It has been around 5 months since my world started to turn upside down. The Pandemic year of change from Covid-19 has touched every single person on this earth in some way. As an artist with no income, the need for change has created fear to survive and to save my business.
My year started with excitement and hope early on but quickly went in a different direction. I was dating someone who had admitted his love for me in December, I had big plans to grow my business, to start some new creative projects, to teach a travel abroad class and to travel with another business as a possible new photo venture.
In February, the week before Valentines my boyfriend who had suddenly become distant in late January told me he didn’t see a future with me. A huge and hurtful blow to my ego and my self esteem (even though I secretly was having similar thoughts due to our differences). As my heart was healing Nashville experienced a terrible night of damage on March 3rd from tornados. I was not directly affected but for weeks people in the community joined together to help the best we could.
On March 5th Nashville had its first known case of Covid-19, seven days later the governor declared a state of emergency and there was suddenly NO toilet paper to be found. On March 22 the mayor of Nashville ordered a safer at home mandate. Work stopped coming in, everything completely shut down and my life stopped dead as if something out of a movie. On March 23 I had a birthday, alone, at home, scared to even go to the store for ice cream. About a month later on May 4th bad storms came through town and took down power lines in what was reported as one of the worst power outings in decades.
All of these things began to take control and distance became the new norm. The loneliness in the beginning was extreme, I tried to eat good, stopped drinking and worked out harder to try and fight off the mental depression I could feel setting in. Life became a bit foggy and there was a strange tinge of fear on most every level. Last year, as an artist, I felt I had finally made it to what I believed success was…money in the bank, a steady income and the ability to continue doing what I love. In the matter of a few short months everything shifted in an instant. My mind began playing tricks on me and I started to question my belief in everything about life and myself.
Usually I get out of bed early with a million things I can’t wait to accomplish on my to do list. I constantly remind myself to pay attention to my “self-talk” and to keep it positive. Today it has shifted into survival, how I can make an income with what I have to offer online since person to person assignment work doesn’t seem to exist. I am having to pivot my business model because of Covid, it is both exciting yet scary as hell. This morning the moment I opened my eyes a rush of fear came over me and I began to weep, it was unexpected, it was not about any one thing, I just felt so defeated and lost. I have had many mornings where I did not want to get out of bed but I do. Some days my mind just becomes tired from the constant reminder of this new life, the masks, the media, the politics, the anger and everyone needing to state their opinions, it is exhausting. I try hard each day to filter out as much of it as I can but the radio, tv, internet or even going to the store exposes us to a life that is no where close to getting back to normal.
When I have moments of panic and fear it usually revolves around my parents or other family members getting sick or of my getting sick, being alone at home and unable to pay my bills. On a deeper level I am experiencing a return of how I felt in the early years of my creative career, feeling lost without a purpose. I had no steady income, wanted to be my own boss yet felt I needed to be responsible by finding any kind of work to just pay the bills. Like then the fear of the unknown and the self doubt from questioning if I can ever make this work haunts me each night I crawl into bed to try and sleep.
It is said that we are not what we do but I have always questioned that as an artist because I have never felt my work is a chore. When you are not able to work doing what you are good at you become really empty inside. A human being with a lack of self worth, with a lack of feeling needed or living with no purpose is just an empty shell of a person. If you allow your mind to share negative “self talk” constantly you will eventually find yourself in a very dark place. That is the most difficult part of this pandemic for me personally, altering that voice in a way that reminds me that I do have something to offer to others. The isolation from everyone and the lack of being able to generate income from the business I worked so hard to build makes life really challenging right now.
I find myself questioning all of my life choices, where would I be if I had made different decisions. Sometimes I am embarrassed with where I am in life at my age and I feel like giving up on everything and giving in like I see so many others doing. In those moments I find myself asking God “what is wrong with me.” For whatever reason I have never felt right asking for him to do something directly for me because I have always felt there are others more worthy of that kind of prayer.
I am not unlike so many right now and I believe that some form of fear is among us all. I want to share these thoughts so that others may also realize no matter how alone we all are feeling we really are not that different. We need to know we still have each other if we just reach out, even with the distance, with the isolation and the difficult challenges we are facing. Silence will not help, be heard even if it is difficult, even if it is not like you to be open or to be vulnerable. Be heard even if you are embarrassed, especially if you need something outside of yourself to get you through a hard day.
Change is in the air and it is inevitable so let’s try and embrace it in a positive way. I want to hear how you are doing, what are your thoughts and struggles. Let’s share even if only to allow ourselves and others to know that we are all human, we are all struggling, we are not perfect but we can be hopeful. Sending love and strength to everyone, please pass it on!