This March was the two year mark of the pandemic, and for the past couple of weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of people reminisce of what they were doing during or before the shutdown. What they felt, what they thought it was, I honestly thought it was only going to be for two weeks and here we are two years in. Here in California we are now living with it as an endemic. Which for most folx means you can run around freely as if nothing ever happened and yell at folx for deciding to play it safe and continue to wear a mask.
“Stating that an infection will become endemic says nothing about how long it might take to reach stasis, what the case rates, morbidity levels or death rates will be or, crucially, how much of a population — and which sectors — will be susceptible. Nor does it suggest guaranteed stability: there can still be disruptive waves from endemic infections…”– Aris Katzourakis
Honestly, people would have looked back and thought “I’m not going to be a d-bag this year, I’m going to mind my business and let people do their own thing.” Nope, I wonder what it is about people wearing masks that angers folx into lashing out like idiots? Why people still want to voice their hate and ignorance? I might never ever understand humanity, at this point in my life I’ve somewhat given up on that.
Let me share this: I continue to wear a mask. Three main reasons why:
- I live in a house full of elders, with two of them having compromised immune systems.
- Realized that masks helps me cope with my allergies during my morning cardio. My allergies are getting worse and worse each season, so anything that will help alleviate the discomfort I welcome it. MASK ON!
- Because I want to! This is the most important one, I had COVID and it was the worst thing ever. I don’t want to go through that ever again, so I will be cautious when I want to.
Now, join me as I look back to March 2020.
I was just coming off a campaign high, it was the first time I worked an election during a primary. I was exhausted, running on little to no sleep since mid-January. We won by a landslide, so it was worth it. My team was amazing, we made it happen, really excited because for the first time ever I felt I was doing something of benefit for my community. I was feeling unstoppable (oh I know, but wait it gets better), but in pain. I tweaked my back packing up my car from one of our campaign hubs, then the day after election I really fucked it up by picking up a box that was a lot heavier than it looked. I was on pain and anti-inflammatory meds, thinking I was going to be out for only March while I recovered from both back injury and exhaustion. We had heard about the virus, but we all thought it was just another cold. Another version of influenza, yea, I’m not going to lie-that’s what I thought.
Then I hear shut down. Wait…what? My kid is now doing remote learning…wait…what? He just started preschool, he’s just getting the hang of a routine, his speech delay is a thing of the past because of school. Will this affect him? How will it affect him? I don’t want to be his teacher (for more on this checkout my mamihood posts). Then we did an entire school year online. This year he went to back to school, with masks, weekly COVID testing, and got vaccinated. He is thriving and living it up with his new best buds.
It wasn’t all about COVID, though. This month, I’ve also had the opportunity in thanks to some Fellows to look back at how far I’ve come in my career. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this before, I never thought anyone would even care about my journey. Here I was sharing, they eager to hear, ready to learn what to do and what not to do as they embark on their own journey. I’m currently at a point in my career, where I felt ballsy enough to ask for more of what my original job offer amount was. I’m at a point, where I decided to work with an organization that aligned with my values, where I was going to learn and help take my career to the next level. I didn’t have to take a job because I needed a job to survive i.e. pay bills, rent, buy groceries, etc. I wasn’t even looking, I was looking forward to some time off.
Looking back on my career and sharing my journey with others is extremely humbling. It’s also a pause for gratitude, I’ve come a long way. Grateful. Grateful I didn’t give up when shit got hard, I cried a lot but didn’t give up. Getting let go from my job at the Foundation was a low blow for me, it was the hardest moment (so I thought) of my life. Now looking back, I realize that things had to happen this way, I was getting in my own way. I was so loyal, that I wouldn’t even consider other job offers or tapping into another industry. Things were toxic, but I was loyal. I also felt isolated from my friends and family, but I didn’t think I could move back.
So, the Universe took care of things for me. I got laid off, I had another job offer shortly after but I rejected it. The pay wasn’t there and I had already set my mind on coming back home. Once I confirmed my plan, things moved rather quickly and so damn smoothly it was scary. I was on the right path.
It was smooth but it was not easy. I was unemployed for almost a year. Luckily I had my family supporting me, but it was still rough. But then I got the email that set everything in motion. My Professor from grad school was expanding her consulting firm to LA! I reached out, she urged me to apply. I did, I was flown up for an interview, I didn’t get the job but I still got work. It was based on a business decision, I got it, I didn’t have a network but they liked me. So, a month after that I started doing consulting work for them. They started recommending me for other campaigns and that just snowballed to where I am now. Financially secure (for the first time in a long while), and working with an organization I align with.
