Bringing myself back

As I sit here in school reflecting on my day, I ask myself, “am I actually living in a world where COVID-19 could be sitting in the same room as me?”

I would never think to pop the question of, “what if the world is ending?” The truth is it’s not, but being a high school student—having that fear of everything crumbling to pieces—sure makes it seem like it is.  For some, not being in school is a blessing, but for others, it can be a curse. Personally, I think it’s a little bit of both. I prefer to be in school when I’m learning, but almost half of the time I feel the weight of school bearing down on me when I step foot into the building. 

I’m not saying I go home with stacks of homework in my hand, and, to be completely honest, that’s not what stresses me out the most from school—friendships and crowds do. In the society I’m growing up in, as a teenage girl, everything you do in school counts; what you wear, your style, what’s in your lunch, who you’re friends with, insecurities vs. confidence—every bit of it matters. Being online helped calm the judgment from others, especially in a world of teenage thinkers.

…I was breathing in my extrovert personality and exhaling the introvert part of me. 

I upheld my end of the responsibilities online; I was much more in control of how I learned, studied, and balanced my life out altogether. It never matter what I wore to school because nobody else was trying to “dress to impress.” All of the insecurities of being accepted in school faded; everyone was in the same boat as I was. 

While I was feeling like my world was all coming together, I didn’t quite think about how it would affect my learning after the fact, or how I’d feel around my peers in public spaces. 

I’ve never been one to love working in big groups, hanging out in huge crowds, cutting into conversations with friends, or feeling safe in the eyes of others. I’m able to be outgoing but something, probably being in isolation, made me feel like I was breathing in my extrovert personality and exhaling the introvert part of me. 

The longer I was away from friends, or with friends but not truly there, my mind was suffocating. I didn’t have anything to let out. My emotions were still there, but my feelings were slowly walking away from me, For what reason? I don’t know, but when they did come running back, I only had a family to talk to—the majority of the time I wrote. I wrote songs–five pages of “Her Story,” scribbling my feelings like the paper was a never-ending stream of therapy. 

Ever since I was little, I’d write down my thoughts, but during the pandemic, I had taught myself to let everything go. As soon as I was offline—back in the place where more and more things mattered—time was turning faster than I could write how I was doing. 

I hung out with people I loved, met new people I’d soon trust and who would understand me, and bonded with my best friend. We went through ups and downs together; never have I felt that I was being judged by those who were close to me. Being back in person didn’t feel like normal again. We were, and still are, living in the unknown. 

My experience going into and coming out of my safe haven left me with only a few friends, being overwhelmed in crowds, the tension of sitting in class anxious for the bell to ring, and overall the push and pull of finding myself again.