MEMOIRS from ISOLATION
ESSAYS PT. 2

READ AND REVIEW INSTANCES OF EXPERIENCES AS ARTISTS DURING THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC OF COVID-19 DURING 2020 - 2021

J.L.McRath

Writer

ENTER YOUR BRIEF BIO HERE

I am a single Afro-American elder who lives alone in a downtown Boston neighborhood. My interest are reading, writing, maintaining a healthy diet, interacting with friends thru telephone conversations and trying to delete some of her 1500 emails.  I read the Boston Globe daily, and particularly like to follow the Daily Horoscope, Meredith Goldstein,  the ARTS and the FOOD sections.  I also tremendously enjoy watching figure skating champions Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres performance during the 2017 World Team Tokyo [games] and other competitive events. Additionally, I find spiritual upliftment in the music of Evangelist Bridgett Blucher of St. Vincent and the Grenadines along with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

As an elderly single independent Afro-American female with no major health issues, COVID-19 has caused a lot of fear and anxiety within me.  The fear is not so much for myself as I constantly wear a mask, am extremely careful when out in public, look at people approaching me and if [they have] no mask [I] step off the sidewalk. [I ] use a piece of paper towel to touch keys on the xerox machine at [the] FedEx Office or the bottom part of my coat to touch door knobs,  a glove at the ATM, [and] respect social distance signs at the post office [and] other places. [I] wipe down shopping carts at Star Market, have learned to carry a pen for signing, walk on the opposite side of the street when I see diners outdoors, and limit my exposure to people.  

My fear is for family and the many people who are at high risk through their jobs, living in crowded conditions, the homeless, and the incarcerated. It is doubly traumatic because the highest rates of death are within the Black, Latino, and other minority communities due to low incomes that lead to crowded living situations.  This tragedy plays out all over the world where people at the bottom of the economic ladder are victims to an early death.  

Another impact, or rather I should say fear that turns into anger, [is] at those who disregard safety guidelines of masking and social distancing which furthers the spread of the virus.  They refuse to heed the warnings and numerous examples of the speed and severity of this death causing disease.  We are at over 300,000 lost lives in the United States, and many still won’t implement safety measures – seeing it as a violation of their civil rights or [seeing] themselves as invincible – many of them no longer here to continue their protest!!!  It is just unfathomable that governors who have mandated mask wearing to protect lives have received death threats.  Fifty years from now when people read about these situations they will question why the government allowed them to foment these behaviors. Or at least later charge them with breaking some kind of health and/or social rule during a critical health period in society.  I shudder each time I read about office holders and their families being threatened because they advocate COVID-19 safety measures.  

 

One of my biggest fears was [my] concern about my 74 year-old brother in Alabama and his mask usage, handwashing and other safety precautions.  I felt he just wouldn’t take this situation seriously enough, always maintaining that I “over exaggerate issues.”  [Taking his] temperature was the first step he could take at home [to be safe] and I had him locate our old mercury thermometer.  I knew it would be hard for him to shake down and read.  {So] I then tried to purchase a thermometer in our hometown.  I called one Walmart and CVS and they had none.  I then called my cousin and directed her to locate one at the other Walmart or any other store, which she did.  When I called the store they had two in stock.  I couldn’t get my charge card quickly enough to charge it as [I] had to search my bags.  Or rather, I think they would not accept a charge over the phone and my cousin didn’t have [the] funds to purchase it.  It would have been a 30 minute drive for my brother to go buy it, and I wasn’t sure he would even do so, since he felt I [was] always “over reacting” to situations.  I don’t clearly remember what happened about working out a way to pay for it, but when I called back 10 minutes later, they were gone from the shelf and they would receive no more!  I really went into a panic.

