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  • Writer's pictureSiobhán Grogan

Worlds Apart

This is the one and only time I intend to talk about my life amidst this global pandemic labeled Coronavirus. Not because of politics or even in consideration for others that are struggling with the virus itself (if that is you I am truly very sorry and you are welcome to talk to me and I will gladly pray for you and encourage you and tell you a story of a tap-dancing polar bear named, you guessed it Vanilla Ice because he's into "ice ice baby"). I am doing this because I am an optimistic individual and I chose not to dwell on negative.

For those dealing with addiction, I know this time is even harder for you. Please know that it is acceptable to give yourself grace.

Despite having a plethora of free time I have yet to utilize I find myself lacking motivation. If that is you too, it is also acceptable to express grace.

The world is very different then what it was just a few weeks ago. Eerie and unnerving we search for hope in a time of uncertainty. News and social media spout off numbers like "18 months," or "We may be looking at the new normal," failing to provide the comfort sought after. Truths that we could hold on to just last month are now questionable, to say the least, "I am going to see my youngest brother graduate," my stomach turns at the thought that we may not be allowed to travel and see family, let alone be in a large auditorium filled with the graduating class of 2020 (Go Pathers, I am proud of you kid).

I can only imagine how excited my brother is, he loathed sitting through my graduation and my brother's graduation. Now he may not even have to sit through his own.

Friends and family are equally distraught looking for comfort in society that is hesitant to give any such thing. Not because of any malice or ill will, but for lack of certainty world-wide. It is difficult to provide comfort in a time when hope is not lying behind some unturned stone but in a vaccine and a cure that has yet been developed. The cheerful tones of the musical Annie "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow" ring in the ears of those placing hope on a better day, praying that it is just around the corner.

I know I am not alone in this, which provides little comfort because a younger version of myself always knew that I could take a step back and see the perimeter of a problem. It was finite. I knew that I could find something calm outside the chaos. Now we have to look much farther as our neighbors around the world are struggling with us.

If you are in a place of fear and worry I implore you to take a step back with me and find the perimeter of the problem.

It will feel like finding the horizon on a rocking boat. While it is turbulent now there is a calm horizon.

I have faith in one constant that empowers me to not fear a turbulent situation. I have a God larger than any problem I could face. While I dearly hate being locked up I know that this is temporary. This is not the new normal and we don't need to wait 18 months. You are not alone because the God of the heavens is with you.

How are you spending this time? A lot of you have asked what I've been doing to stay optimistic so I wanted to give everyone a glimpse of my day.

March 23rd, 2020

The sun woke me as it shot through the window. This is no concern or even surprise at it is nearly noon. Despite all of this I will continue to toss and turn in my bed for another 20 minutes because the blankets have only just accepted me as one of their own and it would be a shame to betray their trust now. After an unprecedented amount of time in bed, I remind myself that I have free time and this is an excellent opportunity to go to Khan Academy and learn a new skill or refresh some math or physics. I hear even Imagineering has released a course for free. I grab my Ukulele and begin practicing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Clearly the logical petition that is still being debated in my mind has fallen on deaf ears. I glance out to my balcony, it really is such a mess. I should think I would get more use of it then the spiders, but I haven't touched it unless I had a private phone call from Lauren to hear how her dog hasn't run away yet "Clearly this can only be love." It would be nice to get some fresh air and paint out there.

I go to get a bagel, a plain one, and toast it for breakfast(?) not that I'm hungry, I haven't been for some time now (it's probably the anxiety) "when things start to calm down you will feel hunger and fullness again" I try to encourage myself as I butter the bagel. I hear my dad call "what are you making?" it's nearly his lunch break by now surely. "A bagel," I responded and dad looked back to his computer. My bagel wasn't interesting enough I suppose, what if I had named it maybe then it would be more interesting visions of the bagel screaming as I finish buttering it flashes in my mind... I shudder at the thought, whatever appetite I had before is gone now, and I take my nameless bagel into my room.

It's decided, I am cleaning that balcony today. I get my pink watering can and a large orange bucket and start filling them at the sink "you have a bucket" my dad states. Clearly the massive orange Home Depot bucket that nearly hid my whole body while I filled it at the sink was spotted. How do I respond, should I pretend like I don't have the bucket, it's not like I have done anything wrong, it's only some soap and a bucket. "yes, I do." wondering where this conversation will lead. "Why do you have a bucket?" Clearly this is more interesting than my bagel. "I am going to clean off my balcony and I need some water and soap for Kendra's furniture. Dad smiled "you were inspired by Kendra cleaning off the balcony weren't you?" Kendra just two days ago made a magical forest on her balcony to attract birds so that when she looked out the window while working she may see the pretty birds singing, eating the seed, or gathering material for their nests. "Yes," I smiled back and carried the bucket out to the balcony where there were dead thorn bushes, soot, and more leaves than the tree just a few meters from my balcony had held in any one season I was sure of it. I began playing the audiobook I had been listening to from my portable speaker, an English voice whispered from the little black disk. I increased the volume and picked up the nearest pillow and started beating it against the railing to remove any loose soot. Listening to Harry and Doby's untimely introduction I began scrubbing the pillows with an old torn t-shirt my father had let me use for this very purpose. Kendra came out with her beautiful large watering can "Here I thought you could use more water," she said kindly. She's not wrong, this will be a pretty significant project.

"Thank you," I chirp before turning to attack the thorn bush that had no issue stabbing me repeatedly.

After bagging up leaves and dead plants I prepare rice and poke for lunch making more then enough I prepare dad a bowl too. I placed it near his computer, I know he has an important phone call coming so I take myself a pair of chopsticks. I got the chopsticks and began to eat some. Darn. The rice was too warm and started cooking the fish... maybe dad won't notice. I do the dishes and return to the balcony with even more water.

After much more cleaning the balcony has taken a far less threatening form. It only took 4 hours. I drag my bright blue tarp out to the balcony. I just cleaned and would hate to get paint on anything. After folding up the tarp to fit the space well I leave to let it all dry.

"It's supposed to rain today you know," I heard my dad call "great." I went over to sit by him. "How was the poke?" I asked "Cooked a bit," he replied. Rats, he noticed. Kendra came out of their room smiling "Oh no, cooked fish" she said sarcastically so as to give me credit despite it not being perfect. That made me smile, I pull out my phone and begin practicing chess while munching on some ice cream and one of my hommade chocolate chip cookies.

Dad asked me if I wanted to watch anything in particular. I remind him we have been watching tv and movies for over a week now. "That's true," he said flipping over to my favorite show. Shawn and Gus probably solved three mysteries before I called it a night and climbed into bed.

Today I'm too sore to move.


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