Public Journal Entries

Each week, we will post a few excerpts from journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now?

    "There is not one individual on the face of this planet who hasn't been affected by this pandemic. Our immediate reaction was to panic. It was to stock up on toilet paper. It was to go out for coffee and pretend like none of this was happening. We did this out of fear. We did this out of ignorance. Now, the world is coming to life as it realizes that it is truly homebound. This sparks a lot of negative feelings of despair. Therefore, I've been finding ways to channel hope. ... Taking pictures is essential in the 21st century. ... So, being the 18-year-old I am, I snapped some pictures. ... 'Well,' I thought, 'If toilet paper is back and Dunkin' is open, maybe the world isn't ending.' And the truth is, it isn't. There have been pandemics before us and there will be plenty after this one. Humans are just going to have to adjust and make the best of it. ..."
  "The pandemic is this weird thing. It’s abstract and distant and then suddenly very real. My uncles in-laws all got the disease early on, in March. My aunt’s mother died, her siblings were all very seriously ill. That was when the virus suddenly felt very real. And then life moved on, the news moved on. Things started to open up and the world became a little less careful, a little less afraid.. or just tired of it all. Anyways there are days when I forget it’s even happening. But then, my grandfathers sister died from COVID and then...bam. It’s suddenly real again. ..."   "I'm autistic. For me this period of time has been the opposite to the experience of many. The restrictions are actually freeing. I'm able to make choices that would otherwise be seen as socially negative. Shopping is less of a challenging experience and I've been able to fully enjoy book club meetings now that they are online."
  " ... I once saw a bag of free masks hanging on a fence post with a note that said anyone was welcome to take a mask if she needed one. I have heard of people filling their small library houses (like the one pictured) with canned food and toilet paper rolls free for anyone who might need something. I have not been so lucky to have seen an example of this in person. ... "  
  "I have wanted to keep a journal through these weeks and months. I started but quickly my energy flagged. I am hoping that this new opportunity will reenergize my determination to write. Because I live in a retirement residence which has a nursing home attached, we are particularly vulnerable to the virus, and our restrictions have been quite severe. Even so, we have had an outbreak and a number of virus deaths among our most vulnerable residents. We are currently virus free, but are limited to short walks in the neighborhood, and social distancing at all times, wearing masks, and eating and exercising in our own units. Frustrations abound, but I am eternally grateful for phone contacts, Zoom visits and events, and outdoor visits with friends in the building. I am yet to be able to visit other friends or family, and am anxious to know when I will be able to travel to see any of my children - all of whom live far away. The summer stretching out ahead is looking pretty bleak at the moment. But I am determined to not let it get me down."   "I sit on the sidelines of this pandemic. Passively observing. Watching news coverage, reading news coverage. Buying supplies at Costco. When the shelter-in-place orders arrived in late March 2020 I was nervous. The news coverage of cable news networks fueling this anxiety of apocalyptic times to come. Now a few months into the pandemic on U.S. soil without structural integrity of addressing the virus by our nation's highest administration I am doubly traumatized. Let them protest. I am not personally created to march the streets or engage in public, physical demands; preferring to fight for justice using introverted means, educating myself and engaging anonymously online. That is what brought me to the Pandemic Journaling Project, to begin with. I am here, not to cower in anonymity, but to rise up in the way that allows me to do so safely (emotionally and personally). ..."  
  "... My skin is not a crime. Recently, there's been numerous accounts of police brutality. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor.  Get your knee off my neck. As an African American individual, I am so sick and tired of watching my people die. I am so disgusted by the behavior of white supremacists and uneducated law enforcement. Stop killing my people. ... Say their names. ... Honestly, it's bittersweet seeing non-bipoc (black indigenous people of color) finally rise to the podium.  ... Why did it take this long for the non-bipoc population to speak up? All of a sudden, because we're homebound during a pandemic, white people suddenly have nothing better to do than make #BlackLivesMatter a trend. ... Of course, I appreciate the effort white people are making to help. I appreciate them rising up and educating themselves. Do Better ... No justice, no peace."  
