Photography by various artists
Last time I was on the subway, rattling like my mother’s tin box of sewing needles, my phone slipped from my hand onto the floor. I quickly picked it back up, meeting eyes with a woman who seemed concerned, her face tight like a napkin. Across from me, a woman sat with a blue mask hooked onto her ears over her mouth. This was a month ago. Since then, I have shifted states from New York to Texas and it seems, this was the right move. New York, at the moment, is one of the highest affected states in the country. But you’ve seen the news. You know how daunting every headline can be, the weight they all carry. You’re at home, pacing back and forth in your prettiest pajamas, wondering what to do with all this space. Where is the urgency of morning? You still drink the same amount of tar black coffee at the same bright hours despite not needing to feel perky for much else but more grueling news. You wonder, how do you cope?
Indulge in new shows or movies:
I spend at least a couple of hours a day in the pit of my living room with my brothers, consuming one tiger documentary or star studded drama after the other. We need distraction and we need it fast. Enter mindless entertainment. Reality stars pouring clean vodka onto one another’s silky dresses, gaudy confessionals and aggressive one liners. Eight episodes about a murder that remains unsolved. We used to neglect our need to be coddled but now, we have to realize that it is completely okay to watch what comforts us. Comfort is a necessity.
I FaceTime when the loneliness begins to gleam. If I can’t see my friends as I’m used to seeing them, then at least I can call them and hear their voices or see their face and make sure they are okay. I’ve gotten into the habit of emailing people in place of texting. It feels like much more of a blank canvas that I can fill much more thoughtfully than a simple “good morning” text. Call your family if you aren’t with them right now. Listen to that story your father likes to tell again and again. Watch your mother cook pasta through pixels and smoke. It will help, I promise.
If tragedy looks like thorns then art is the flower. We’ve always turned to art and creation when we get hurt. A lot of hesitation surrounding art comes from the misconception that it has to be ‘good’. These expectations come from our natural people pleasing nature. But it doesn’t matter. If globs of red paint on a piece of fabric, or an entire sonnet about dogs makes you feel better, then it must be worth doing. Even if nobody ever sees the art you make in the coming weeks, it will stand as documentation of yourself, by yourself.
Establish some form of routine.
Most importantly, it is crucial to develop a series of tasks or goals to complete if you are unable to work or go to school as you usually would. It doesn’t have to be an exact replica of what daily life looked like for you, or anything exceptionally strenuous, it just has to exist. Indulge in making your meals with your hands, bake a pink cake, set away a couple of hours for work and calming the tentacles that still attach you to the world outside of your personal space. Learn a new instrument or language. Try to lucid dream.
Take care of yourself. Everything will be alright. I’ll see you later.