Do You Remember That Time… 2020…

Photo Credit: Tuscaloosa News

Do you remember when we got an alert about the new virus, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we were all so scared about it in 2020? People die every day, plus, we know nothing about this new virus. We stayed home and used Rubbing alcohol to spray everywhere when we got home right away. We began to lose the ability to connect with the other person. Sometimes we call our family or friends saying Hi to them and talk about how they are doing recently just to try to imagine we were talking to a “real” person. After a year in online class or work, we lost the motivation to do anything, we only have that little energy left to keep scrolling on our phones. Watching the public prank videos on Youtube from years before, and started to imagine when am I going to talk and meet new friends after the pandemic. At last, we all laughed and cried to celebrate the 2021 new year at home.

It’s only been two years but feels like it happened a long time ago.

When Omicron came up almost at the end of  2021, it didn’t scare anyone much. I noticed that people started to see this type of virus as a common cold. People don’t wear masks around, even gather with another person in the same room. People tell others that they have COVID, but they don’t care about it as long as they know they are fully vaccinated. Time has changed the way we see or think about the virus. The Covid deaths have begun to spike quickly after people gathered to celebrate the 2022 new year without putting their masks on. However, I wish we could go back to “normal” life when we all go to school or the amusement park without having our masks on.

Photo Credit: ABC News (2021)

Fall in Ojai

Now that it is October I now feel the need to wear warm cloths, drink hot tea throughout the day, and I expect the scent of pumpkin spice to fill the air.

But we live in Southern California, where we spend the beginning of October in a wave of one hundred ten degree heat and smoke filled skies from wildfires raging across the state.

The trees don’t turn colors from that end of summer green to stunning shades of orange, red, and brown. Instead, the leaves either are scorched from the blazing heat or they simply fall to the ground with no colorful exit.

Sometimes I find myself wishing our little town of Ojai experiences all the beauties and wonders of the “typical” fall, but I then remember what fall is like in our quaint town.

Fall is going to the farmers market early on Sunday mornings and starting to see the seasonal fruit and flowers being sold change and the abundance of fresh pies made from apples and pumpkins. It is going to the grocery store and seeing big bins of pumpkins fill the sidewalk and overtake the porches of houses. It is going to the local pumpkin patch and riding on the old tractor around the corn field. It is watching the most incredible sunsets of the year.

So no, we may not have the stereotypical fall with the cold weather and shades of orange that fills the treetops, but we have our own beautiful version of it in our small Southern California town.

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Reflecting on the past

Recently I have found myself looking back and reflecting on life before March 13, 2020.

Prior to that date, i was busy being social, going out with people, even sharing drinks from friends waterbottles. But today, that all seems so bizzar.

Its crazy how much seven months can change someone.

I now can’t seem to remember how life was before we had to wear masks or make sure we obsessively washed our hands.

I am now so used to making sure I put my mask on before I enter a building or if I am around people, but why was it so easy to completely re-program the way I live my life.

I do miss the days where I did not have to think twice about approaching someone. I miss long hugs with friends and family that you haven’t seen in a long time. I miss meeting someone for the first time and shaking their hand. I miss being in a room with people all together and seeing smiling faces. I miss it all.

I miss life before March 13, 2020. It was simpler and there seemed to be less evil in the world, even if that was not the case.

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on a persistent Thursday

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The morning is the inhale – the first air that is taken in, and held there –

Some days are more deceptive than others
like a warm Thursday afternoon that manages to convince you there is nothing left to do;

It leaves you anticipating the rest.
The first breath that is fully taken in and fully released in a few easy seconds. Knowing everything else may be paused for a while.

But then you remember:
the light is not orange because it is summertime, when the days are so hot they seem to melt into one another,
but rather because it is 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, and you are wearing sunglasses because the days are only shorter now.

And because it is a Thursday and not a Friday,
you can only breathe partially.

And so the evening is the exhale – the same morning air that never really escaped finally does, though it won’t return until the sun comes up again tomorrow –

And we grow used to that feeling. Or at least I do.

over-consumption

My mom criticized me for my overconsumption, and I retorted back.

After that, I sat down and did an incomplete statistic.

Just in my dorm room, not including the stuff I have back home.

I have 9 drinking equipment: 4 mugs, 2 straw cups, 3 water bottles.

I have around 50 different earrings, 10 necklaces, 10 bracelets, and several rings, and I am still buying more.

I have over 100 different hair ties: about 10 coil-style hair rings, 20 hair ties with different decorations, 30 regular hair ties with different colors, 50 small rubber bands, and several scrunchies.

I have about 20 different hair clips too, I used to have more but I keep losing them.

I have a hill of plush toys on my refrigerator: a reindeer, a white bear, a yellow chicken, a unicorn, a yellow cat, a brown and white dog, a sloth, a unicorn-like Pusheen, a grey dog, a snowman, an elephant, a rhinoceros, a pink piglet, a goose, an avocado, and a little monkey.

For sunscreen, body wash, face mask, conditioner, body lotion, lip balm and so on, I have at least two of each, and I don’t even know why, probably because they have different flavors and functions from each other?

To my surprise, I even have two blankets, five pen begs, three trashcans, four school backpacks, two large camping backpacks, three exactly same phone chargers, and five playing cards (but I don’t even play poker).

