My Covid Story


From a millennial living in New York City

April - May, 2020


Covid for me is about learning to love all parts of me. It's about learning how trust myself, to accept myself, to express myself, and show up every single day in presence - in feeling.

I am taking this time as a crash course in deepening my connection to my own humanity.


I got off of a plane from Costa Rica early in the morning on March 12th at 6:30 AM. I was feeling eager and refreshed after 2 months of traveling to come back to my life, implement the lessons I learned, and start fresh.


Gwenyth, my former college professor turned friend, mentor, and more recently, client, said this to me when we met up in a park that following Friday:


The reality you expected to come back to no longer exists.


She always has a way with words. Poetic, intelligent, and very real.

Suddenly, after two glorious days of re-acclimating to my Brooklyn neighborhood, saying a quick hello to too few friends, selling my clothing because I had $10 left in my bank account (literally), and making one lovely trip to my local dollar store to spend it on a journal…I realized Gwenyth was right.

I rode the subway twice, to the city and home. I noticed masks and gloves and hand sanitizer at every turn. It was subtle but grew more substantially in sight every few hours it seemed.

However, these little awarenesses were almost nothing compared to the looks of terror I saw on that train.


I, for one, was smiling, totally blissed out and happy to be back.


I knew something was up, and I figured it would probably become more serious, but I truly felt invincible.

I wore my latex gloves humbly, as the radiance I felt outshined them entirely.

Zach, my partner, had stocked up on groceries before he left to meet me in Costa Rica weeks earlier.

I thought it was just another manifestation of his embodied “protector” archetype that he plays so well. I went with it anyway - knowing that often he's the more logical of the two of us. I effectively accepted the 15 cans of beans with grace.


The Firsts


The first time I was really startled was when I heard about the first Covid-related death.

One person dying felt so awful - and it is - but now I feel I am numbed to the numbers.


I’ve stopped tracking the death count per day, as anything over 100 feels like it robs individuals of their humanity.


Monday came, and by this time so much had changed in such a short amount of time, I decided not to go to work at my support job in a retail store.

I came down with a strange respiratory infection towards the end of my travels in Costa Rica and I felt it was my social responsibility to not risk the possibility of me infecting someone else.

Then, schools closed.

Panic began.

I could feel the energy tightening like a rubber band wrapped around braided hair.

Close to snapping.

This is when I really expressed gratitude for the beans in my cupboard.

This is when I realized that even though I had maybe $30 to my name, it didn’t matter. We had food and I didn’t need anything else.


...Except nicotine. LOTS of nicotine.


And a surplus of almond milk for my coffee. Luckily my partner spotted me for that.

I was in full warrior mode those first two weeks of quarantine. Hyped up from my journeys, I was determined to share all of the magical things I learned and somehow relate them to the black hole of a panic that the world seemed to be falling into.

I recorded at least double the amount of videos I posted, talking about mindfulness, compassion, self-discipline, self-care…

I wrote several blog posts that have never been published.

The world seemed to wax and wane every day to an extremity I’d never experienced before.

I was on the phone 80% of my time, catching up with family, friends, while getting furloughed from one job and laid off from another.

Well, this is it.


A fire was lit under my ass and I flew to the stars.

“Extremity” is the key here because I felt like a pendulum moving from I’m so grateful for this extension of my retreats to What the actual f*ck is happening.

Covid didn’t ease me into anything. Covid was the whip and I was the bull, as so many of us were.


The amount of energy I poured into the ether was liquid gold - intuitively expressed with the intention only to serve.




I was quickly reminded at Week 3 of quarantine that I’m not an infinity pool.


My waters need replenishment.


Cue. Break. Down.

This was the week my jobs dissolved, and I began picking up new clients through my business. It was the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but although the abundance game was weighing in my favor, I was beginning to take on too much on too fast.

I was still spending 5 hours per day on the phone or on Zoom while working more hours than I ever have in my life.

I was dried up.

So I took a hot shower.

I remember there was one point where I realized that this Covid infested world was actually going to take awhile to simmer down. It’s not Easy Mac and there’s no microwavable solution.


Learning to accept this reality, while already committing myself to various projects, and BEAMING passion from my heart was the most excited yet dreadful moment of my young life.

Am I not here to be the beacon for others?

I’m not the type to run out of steam...right?


Wrong. I’m a human too.