I tried to find a thermometer in Boston – neither CVS, Walgreen nor Target had them.  I checked at CVS in North Carolina where a friend could pick [one] up and mail to him but none were available.  A friend in Boston finally gave me one which I mailed to him and asked him to take his temp nightly, which he did for a few days.  I just pray he continues to monitor himself, as he interacts with about 8-10 people daily.   I was so afraid that he would not follow guidelines, along with some of those with whom he came into contact [with].  I didn’t know how seriously he would take the situation and simply comply with health guidelines. We’ve since had several heated discussions about mask usage, hand sanitizer, and limiting his exposure to people. I continue to ask about precautions and he continues to tell me I just “overdo things.”

 

We experienced a terrible scare when COVID-19 impacted the family through my cousin’s wife who worked at the local hospital as a medical assistant.  She is also asthmatic.  She was required to screen people coming into the emergency room. They should have never assigned her this task as they knew of her underlying condition.  Luckily when she awoke not feeling well and with a temp, she went straight to the emergency room, where they confirmed she had COVID-19.   They kept her for about 20 days putting her on oxygen and giving her antibiotics, zinc and Vitamin C.  My cousin spoke frequently to the doctor for updates on her condition and was doing all the medical research on it.  Once released, my cousin and daughter followed isolation procedures and [her daughter]  did not contract it.  It was quite scary for some time with great concern about her lungs with the asthmatic condition.  My cousin felt she needed two more days of hospitalization, but the doctor said she was well enough to go home and they required the bed for more serious cases.  It would have been useless to argue. 

Before the COVID-19 disaster, I enjoyed art shows in So Wa, the Piano Gallery, the MFA, ICA and Cambridge.  I visited the main library, leisurely window shopped at the PRU, enjoyed walks in the Back Bay and Cambridge, relaxed in South End parks, and tremendously enjoyed browsing Barnes & Noble, the Brattle and Commonwealth book stores in downtown Boston.  I sometimes sat outside Star Market enjoying the sun [while sitting] on a bench facing the Boston Public Library or the Boston Commons to enjoy the sun and watch the clouds, as I did as a child, for half an hour or so.  Naturally, all of this was curtailed, leaving a sense of longing for the enjoyment of people watching and enjoying nature.   

I would also attend a bi-monthly women’s group to learn about health care and other women related issues in addition to book talks at my local library.  The rest of the time I spent completing projects on my computer, engaging in telephone conversations with friends and reading.  For the past eight months, the computer has become my constant companion engaging me for up to six hours daily!  My fear is I will get stricken with another bout of tendonitis from this constant sitting!

My major social contact has been telephone conversations with five longtime friends that occur about three times weekly.  These connection continues to sustain me mentally.   

 

I first learned about COVID-19 thru the Boston Globe and a student at the local school who had gotten infected and thought it was some flu strain – I believe.  I then read the account about the group of business people who attended the large conference in Cambridge and then flew all over the country and possibly the world.

 

I initially thought it was just a very bad case of the flu that was extremely 

contagious and felt sorry for the people who had contacted it.  As I learned how

quickly it was spreading, impacting so many people all over the world, medical authorities identified it as being something other than the flu. I found the situation almost unbelievable!  I then began to think that it was manmade as I couldn’t understand how it got to all corners of the globe so quickly.  I just couldn’t believe people from Asia, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world had all been in Boston attending the conference.  It had to be manmade!!  

I was simply forgetting the reality of people from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of the world passing thru the various airports where conference attendances probably connected.  Thus, spreading germs to people going to all different parts of the globe!  I was just so so horrified and in a state of disbelief!  My strongest reaction was this was a manmade disease designed to sicken or kill.  It wasn’t until a couple of months later after I read details of how COVID-19 may have started at the Chinese Wuhan market and possibly jumped from maybe a bush animal to poultry, that I sort of accepted that it wasn’t manmade. I still couldn’t believe the speed at which it was travelling and impacting people worldwide in such a short period of time.  

One of the things that has happened to me and made me feel I had not been a good citizen during this critical situation, [was one time when] I went to go into an ATM in my neighborhood and [I was] not paying attention. It was my automatic response to just swipe and enter when the door clicked. When I got inside and realized a woman was at the machine I stepped back toward the door.  I may have said, “excuse me” when I realize she was at the machine.  She finished her transaction and as she left looked at me and mumbled, “some people in this neighborhood.”  I really felt bad because I was not thinking and should have waited outside until she walked out.  I just had to silently say [to myself], “oh well, I won’t make that mistake again.”