Looking back, I realize if I would have not gotten let go I probably would have still been at that very same place or in the same industry, wishing to do more advocacy or policy work. Sometimes you just have to trust the process, easier said than done, I know. But I also now have proof that the how is none of my business, I need to focus on the what.
I’ve also come to realize that we often hear “Don’t look back” or “Don’t dwell on the past” and to some extent they are right. But sometimes it’s good to look back, to see how far you’ve come. We get so caught up with the destination that we don’t pay attention to the journey, I know cliché. But as cliché as it sounds, you know I’m right? What I say to you is, don’t look back with regret, look back with gratitude. It’s all about perspective, as the saying goes “Once you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” . Here’s a little more on my journey.
As a parent it’s hard not to look back, but it’s different. We look back in wonder, how fast time moves, how fast they grow, how much we’ve learned along the way, how far we’ve come as a unit. As a parent remembering and forgetting are so closely linked and so second nature it’s ridiculous. You might live a moment that was so precious you think to yourself, “I could never forget this” but you do. Except you don’t realize that you do, because you have so many other things, even smaller things to remember. But all it takes is a smell, a sound, anything that might trigger that thing that might have happened so many years ago and before you know it you’re remembering. Looking back and wondering where time went.
So many things have happened, so many things to look back on as a professional, a student, a mother, and daughter. But I’m not the only one. As a country, as a global collective, we’ve had so many things happen. That we can’t help but look back and wonder “How in the fuck did we make it this far?” We all know these past two years have been rather eventful. Some have been bumpy, other’s downright scary, some sad, other’s historical.
In no particular order, I would like to highlight some that are fresh on my mind:
- RBG died, we shouldn’t have someone hold on to this position for so long simply because they couldn’t risk not being the voice of reason.
- January 6, I mean this will now become part of our history as Sept. 11 has.
- Kamala Harris, first woman Vice President in our country’s history.
- Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico, Haiti, and other islands in the Caribbean.
- It’s 2022 and Puerto Rico is still a US colony with no path to statehood or sovereignty.
- Colin Kaepernick is still out for taking a knee. Aaron Rodgers put his entire team’s health at risk and just got a slap in the wrist along with some fines. Antonio Brown, Mike Edwards, John Franklin III, from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, did the same thing and got fined and suspended for three games. What was the difference? Color and status. I’m not biased, I’m a Packers Fan, I was a Rodgers fan too, until he pulled this shit.
- A man was killed for a fake $20 bill, luckily we got some justice for George Floyd but there’s still no peace.
- A man was murdered for jogging, luckily here too we got some justice for Ahmaud Arbery but there’s still no peace.
- A woman was murdered in her home while she slept, we have no justice nor peace for Breonna Taylor.
- A man was killed by police while he was on his couch asleep wrapped in his blanket, wrong house but still too late. Still no justice or peace for Amir Locke.
- Superbowl in Inglewood, a city that has been overtaken by million or billion dollar stadiums while the community is in desperate need of housing. 90’s made a comeback during the half-time show, RAMS won, but outside ICE roamed the streets keeping watch of what you might ask? Depends who you ask.
- WTF is going on in Palestine? Are we ever going to decide whose side we are on?
- Russia, wtf?
- The hypocrisy of worthiness is made very clear when you look at brown/black vs. white refugees.
- COVID is still not over, people are dealing with long COVID, others are dealing with the financial aftermath of a pandemic. Others haven’t had a chance to mourn because they are just trying to stay alive and out of financial ruin. But let’s cut the benefits since our hospitals and morgues are not overflowing with bodies.
- Homelessness has increased, and now thanks to the above mentioned rationale we will have the streets aligned with even more bodies of families wondering where they went wrong, they played the rules of the American Dream but still lost everything.
- California tried to recall its Governor simply because he forced everyone to wear a mask and told everyone to stay in. Oops, apparently he didn’t follow his own rules by attending a party. I guess all those people that were calling for his resignation must of really followed the rules, I wonder if they rejected or donated their golden state stimulus on principal alone. I mean they were saying “not my governor” right, so why take his money?
- Cruz jumps on a plane to sunny Acapulco to avoid the massive snow storm while his constituents are freezing, in the dark, and some are dying.
I hope years from now when we look back at some of these things we can actually applaud ourselves for moving on, for learning from these events, or ensuring they never happen again.