could get my old life back, happy that I could leave my house again. However, it wasn’t what I expected it to be. We had to wear masks, gloves, and maintain six feet apart between people. I remember the first time I went out in months. Everyone had covered faces and only eyes of sadness and fear were able to be seen. We all looked the same, yet on the inside we were different, each of us experiencing the impacts of the pandemic in a different way. I was shocked. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a virus, something that is not visible to the naked eye, has turned our lives upside down and forced us to deal with the consequences. As of now, September 2020, life is somewhat what it used to be, but it will never return back to the way we’ve known. The fact that this has become our new reality, is kind of scary. But we are not out of the clear yet, there’s still so much work to do. We have to cooperate with all the guidelines and stick together. Especially during these difficult times, together we are stronger. This is all my own interpretation of the times we live in now and how it has impacted me and changed our lives forever.
Time Alone While Fighting TogetherThere's a lot wrong with the world and it seems that with everyday that goes by, there is a new challenge that we are faced with. This pandemic has been quite the paradox for me. Before the pandemic, I always wished I had more time to myself to do more creative things. As an artist, i am always sketching and designing but between work and school, I have no time to to bring my sketches and designs to life. When Covid-19 became a threat and quarantine was implemented, it put everything in my life on hold. Society in general was turned upside down. From, coronavirus deaths, to George Floyd, to riots and protests, everyday presented itself unrest and sorrow. During these chaotic times, I decided to capitalize on the time I had, therefore I referred to my sketches and designs, and began creating as much as I could. No matter what i created, i found that I would be immersed in the creative process and would in fact be meditating without realizing it. When i would create, everything going on would be temporarily non-existent. The circumstances of the time I had suddenly acquired was not ideal but I was nonetheless thankful because in some ways, i learned about myself. I created many things during quarantine but due to the virus, I like many other people made masks. Masks have became a household essential seemingly overnight and the demand for them were through the roof. I never made a mask before but i decided try. It took a while to get the exact look and aesthetic i wanted to incorporate in the design but i found way through looking at numerous YouTube videos. I got to work and before i knew it, i created 20+ masks and began to sell them. From friends to strangers, people wanted a mask from me and i was more than happy to make them because i knew i was making something that not only looks good but also will protect people and last a long time.
Steal Your Breath (With Worry and Tension)The document I'm submitting is a collage of poems, interview excerpts, and personal reflections. It was an exploration of lockdown and how that affected the people of the community I grew up in.
Lockdown 101My story is simple. It is about lessons learned while doing Lockdown 101, a crash course in life, in death, and everything in between.