Perhaps I am wrong, but I haven’t taken advantage of the free testing.  I mask at all times, haven’t had a fever, wash my hands each time I return home, wash my mask with soap and hot water after each use, and have had extremely limited close contact with people.  For about the past three months, I weekly visit the Boston Public Library for a pick up and they take my temp, which runs about 95 degrees.  I have a mercury thermometer but haven’t taken my temp at all since I always feel well.  I [probably] need to do it though – just to ensure that it still works and for reassurance.  I will also start a search for an updated thermometer, as mine is also mercury.

One of the major impacts of COVID-19 for me has been the elimination of artistic offerings of the City which I’ve been enjoyed for the past 20 years.  This loss of pleasure from viewing the various arts, interacting with the artists and pondering their gift of creativity, has, it seems, created a small well of sadness within me.  

Even though numerous artistic companies have presented Zoom programming, I just don’t have the inclination to view them in this manner.  It has been really uplifting, though, to read about theatre, music, and other artistic changes that were so quickly implemented for presentations.

I am also saddened about the limits on air travel because if I wanted or needed to go to Alabama, I couldn’t do so for fear of contracting COVID-19.  A visit from friends who live outside the United States is also impossible.  

Another impact of this period has been the constant computer use and fear of its after effects.  Before COVID-19 I would take a daily walk.  I now only go out about three times a week to Star Market, CVS, post office, Boston Public Library, the bank and back home.  I also drop off my daily Boston Globe to a senior citizen housing complex during that outing. I now spend about 7 hours daily on the computer, which is causing tremendous eye strain and the possibilityof another tendonitis episode.  Being partially restricted to home ensures my safety from COVID-19, but at the same time, it makes me susceptible to other medical issues.  Freedom of movement is a very critical component of our well-being. 

An additional impact has been the fear of infection for family and those of high vulnerability within communities of color.  Words cannot describe the sadness I feel for the many lives lost worldwide due to this monster.  I fight back tears as I reflect on the many dead [bodies] placed in refrigerated trucks, grave diggers in Kano, Nigeria, and other places who had no masks, gloves or other protection, as they did this necessary job. I think about the black doctor who recently died because of callous medical care, other seniors who [have] died within 24 hours of contracting COVID and the many more who were on the brink of death for days.  I still think about the physician in New York City who committed suicide in the early stages of this pandemic.  Imagine the gargantuan feeling of helplessness that overcame her knowing she could not tend to and save the lives of patients – the task for which her training had prepared her.  

COVID-19 is a horrible disaster than has visited all corners of the earth.  We just ask God to eliminate it with as fewer deaths as possible, and that we can repair the destruction of families, income, and morale to people all over the world.  We pray that all can manage to hold on by managing as best they can with food, housing, and health care.  We think about lives lost, their families, those who are in the forefront providing care and especially those who are providing cures.  We ask God for protection.

Julie John

Mid Level Marketer

First, I would like to give my condolences to anyone who’s been diagnosed with covid during this time or have any family members, friends, relatives who’ve passed away or who’s been impacted. My heart goes out to you and I send you peace and love so that you can use your story as a gift to impact someone who needs to hear your side of the story. I hope this memoir gives you some insight, some inspiration and most importantly strength.
Q: If there is one thing you could teach someone about something you learn during covid isolation what would that be?
Covid-19 is a coronavirus, an infectious disease which can cause people to experience respiratory issues. The disease can be deadly depending on the person who catches the virus. One of the ways to prevent the spread of covid is staying home, washing your hands, or wearing a face mask when out in public places to prevent spreading the disease.

