Quarantine Life Part 3: Embracing Change

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I understand that people need things to return to normal. Keep in mind our previous way of life wasn’t all that glamorous. We worked long hours, hardly spent time with family, gave away our dreams, and for some trying to keep up with the Joneses. This quarantine time has been very reflective for me, reflecting on my life pre-COVID to now. I don’t want things to go back to how they were. Yes, I’m looking forward to getting back outside, but I want things to be different. In the coming paragraphs, I’m going to discuss why change after the COVID pandemic is a good thing and what I expect to change. With the current reset, we’ve now is the perfect time to examine our lives to see what changes we can make for the better. 

Family Time

I’m close to my family, but if I’m honest, we could be spending more time together. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spoken to my family this much. We’ve been reaching out more via phone calls and video chats. We even made plans to do more traveling and spend more time together very soon. This ordeal made us realize now more than ever the importance of family. Having loved ones who genuinely care for you is so amazing. You have to embrace and cherish those moments. Anytime that we get to spend together is a blessing that we mustn’t take for granted. Life is fleeting, and this quarantine is proving that every day. Live in the moment for as long as you can and let go of unnecessary baggage. Move forward in love is the best option and provides a more fulfilling life. 

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Work/Life Balance

Before COVID, I was working a lot. Not as much as I’ve been in the past but enough to interfere with my life. Cue in traveling, which helped to break up the tedious daily routine. I would have fun while enjoying a break from work. Now during this quarantine, I’ve had time to reflect on the things that matter in this world. Honestly, work is not as important as your life. Anyone working until oblivion makes no sense, especially since these companies will replace you in a heartbeat. Supporting yourself and your family is critical, but there needs to be a balance. Take those vacations, sick, and personal days. Work will be there once you return. Burning yourself out will only cause resentment, depression, and anger into your life. You don’t want to look back on what you should’ve done. There are no do-overs in life, so it’s best to live it to the fullest. 

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Dream Chaser

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my heart as I believed that I could never make a living doing what I loved. Instead, I took up a more practical skill to make an honest living. The projections that others put on you is more of a reflection of themselves than you. I wish I would’ve listened and followed my gut instinct years ago. My regret as far as writing goes is that I should’ve started sooner. Anyway, it’s better late than never. I’m telling you that narrative as an example to chase your dreams. Sure, people will think you’re out of your mind, but so what? Do you want to look back on your life and wish, or do you want to live for you now? That’s your only option as you can’t go after your dreams and please people. If people are going to be mad, at least be winning at your goals. During this quarantine, you see how quickly things can change in a matter of minutes. Chase your dreams with the highest amount of urgency and give people something to discuss. 

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Love Unapologetically

One thing that saddens me during this time is the lack of empathy for others. I hear people say I don’t know anyone impacted, so the virus isn’t that serious. That is beyond disrespectful to the men and women who risk their lives daily as essential employees. I know four people who suffered from COVID, and one person still battling it. I never thought I would live in a world where this would be the norm. As a human being, you need to show compassion to others. You are blessed not to know anyone personally, but don’t be miserable about it to others. Also, let’s please learn to celebrate someone else’s successes. The number of negative responses I see regarding someone saying they purchased a new home, a new promotion, etc. is unwarranted. Have some of you lost your humanity? That’s why things aren’t going right for you because you can’t be happy for others. When someone is in their winning season, cheer them on. I’m sure you want the same thing when it’s your turn. Learn to be happy for others and watch how you become blessed—being mean spirited blocks your happiness every time. Don’t be afraid to give and spread love. Love is something that we all can’t get enough of, and it’s best when shared among many people. 

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That concludes the last part of my quarantine life series. I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I had fun writing it. I understand how easy it is to look at this from a negative vantage point. My intention with creating this series was to show the positive aspects during the quarantine life. This reset button, as I like to call it, allows us to reevaluate our lives for the better. I understand the difficulties many are facing, and I pray that things turn around very soon. I hope that this series gave you some solace of better days ahead. If I learned anything, it’s that perception is everything. If I perceive it isn’t good, then it is. However, if I believe things are lovely, then they are. As the old saying goes, perception is reality. It’s up to you which reality you want to represent you. 

Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you next time!

What do you want to change or stay the same after quarantine? Why or why not? 

One Day Mad Rule

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I recently instituted a new rule in my life called the one-day mad rule. That means that I allow myself only one day to be upset. I have that whole day to work through whatever issues I’m having. Once I wake up the next day, it’s old news. I can no longer be upset about what happened yesterday. I have to exercise, hike, or anything to get my mind off what’s bothering me. The main objective is not to carry that anger with me through the next day. I’m telling you since I forced myself to adapt to this rule it’s been a complete game-changer. I had to get used to the idea, so it was a huge struggle at first. I’ve been following this for a month, and it increased my mood drastically. I’m in a much happier place, and most importantly I stopped getting on my nerves. Yes, that’s an authentic thing!

