A few weeks ago, Boston went into lockdown. At first it was unreal and frustrating. It took me a while to readjust, find new routines, and re-learn how to retreat into myself. In the beginning, I spent a week watching news feeds, contacting friends and waiting. How much longer until we can go back out? Would I still be able to make April’s events? I focused on what was outside of myself and thought about everything I was missing. What wasn’t happening. What am I going to do next? How will I stay connected? What about my plans for 2020?
As I watched, listened and read, I was confronted with our evolving reality. I was confronted with my evolving relationship with my Nigerian parents and the vulnerabilities they face being over 50 and living in a country that won’t necessarily prioritize their care. I was confronted with some harsh realities about our race, socioeconomic and health issues. I watched our country have a conversation about the worth of the human life against economic progress. The same pandemic unfolding all over the world made me feel like we are not confronting a virus but instead our ability to look after each other as a nation, and perhaps even as a world.
There are times when the coronovirus feels more like an exam than an epidemic. How are your relationships? How is your health? Your community? Your policies? I’m left watching countries all over the world handle the outbreak in a myriad of ways, feeling as though the US is far from the head of the class. But what about my own involvement? What do I want to have gained reemerging from this period in lockdown? I decided to get to work. I started new online classes and reengaged with old projects. I started sketching, reading, creating again. I got the opportunity to notice new things. How beautiful my room looks in sunlight. How my family is always there for me. How much fresh flowers brighten my mood.
In the beginning this felt like a ‘far away’ problem. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work from home, to have friends and family to keep regular contact with and to have projects to work on. The pandemic has hit home for me, changed me and, I hope, is helping me evolve as well.