I remember New Year’s day 1/1/2020, everyone’s goals and resolutions were that this year was the year they were going to go after their dreams and this year was the year they would accomplish them. Going into the new year not knowing what to expect, I knew one thing for sure, I was a rising entrepreneur who just graduated from college, started a venture where I was able to make money while on the road in multi-level marketing and I loved it. One of my goals was that right after college, I would travel the world with friends and make money. I wanted to become financially free and travel whenever I chose.


When covid striked the world as a pandemic and everyone started to know how deadly of a disease it was, I was still in my own world ready to travel. I had just booked a trip to Orlando Florida with some friends. In my mind, I thought this was just like every other flu we get every year. No big deal. It will soon go away. At least that’s what I thought. I finally got the full-time position over at Harvard business school making some decent money. I was thinking to myself this is good. I have been working at Harvard for 3 years and this was the first time I was in a different building working with different colleagues and meeting different students and faculty on campus.

Life has a funny way of turning things around and making you realize [that] although you think you have your plans figured out, or how you may want your year to start off, change is inevitable and if you want to survive you have to adjust and grow. It was during late March I realized how serious Covid was when my job decided to tell us not to come into work because the disease was spreading fast! I wasn’t panicking just yet. I thought okay just one day off, I could really use this day. After the third day of being out of work I started to panic. That has never happened before. Then the world started talking about immediate lock down. Everyone must stay home. I started asking questions calling everyone I know to say, “like, what’s going on, what is happening, I can’t believe we are on lock down (the millennial effect).” I finally snapped out of it. 

The change was too much of a burden. I could no longer tune it out. I had to adjust quickly and figure out what’s the next plan.
After a month of being isolated I started to wonder a lot. This was the first time since I was born, I felt like the world was ending. I always watch movies where they say when the world ends it’s going to be like a ghost town and I felt it internally and I got really scared to be alone. Thoughts were running through my mind I could no longer hold this loneliness alone. I had to be around people, or I was going to lose it. During the time of isolation, I felt drained, no excitement. It was the worst feeling I ever had and there was nothing I could do to change that but sit there. While I was suffering and taking the time to breathe through it all and going through this crisis, another story that made my heart heavy was the George Floyd story that went national on every television screen. I felt the wrath, the hate, the anger, the misunderstanding, the betrayal. I felt it all and while there was no place to run. I had to bottle all those emotions and focus on the end goal once again. What is it that I have to learn from this?

For a very long time I finally realized there was no more running away. I had to sit there and face all my problems once and for all. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t spend time with myself until Covid. I was always at work or school and never took a break to even meditate. While we are all experiencing the time of Covid in isolation I started focusing on my health. I took the opportunity to reflect on what it is this current situation is trying to teach us all and what can I learn from this experience so that I can be better prepared for something similar in the future. I thought HEALTH! Everyone is frightened because their health may be in jeopardy or worse if their immune system is not strong enough, this deadly virus can cause a major frantic so it’s better to start working on it more than ever now.


Day1- I changed my eating habits. I no longer wanted to eat meat only because I wanted to develop self-discipline during my journey plus, I felt like eating meat made me feel sluggish and I wanted to work on having better skin. I also started working out. Yes, the gyms were closed but I found an alternative. I went running every day for an hour at the track field. At this point I felt a lot of pressure lifted off of my shoulders because I didn’t let the environmental change affect my life. I used this pivot as a way to really work on the things I felt I neglected all those years. I wanted to be the strong one, the one that did not let a virus dictate her future. I wanted to be strong for those that were weak. For those that believe this was the worst year. For those that thought the world was coming to an end.
I believe the year of 2020 of coronavirus is the beginning for new ideas being born. It is the year to let go of the old and declutter to make room for the new.


Tapping into my true identity and going within is where I truly found my peace. That’s when I found the true meaning of life. I understood life happens, things change, crises happen and it’s just unfortunate because you really don’t have any control over those obstacles. But one thing you do have control over is your mind. Finding true peace starts with yourself. Nobody can take away or give you a gift that you were already born with and that is the power within. I am super grateful that I was able to learn from this time. I know my story will touch many lives and also uplift many spirits to give them hope again. Life does not have to be what everyone else says it has to be; it’s your story and its time you start creating your movie that lives on forever.


