Socially Distanced

alex-ivashenko-RLdcScGQEJ4-unsplash
Photo by Alex Ivashenko on Unsplash

Things have been…pretty weird, haven’t they? 

A little weird, very tragic, and I think we’ve all been thrown off-balance  by what this COVID-19 pandemic has brought us. The one thing most of us can relate to is the struggles of being strapped to our homes, which, no matter who you are, does come with a certain amount of hardship. Some of us know how to compartmentalize in these situations, but some other might be losing their minds. 

I’m somewhere in the middle, right now.

As a full-time content creator, I work from home, so that part is covered for me, but the lack of face-to-face interactions have definitely been hard. While I’m an introvert, I do enjoy being social and being among people, and it significantly helps my mental health to be having these in-person interactions. And of course, right as I was starting to get better at going out by myself on a more regular basis, a literal pandemic hits. Weird timing, universe, but thanks for slamming a door in my face (that I FULLY INTEND to rip right open when we’re allowed to stop self-quarantining).

While I haven’t been able to see people in person, the social distancing has made me appreciate how it feels to even just be outside.. In Arizona, staying inside hasn’t been mandated, so going out to take walks has been so nice to just feel like I’m still in touch with the world outside of my apartment. Heck, I even just sat out on my balcony one day just to get some sunlight. No chair, no anything else other than me, my Nintendo Switch (while playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, of course) and also my cat, who was very wary of the situation (he’s normally VERY nervous about the outdoors). We had a nice time, regardless.

As someone who’s not only on meds for depression, and is now social distancing by spending most of his time at home, I need whatever means I can get as far as social interaction, even if it’s not as effective for me as a face-to-face conversation. Luckily a lot of my friends are online, and some I talk to on a daily basis, so feeling like I still have some social interaction has been nice. I’ve been wanting to do more, as far as voice calls, video chats, and the like, because I’ve got to supplement the lack of in-person interactions with as much of the alternatives as possible. And you should too, if this isolation is getting to you. 

Luckily for me, as a Twitch streamer, I feel socially present for people most days out of the week, or else I would probably be losing my mind, right about now. While I don’t feel that this is a replacement for social interactions with people face-to-face (which is absolutely nothing personal against the people who come to chat, it’s just how my brain seems to work when it comes to being social), it still keeps me sane to be streaming for a bunch of people who’ve found solace in my neck of the woods. All I’ve ever wanted to do with content creation is entertain, and the fact that I can do that, as well as create a home for people to escape the stress of their day, means the absolute world to me. 

And this does give me a source of creative outlet that I hope is distracting people a bit from the current situation. Especially with the new Animal Crossing game being out, I’ve been finding it so easy to create such delightful content.

Luckily, for the most part, life is able to go on, for me. I’m still able to work, I can still go get groceries when I need to, and ultimately, I’m still safe and healthy. I wholeheartedly recognize how much privilege I have, compared to people who are currently affected by COVID-19, whether they themselves are infected, have lost their jobs due to companies needing to close, or people who can’t work, at this moment. However, it’s still frustrating to feel like life just…isn’t actually moving on. Is life actually moving on, past my apartment doors? Are days passing?

I looked out my window onto the main road for almost a whole minute, and not a single car went by. Considering I live on a normally busy road, this was bizarre. The feeling of time standing still is just…like nothing I’ve really felt before.

Separate from all the tragedy and heartbreak that’s coming from this pandemic, the situation just doesn’t feel right. The world feels in disarray. Life feels chaotic, if chaos was quiet and lonely.

But I’m doing my best to move forward. I’m doing what I can to keep my head up and my gaze on a world that’s, well, a little more on the other side of this whole mess. I have a 3-year Twitch anniversary that I’m about to celebrate (Saturday, March 28th. Click here if you want the details!) I have writing projects I still want to work on. Heck, I have people in my life that I want to engage with, and I can’t let a pandemic stop me from pursuing life. I may not be able to go outside and try to flirt with a stranger, or have coffee with a friend, but I can grab the bull by the virtual horns, and call a friend to talk about it after, so now all that’s stopping me is…anxiety. You know, just like any other day. 

Check in on yourselves, and do it far more regularly than you used to. Check in on your friends, your family, your loved ones, and those who may be affected by this situation. Just make sure the people in your life know that you’re thinking about them, because when we have to separate ourselves from the world, it can be hard to feel important. And you are important, far more than you may believe, but you deserve to be safe, and you deserve to be healthy. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be those things by yourself. 

I’m thinking of you all, and I know we’ll get through this. We have to, because the world still needs what we have to offer. 

 

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