Life-Changing Lessons I learned 6 months into 2020
Updated: Jun 17
How are you?
So since quarantine is lifting slowly and some states are starting to reopen, I've been doing a lot of self-reflecting. I feel like the negative of quarantine was expressed multiple times in media so instead of doing a blog post about what was terrible about the situation, I want to focus more on what this has taught me. Also since I am overdue for a life update blog post, I thought I could not only create a post engaging for the viewer but also acknowledge the progress I've made this year.
Lessons I learned
1.The appreciation of the little things
This one was the one pretty much everyone could relate to. As someone who is an introvert, being home is my natural state but there were so many little activities that I now learned I was taking advantage of. I may not be the party-going type but I miss going out to eat with my friends or random visits to the malls even when me and my friends would not spend a lot or even something as simple as just meeting up at Starbucks to catch up on each others college lives. I used to see those as average little thing because of how it became routine to just go somewhere. Now I realized even if I am not the type to like to be around huge gatherings, I still liked to do those small adulting activities with my friends from high school.
I also miss going to school which is ironic because I spent the majority of high school missing school mainly over mental health (being bullied causes high-level anxiety and low self-esteem). When I started college back in fall 2019, everything felt so big but when I was going in the spring things felt more comfortable. I also created the perfect schedule where I wouldn't starve, had time to socialize with my college friends, and wouldn't burn myself out. I was determined to have a better 2nd semester. I hated walking in the city mainly because of the pollution, sewage smell, the smokers, and the crowdedness but strangely enough not going made realized every time I walked down those streets to the college I said I was going to, it motivated me to keep pushing for my dreams.
I appreciate the lifestyle I had now more than ever. Even though it is not what is exciting to most people, it is what gave me genuine joy. I was seeing people I cared about regularly which is fortunate because not a lot of people can say their friends are their safe place. I was fulfilling a goal I had since 5th grade and the fact I have achieved getting into all the schools I said I would exemplify that I have potential and it's my drive and motivation that will take me further than I thought. Having the ability to shop and going out to eat is a privilege that not everyone can do because finances aren't easy to obtain.
I appreciate leaving the house in general now and I will turn down fewer outdoor activities.
2. The connection among family and friends
I tend to be a bit antisocial but quarantine has made me realized how significant it is to interact with others, especially friends and family. Over this time because I was staying with my mom, from my perspective our mother-daughter became close again. Since I was starting to go to college, I was feeling like less of a daughter and more of a roommate when I came home because I just never saw her unless I was home on my days off. I usually had to leave before her and then by the time I got home it would 7 pm or sometimes later and she would already be in bed, exhausted from work. Then on weekends, she would go with my godmother to run errands, to the mall, or church whereas I would probably be out with my friends getting some food or doing shopping too at other malls depending on who I had plans with. However, since being home a lot, I would have to help her adjust to using technology for her job and she would do all the grocery shopping since she felt more concerned about me going to the store. We also talked more and confide in each other more so I feel grateful that we are closer than we were. Besides my mom, I also check up on other relatives more than I did.
As for friends, I always cared about them but this made me realize how much I truly enjoy having them in my life. Growing up, I felt like no one genuinely liked me but the fact we make an effort to text each other and to help each other through this by texting in a group chat every day even if it's something random just shows the value of our friendship.
The majority of this time was just waiting. People were waiting on things to open up again which turned into comfort buying to past the time. I am one of those people who shopped to feel a strain of my version normal before everything. I ended up buying a few things like a mask set and other skincare items. I order this set May 15th and it was supposed to come May 26th but the order has been processing until May 27th and finally shipped.
Even though that was a small example, patience in all forms has been prominent during this time. There are so many things so out of our control so we have to learn to trust that with time, what we want will happen and we need to focus on what we do have power over (aka our actions).
4. Use your voice to spread awareness
As many of you know, things in America have escalated. A black man (George Floyd) was once again killed by a racist man whose job is supposed to be to protect civilians regardless of things such as race. The story has so many plots and gets more complex as the days go by. When all this came to light I was filming for a makeup collection video and honestly, I was distraught because I know I didn't want to speak much about it because naturally, things come off worse when I'm speaking than typing. After all, when I speak I don't know how to put what I want to say in words. I was also being a coward to speak about it because growing up I was taught to mind my business to stay out of trouble and on top of that, I didn't want to fall into the stereotype. I dedicated my existence to work against the stereotype to prove black women can be smart, that black women aren't always angry and they don't need to be ghetto or loud. Seeing everything that has happened made me so angry but I am also afraid to be angry because if I am I feel like I'm adding to their point. So I stayed silent or try to keep a level head and remind myself that no person lives the same life and that people but the more this goes on the more the emotions in me build to a point where my anxiety has gone through the rough. I can't sleep. I keep crying. Even though I sign petitions and share where I feel like it would be the most effective, it still feels like I'm not doing enough. I felt frustrated because I didn't know how to do more. I wrote a poem to get my feelings out. It's not the best and it is a free write that doesn't follow a specific rhythm scheme but I'll still share it regardless.