I have learned this year that tomorrow is really not promised nor guaranteed. A lot of people lost loved ones during this time and it was really tough for them to pull themselves up out of the dark hole but behind every cloud is the sun ready to do what it was designed to do and that is to shine. We too are the light of the world doing exactly what we were destined to be.

 

SANGO

Angela Sangoronke Herbert

Yoruba Priestess of Sango, the orisa of “Truth and Justice”.

She is a MRI Technologist at MGH and is currently recovering from COVID-19 I am Haitian American first generation here in United States of America my parents is from Haiti. I Recently graduated from Framingham state university with a bachelors in Business management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. I am a professional network marketer founder of KOUTUR’E which is a event planning business that specializes in self care. I love organizing events and bringing people together to network and personally develop their goals and dreams. I express my art through fashion and music.  am a single Afro-American elder who lives alone in a downtown Boston neighborhood. My interest are reading, writing, maintaining a healthy diet, interacting with friends thru telephone conversations and trying to delete some of her 1500 emails. I read the Boston Globe daily, and particularly like to follow the Daily Horoscope, Meredith Goldstein, the ARTS and the FOOD sections. I also tremendously enjoy watching figure skating champions Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres performance during the 2017 World Team Tokyo [games] and other competitive events. Additionally, I find spiritual upliftment in the music of Evangelist Bridgett Blucher of St. Vincent and the Grenadines along with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. As an elderly single independent Afro-American female with no major health issues, COVID-19 has caused a lot of fear and anxiety within me. The fear is not so much for myself as I constantly wear a mask, am extremely careful when out in public, look at people approaching me and if [they have] no mask [I] step off the sidewalk. [I ] use a piece of paper towel to touch keys on the xerox machine at [the] FedEx Office or the bottom part of my coat to touch door knobs, a glove at the ATM, [and] respect social distance signs at the post office [and] other places. [I] wipe down shopping carts at Star Market, have learned to carry a pen for signing, walk on the opposite side of the street when I see diners outdoors, and limit my exposure to people. My fear is for family and the many people who are at high risk through their jobs, living in crowded conditions, the homeless, and the incarcerated. It is doubly traumatic because the highest rates of death are within the Black, Latino, and other minority communities due to low incomes that lead to crowded living situations. This tragedy plays out all over the world where people at the bottom of the economic ladder are victims to an early death. Another impact, or rather I should say fear that turns into anger, [is] at those who disregard safety guidelines of masking and social distancing which furthers the spread of the virus. They refuse to heed the warnings and numerous examples of the speed and severity of this death causing disease. We are at over 300,000 lost lives in the United States, and many still won’t implement safety measures – seeing it as a violation of their civil rights or [seeing] themselves as invincible – many of them no longer here to continue their protest!!! It is just unfathomable that governors who have mandated mask wearing to protect lives have received death threats. Fifty years from now when people read about these situations they will question why the government allowed them to foment these behaviors. Or at least later charge them with breaking some kind of health and/or social rule during a critical health period in society. I shudder each time I read about office holders and their families being threatened because they advocate COVID-19 safety measures. One of my biggest fears was [my] concern about my 74 year-old brother in Alabama and his mask usage, handwashing and other safety precautions. I felt he just wouldn’t take this situation seriously enough, always maintaining that I “over exaggerate issues.” [Taking his] temperature was the first step he could take at home [to be safe] and I had him locate our old mercury thermometer. I knew it would be hard for him to shake down and read. {So] I then tried to purchase a thermometer in our hometown. I called one Walmart and CVS and they had none. I then called my cousin and directed her to locate one at the other Walmart or any other store, which she did. When I called the store they had two in stock. I couldn’t get my charge card quickly enough to charge it as [I] had to search my bags. Or rather, I think they