For all the items I list above, one is completely enough, but somehow I have more than I need.

Hmmm… I guess now it’s the time to do some reflection and make some changes.

Btw sorry mom : (

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Wandering

Let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

I know you hide your fears from me,

you get ashamed when you let them show,

but babe,

I’ve cried in your arms many times,

so please just let me know

what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,

your wicked, twisted, brain

filled with lies and awful times,

but babe let me be your change.

I just want to love you,

you’ve been through so god damn much,

your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,

I wish you thought the same.

I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,

you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.

Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,

but darling I’m not the same.

So let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

Photo via: searchengineland.com

Statistics

Everyone on my mom’s side suffers from depression. Some members on my dad’s side are alcoholics and suicidal.

Addiction is 50% genetic and 50% due to poor coping skills.

Depression is 40% genetic and 60% environmental.

Due to this, I am 90% screwed.

Mental health is something that has affected my life for years and will continue to.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and OCD.

By fourteen I was engulfed in an eating disorder that controlled and altered my life. My eating disorder was a blend of all evils, a coping skill for all my problems.

I hated my body, felt out of control in many aspects of my life, experienced great anxiety around food, and believed people would love me if I was skinny.

Starving myself fixed my problems, or at least I thought it did. I lost weight rapidly. I felt in control when I refused to eat. I got hooked in my ways.

But like for all things, the high only lasted so long… Even after losing sixty pounds, being underweight, and having every rib and bone in my spine visible, I still looked in the mirror and thought I was fat. My anxiety began to get worse, the panic attacks were hourly occurrences, and my heart began to fail due to the lack of calories and nutrients. I felt out of control once again, so I restricted even more.

It was a vicious cycle, and it continued… leaving me falling deeper into darkness, insanity, and sadness.

By the summer of that same school year, I was in the hospital. My struggles with mental health were close to taking my life.

Years have gone by now, and much has changed.

I no longer cope with anxiety and depression by restricting my food intake, I no longer weigh 80 pounds. I’m back in school, back in sports, and am much more emotionally stable.

But some things haven’t.

I still have anxiety attacks weekly, I still hate my body and worry about weight, and I am still extremely insecure and it affects how I act (making me seem full of myself when in reality I just need someone to reassure me that I’m not absolute shit). And lastly, I still feel out of control around food. I am unable to stop myself around certain types of food and it scares me.  I feel like my previous ability to say no to food has disappeared, and it scares me. I feel like I have gone from starving my self to binging. It scares me a lot.

I need to find balance and balance is hard to find.

Due to statistics and my past, mental health is something I am going to have to deal with for the entirety of my life.

I don’t like this, but I can’t change this. So every day I strive to find healthy ways to cope with the way my brain thinks, the emotions I feel, and my general outlook on life because I believe, with effort and dedication,  everyone has the opportunity to be happy, no matter how hard it may be.

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One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

Photo Credit: pbs.org

Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

To My Best Friend, Some Things I Will Never Tell You.

If you’ve ever wondered how it feels to see a person become someone else, it’s sort of like trying to hold water in your hands. You can keep your hands cupped together for a little while, but more and more of it begins to trickle through your fingers. You panic, try to hold back as much as you can, but, eventually, there’s so little left in your palms that you just let the rest fall to the floor.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

That’s how it felt with you. It was like I was watching everything in slow motion. I tried to catch you, but now I know that you didn’t want me to.

I didn’t believe you when you told me you were leaving. I think in the back of my mind, I had been expecting it.

You’ve been my best friend, one of the most important people in my life, for as long as I can remember. But, now, I can’t remember the last time I saw you.

It still hurts. I’m still mad and I still don’t fully understand why you chose to go. You told me you needed to do it for yourself, that you needed to be selfish.

But I never thought you were being selfish. I just thought you were wrong.

You mean so, so much to me. I miss you more than you know.

I wish I could still see you everyday. I wish you were still the one who I went to before anyone else, the person I told everything to. But you’re not anymore. I know it could still be that way if we tried, but most days I just don’t feel like trying.

I think the reason I’m still mad is because it felt like you chose them over me. It still feels that way.

It hurts to see someone change, to see them become someone different.

But what hurts more is to leave them behind, to accept that your time together has come and gone. I’m not ready to do that yet.

 

 

stream of consciousness (my weekend)

Oh god, where are the Sharpies in Joaans?

There is a bump on the back of my head.

And, I told you I loved you last night and you told me 

you loved me too, but value our friendship over anything.

I got in trouble yesterday.

I won’t see my friends for a long time.

Where did you come from?

Why is the power off?

My mom said that we are just going to go to the store, but we always go out

and I couldn’t feel my hands the other day.

Why is there no one in this class?

My dad texted me on Friday;

I should respond soon.

Superhero movies are atrocious. 

Virgos aren’t very compatible with Geminis-

it makes sense.

Yes love, cherry blossoms are a good dorm theme.

I told myself I’d never cry in front of you two.

I feel like dark blue hues.

And I told you I loved you last night and you told me

you loved me too, but value our friendship over anything.

And I got in trouble last night.

God, I thought we were soulmates.

I feel like dark blue hues.

Mom swerved on the highway.

For once, maybe i am not invincible.

You loved me too, but value our friendship over anything.

God, i think we are soulmates.

 

Photo credit: stuffyoushouldknow.com