    " ... It was my daughter’s last week of school. It’s a tradition to have a water balloon toss on Field Day but as schools are not open we had one in the backyard with three other friends. I initially thought I would make my daughter were gloves but then I didn’t. ... We had hand sanitizer and all of that. But this photo of the water balloons makes me think of all of the parents trying to normalize a very abnormal time. I love that it represents that effort but I also see potential COVID on every balloon!  ..."
   "... Juneteenth was last Friday. People I knew from my school organized and attended a huge protest in the big city next to my town. I really wanted to attend, but my mother didn’t want me to. She said I just tested negative for Covid. ...  So, I drove by the park where the event was held, just to see protestors walking there with signs, just to feel the energy of hope and movement in the air. If there was no quarantine, this would be such a great time to meet fellow activists, to meet mentors and make friends, I’m thinking. Not sure. Maybe the confined and careful nature of life right now makes everything more bittersweet. ..."   "... I really miss hugging. There was a fire on our street and everyone was out on the street and watching and afterward we were chatting with the neighbors. One of neighbors hugged us and it was 'by accident' but it was so nice! I don't know if I have really understood the toll this is taking on me. ..."
    " ... This is my aero reminder to myself about recovering from COVID, about the horrible racism in the world [that] we are moving through and resisting, and about the Earth and the way the Earth has been hurt by our overconsumption. ..."
  " ... I feel especially sad right now that I am undergoing a sixth round of fertility treatments (4th attempt at IVF) and I can't access my usual healthy coping mechanisms. I'm worried about COVID-19 impacting my pregnancy and therefore I am still remaining very socially distant. Other than running in and out of stores to fulfill basic necessities I've had almost no interaction with people outside of my household. Zoom hangouts with friends just don't give me the sense of support and/or distraction I get from doing activities with friends or just by being out in the world. The fertility hormones already impact my emotional health and the isolation does nothing to mitigate that. So I attribute my sadness to the intersection of the pandemic, fertility problems, and the effects of fertility treatment, which has created a perfect storm of emotions.  ..."   " ... Absent from news cycles are the stories of how COVID is impacting people living in the aftermath of COVID-19 and how it's affecting families and will resonate for generations to come. People who deny the truth of science and experts because it doesn't align with their political ideology is sickening ..."
  " ... I think the thing that has affected me the most is the lack of freedom to fly. As someone who doesn't live in the same country as most of my family or friends, this is the hardest thing to think about.  I've lived abroad for over a decade, but there was always that assurance, that if God forbid I needed to, I could just hop on a plane and be where I needed to be in just a few hours. But this is no longer true.  If I need to go somewhere, there is a good chance that I will have to have 14 days of quarantine when I get there, and then 14 more when I get back. So instead of being helpful or being surrounded by family, I will have 14 days totally alone, and basically useless. Instead of being able to fly in for a week, it would be to have over a month of vacation days saved up just so I can be present for the worst case scenario situations in family life. Which means there might never be a last hug or kiss; a last face to face conversation; a last hand to hold...."     " ...I had to take my daughter (6 months) to a checkup today at the pediatricians. The protocol is to wear a mask, only one parent and one child can attend the appointment. We have to sit in the car until they are ready to take you in, only two children/families in the entire building at a time in opposite sides of the building.  My daughter is just entering that 'stranger danger' phase newborns go through...she screams when anyone who is not me or her father or brother come anywhere near. ... We walk into the doctors office and everyone is wearing masks, including me. She looks to me for reassurance and can't figure it out. I feel badly because, though I try to reassure her and comfort her, she can't see my smile.  These are not huge things in the scheme of life in this pandemic. I'm grateful they are taking precautions. But I do wonder what the social/psychological effect is of all of this on our littlest ones, the ones who don't really understand what's going on. ..."
"... I call this one Infinity. The endlessness of the pandemic and the weight we have as workers, parents, etc begins to take a toll on the mental health of the immediate family ..."   
