My first piece about COVID was quickly met with criticism from some of my readers. These uncertain times bring up inner resistance for each of us — there are good days and there are bad days. I hope you were able to take my thoughts and use them to keep trudging along little-by-little.
Time has pushed on — as it does — and made it very clear to me which parts of my life are important. One of the things I’ve missed most is my dance students. We’ve kept in touch, but right now should be competition season when they get to show off all of the hard work they’ve put in since September. It made me wonder what COVID looks like through the eyes of a teenager. Today’s post comes from one of my dancers who’s also an aspiring writer, Mackenzie. Her perspective is relatable at any age, and gave me a new lens to see that we truly are all in this together.
Thanks for sharing a part of yourself, Kenzie. Xx
COVID-19: from a high schooler’s view
COVID-19 affects everyone in many ways. Some find it unbearable to stay trapped inside all day, while others are thriving. Some have found healthy ways to keep themselves and their minds busy while others haven’t. Personally, I’ve found things to keep me busy, but it wasn’t a smooth ride to get here. My energy and creativity levels changed as the pandemic progressed and we started staying home and social distancing. It’s been a journey, but my perspective and gratitude have grown.
Do you remember being let out of school for spring break? Your responsibilities seem to temporarily melt away and mountains of fun ideas bloom in your mind. The start of my break was no different. Then COVID hit, and everything changed. The virus everyone joked about suddenly became real. But of course, that didn’t stop people from having fun and seeing their friends. I was full of energy and excitement too, happy to be free for a little while. I started multiple upcycling projects for my Instagram page, where I took old clothes and knickknacks from around the house and made them into something better. I kept busy and enjoyed my time off from school. But when the restrictions tightened to staying home and socially distancing, my energy started to wane.
Suddenly I’m trapped indoors, can’t go see my friends and my mom’s working half days at home. Everything seemed to change all at once, and yet not at all. I was still technically on break, so I did what I would have done anyway, minus hanging out with friends. But as the days went by and the weeks dragged on, I got anxious. In the beginning, I was determined to be positive. The end was sure to come, right? There’s no way this will last into summer! That was nearly two months ago. I was, and still am, excited to go to New York and Salem for the first time. My dance studio is planning a dance trip there this summer. But as I’m sure you know, New York is one of the worst places to be hit by COVID-19. More time passed, I felt resigned and let the harsh reality hit. The trip wasn’t going to happen. And amongst all my reveries and realizations, school started back up and my world was flipped upside down once again.
This frustrated me. I couldn’t understand why I felt so unmotivated and empty. But one night, I was bored with no desire to do anything, so I painted. I decided to finally put my fear of oil paints behind me. After a few YouTube videos and a trial, I learned that they aren’t as scary as I thought and are actually pretty easy to work with. Once I pushed past that barrier of discomfort, I discovered something I enjoy and will continue to use. During this point in our COVID-19 journey, I pushed myself to learn new things, finish projects, and be creative. (Something I suggest trying if you’re feeling stuck in a rut.) So, I’m writing, learning a new language on Duolingo and making art.
Keeping in touch with others is key right now. I’ve discovered Netflix Party, where you can watch TV and movies with friends. One of my friends and I frequently watch Outlander together using this. FaceTime has allowed me to see and hear my friends which has helped soften the blow of COVID-19. Something normal I’ve been able to hold on to is the Twilight Drive In. Whenever they play good movies (or just decent, who am I kidding?) my mom and I go. We have a semi-silent agreement that it helps ease our stress and get out of the house while being able to catch a movie and keep our distance. These past few weeks have expanded my gratitude. After this is over, I won’t take the presence of my friends and family for granted again.
Sure, COVID-19 has changed and impacted everyone’s lives. As I said before, I’ve gone through many mental and physical blocks. I’ve also learned new skills that I not only enjoy but have actually had time to delve into. My friends and I have been able to stay in contact through social media. I’ve also learned to listen to my body and change my plans accordingly. My attitude has shifted and expanded as well as my gratitude towards life, family and friends.