A world of silence
I live in a world where I feel the need to be silent
Silence keeps you out of trouble
but it's not effective
It's not fair that all this anger resides in me
but I am not allowed to be angry
Because being angry means falling into the stereotype
The stereotype of being angry
The stereotype of being aggressive
The stereotype of being ghetto
The stereotypes need to be silenced instead of me
It takes 7 seconds to make an impression of someone
I try my best to make a good one
To be an example that the stereotypes aren't true
To exemplify the intelligence of the race
To show the capability of doing great things
I make myself sick to a point of Anxiety
to be everything the world doesn't expect of me
To make my own expectations
In this world, I feel the need to work twice hard for the fact
people don't like the color of my skin
people undermine my gender
There are two strikes against me
The funny thing is you can't hide your race
I can't wake up a change my skin
I can only wake up and be the best version of me
The one that is driven and ambition
regardless of my skin being seen as a threat and suspicious
It was just a free write but it felt so good to just get all my thoughts out even it wasn't good. A lot of the silence I had was because I'm so afraid of how people will react to anything I would say and frankly, I hate confrontation. I hate arguing. But I was being a coward. Even if I lose people who support me, I'm still speaking my mind which takes guts. I have respect for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. However, it sickens me when people don't see an issue with the hashtag all lives matter. Black lives matter wasn't created to say other races lives don't matter, it was created to remind people that the lives of Black people matter as much as anyone else's. All lives matter was created as a response to completely undermine the creation of the organization. Also, people try to justify the deaths by saying " Caucasians are killed more by cops" and use a graph. I hate math but if people are going to use it, they should use it correctly. There's a large number of them killed because on a scale there's a much larger percentage of Caucasians that make up the population. African Americans make up 12% - 14% of the population (the "14%" is including people who are multiracial). Also, the numbers of the killings don't provide an answer to the question as to why did they die and how did they die. There's a difference between being shot for resisting vs a person who wasn't resisting and ended up dying from suffocation after having their neck kneeled on. Also, Did they killed after committing a real crime that has crucial evidence or an alleged crime? There are just somethings statistics just don't answer. Then other people want to jump in without any evidence saying "Black people commit the most crime". Ironically, the same people who make such a generalized response are the same people who hate being generalized as a racist. Even if there was evidence (which I never see people post with that statement that just enforces stereotypes), there are many more factors. When they say that, they are enforcing the idea that Black people are criminals. Criminal activities isn't a problem that is defined by race, it's defined by poverty. People want to claim racism has improved from when it just became systematic.
For the people who love to object by saying Black on Black crime exist: people know that it does but when it comes to it, they aren't killing someone solely because of the color of their skin. I'm not saying to excuse black on black crime, I'm just pointing out it is just something completely invalid to the conversation of racism since those crimes have nothing to do with race. It's beyond ignorant to bring up.
Additionally, the Blue lives matter movement is just as ridiculous as all lives matter. Being blue isn't a race unless you're a smurf. Being a police officer is a choice of profession. Being black isn't a choice, it's genetic. It's something people have to be from the day they are born. Even if there are police officers that don't kill, standing by and watching the bad cops do bad things is just as wrong. 3 other cops watched George Floyd die and should be held just as accountable because they should've stopped him. If they know something is wrong, they should be using their position to fix it.
I could go on about this but I've said my piece. If a person doesn't agree, respectfully they shouldn't try to change my mind. I am not going to see it their way because I can never have their life to see it from their view. My own life and experiences built my perspective and all I want is for people to understand where I'm coming from.
