Written by Paulina Angel (she/her) – Trans Community Project
I remember being in Arcadia California when news started to break out about Coronavirus. I didn’t think much of it since it was only happening in China at that time and thought there was no way it could hit us here in the United States. A week later, being back home in the Coachella Valley, news started to break out that it had reached the East Coast and was making its way throughout the country. No one had any idea of how our world was about to change. When the lockdown went into effect, that’s when I knew this was going to be more than a 2-4 week situation. Events that I was part of organizing were getting cancelled, concerts got cancelled, and even theatres, restaurants and malls were shut down. When you watched the news and would see aerial shots, it looked like the first thing we saw in the Avengers Endgame after the FIVE YEARS LATER sign vanished. My new reality included having to wake up early just to go grocery shopping, waiting in long lines for basic necessities and hoping to get a package of toilet paper.
Personally, being a natural homebody, I was fine at first with the whole notion of sheltering in place. Since every project that I was a part of was being postponed or getting cancelled, that’s when I started to really feel the effects of loneliness and agitation of wanting to leave the house, and more importantly see family, friends, and people. I would wake up in the morning and watch the news and continue to see the number of cases rise as well as those whose lives were taken from the virus. The numbers at night were higher than the numbers in the morning. To say I’ve had better nightmares has become an understatement because I think we all were living in a nightmare. As days turned to weeks, then to months, I felt myself just feeling more useless and bored and felt depression creep in because I usually keep myself busy to avoid feelings of depression.
Today, I feel much better with a lot of restrictions being lifted, community events being scheduled again, and finally being able to see people again. However, that is not to say everything is back to normal again. Earlier this year, myself and some family got COVID-19. I almost died from it. My dad and my uncle died from complications resulting from covid, and we had other family members pass away. Going through a year where going to funerals became the norm was a bitter pill to digest. I still hold onto hope that things will get better as long as people continue to wear a mask, get vaccinated, and take care of their physical and mental health. Luckily there are groups out there that help people with their mental health by providing peer counseling to those who are struggling. As someone who not only has issues with depression, but an LGBTQ person who thrives with community, we all can use the boost of hope and joy.