Afraid of going out

Each time we put our feet out of bed, each time we create something, each time we defend our rights, each time we remain silent when we know we should speak up, each time we ask for help, we are all battling our fears. Sometimes, even each breath we take is a battle, but society demands that we hide our fears and pretend our lives are perfect, or we risk being unworthy of love.

One day, I got tired of playing that game, so here is the bare naked truth: I am afraid but I refuse to let my fears defeat me. So, with each post like the one you’re about to read, I recognize those fears, and then I move on.

To say that this pandemic is far from over is an understatement. I haven’t left home since March 16, and two nights ago the president of my country added another 15 days to the obligatory quarantine. Knowing that it’ll probably be another month before I’m out the door, I sat down after the announcement and reflected on how my life was and is now, what I like and don’t, and what I learned. Here are a few things that stand out:

  • Working from home feels good and bad to me. I love my coworkers. I have, in fact, many friends among them. I miss them but I like the idea of working at my own pace, at my own hours, with fewer distractions. However, at the same time, work does never stop. Where are the weekends where I rested and didn’t think about work, where my only preoccupation was my writing and cleaning the house? Now, the days have merged into one another, and I find myself working at odd hours and drafting my book in the pockets that work and housework leave. Not to mention that I can’t stop myself from answering a work email that came into my inbox at 10 pm!
  • Closeness is not so much about the physical proximity (at least in my case). My brother and sister-in-law moved to the US in 2007, so I’m no stranger to being far away from your loved ones. In fact, my family has communicated through video calls at least once a week for the past 13 years. However, my birthday happened this last Friday, and it’s the first time we actually scheduled our talk and made sure we were all ready at my 9 pm (7 pm theirs) to have dinner together (cake, candles, and all included). We spent two hours chatting, sharing and laughing, and by the end of our call, I felt as if my brother and sister-in-law had actually been sitting with me at the table and shared my birthday celebration. The whole experience left a warm glow in my heart.
  • I’m having more social interactions than before. Related to the previous item, but now on the other end of the spectrum, because of work and friends, I am having way more social interactions than I used to. So many, that some days when I wake up I’m tempted to put my phone in airplane mode and have a people-free day. I love people but I need my me time, too!
  • My cat Milo isn’t afraid anymore. My cats Milo and Dante live between the backyard and the washing room. They are free to come and go, but they never come into the house itself. Milo, in particular, was always a scaredy-cat. He would ever be ready to hide with the smallest movement, the smallest noise. Now, he’s grown so used to having us in the house that he doesn’t run away anymore. He stays and has learned that if he stands on two legs and pushes the door closed to the washing room, I’ll stay longer with him. 
  • Newfound respect for YouTubers and other creators of videos. As a professor at the local university, I had to transform my classes into videos, and even though I was sure that making videos wasn’t a piece of cake, I was not expecting that it would take so long and such preparation. It took me a whole week to make a 10-minute video when I had most of the ppt slides already, and about two more weeks to prepare the other two videos that I had to start from scratch.
  • I’m reading way less books than when I was out free in the world. I still don’t get how that is happening. Probably related to the first item, right? It’s a new goal I have for the next part of the quarantine. Get back to my old reading habits!

I’m sure that there will be more learnings and situations that I’ll find interesting, or that I’ll hate and love. However, underneath it all, I have the fear of going out. What if by going out I get the disease and transmit it to my loved ones who live with me or anyone else who has pre-conditions that may prove deadly? What if?

Published by Vanesa L. Perillo

Finding the balance between fear and courage* *Inspired by Cara E. Yar Khan

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