I spent 3 consecutive days without posting anything online, without responding to anyone, without doing anything that required any sort of “work”, including my business, which I love.




I had to pause. I realized that have to do the work too.

By this point I transported myself back to the times in Guatemala when these reminders came through. Slowing down there after living in NYC for nearly a decade was no easy task. It was really hard to stop my brain from moving a mile a New York minute.

Connect with the heart.


This was the answer in Guatemala, and it remains the answer now.

I don’t need to report to anyone, including myself.


Fuck imaginary deadlines.

Meanwhile, outside of my chaotic internal world lie a barren Brooklyn, with the energy of cool toned reds draped in confusion and tragedy. Hasty, unclear, and winded, I was just waiting for a tumble weed to blow by my feet on the way to the grocery store.

Even at this point - say week 4 - things were changing more and more every day. More masks on the street and more gloves on the ground. More people dying, less people on their phones. I know this because I watched my social media stats drop enormously. It looks like I’m on the same wavelength as everybody else.


This is actually happening.

And we don’t know when it's going to stop.



New Formulas

There’s a new formula to grocery shopping.

It’s called - go between 1 and 4 AM, bring a list, grab your mask, stay in your lane, and get whatever the f*ck your heart desires.


There’s also a new formula to reading the news.

It’s called - do it once every two or three days, and take a deep breath before you dive in.


There’s a new formula to emotional balance.

It’s called - if you don’t go with the flow you may end up in a dark corner.

This may be why this “Article” you're reading is all about me and not a summary of what is actually happening. I’ll be the first to admit I am really not a legitimate news source. But I am honest.


I’ve done my best to dip my toes in this world as much as I can, and turn my attention to caring for my mental and emotional health through this whole process.

I think we're all doing the best we can.

My mornings have even changed, and they continue to change drastically every day. As an avid meditator and a Virgo who enjoys routine, this has thrown me for a loop.

Instead of meditating first thing every day, I now sit and do nothing but drink a warm cup of black tea because I learned at week 5 that coffee was amplifying my anxiety.



May, or later...


The back and forth pendulum of emotional extremity has now softened at least a little.


I’m adapting.

This is actually kind of fine.

Everything we do every day is a calculated choice now, where we are looking at our inner worlds with a magnifying glass, seeing the roads we can go with the options we have, and taking action strategically under the sheet of emotional and mental fragility.


I’ve learned to love voice notes, especially when I have an agreement with someone that there’s no pressure in responding right away or ever. This allows me to keep in touch with friends on my own time.


Boundaries - mhm. Those are a big deal too.

Digital boundaries, friendship boundaries, work boundaries..

How do I avoid the burn out? I'm still and forever figuring that out.

Are people going to be upset if I don’t respond? If they are, see ya later.

Isn’t it my duty to hop on the phone and be there for a friend at all times? It’s a f*cking PANDEMIC. No.

Insecurity and paranoia are a battering thing. The best way to avoid this is to tune in.

These days I find myself consistent inspired to continue going, keep working, and keep creating until I fall asleep.

Here's what's on my mind.


Identity crisis. That's a thing I'm going through.

Do I even want to be a “life coach”?

What is my purpose in life?

Am I modest enough?

Am I humble enough?

Am I confident enough?

Am I enough?


....

Money.

I need to buy loungewear. Must. Be. Comfy.

I am paying my debts. This feels so good.

Should I save? Not sure.

What happens when Covid ends?

When will Covid end?


...

All in all, the questions can be asked but never answered until the future becomes the present. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do consider this time - minus the circumstances - a gift.




December Reflections


We've been through a lot this year. Our minds, our bodies, and our hearts have been stretched so drastically. It truly is a miracle that some of us have made it out of this year alive.


Covid is still a thing - but now it's a mangled mess, where we're half adapted, half dead, and mostly divided as a people.


My heart breaks for these reasons. It all hurts.


This said, I do not believe 2020 was a total loss. I think we've all learned a lot about how to practice resilience, how to soften, and how to go inside and take a look at what is really important to us.


The challenges we face as a people are far from over, but I hope that in reading this you are reminded - as I was reading back on this piece - that you made it. Please give yourself some credit for coming this far. This has been a total shit storm. There are billions of Covid stories...we all have one. What has yours taught you?


Where do you go from here at the year's end?


I love you, and I thank you for listening.



Live your Truth.


Kelsey




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