Jo uploaded a prompt on her Instastory the other day which got me thinking about my decision to stay in France for quarantine. The prompt went a little like this:
“Did you think you’d be here?”
My answer? In a physical sense, yes. In a mental and emotional sense, absolutely not. If I could give you an idea of what that would be, here’s a potential scenario of what my life would’ve been like at this time, sans Corona:
It’s the beginning of April and I’m calling my best friend in California to ensure she’s got everything packed for her flight to Paris. She would be arriving in a few days, but I want to ensure she’s got everything she needs before she arrives. We planned for the week she’ll be in France with me: we’d spend a day exploring Lille, 2 days visiting our friends in Brussels, and spend the remainder of the week in Bologna before she departs for Los Angeles towards the end of her week in Europe.
Sounds like the perfect plan, right? Unfortunately, the universe laid a huge obstacle, forcing us to literally, stay inside. Is this our biggest challenge yet as a human species? Probably not, we’ve been through worst. But this is the worst our current generation has ever experienced at the moment. And what’s absolutely wicked is: we have no idea how long this will last.
But why did I decide, in the midst of a global health crisis, to sit tight in France after it was highly recommended to return to my home country for safety precautions? Honestly, I didn’t feel like it.
Lmfao, okay okay, that was entirely a joke.
To be quite honest, I didn’t have the financial security to shut up and well… go. While in France, I was living salary to salary every single month. I started my English Assistantship in October and it’s now April. I didn’t have any financial net to rely on throughout my whole year abroad. This is what happens when you’re first-gen: your parents are still breaking their backs to make ends meet, from when you were a youngin’ to almost a full-grown adult.
The grind genuinely never stops. Literally, it sucks when your parents are broke too, because it then becomes unbearable to carry your own weight.
There’s still so much life to live.
So while my dear friends had the financial reassurance to return home, I, along with other English assistants of color, chose to be strong and ride it out until things calmed down in the States.
Yet with the rapidly increasing cases in the States, we’re all concerned about whether our decision was worth it. Or whether or not we could still ride it out.
So wherever you are in the world at this point of the pandemic, here are some 100% sure affirmations that you are where you need to be:
I am where the universe wants me to be
Jo says it best, “Did you think you’d be here?” Literally, none of us did. Corona came for all of our necks. Whether that’s emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, or even financially. We are still here in this present moment. We have to acknowledge that at this moment, things are the way they are and that’s 100% okay.
I have everything I need
When I was struggling to make ends meet back in January, I repeated this affirmation before making my way to my lessons. Even at this moment, it is still true. We are all abundant in our own way. We have all the essentials we need to survive and to live, even within our own homes.
I am safe
Look around at your current living situation. You are blessed. There are some folks who aren’t as fortunate to be safe within their own homes or let alone even neighborhoods. If you are reading this in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by family or friends or even just your own company, you are blessed with security.
Those who love me are just a phone call away
Let’s face it. Being abroad in these dire times really heightens our anxiety levels. Especially if we are alone. But remember, your family members are just a phone call away and they’d love to spend a couple of minutes or hours with your virtual company. Give momma a call, boo.
It is okay to feel grief, doubt, despair, and confusion. It is 100% human nature.
We are all collectively grieving! Just because you scroll through social networks and see people being productive or seemingly “happy,” you shouldn’t beat yourself up for feeling a mélange of unfavorable emotions. It’s human nature, and it’s okay to feel this way.
Coronavirus is temporary. Things will go back to “normal” soon.
We have to believe in brighter days; that’s why the grass is always greener on the other side. Coronavirus caught us by complete surprise. It took away our loved ones, separated us from our daily activities, and forced us to practice “social distancing.” But it won’t last forever. There’s still so much life to live.
I don’t have to feed into being 100% productive during Quarantine. I move at my own pace.
Let’s be real ya’ll. Productivity Twitter can be the worst sometimes. Just because there are some days you don’t feel like doing anything, does not mean you lack discipline. You just didn’t feel like doing anything, and that’s good enough. Allow yourself to grieve and move at the pace you want to. Also, it’s not like you got anywhere else to be anyway.
Sometimes, I call my mother to pout about how bored I am or how useless I feel. In her southern-Haitian accent, she always belts out, “Oh-oh! You tink you the only one? Everyone is bored. Don’t put it in your mind like that!” It always seems like she’s yelling at me but she’s really not. In the best way possible, she reminds me to accept my current reality the way it is and to, most importantly, be strong. It’s reassuring to know that one day, we’ll be reunited after Ms. Rona leaves us for good.
Moral of this pandemic: give yourself the love and attention you need. We all need ourselves now more than ever.