I grew up hating the outside world. Fine, yeah, I’ll readily admit that. Outside was always too warm, my back damp with perspiration and legs sticking together under the sun, or too cold, skin dry and hair frizzy under cloudy skies. Quite frankly, I’ve been placing myself in a type of quarantine far longer than I can recall.
I wasn’t ashamed of it. Not at all. I was perfectly content, sequestered into the confines of my own mind, because I couldn’t be judged. My running inner monologue was rather pleasant and, unrestrained by my usual reservations, acted as my only true friend.
School was loud and brash. Especially approaching middle school, I left my house each day with a pit in my stomach and sweaty palms, fearing having to speak to my peers or my teachers. I was scrawny and small and looked like I’d fall over if someone so much as sneezed in my direction; in other words, not popular.
Now, not much has changed since then, but what I can say is I’d underestimated how much I needed structure in my life.
Living is hard. Doing things is hard. My brain doesn’t appreciate me doing things, which is why, given the choice and opportunity, I sat, prone on my bed for weeks.
When I got the announcement that school was being cancelled, I developed a whole zoo of animals in my body- frog in my throat, butterflies in my stomach, the works. Unreasonably dizzy, I felt weak in the knees, absolutely petrified of the change quarantine would set into action.
News flash: I overreacted! What’s new? I’m literally the human embodiment of a carbonated drink; you shake me up too fast and I blow up. My genetics really said RIP to being tolerable but I’m different, I suppose.
But, as previously mentioned, quarantine has brought me nothing but the inexplicable and yet totally expected wave of bleh. I feel like that one bowl of Jello from Hotel Transylvania.
This man. Him. Except, I’m not at a party. There’s no party. In fact, I’ve never been invited to a party before, so I suppose even this literal pile of goo that doesn’t speak has a better social life than I do. I bet he’s sugar-free jello- plus, the green isn’t even any good, anyway. Loser.
Yes, I am bullying the fictional talking Jello, Susan. This is who I am now.
What Quarantine Has Been Like
I wake up at 11, watch TikTok until noon, eat pistachios and chocolate chips, watch the X-Files, go back on TikTok, snack, bother my five whole friends, eat dinner, watch YouTube, sit in silence while playing sad music until 2 AM, and then force myself to sleep by 3. We love to see it.
Obviously, since I’m such a productivity icon, my mother is super pleased with my progress on all the things I guess I should already have done and doesn’t ever yell at me in the history of ever because I’m the most perfect, angelic child to walk the earth.
Just take my word for it.
Honestly, I’m usually fairly on top of things. I get assignments done on time, I do what’s expected of me, and I study to get the grades that I feel that I’ve earned.
Well, HA. Haven’t done any of that in a hot sec.
Since quarantine started, I haven’t started my Spanish project or began studying for my AP Test- which are weird this year and my class never did DBQ’s so I’m not too psyched about that one- and I can’t summon up the willpower to do so. I don’t know why I’m so exhausted- down to my cellular makeup- when I’m getting so much sleep.
Okay, so, technically, I am aware that doing more exercise, getting outdoors, eating right, and maintaining a realistic sleep schedule would probably rectify all of my problems, but that’s frankly not on the table- it’s not even in the room.
Trust me, I am very good at putting pressure on myself to get things done and get them done right, but somehow, quarantine has made me feel like there are less consequences. I do my work and turn anything in that I need to, but it’s not up to par with what I usually do and there’s no way I’m going to do well on finals if we end up having them this year.
I know I’m so fortunate to be a sophomore, as I know juniors, seniors, college students, and a lot of people in the workforce have had a lot larger of a problem with the cancellations and lay-offs going on, so I’m going to make sure that’s clear. And, yeah, I feel guilty complaining when so many are in pain and struggling to make ends meet.
Sending my best wishes to those affected by COVID-19 and hope y’all are safe.
To Exist is Not to Live
Feeling like Blobby has led me to conclude that effort is required to make existing feel like living.
Okay, let’s break this down. We all exist- we breathe and our cells multiply and die and we require food and water. And, sure, it could be argued that we all live, too- if we weren’t alive, we’d be dead, and that would be Less Than Optimal™.
But I suppose the context I’m using the verb “to live” in is those moments where we feel the weight of our own mortality and push on anyway? Like, we’re self-aware? I guess??
I think that’s what separates us from all other species on this earth; we have the predisposition to be introspective. We place value on our experiences and have a broader view of our place in the universe. While overwhelming, I don’t think I’d be able to value the things I love if I couldn’t think existentially.
Anyway, it sounds cheesy, but I don’t think I’ve felt “alive” for quite some time. I do mindless, empty tasks to try and boost my serotonin levels and choose to do nothing because it brings me a brief, instant shock of happiness. Ha, I’m fine.
It’s only when I make myself think with my brain that doesn’t want to function that I feel like myself.
I’ve done an awful lot of existing these past couple of weeks, and I think I’m ready to start living.
I’m 16. It’s pretty weird to think about it, because I had a lot of high expectations for myself when I was younger. I think I expected myself to be like those kids in coming-of-age movies with aesthetic road trips and dramatic character arcs.
Unfortunately, life isn’t quite like that. At least, not for me. Right now, it’s probably not like that for anyone.
I’m probably going to continue to sleep in late and watch procedural crime shows. Knowing me, I probably will put off my projects a couple of more days. Quarantine is still going to be here tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.
But I’m pretty sick of being Jello. And I think that’s a start.