Submissions below are from strangers, friends, humans who share their moments before distancing.
The year is almost half over and it feels like we have all lived a million lifetimes. The senseless killings of so many Black people by police, to losing over 100,000 people in the U.S. to COVID-19, have made for a surreal and horrendous life for many of us.
I offer this reminder of just how far you have come in such a small amount of time, and of how much futhur you will go.
I remember this moment. I was walking to my 9am class in downtown Chicago with a cup of latte in my hand, not knowing it would be the last time I walked to class. I was submerged in my Tuesday routine, unaware that I was about to miss it. This picture is the last week of “normal” — before lines formed outside of grocery stores, before socializing were restricted, before my home country closed its borders, preventing me from going home. I learned that I love routine and structure. I learned that I’ve taken for granted the things that bring me comfort. Most importantly, I learned that it’s okay to rest and just be still.
We secretly hoped the airport in Cancun would shut down and trap us in paradise so we wouldn’t be able to go back to work. By the time we did get back we were down to half a roll of toilet paper and the stores were already sold out.
What I’ve learned is that I was and am still pretty dependent on other people for meaning. Time alone feels wasted and temporary. I enjoy my hobbies as much as the next person, but spending time with people is my real hobby.
One of my oldest friends, M, and I made dinner together before social isolation and distancing went into full effect. I’ve known him since early high school; we knew we would become fast friends when we started arguing about the Great Gatsby during English class. Our teacher, who continues to be one of our favorite life teachers to this day, couldn’t even break up our argument. Since then, we’ve both left our suburban high school and lived in many different places, pursued different goals and dreams, met and lost wonderful people, and are now both living in Chicago. He is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I really treasure this meal I had with him as a final departure from socialization as we knew it.
The memories I’ve shared with M, with all my near and dear friends, are imprinted on my mind. Our continued virtual and phone conversations are a string that connects those memories to the stagnant present, and hopefully to the future, as well. I’m surrounded by those I love, figuratively not literally, and am taking this time to be still in that love, to be still in that knowledge.
I was at a beach a couple of months ago with a friend and it was just nice to be in nature away from the community. I didn’t realize how much of a community I desperately needed once this pandemic hit.
I was nervous to share because I feel lucky for my last experience before self-quarantine; so many others have been experiencing such pain.
The world shut down was basically happening during my birthday weekend. I got to spend the day with my favorite people at one of my favorite places. The arcade was basically empty (based on the time of day and the growing fear of the virus) so we were able to have the best time. We even ended the day at the German Bier Haus 🤣
Since self-isolation, I’ve learned that my only coping mechanisms I have are escapism and sleeping. I really need to see a therapist It’s a war in my mind about “how I should spend my time during isolation”. I KNOW I’m allowed to feel depressed and anxious because this ISNT some paid vacation for everyone. But then again I feel like “am I really just this lazy?” because I’m always wishing for more time during the day to work on art, or my store, or sewing or whatever, but then when having the time I’m not using it… Being confronted by yourself so bluntly and quickly is hard.
Kayt – She/Her
Dog loving Pisces who sells vintage clothes online
shit’s still blooming y’all
even in the struggle.
my mind tried to bury me
beneath soils of my own making
time losing some of it’s essence.
so i walked
to see if i could dig me out–
dig me up something…new
if i ain’t been
only to find i wasn’t the only one trying to reach out
I took my first trip to the Shedd Aquarium with some cuties I had virtually met in a Chicago chat group. The place and faces were all foreign to me. Sometimes I allow myself to be inaccessible to change. I shut Opportunity’s door so often out of fear, but I have been striving to conquer that. How? I push myself. Like a soft pet on the head when my legs are shaking like a timid little dog vibrating my whole being, I’ll coo at myself:
“I will have fun.”
“I do not need to fear good times.”
“I can do anything.”
“I am resilient, persistent, and strong.”
I push myself to do things out of my comfort level by hiding behind my camera lens. Somehow that changes my view. The perspective flips upside down and I am open to the connection or situation. I’m glad I took the jump that day, the friends I made have kept my head above water during the quarantine. I welcome getting to know myself; through that I become myself better and a better self.
I was in lousiana trying gator legs for the first time. I was on a business trip to one of the biggest jewellery manufacturers in the world. I learned so much. I really miss being able to meet new people and learn new things. I’ve always knew that my friends were really important to me but quarantine has really made me even more grateful for the people around me. I’ve had two cats pass away a week apart during quarantine and it broke my heart and not having my friends around was so horrible. I’ve slowly been feeling less sad but it’s not the same as having my support system there to help me out of dark days just by existing in the same space. I can’t wait to see everyone again!
I took this blurry photo, drunk, at Split-Rail on March 15th- the day the restaurant closure went into place and I subsequently became unemployed. It was the same day we effectively closed The Martin and decided to cease production on our world premiere play. It was a double whammy. I went straight to the restaurant that afternoon and drank and cried at the bar with friends, colleagues, and regulars. I posted this photo sometime in the night on Instagram with the caption “what the fuck” and that’s still how I feel.
I’ve leaned into a little more creative education during this time and that’s been very helpful. I’m learning how deeply inspired by what I see and experience and it’s turned my brain on during this devastating time. I hope it translates to seeing and experiencing more post-quarantine – I hope I both value time at home and value time away from it in an active equal fashion in the future world.
Whitney LaMora, co-founder of The Martin & experience creator through immersive and gallery experiences- drinking gin & reading in Logan Square.
The last time I was out prior to the Shelter in Place order was to attend a play at the Otherworld Theater. I have done shows with these people in the past and really enjoy spending time with the performers there. They all seem to welcome me and want me to be there, and I really want to be a regular member of their company. But I tend to be an isolationist and have a very hard time trusting other people. And this stay at home order has shown me that I need to open up a lot more. Not many people have reached out to me to see how I’m doing, but that’s my own fault. I haven’t responded to invites and ghosted or backed out of plans at the last moment. I can see how that can be off-putting, and after bailing so many times other people stop inviting. It’s rude and entirely my own fault.
I was happy (ish) being able to go out and interact with people on my own terms when I felt the need to. But that was still keeping people at a distance. And we are all social beings that need interaction. The SIP order has removed my chances to do that and forced me to really look at how I treat the people in my life. I can’t keep doing this if I want to be a healthy contributing person. Depression and anxiety are very real things for me, and I want to be rid of this. The only way to do that is to make an effort to connect with the people that I have in my life. And I know it’ll be hard. And scary.
Changing a personality and way of thinking is basically an overhaul. I’m afraid that if I open up about the social traumas I have experienced it will bring everyone else around me down. And I only want to build people up. But I can’t do this myself, and I need help. Admitting that is hard. And I know, logically, that I’m not the only one that has had traumas like this. When this is over, I can’t wait to say hi, hug someone else, laugh, and let someone build me up while I do the same for them.