Things will be different

Yesterday was a hard day. I spent a chunk of the evening going into an anxiety spiral. (I’m lucky and grateful to have a partner who helps me out of that.) Today, I spent most of the day doing my best to pick up the pieces from that fallout and continue on. And now, I’m writing this blog post.

In mid-March, during the early days of isolation, I tried to stay consistent. I continued applying for summer residencies, conferences, and the like. I believed that there would be a relatively swift end because, soon, widespread testing would be available and social distancing and isolation would be universally adopted because everyone would take it seriously.

How naive I was. That’s obviously not the case now (WTF, Kim Reynolds, put a shelter-in-place order for Iowa), and so now I have to really think about the fact that even if I do get into a workshop, a residency, something, anything, there is the very real possibility that I won’t be able to go this year. Leaving aside the question of how long it will be before it’s considered safe to return to work, to school, to crowded places, there is also the trauma and changed behavior that we all will have to deal with.

There will be no hard “after.” There will be continued skittishness, six-feet distance, precariousness, face masks in public, disposable disinfecting wipes, and a wish for “business as usual.”

I’ve made my peace with the loss of business as usual. Something about everything has already changed. My sights have been set on a resilient future, one that can withstand shocks like this and support all people. Where there aren’t systemic failures and injustices against vulnerable people. Where we all can live safely and securely. That future does not look like our past, and it definitely does not look like our present.

What do you think the future looks like? Drop a comment and let me know.


Header image from July 2019.

Published by Caroliena Cabada

Caroliena Cabada is a graduate student at Iowa State University pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment. Her writing has been published in online and print journals, and she's currently at work on a collection of short stories.

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