I am overstimulated yet still lucky


From @the.beau.studio on Instagram

A graphic about the importance of wearing masks taken from Instagram.

I was asked how I was feeling by Mrs. Penninga on a Zoom call while I scraped the edges of an empty cup of instant pancakes (the syrup flavor, of course), and I truly didn’t know.

I feel a lot, honestly. And a lot isn’t even enough—it falls flat as my days blur together.

Everything is one, yet nothing is the same.

My day is Zoom after Zoom after Zoom, and I’m not necessarily complaining. I enjoy the virtual backgrounds, the AP Spanish chat being full of Shakira praise, and the independence given during online days. Now, with the inevitable somewhat shut down of Michigan (wear your freaking mask properly—it’s not cool to wear it under your nose or not at all), this will be the continuous routine for at least three weeks, and I will dissolve into my bed-turned-desk at some point.

Yet I find joy in being able to wake up at 7:30 and join my first class at 7:45; I am a chronic over sleeper—I can admit to my downfall there but not on my pickiness of food—and I like that the beauty filter on Zoom has rendered my makeup stash useless.

Over 250,000 dead, and so, so many more left cloistered in their homes as they remain high-risk in a low-care society.”

But despite the time and makeup saved, I miss what I do not have and what I’ve never had: the semblance of even a somewhat normal senior year.

Melancholic mornings dampen my bookworm heart during AP Lit (also known as AP Bookclub for my favorite reason), and contempt towards those who have been nothing but selfish during this pandemic bubbles over during Spanish. It’s a battle between disdain and dejection; it never stops.

The sixth-hour Zoom calls for The Central Trend plague me. I’ve lost my final year on staff—my last Trendsgiving and last Secret Santa and last nap on the blue velvet couch. I’ve lost my year of being an all-involved editor and the mentor on the couch with an intimidating presence. And it’s not that I want to be scary, but I want the chance. I want the opportunity to achieve that scary-at-first-but-quickly-a-sweetheart senior status. In all sincerity, I just want a chance at a senior year done right—done normally.

And then I feel guilty.

I have lost my senior year, but I have not lost a loved one to this relentless pandemic. Guilt and gratefulness duel in the background of all these emotions, and I am always left with a number.

Over 250,000 dead, and so, so many more left cloistered in their homes as they remain high-risk in a low-care society.

While I complain about screen fatigue and online assignments—which I can recognize as valid in my perspective—I challenge myself to remember what I still have as so many have lost their houses, their jobs, their family. I still have social interaction, whether that be Taylor and I dedicating the Spanish Zoom chat to Shakira or Abby and I dancing on the Lit Zooms, and I still have a roof over my head and food on my plate and an education and a job (I think?) and my friends and all of my family members and my books and my bed-turned-into-a-desk.

And, I have my words. I have this site and this staff and these stories. While my phone screen may have a glaring lime green line down the right side of it and while the instant pancake cups become bland from overconsumption, I still have something, if not a lot.

This constitutes luck—luck I often claim I do not have as I find myself blinded by privilege. Now more than ever, I am aware; others have had even more drastic changes and losses at the hands of this pandemic and its mishandling. So, while I am undeniably overstimulated and really, really tired, I know that the sun will rise again tomorrow and that numbness is just another byproduct of this new normal.

I feel so much that I feel so little, yet I am one of the lucky ones.