would not accept a charge over the phone and my cousin didn’t have [the] funds to purchase it. It would have been a 30 minute drive for my brother to go buy it, and I wasn’t sure he would even do so, since he felt I [was] always “over reacting” to situations. I don’t clearly remember what happened about working out a way to pay for it, but when I called back 10 minutes later, they were gone from the shelf and they would receive no more! I really went into a panic. I tried to find a thermometer in Boston – neither CVS, Walgreen nor Target had them. I checked at CVS in North Carolina where a friend could pick [one] up and mail to him but none were available. A friend in Boston finally gave me one which I mailed to him and asked him to take his temp nightly, which he did for a few days. I just pray he continues to monitor himself, as he interacts with about 8-10 people daily. I was so afraid that he would not follow guidelines, along with some of those with whom he came into contact [with]. I didn’t know how seriously he would take the situation and simply comply with health guidelines. We’ve since had several heated discussions about mask usage, hand sanitizer, and limiting his exposure to people. I continue to ask about precautions and he continues to tell me I just “overdo things.” We experienced a terrible scare when COVID-19 impacted the family through my cousin’s wife who worked at the local hospital as a medical assistant. She is also asthmatic. She was required to screen people coming into the emergency room. They should have never assigned her this task as they knew of her underlying condition. Luckily when she awoke not feeling well and with a temp, she went straight to the emergency room, where they confirmed she had COVID-19. They kept her for about 20 days putting her on oxygen and giving her antibiotics, zinc and Vitamin C. My cousin spoke frequently to the doctor for updates on her condition and was doing all the medical research on it. Once released, my cousin and daughter followed isolation procedures and [her daughter] did not contract it. It was quite scary for some time with great concern about her lungs with the asthmatic condition. My cousin felt she needed two more days of hospitalization, but the doctor said she was well enough to go home and they required the bed for more serious cases. It would have been useless to argue. Before the COVID-19 disaster, I enjoyed art shows in So Wa, the Piano Gallery, the MFA, ICA and Cambridge. I visited the main library, leisurely window shopped at the PRU, enjoyed walks in the Back Bay and Cambridge, relaxed in South End parks, and tremendously enjoyed browsing Barnes & Noble, the Brattle and Commonwealth book stores in downtown Boston. I sometimes sat outside Star Market enjoying the sun [while sitting] on a bench facing the Boston Public Library or the Boston Commons to enjoy the sun and watch the clouds, as I did as a child, for half an hour or so. Naturally, all of this was curtailed, leaving a sense of longing for the enjoyment of people watching and enjoying nature. I would also attend a bi-monthly women’s group to learn about health care and other women related issues in addition to book talks at my local library. The rest of the time I spent completing projects on my computer, engaging in telephone conversations with friends and reading. For the past eight months, the computer has become my constant companion engaging me for up to six hours daily! My fear is I will get stricken with another bout of tendonitis from this constant sitting! My major social contact has been telephone conversations with five longtime friends that occur about three times weekly. These connection continues to sustain me mentally. I first learned about COVID-19 thru the Boston Globe and a student at the local school who had gotten infected and thought it was some flu strain – I believe. I then read the account about the group of business people who attended the large conference in Cambridge and then flew all over the country and possibly the world. I initially thought it was just a very bad case of the flu that was extremely contagious and felt sorry for the people who had contacted it. As I learned how quickly it was spreading, impacting so many people all over the world, medical authorities identified it as being something other than the flu. I found the situation almost unbelievable! I then began to think that it was manmade as I couldn’t understand how it got to all corners of the globe so quickly. I just couldn’t believe people from Asia, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world had all been in Boston attending the conference. It had to be manmade!! I was simply forgetting the reality of people from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of the world passing thru the various airports where conference attendances probably connected. Thus, spreading germs to people