  "... This is a week where restrictions are lifting, but in my household they are not. ... We have no cure, no vaccine, nothing has changed except that we are exhausted, but people are always exhausted and they go on, why can’t we go on? My grandmother lived through five years of fear and rationing and little human contact during the German occupation of Norway, but my friends can’t bother to wear a mask while seeing each other for a few months, even to save lives. ..."     " ... Global and local developments are alarming me. I see that countries in Africa and in Asia, India for example, are starting to really struggle with their covid cases and their inadequate healthcare systems. I read how an eight-month pregnant woman with symptoms was hauled for 13 hours in an ambulance in Delhi as she was rejected by 9 hospitals (!) and ended up dying in a car crash. This is beyond tragic. And, since I am pregnant myself, this story hit me hard. ... everyone seems to admit that major structural changes need to be made in order to cope with this virus.  ... However, [here in] Greece ... I see people hoping, writing, and believing that 'things are back to normal', but this is just an illusion. How can it be normal, when the virus is still spreading across the globe? ...  We are all in the same bag, as they say here. ..."
  "... This past week has been fabulous for me! Busy rediscovering my heart’s writing voice, at last ... Of course, I am aware of the recent social unrest in the US ... I know that as a person of color, this treatment and racism in general directly affects me and my children, in addition to so many others. I do care.  I still chose to stay away from the large group protests that occurred in Denver this past week, due to live-wire Covid concerns. Instead, I continued to focus on taking care of myself and my family’s well being so that we may emerge from this pandemic as healthy and well individuals better able to help others. ... As unpopular as this sentiment might be to express at this moment, I can say that so much good has emerged from these Covid times. ..."      
    "This image was created in late March, as the virus started spreading in the Northeast and the quarantine was imposed. It is about the slow insidious spreading vs the heightened state humans are in due to quarantine anxiety and isolation ..."
  "... I just want to touch people. I actually backed up from my husband yesterday when he approached me in the kitchen, like a new instinct that I had developed to protect myself. It bummed me out and startled me. ... "   "... I’m so tired. Existentially exhausted. The fear of COVID-19. The fear of being Black in America. Our cities are burning.  We can’t breathe. ... "
  "... I'm tired. It's been more than two months of being home and I am so tired.  ...  I am the hunter/gatherer for all household provisions, the bill payer, the chef, the best friend to my 13 year old daughter, the therapist for my son, and the sounding board for my husband,  I am the end-all-be-all for everyone and I am tapped out. ... "   "... You know, I’m anxious.  Professionally, my work insists I constantly puzzle through scenarios, lead solutions, repeat.  I have never had to focus on one challenge 24/7 for months on end.  It’s an unrelenting state of mind.  And it can be tiring. ... I am also grateful.  I will never again have this time with my family.  I cherish the informal interaction, the reduction of chores, making family dinners, working out regularly, realizing, honestly, how much money and time I waste in ‘normal’ life.  I will miss a return to normal that takes away the simplicity of this time. ... "
  "... As I write this my dad is currently having open heart surgery ... for an aneurysm removal. I have not hugged him since February and have seen him only once since February on Mother's Day when we visited with my parents outdoors as we social distanced and all wore masks. I was relieved when his surgery that was originally scheduled for March was postponed. Today I am less afraid of the surgery and more fearful of the recovery and the virus.  He is in the hospital for five days...will he contract it there? ... Social distancing has been fine until last night when I was thinking about the possibility that my Facetime call might be the last time I see him. I want to feel his big burly body around me. I need my dad hug. ... "   "... Because of covid, everything is harder. Duh. But it is much harder than I thought it would be when I flew home from college in the middle of March. At the end of April, my dad was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. He has been in the hospital and rehab ever since. ... I cannot see him in person because of restrictions upon visiting due to covid, and because of how traumatic the injury was, talking to him over facetime is difficult. ... What makes this even harder is that my younger brother has developmental and speech delays, along with autism and bipolar syndrome. ... And now I fear waking up everyday because of him. ... My sisters and I have to watch him often, and that is incredibly draining mentally, emotionally, and physically. ... There are physical altercations that occur almost every time we watch him. I really miss my dad. ... I miss my friends at school. I miss my boyfriend. I miss the luxury and privilege I had of escaping this household whenever I was at school a thousand miles away. ... Yet I am still privileged in my white body. And I will continue to fight in anyway possible to unfuck it all, even if these terrible pains tear apart my mind each day. Because I hate them! The politicians, the police, the institutions. And covid has only intensified these egregious and sinful things! ...
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This piece is made of many different parts of other collages coming together to create a new one. I was thinking of the idea of growth and resilience amidst the unknown flow and spread of covid19.