Write about something you consider “ugly” — war, violence, failure, hatred — but try to find beauty, or a sense of hope, in your thoughts.
I guess the first thing that came to mind is the current global pandemic, COVID-19, that we are all experiencing and is affecting us in so many ways. When it first came out, I was scared, obviously. When the first case was confirmed back at the end of January, I had to take a sick day. Maybe what I was feeling physically was brought on by what’s going on in my head but all I know is that I was not in the right condition, both physically and mentally to deal with work that day. I am thankful to have a job that allows us to take breaks when we need to. Two months later, it got worse and we had a confirmed local transmission, the quarantine started less than 2 weeks later, my island trip was cut short, concerts, musical, and trips were cancelled, and so many crazy things ensued. We finally eased up the quarantine rules yesterday, May 31st, 2 and a half months after it was initiated, but my mind is still not at ease.
During the quarantine, I have been working from home and I still am. I don’t think we have plans of going back to work in the office anytime soon. I don’t live far from my office (it’s a 20-minute walk) but for some reason, I feel like this quarantine has given me more time during that same 24-hour window. I was able to finish some tasks that I know I wouldn’t be able to do had I been going to the office everyday. I was able to organize my room (it is kind of a den at our apartment that I turned into my “room” and sort of office when I’m working in the evening). I was able to do some cleaning around the house and I plan on doing some wallpaper-ing as soon as my online delivery comes in. I was able to binge so many movies and TV series. I was able to finally work on some travel blogs that have been pending for months (even years for some). But I think the most important thing is that I had more time to speak with my mother and I get to enjoy home-cooked meals. Silly as it may seem, I didn’t get to this a lot back when I still had to go to the office. I mostly eat my meals at work, or I make something quick and easy at home so I can go upstairs to start watching something or go straight to sleep. I still spend so much time in bed but I feel like I have connected with my mother and my brother more during this quarantine. But I know that this “silver lining” is coming from privilege. I am privileged enough to be able to continue working from home, continue to earn coins so that we can have a decent meal everyday, do my online shopping if I need things either for work or just to make myself happy and keep my mind off the shitty things that are going on in the world. I am not rich, I’m just lucky enough to have a job, have a brother whom I share our everyday expenses with, and a mother who cooks for us and takes care of us everyday. All those things make me privileged.
Everyday, I read about people who are not experiencing the same comfort as I do and it breaks my heart. Nurses who had to walk to the hospital and back home after a very long shift. Doctors and healthcare workers becoming victims themselves. People in the poverty line who literally has nothing to eat for days. If I list everything, we’d be here all day. It makes me feel guilty about the privilege I have and it makes me think if there’s really a silver lining in all of this. Sure, there are positive and good things as well, but the ugliness of it is omnipresent no matter how hard I push it back. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for everything I have, but I cannot deny that it is there and no matter how much positivity we surround ourselves in, it doesn’t erase the fact that people are dying everyday and people are suffering from hardships brought on by this pandemic. Also, sure, I am also experiencing some hardships and there are days when I just feel so fatigued, but I know that despite all that, I am still privileged. I have a family member who is stuck in another province where they work and is relying on government assistance. I have a family member who is unable to work and provide for his family. I help as much as I can monetary-wise and I have donated to organizations I personally believe in but that can only do so much. When will it end? What is the silver lining for them?
This also brings me to the current situation in the US. We have been dealing with violence and systemic racism towards black people for a long time. In 2020, I just can’t believe that we have not moved that far from where it has been. A few weeks ago, there have been recent reports about this in China but I feel like it was not given that much attention. While there have been notable cases in the US that angered so many people during the past few years, the recent ones involving Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have really sparked something inside all of us and even started riots and protests in different cities in the US despite the ongoing pandemic. A few days ago, Amy Cooper made headlines because of what happened at Central Park. It is just so crazy to me that simple things like jogging, or $20 can cause someone to lose their life or telling someone to follow rules at a public park will cause someone to call the cops on you. These are situations that could have been resolved easily or prevented if the other person in the situation is not black. Let us do better and just try to see the other as a human being despite the color of their skin. I’m sorry but in all of these, I really don’t see a silver lining. At this day and age, this shouldn’t even be happening anymore. Let us educate ourselves and try to learn and unlearn. There is nothing beautiful about this. I am hopeful though that more and more people will understand the #blacklivesmatter movement. Or even if we don’t understand, they should have our support and stand with them. This movement doesn’t mean that other races don’t matter, it’s not that at all. I read someone said, “All lives matter when black lives matter.” This pretty much sums it up for me.
Ok, this went on longer than I intended. I truly felt emotional as I write this but thought it was a nice way of talking about how I feel about the scary things that are going on around me.
Inspired by this ebook, “365 Days of Writing Prompts” posted here.