There’s a lot of anxiety in the air; politics and COVID remind us of our responsibility to one another every day. “Wear a mask” and “go vote” probably echo in my head when I go to sleep now. Social responsibility has been saddled onto us, but what about our responsibility to one another? Think about that. Not to society as a whole but the little societies we call our friend groups and chosen families. Not the one concerned with a ballot or a mask but the one that led a 2-hour Discord call last Thursday night? Yes, we are adults capable of changing the world with a vote. Yes, we are human beings considerate enough for the life next to us to be mindful of our health and others. But at the same time, I, like the friends in that 2-hour Discord call, am a twenty-something-year-old artist with feelings and emotions, concerns if I’ll be able to bring children into this world, and hopes that I can reach my most authentic self.
If there’s one thing that I’m appreciative of about COVID, it’s that I’m finally able to make it to 8pm meetings for a club I am a part of at Cabrini, all from the comfort of my home. During the call, the club and I read poetry to one another, deeply personal written letters to ourselves expressing things like, “I’m a child of God brought into a godless world,” “I’m so anxious I have to spin myself into a daze,” “Trauma sits in the backseat and eyes me through the rearview mirror every day,” and “Honestly, I hate the person COVID has turned me into.” These are the thoughts linger in the back of our minds - the presidential debate, the new bottle of hand sanitizer we have to buy, capstones, GPAs, graduation, love, life, and mental health, and did I say love?
We ended the night, each with a mission: all of us had to come back the following week with a poem written for someone else in the group—a poetic pollyanna. There was a giddiness in the air, and our minds began to creak and move in the way they haven’t in a long time for us, creatively. The call was therapeutic. “I feel like life has been strangling the artist out of me.” With that comment, there was a collective sigh among us upperclassmen as we all thought about everything except our art like our jobs, our country, that person’s health that has been concerning us, the essay that’s due the next night that hasn’t been started, upheaval in the home, and many other things.
To the person who reads this, remember this: you are a person, an inherently caring and social person whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or something in between. Take care of the person next to you. Reach out to friends. Let them know you’re still there, and so are they, and that no matter how you both compose yourselves as individuals, you both are people who are deserving of self-care, whatever that looks like.