When you learn how to manage your emotions, it makes you a more pleasant person. People want to be around you more, and you overall give out positive vibes/energy. Plus, life is too short so what’s the point of holding onto all that negative energy? If you’re upset with someone forgive them and let it go. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to allow that person to stay in your life. It just means you won’t let that person remain rent-free in your head. When you’re holding all that toxic energy, you’re the one impacted. Whoever hurt you most likely doesn’t know nor care. There’s no point in wasting precious time on things that aren’t aiding your mental health. The one-day mad rule will take getting used to, but the benefits are worthwhile.

Start small and commit yourself to make a change. Once you decide that you will make this change, it becomes easier. Also, when I see myself getting frustrated, that’s when I take a break. I go for a walk, listen to music, etc. Anything to get my mind off the anger. Putting yourself in a different mindset helps you to make decisions from a logical standpoint instead of emotions. That will keep you from having to apologize often due to hurt feelings. That’s the difference between adults and children. Adults learn when to speak, apply their emotions, and when to keep quiet. If you haven’t mastered this art it takes time and practice to perfect it. However, I committed to change my behavior. I’m going to fall short, but I’m going to keep at it until it becomes second nature. My one-day mad rule is here to stay!

What are some ways that you learned how to handle and manage your emotions?

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Protect Black Girls

I watched the first two episodes of “Surviving R. Kelly,” and I was punching the air. I was disgusted by what all these women described, and my heart goes out to them. They were very brave to share their stories, and I pray that they continue to lead productive lives in spite of what has occurred. This story brought up many emotions in me, but one, in particular, is related to anger. Black girls are not even thought of when it comes to matters of sexual abuse. There are countless stories of abused black girls, and it gets swept under the rug. When things like this happen to other girls, it makes national headlines, and there is a public outcry. What about black girls? Do their lives not matter? It raises even more questions about why in the black community do we protect the abuser instead of the abused. There is that one uncle that is a little too friendly, or you hear family members speak about not letting a specific person babysit. Let’s take it a step further to mom’s new boyfriend/husband or even the pastor. It’s that guy that hangs out at the school that graduated many years ago or picking up a young girl from school. It’s the guy that has a preference for young girls or a hiring manager telling a potential hire how badly do you want this job? I can go on and on with a gamut of situations. Everything goes back to why is this allowed to continue?

The worse part of it all is women victim blaming other women for their sexual abuse. They will be very quick to say she’s fast or she deserved it based off how she dressed. It doesn’t matter how someone looks or acts. They can be butt naked walking down the street. Nobody has a right to touch or harass them in any way. As a society, there is too much victim blaming, and the anger should be towards the person who deserves it. When will protection for the abusers STOP?! Every person who is aware of a black girl who is victimized and does nothing is just as guilty as the person committing the crime. Please stop having girls go around their abuser pretending as nothing happened. That is hurtful and insulting to their mental wellbeing. You are in essence telling them to accept toxic behavior and don’t expect anyone to come to their aid. Being silent is also telling girls that their only purpose is for the sexual gratification of men. This brainwashing mentality then gets passed down to the next generation and so forth. Break the cycle now and stop protecting these revolting men and have them locked up.

Some things you can rehabilitate from, but pedophilia is not something that I believe you can turn around (my opinion). One of the hardest things for survivors to deal with is people calling them liars. Once you do finally get over the guilt/shame and then to be called a lair is disheartening. I can think of many things to lie about but being sexually abused is not one of them. You are scrutinized and deemed as a deviant so who would want that drama. Put your pride to the side and loneliness to protect your child. Single mothers especially need to be careful as someone could date you to get close to your daughter. We all could be more vigilant and be more cautious about who we let around our children. Also, we need to create an avenue when girls speak out about being abused that help at the forefront. Support is going to the police and getting therapy to name a few ideas. It takes a lot of courage to speak out. If more girls saw that it was safe to tell their truth, it will help others to say theirs as well. Not everyone who smiles in your face has good intentions. Stop protecting these abusers as speaking out can save someone else’s life.

What are your thoughts on the R. Kelly situation? Have you dealt with this or know someone who has? If so, what was the outcome? What are some ideas that we can do as a community to prevent this from happening in the future? Let’s continue the dialogue in the comment section below. FYI I know that many girls are impacted by sexually abused. I’m calling out black girls due to the backlash that these brave women were receiving online from speaking out about R. Kelly.

Until next time,