going to all different parts of the globe! I was just so so horrified and in a state of disbelief! My strongest reaction was this was a manmade disease designed to sicken or kill. It wasn’t until a couple of months later after I read details of how COVID-19 may have started at the Chinese Wuhan market and possibly jumped from maybe a bush animal to poultry, that I sort of accepted that it wasn’t manmade. I still couldn’t believe the speed at which it was travelling and impacting people worldwide in such a short period of time. One of the things that has happened to me and made me feel I had not been a good citizen during this critical situation, [was one time when] I went to go into an ATM in my neighborhood and [I was] not paying attention. It was my automatic response to just swipe and enter when the door clicked. When I got inside and realized a woman was at the machine I stepped back toward the door. I may have said, “excuse me” when I realize she was at the machine. She finished her transaction and as she left looked at me and mumbled, “some people in this neighborhood.” I really felt bad because I was not thinking and should have waited outside until she walked out. I just had to silently say [to myself], “oh well, I won’t make that mistake again.” Perhaps I am wrong, but I haven’t taken advantage of the free testing. I mask at all times, haven’t had a fever, wash my hands each time I return home, wash my mask with soap and hot water after each use, and have had extremely limited close contact with people. For about the past three months, I weekly visit the Boston Public Library for a pick up and they take my temp, which runs about 95 degrees. I have a mercury thermometer but haven’t taken my temp at all since I always feel well. I [probably] need to do it though – just to ensure that it still works and for reassurance. I will also start a search for an updated thermometer, as mine is also mercury. One of the major impacts of COVID-19 for me has been the elimination of artistic offerings of the City which I’ve been enjoyed for the past 20 years. This loss of pleasure from viewing the various arts, interacting with the artists and pondering their gift of creativity, has, it seems, created a small well of sadness within me. Even though numerous artistic companies have presented Zoom programming, I just don’t have the inclination to view them in this manner. It has been really uplifting, though, to read about theatre, music, and other artistic changes that were so quickly implemented for presentations. I am also saddened about the limits on air travel because if I wanted or needed to go to Alabama, I couldn’t do so for fear of contracting COVID-19. A visit from friends who live outside the United States is also impossible. Another impact of this period has been the constant computer use and fear of its after effects. Before COVID-19 I would take a daily walk. I now only go out about three times a week to Star Market, CVS, post office, Boston Public Library, the bank and back home. I also drop off my daily Boston Globe to a senior citizen housing complex during that outing. I now spend about 7 hours daily on the computer, which is causing tremendous eye strain and the possibilityof another tendonitis episode. Being partially restricted to home ensures my safety from COVID-19, but at the same time, it makes me susceptible to other medical issues. Freedom of movement is a very critical component of our well-being. An additional impact has been the fear of infection for family and those of high vulnerability within communities of color. Words cannot describe the sadness I feel for the many lives lost worldwide due to this monster. I fight back tears as I reflect on the many dead [bodies] placed in refrigerated trucks, grave diggers in Kano, Nigeria, and other places who had no masks, gloves or other protection, as they did this necessary job. I think about the black doctor who recently died because of callous medical care, other seniors who [have] died within 24 hours of contracting COVID and the many more who were on the brink of death for days. I still think about the physician in New York City who committed suicide in the early stages of this pandemic. Imagine the gargantuan feeling of helplessness that overcame her knowing she could not tend to and save the lives of patients – the task for which her training had prepared her. COVID-19 is a horrible disaster than has visited all corners of the earth. We just ask God to eliminate it with as fewer deaths as possible, and that we can repair the destruction of families, income, and morale to people all over the world. We pray that all can manage to hold on by managing as best they can with food, housing, and health care. We think about lives lost, their families, those who are in the forefront providing care and especially those who are providing cures. We ask God for protection.  

