One month and one week ago, I landed a job that I was aiming for. The offer letter fluttered into my mailbox, air tickets were done soon, new work clothes bought and I was almost done packing my suitcase.
Then, came the Corona Crisis. Numbers were going up all around the world as well as in the state I was about to move. I got a call from my new company informing me that they have to postpone my joining due to the impending health crisis. A week later, the country declared a lockdown and humans started behaving like animals caged up inside a zoo.
I was fine.
Honestly, I was absolutely fine on the day they declared Janata Curfew (as if staying in for one day could make the virus disappear!). But I was fine, in fact, I was glad that the leaders of India took a brave and correct step towards the battle against this mysterious new virus causing Covid-19. I was fine with the fact that I’d be getting to spend a few more days with my family before I move out to a new city. I was fine when the extroverts (my brother, being one of them) started going wild and behaved all crazy because they have been asked to remain indoors for the next 21 days. I was fine when I was interning as a content writer and I was getting to learn so many new things while doing what I thought I loved.
I was totally fine with the way I had to spend my next 21 days. But then a couple of days later, I just was not fine anymore.
The corona crisis was escalating. Everyone started staying indoors. I was constantly surrounded by people (family, of course) but still, they were always around me. Gradually, me-time turned into we-time. And my daily life became a quarantine bucket list for most of the people all around the globe. The so-called stressed out extroverts figured out (obviously) how to beat lockdown time and I started to feel suffocated. I felt as if all these people are invading my space and that there’s no more air for me to breathe. It felt like there’s no space to just be me. I felt like this is it and there’s no escape from this horrible feeling.
So, I stopped writing. I stopped reading. I stopped doing everything that I had to do… that I wanted to do. I smashed all the points on my To-Do list and puked on them. I did not even bother to clean up the mess that I was creating. No matter whichever app I clicked on, there’s someone doing something and everyone participating in this weird time of #quarantinegoals and #quarantinechronicles and so many other kinds of stuff which just made me feel even worse about myself. I cried and I laughed at myself because just a few days ago, I was the one suggesting to my client if we could do some content about ‘Things to do during this lockdown period’. But there I was, failing to hold it all together while the others soared above the tides.
My brain could focus on just one word: Coronavirus. And I’m damn sure it wasn’t just me. I couldn’t write anymore. Not even the stories that I had in my head. I couldn’t even write down what I felt. Because that’s what was confusing me. I was utterly confused by what I was feeling. It felt like I’ve drunk too many cocktails of my feelings and now I just can’t make sense of anything at all. I craved to feel nothing. I craved to feel numb.
But it did not happen. It just got worse.
I started watching TV series, the old and the new. I watched my comfort movies. I even called up my friends and family. Can you imagine how weird that is since I’m the kind of girl who hardly calls someone up?
Alas, nothing helped. Then, I became a tortoise and retreated into my shell. It was dark. But that darkness comforted me.
I almost did nothing during the first lockdown and I’m writing all this down to remind myself that it is okay. It is okay to not do anything and just deal with it. It is okay to not post what you’re cooking every day or sketching every day or reading every hour. It is okay to not have a To-Do list and it is okay to just lie down and watch TV for a while. I am writing all this down to make myself aware of the way I felt during this time so that I can protect myself from that part of my brain which is going to blame me for all the wasted time.
If you’ve reached this sentence, and read the entire thing above, then I’d first like to thank you. For reading it. If you’ve felt anything close to what I’ve been feeling, then I’d like to tell you… that hold on, my dear friend. I know it’ll seem impossible on some days and unbearable on others but trust me, it is possible to beat the blues. All we need to do is… breathe. One breath at a time. And then live. One day at a time. I’ve been wanting to write something every day during this lockdown period. But I just couldn’t. I know it’s quite difficult to believe but I couldn’t find the mere strength to pick up a pen or my notebook or even myself.
But then, I wrote this. It’s not a masterpiece essay. But it’s important.
P.S. Thank you for reading my rant!