I have had my fair shares of ups and downs. I was bullied since childhood for my size. I was always bigger than your average, even at my smallest. My closest family members would always remind me of this, and if it wasn’t them, it was the kids at school – There was no escaping it. At the age of 7 and 8 years old, I was sent to a health camp – it turns out my mother agreed with these bullies too.
I lost one of my brothers at ten years old, and through my toughest days, he would always remind me of my beauty, I was ten, and that is what a brother was supposed to say – little did I know he meant it.
I entered my teens and the pressure for me to succeed was heavy. My older brother was incarcerated and my parents had little knowledge of any education. I was my family’s only hope to break the cycle. My older brother, who is still alive, was heavily involved with my upbringing, my parents were present, and then some days they weren’t. It was normal and I was ok with this.
It was at the age of eighteen that I decided I was going to work so I could give back to my parents. Ten years later and my hospitality journey came to an end due to workplace bullying (This is another story). I was entering a new chapter; I pushed past the fear and applied to enrol at the University of Waikato. I was happy, nervous, and determined to go back to school.
Two thousand and sixteen, my father was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and I moved back home to look after him. This was supposed to be a change for not only me but my proof to show my father we can do this. Chemo started and finished, and fortunately, he was cleared of cancer. This gave me new confidence, and we were unstoppable.
December 2017 and I lost my dad to a stroke – my world stopped, and I was scared. I was scared to carry on, scared to live the rest of my life, afraid to take on this new journey without him. My grades were affected, mental health was spilling out of control, And there was more pressure to look after everyone more now than ever. I still take it day by day, month by month, year by year.
Fast forward to twenty-twenty, I gained a teenager, I lost another father figure, and my world came crashing down. It was December 2017 all over again, and I was fucking exhausted. On top of this, we were just about to enter a lockdown. A place I spent my time escaping is now about to become a place of no escape, and my anxiety was at an all-time high.
Two weeks into lockdown, I was beginning to feel something was off, and I felt changes that raised a few red flags. I went to the doctor, and the results weren’t very good. I was on bed rest and came to a point where I couldn’t sit in a chair or stand longer than 5 mins. My body was failing me, and I had no idea what the fuck to do. I had to dig deep and fight, fight with all I had to bounce back because I had a job to complete, assignments to hand in, a mother about to go into surgery, a teenager needing my undivided attention, and a partner’s health that was declining too. On top of this, fight with what I was dealing with physically, mentally, and spiritually. These people depended on me, and in all honesty, I was at an all-time low, and I had no idea what I was going to do. Was this it? All I had on my mind was someone out there has it worse than me, and I was still breathing. I am nowhere near 100% however, I’m here to fight another day and I can’t complain.
Twenty-five years of vivid memories, and it still scares me to this day. My whole life wasn’t all a misery. Amongst those years, I learned to grow some thick skin, created my most memorable milestones, friendships, life lessons, fuck the list goes on. However, these last few months have forced me to reassess what is more important. Where to from here? I have no fucking idea but to revisit goals, adjust lifelong habits and put my health first.
As we move out of lockdown and back into a normal world I’ve done a bit of thinking about what lockdown has done for me. It’s been a totally different stage of life that I never saw coming, none of us did to be fair. The first thing it taught me was how grateful I should be to see my mates every day or two. It was one of the first things that impacted me and probably impacted me the most. I’m a person who thrives off being around other people, a social butterfly if you will. The last two months absolutely strangled the living daylights out of my social skills, even when I went out in public properly for the first time (which was about 1 week into level 3) to go to the supermarket I found myself feeling kind of anxious around people and sticking to the 2 meter rule. It’s not like I was scared of Covid itself, it was more like a “will they have a go at me if I accidentally get too close?” type thing.
I also got reminded about how important sticking to a routine is. I don’t know about you, but staying up till 3 or 4am browsing the internet became a staple for me and it ruined my work ethic during the day because I didn’t wake up till 12pm or so, and even then I’d be absolutely knackered and just couldn’t be fucked doing anything at all. So obviously I had to get that sorted out, which I have and it involved staying up till 7am, setting an alarm for 10am and passing out peacefully in bed the next night well before midnight. Unorthodox, I know, but it worked and my routine is as safe as seat belts now. Moral of the story, don’t have a global pandemic so you can keep your routine. Just kidding, just don’t let yourself go and you’ll be all safe.
Quarantine, to me, was pretty eye opening. I don’t think it was some massive sacrifice and it won’t go down in history as testament of human endurance. We didn’t do anything particularly awe inspiring or special. We didn’t put a man on the moon. Rather, quarantine was a series of small sacrifices of things we took for granted every day. Seeing your friends, not having a scrap over the last toilet roll, doing what you pleased were sacrifices that we all had to make and most of us followed through on.
However, I also felt like it made people more aware of the underlying science behind things such as viruses. People slowly stopped listening to the “drink hot water, point your bare asshole toward the sun and corona virus can’t hurt you” bullshit they saw on Facebook. Instead people finally started listening to our doctors, nurses and the stunning, brave and, let’s face it, sexy Ashley Bloomfield. I really hope people take this opportunity to not trust everything they see online and start actually thinking for themselves.
I was pretty happy that the whole country actually listened to science and didn’t shit the bed like that country next to Canada. Now that was fucking inspirational. Americans once again proved that they could fuck themselves and each other simultaneously with their disaterous leadership and uneducated decisions.
Overall, I would say it was kind of incredible to see how drastically under-prepared we are, individually, nationally and globally, for any kind of catastrophe. With the world set to go down the shitter at any moment in the next decade or so, I find it hard to believe that it’ll just be toilet paper we’re fighting over when the big one comes. I think we should use this opportunity to address the blatant leaks in our ship that this whole virus drama has exposed. Humans have always had a way of learning from their mistakes, and we literally just proved normal doesn’t work, so why does everyone want normal back so bad?