The quarantine check: how you and others are dealing with COVID-19

Dear readers,

How’s everyone doing? I’ve been slightly MIA lately due to work and mental health. This COVID-19 quarantine is kicking my butt, as is being a pain in that area for many of us as well. There’s being definitely a demographic hierarchy in this whole situation and we should pay attention to that.

Yesterday, sociologist Johnny Eric Williams shared a drawing by Bruno Iyda Saggese on Twitter that clearly show us how this pandemic is treating all of us, especially in Western societies.

Image from Twitter

As you can see, this is the representation of a fictional urban scenario, where a couple of buildings facing each other host different types of residents. At the top of the two buildings we can see families and individuals involved in recreational activities. Some of them are solo, others are in company of kids. They are using computers, musical instruments, tv screens, smartphones. The first floor in the two buildings is occupied by an elderly person on the left and by a crowded family on the right. They have the comfort of a roof and shelter, but they are visibly struggling. At the bottom of the image, outside the buildings, delivery workers and hospital professionals are doing their jobs, taking care of their demanding tasks.

We can all agree that in this picture each individual is living a story on their own. In fact, in times like this where social distancing is required and highly suggested, people must acknowledge their privileges and come together in order to help or facilitate those with more urgent needs and responsibilities.

The number of articles and social media posts I’ve read giving suggestions on how to deal with COVID-19 is countless. The internet is showcasing powerful connection and solidarity in any field and within several communities. Just look at the #dontrushchallenge on Tik Tok: creative women of all colors, sizes, and religions came all together to represent different communities. The phenomenon is less superficial, though, and a lot more tangible for our wallets. Jobs and education are at risk. But solutions are being provided.

Being connected and finding support in your field has become the topic of any conversation. Since the beginning of quarantine, academics, social workers, performers, entrepreneurs, and media professionals have adapted their ethics and etiquette on a new work-place, now work-space: online. The only bubble of society that is more present in the actual field is the science community, but even in this one its members are striving to find solutions through the media industry, the government, and the multi-millionarie institutions that can financially help them.

COVID-19 will surely end once it will have reached its peak. The virus per se is a temporary matter. What is concerning is the long-term results that such disease is creating among the industries.

The fashion industry is adapting fast to the current regulations. Some might suggest that fashion shows will go digital, others are speculating on web-seminars, social media presence, and streaming services. However, dealing with a seasonal market and a large audience of clients on a global scale, will be an extreme challenge for the major big fashion houses. Luxury houses will suffer less, given their strong branding strategies and versatilities (since their investments are not solely relying on their clothing products). However, small designers and creatives in the making are more vulnerable to fall behind, if not be bankrupted. Once again, the fashion hierarchy will be posh in its own terms and play a cruel game of selection.

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Journalism appears to be in danger too. As I’ve always stated, being multifaceted and curious about your surroundings, both mentally and physically, are two of the best qualities both a professional and a creative could benefit from. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and COVID-19 seems to be that occasion. Many journalists are in fact dedicating time to shift their interests in tech, real estate, and other similar ventures. Marketing is also one of the top choices, as well as event management and social media positions.

No matter how many times I’ve heard so, being focused on just one or two interests will not give you as many opportunities as you would need. You have to expand your channels. It is good to have a plate to enjoy, but the fuller, the better: you have more for you and for those around you. My behavior hasn’t changed much since the beginning of quarantine, because I’ve continued networking on my own and filling my passions with all the instruments I can afford. What has devastated me, mentally, is the ability to actually meet people in person. However, this is a universal feeling for the majority. I had made specific plans to attend events and complete bureaucratic procedures in the months of March, April, and May, very important ones for an international student (OPT application, apartment hunting, job and volunteering positions to look after). This is already complicated for an American citizen, but just imagine for an international student or immigrant, especially if they are here with no family, property, or full financial independence. Still, I manage to recognize what I have and not have, and work through my strengths.

Even though my current situation isn’t the most desirable one, I’m considerate and open to listen other experiences. Here are the things I’ve been doing to be active in my own civic engagement, while preserving my energies for myself and look out for my own challenges:

  • I am supporting fitness and literary businesses. I am doing this because I have friends who work in these fields and their services happen to fall under my most passionate interests. I follow a few and specific fitness pages and instructors, like the ones at Trifecta, as well as independent literary start-ups, which can provide books suggestions, uplifting messages, and financial tips, like Booked ‘N Busy.
  • Making sure to tune in some new music and podcasts, so that I can support and discover new artists and podcasters. Some of them are Sky’s music via @yhungsky and Dolce Thompson’s podcast “The Raw Dosage.
  • Establishing a routine with selected portions of time in front of the laptop, with my phone in my hands, at the kitchen cooking, and other activities. Variety is key, especially if you’re alone and you have no one else to rely on checking on your time management.
  • Giving myself a treat by ordering some food online. Living in a suburban area with no transportation leaves me to little choice, especially if I can’t reach any groceries on my own whenever I can. I give myself a budget with which I try to navigate the week and with that amount I allow myself a dish or two with which I can support a local business in my area.
  • Reading the news and making sure to stay connected with my fellow journalists, writers, social activists, professors, and mentors. My school provides online courses until the end of the semester, and since most of my classes are related to my minor in Civic Engagement, I tend to stay as much connected and educated as possible among those who can provide me relevant news in the media and fashion industries. Now more than ever I am fully invested in politics, with which I have always had an on and off relationship. This last fact proves my privilege, because my abscence in knowing the exact current dynamics has slowed me down in the past, while learning other academic stuff. I had the luxury to go to school and to be financially educated to manage my own savings, but I was never on top of the news like these times. As somber as it might sound, this quarantine has been an opportunity to stay more virtually connected with topics I would tend to give less attention to.

Staty tuned and drink your water,

Beijos,

the curly flower

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