Sean B.

Lawyer - Writer

I have an extensive background in law, politics and fashion. I attended law school to empower and represent individuals primarily under-served, under-represented and disadvantaged. I have a Juris Doctorate in Law, and Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy. In addition to my general law career working on complex cases, I have been involved in art development, and fashion modalities all my life. It was a wellness tool that helped add mental stamina, and psychological value through[out] my life. In addition to the creative arts and entertainment industry, I can be heard on the radio live airwaves weekly where we discuss law, fashion, politics, and entertainment. This platform is a great therapeutic and artistic outlet of expressive conversation that uplifts and empowers people.


HOW HAS COVID-19 PANDEMIC IMPACTED AND CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
PRE-COVID 19, I unequivocally felt empowered with the freedom to make individual independent choices and randomly go into the community on a daily basis without directives on how, when and where. I unfortunately now no longer have the same power to access services or even go out into the community socially. I must always listen to the news prior on what health regulations are in effect by the government to stay safe. Hence, I must now always wear protective gear like a face mask and sometimes even plastic disposable gloves. I always ensure that my bag has sanitizer and alcohol wipes so, I can limit the means of infection of COVID-19 by cleaning my hands and surrounding areas around me. I am now always ensuring that hand washing takes place routinely and my hands [are] dried properly.


I now have greater flexible work options that best suit my lifestyle. Given COVID 19 I have the luxury of working most times from home remotely away from the office through various means of technology. I prefer this means of being at home working virtually because the stress of having to commute and get stuck in traffic is totally eliminated. Nowadays I often decide to stay indoors as it’s now a huge hassle to even do the basic tasks like go out in public with COVID 19 in full bloom; as now the pandemic has truly heightened my phobias and even dreadful fear of my own shadow and foot steps while out the door.


I often feel that societal connections are enormously complicated, as the things you can do for connection are very basic and limited. I no longer have the same desires and wants to venture out or interact with anyone socially in public. I have lost the internal/outward drive and ability to make regular in person plans with family, friends and colleagues. Gone are the days when I can just make plans to do simple things like meet friends in person to go out, to grab a quick cup of coffee or watch a movie together. I once lived in a time where the ability to make last minute plans or visit family existed. However it’s no longer available and has been instantly taken away without negotiation or input, just like a thief in the night.
What is something your looking forward to doing when you’re out of isolation?


I am looking forward to taking a vacation abroad to visit friends in Europe and [not] having to be confined within the doors of my apartment. I am hopeful in the future to regain my individual luxury and freedom to be in public more often doing fun activities. I miss doing simple things like visiting family and friends on a regular basis without having the fear of being infected with the COVID 19 virus.
If there is one thing you could teach someone about something you learned during Covid isolation, what would that be?
I would say that everyone must remain positive and hopeful that the pandemic can be stabilized and hopefully eradicated. That’s why its important we all comply with the guidelines to help stop the spread of this virus. Although, we all come from different religions and backgrounds, we all play a vital role in the spread and stop of the virus. I would remind people that many of us are dealing with grief in some form as a result, whether its direct or indirect, as an emotion. As COVID- 19 has impacted the entire world, we all have guardian angels like researchers and scientist that can help come up with ways to educate, protect and combat the virus. Therefore helping us reverse the economic, social, and psychological destruction of COVID-19. We must be cognizant that life may never go back to the way it was, however, we can all come together as a community and support each other.


We must never forget that everyone is dealing with the collective loss of the world we once knew. We are each facing losses, whether it’s being unemployed, loosing loved ones to the demise of COVID 19 etc. We must each continue to respect and love one another as human beings.
Why we must be respectul of one another during COVID-19.
I must say that each person’s loss is as unique as our DNA. I don’t know how this is going to change, but it will. Although, we are living in a dangerous world, we must remember that people are dying, and suffering in so many ways as a result of this deadly virus. The destruction, sadness, and depression many are facing requires us to call for due diligence.


SUMMARY CONCLUSION/SPECIAL INSIGHTS ABOUT YOUR STORY
The life I once had is now in a standstill mode and on pause. It seems that apart of it may even be permanently lost. The natural comfort to come and go no longer exist. This option is now a mere faded memory [as] distant as the meaningful decisions on how to conduct and live life are pretty much really lost or non-existent. It’s an opportunity for us to be more humane and realistic about what’s happening here and now in our community.
Furthermore, I want to reinforce that we must all adhere to strict guidelines mandated by the government on how we [must] live our everyday lives or risk getting sick with COVID 19, or even risk being fined [and] getting a ticket for failing to comply with the law.