Help the cause and sign this petition: http://chng.it/7KjbFcwTpP
The system is broken and there needs to be ideas on how to fix it starting with fixing the way officers are trained. The pre-requires from where I'm from are: candidates must be US citizens, at least 21 years of age, hold a high school diploma plus at least 60 college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA, etc. Then, they are only officially trained in the academy for about 6 months. "Courses cover such topics as law, behavioral science, physical training and tactics, police science, firearms training, and First Aid/ CPR. Classes in terrorism, identity theft, and other advanced law enforcement skills are also part of the curriculum. Recruits must pass 4 separate exams with a score of 75% or higher to graduate from the academy and be sworn in as NYPD officers". In my opinion, that is way too short of a time to be training. It takes hairdressers 1-2 years of training to become certified so why shouldn't becoming someone in a position of power be harder? Why do doctors and nurses go to school so long but police only need an associate degree with a 2.0 which is only a C (which is doing the bare minimum because that's only passing with 73-76)? Having that much power and doing so little to achieve it is shocking. Also, they should add psychology courses and cultural courses so maybe they would know how to handle situations that don't require physical force and understand the civilians they are supposed to be helping.
For the record, this isn't about race vs race like many people think it is. It is about people vs racism, people vs oppression and if you have an issue with people wanting to be treated like everyone else then you are apart of the problem. Don't pick and choose what to take from everything I said. Choose to listen. Choose to become informed. Choose to become educated on the topic. Race isn't a choice but being racist and ignorant is.
5. Take some time to slow down
Prior to life in quarantine, everything was more structured and so fast-paced. Every day I had school, I would wake up at 5 am to catch the 6:40 train for my 9 am class and didn’t get home until about 7 pm. I had specific days to work out, I had specific days to work on assignments. Being a huge city made everything thing I did feel so surreal so that the world around me was moving in fast motion. It felt like a movie as I was struggling to keep up and move faster to keep up to my future. I constantly was thinking about the things I want to happen while suppressing emotions from things that did and ignoring the current world. After being inside, I wasn’t constantly rushing since I had no place to be. I had the time to do all the things I put off because I was too busy such as getting rid of things from my past that has no meaning to me. It was freeing and it gave me time to put things in perspective and to adjust. It also gave me a taste of what’s it like to work from home so now I know I need to make a structure for myself.
6. Take chances
During this time I did many things I never expected to do. For a long time, I was so afraid to be myself and go for things I wanted to do. In middle school and high school, I lost track of who I am because I was so afraid to be myself and now I am standing up for what I believe in, learning more about things that always had sparked my interest and taking risks that I was afraid to do like starting a YouTube channel. While I’m still learning how to edit and make my video stand out and understanding all that goes on to create, it’s a lot of fun and exciting when people post positive comments. The only thing is even though I feel like I started it at the wrong time, I hope to use it to improve and is taking this time as a learning period. Whenever I post for my blog or a YouTube video it always leaves me feeling guilty because people are using their voices to make a change and I am posting about things I enjoy that are helping me through this time. I feel complex but I pray for better.
7. The importance of physical activity
After going out for the first time after being inside for 2 months made me realize that I was neglecting my health by laying down too much and not taking the time of day to move around. Physical activity is really important and it made me realize how easy it is to neglect an aspect of your health. When I was walking I was in so much pain so now I have to do a lot more than I was to get back in shape.
8.Reconnecting with oneself
This is one is probably one of the most important besides using your voice. In quarantine, even though I still connected with friends and family, I also took it as time to learn how to be by myself. Growing up I would attach myself to people and rely on them for happiness but the reality was I was afraid to be alone. Being alone meant I had to be with myself and truthfully at the time I hated myself. I hated how I looked in the mirror. I hated who I was because it felt like so many people hate me. Their feelings of hatred reflected because I would say to myself “many people feel this way about you so you have to be the problem”. It wasn’t right, sometimes you can stay so far away from people and not say a word and they will still have a lot to say about you. I spent so many years resenting myself over things that were out of my control. I had to sit down remind myself of my good qualities while acknowledging the bad parts and telling myself that those parts (the flaws) are what make me who I am and it’s my decision if I want to change them as long as it’s for my happiness and not to just satisfy a temporary person. At the end of the day you have to be comfortable with who you are, know you aren’t perfect but constantly strive to be a better version of yourself. The best version of yourself is the one that makes you proud to be who you are. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.
That's all for today. I hope you enjoyed this post and took the time to really think about everything I have written. While I know not everyone will agree with me, I had to say what I think is right. I want to be optimistic about the future and being apart of the upcoming generations that will be allowed to have a say is important.
Don't forget to like, comment and share. Also, it would mean a lot if you checked out my youtube channel. Rember to stay safe and healthy. Maybe in the comment section, you can tell me what are the biggest lessons you took so far this year.
Until next time,
xoxo Lay 💋
Youtube channel- SimplyLay
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