It has been a while since I updated anyone who reads my stuff, I’m sorry for that. Usually I have running events to blog about, but that has been long off the table.
My story has been like everyone else’s for the most part- the year has been hectic, and I’ve been trying to stay above water in certain parts of my life. Sometimes I feel guilty that 2020 has been successful for me as far as life accomplishments go- I got into the MSW program I wanted, bought my first house, got not one but two beautiful dogs, and have managed to get through the year healthy. Yes I lost my part-time job like everyone else did during the pandemic’s first wave, but I was fortunate enough to have found work during the time before I started my internship for school.
I journal like this almost weekly, but I decided to share this one with everyone who gives a crap about me. It was a rough last semester because I had to tackle a lot of difficult discussions and evaluate myself on a social and ethical level. Many folks preach advocacy online, but my education was hardwiring me to be a boots on ground advocate for many different social issues. I’m surprised I was able to challenge myself like I did this past semester without any bouts with depression. I know I might speak too much about my depression, but I try my best to be open about it because…well, how can someone who wants to listen to others’ struggles do it well without being capable of facing their own music? Lately (the last year or so), most of my depression has come from the exhaustion that ensues what I am pursuing. Seeing people at the end of their line and being unable to do anything to help them because of either my workplace position or just not commanding a position of respect given the topic of mental health left a fire in me. The last few years have been spent controlling and channeling those flames because I found those very flames to be burning down my own structure, so to speak.
Recently, however, I will admit I have been struggling with some of the same things others have reported during the pandemic. I am a social person despite my introverted tendencies- I live to play for teams, cook for others, and do things like help friends move furniture and whatnot. Even when I was active duty and going through all of that trauma, I had at least one friend at duty locations I would hang out with weekly. A lot changed when I set off on this journey to help others through an extensive education. Returning back to my hometown, I only really had Umi and her husband as friends, whom I rarely saw. That was two years of really only seeing a friend in person once a month if I was lucky. Yes, I know I have online friends. I don’t mean to downplay the importance some of you have been for me, but it is different.
So when I bought my house in February, I moved three hours west to a new side of the state because I knew the house itself was a great opportunity and it positioned me in the drivers’ seat for a chance to go for a military social work position at not one or two, but four cities in the state. I had plans and was working my ass off to be part of a running relay team instead of shouldering marathons on my own from now on. Hours were spent in the gym working on how to become the best version of myself playing basketball. I was eager to start new social circles, have friends over, and maybe even fall in love.
Obviously, everything changed after the pandemic.
I spend my days entirely alone and the only in-person interactions I get are when I drive up north to see my family and work at my unit (which has been reduced to only one in-person day a month now). Every running event for the year has been canceled. Practicing basketball alone feels like it is just for naught since even the people resuming play now are being called out for partaking in such a close quarters, high respiration sport. Even when I run on my own, I try to keep distance from folks but sometimes have to run around them when we are on narrow sidewalks or roads. The scowls I get definitely make me feel a bit guilty (even if the state allows maskless runners). My two favorite physical activities feel like impossibilities with the way the world is right now.
I know. I’m giving a sob story that everyone has heard. I’m not alone, nor do I feel like this is something only I exclusively am struggling with. Moving to a new city with hopes and determination to live better than I was where I was living before is still very brutal to face the reality of the matter, however. At this point, I am wondering when I will even get an opportunity to meet new people. My hope remains that I will make friends during my time as an intern the upcoming year and that, by some stroke of luck, relay events will at least resume next year as well.
The difficulty of the climb to achieve what I set out to do was already incredibly challenging…the pandemic made it feel Herculean. I still have the fire in me, however, and it is no longer burning the house down. I always knew this path would be long and hard, and even if things have gotten unpredictably more challenging, I have everything I need in place to get to where I need to be for success. The depression will naturally come and go, since this is reasonably challenging.
You all are very receptive to when I ask to hear from you all, so I appreciate the honesty with your situations. Obviously, there is no manual on how to communicate with others during a pandemic. But I don’t think it has to be all that complicated. I lend an ear and let my online friends know I am here. We can be decent to one another by just listening.
Anyways, I usually just journal and forge this kind of thing, but decided to use it as an update post. Hope you are all staying healthy and safe.