How have your feelings about home, neighborhood, and community been affected by the pandemic or any events that occurred over the past year?
“I want to go home,” I groan as another round of midterms leaves me exhausted. Going to school 300 miles away proved to have hidden obstacles. Leaving the best support system I had ever known and throwing myself into the deep end, I’d never felt so alone.
“I want to go home,” I complain as I spend another Friday night in a crowded study lounge, where I seem to have a permanent spot. I needed an escape.
“I want to go home,” I sigh as news of COVID-19 shutting down our school for an extended spring break. Rumors fly of mandatory quarantining in the dorms, even military enforcement of this lockdown, preventing us from leaving, back to our homes.
I’m worried that the rumors were true. Being locked up in my dorm for two weeks, with my roommates who I could barely stand at the moment? Sounds awful. Please, let me go home.
Home had always been an escape for me. A refuge away from all the madness. But I had forgotten what madness ensues behind these walls. When I moved back home during the pandemic, I thought it would be temporary. A few months, at most. I would be back at school by August, for sure.
Wow, was I wrong.
The madness became more apparent as the months kept passing. I had fallen back into those unhealthy habits I worked so hard to overcome while at school.
My eating disorder returned. I didn’t get as much exercise. I was isolated, but not by choice. I stopped socializing with my friends. I fell behind in my classes; I had to drop one just to keep up with the others. Home was once my escape from the trials and tribulations of college. Now, I needed an escape from home.
Editor's note by Steven M. Brentnall
Sometimes there aren't any happy endings to be told. Sometimes it's just too much and we're just dealing with it. Sometimes we have to give up on things we otherwise wouldn't have out of necessity.
We have been hearing a lot of these stories during the time of Coronavirus; ones not of complete resignation but of pushing on when one really has very little in their reserve to do so. They are both illuminating and heart-breaking, as well as just about every feeling in between. However, if there's anything to be gleamed from such similar stories, it's that this pandemic has equalized all of us. It's my hope, and the shared hope of my colleagues in the PLACE Project, that- everyone being forced into the same boat (so to speak)- this will lead us to a greater collective feeling of gratitude, compassion and love for one another once we're able to be face (maskless) to face (maskless) again.
That this vessel isn't on some doomed maiden voyage but, more closer to something like the White Ships at the end of the Lord of the Rings; ships that carry us off into lands closer to that of a utopia.
It's hard to continually ask work of people who are already exhausted by the news cycle, a hellacious former presidency, social unrest, injustice, and just about any other catastrophic scenario imaginable to keep pushing on but, the momentum put in place can't be stopped now.
The winds are in thrust.