Quarantine Series: Letter 1
I know that this is my first letter, and it may seem too long a glance into my life. Especially compared to the snippets of attention that is given to you comprising of three letter words and the occasional emoji, describing your latest updates and activity. It seems like you enjoy island hopping or rather traversing the world, leaving a line of uniformed obituaries. You’ve gained traction since you once started December 2019, now accumulating a following of almost five million. However, you seem to affect the older humans more. How magnanimous of you to spare us. You have robbed us of our freedom and left us helpless and afraid. So it is only right that in return I subject you to my unfiltered thoughts and feelings being in quarantine facing…. You.
It’s not every year that a global scale pandemic shuts your lifestyle and disrupts your routine that happens to be your only source of comfort, bringing about a sense of normalcy in the otherwise chaos that plagues most sixteen-year-olds. As you very well know, I find calmness in order and so to feel at ease, I center my life around routines and schedules. This order is now unsettled. I am not entirely tone deaf as to be oblivious to those truly affected by you, and my heart goes out to their families, but I know that the only way to help is to self-isolate. And through much deliberation I now realize that I must do my part to process my feelings. Society has shut down and left us isolated and to fend for ourselves.
Schools are closed and so I should be happy? Believe me! I find comfort knowing that I do not need to wake up at 5.30 every day and pretend to listen to my teacher ramble on about conjunctive verbs or binomial expressions, because behind my dazed and nonchalant expression, I have probably dozed off. But the thing I miss the most is the thirty-minute car ride to school, my ears being filled with AC/DC’s best hits, hoping that the jarring sound of drums mixed with the annoyingly addictive lyrics would guide me away from sleep and leave me refreshed for school.
Now, when I stumble onto first period the only thing that keeps me awake is the bright rays of the nine o’clock morning sun digging into my retinas, it claws forcing me awake but never alert. I miss knowing exactly where I am on the road to school, my body having become adjusted to the sharp right turn before Parliament and slow crawl of the traffic hotspots on my daily route to school. I never realized that these tiny nuances within my life made it all the more colorful. Now, I trace my pen back and forth across the palm of my hand, anxious, because my teacher requested me turn on my video. I didn’t really like them prying into my life as I wanted to segregate school and home as much as possible but alas that is another thing that you have stolen; my privacy along with my autonomy.
Held captive in my cement fortress suspended twenty floors in the air might be a bit of an exaggeration but is in fact a reflection of how I feel. The phrase, you never really miss things until they are not there anymore, seems to be at the forefront of my mind these days, and thanks to you, I feel like my grip on sanity is slipping. I miss the simple things. I miss the sky.
Starting from the second week of quarantine life, I have initiated and planned three separate creative endeavors. Wedged between the looming threat of exams and my will to do anything productive dispersing with the slightest activity, my creative slump clogged any form of pragmatic thinking and a positive attitude. As an effort to escape this slump, I revisited a favorite past-time of reading, began an entirely new experience of baking and tested my talent in floral arrangements.
Literature and co.
I’ve grown more restless by the day, and I hoped to quell this irritable feeling by throwing myself into the depths of assignments and tasks that stain the calendar on Managebac. But once my incentive to work evaporates, I am left with nothing to do. My never-ending feeling of exhaustion doesn’t help either and often leaves me barren and too tired to do anything productive. Watching Netflix has become too tiresome and so I have mounted on a less tumultuous task; immersing myself in the world of literature. At least that’s one thing to be grateful for since if I was at school, I wouldn’t have found the time to do so. Diving into the intriguing, romantic and fascinating era of 90’s British West Africa and being swept away in a whirlwind of mystery titillating adventure, this has been my newest escape from my plain and boring reality. The moment DLP finishes, I feel the rush envelop my body as the day’s stress is washed away by the vibrance of Wilbur Smith’s War cry and the exploits of Saffron Courtney along her journey to freedom. I feel as if reading not only provides me with a healthy break from quarantine life but also provides me a beacon of hope for the future. For example, I feel as if Saffron’s adventures are largely exaggerated versions of my own internal conflicts dealing with you and her inspired perseverance and commitment encourages me to do the same in my life.
Baking and co.
Another way that I have kept busy and entertained myself is by attempting to mend my lack of talent in the kitchen. I have never been one to be successful at cooking, especially baking even if I follow a plain set of instructions. This could possibly be due to how committed once must be and the patient attitude one must adopt for their plans to blossom into fruition. Thus, after identifying my own strengths and developed areas for growth, I used the surplus time on my hands and the fact that I could improve both these values in my academic life to embark on this activity, much to my parents’ amusement. I decided that the best way to polish my skills of patience and commitment is through empirical means and thus started off with an intermediate level of baking in order to challenge myself by chosing to bake a batch of brownies.
I think it is safe to say that both values of patience and commitment were heavily tested in the process as I often thought to stop stirring and just admit my shortcomings. However, then remembering Saffron Courtney’s unwavering and determined mentality, I championed on. Nonetheless, the end result wasn’t really perfect and I didn’t quite expect it to me as the process was even more eventful and momentous. Through this experience, I demonstrated that challenges had been undertaken and I had developed new skills in the process, by not only extending the limitations of patience and commitment but in fact enhancing my non-cognitive skills, thereby arming me with the necessary skills to make my second attempt successful.
Flower-Making and co.
Flowers are often universally symbolic of peace, love and friendship… all healthy emotions that you threatened to break down. Personally, the rosy hues and gentle blues are visual stimuli that distract me from the chaos that plagues the outside world. In practice, when a beautifully arranged flower vase is placed in front of the window, people would only be attracted to the comforting nature of something so delicate and fragile and could possibly forget about the lurking pandemic just beyond the glass window.
At least this was my mentality when I initiated a CAS experience and developed new skills in the process when ordering and rearranging flowers. I hold the perspective that the smallest subtleties in life make it even more nuanced and that is the feeling that I hoped to project within the walls of my apartment. To create a feeling of safety and security to protect my family from the negative energy that you disseminate.
One of 7.6. billion lives affected