THERE is no joy in knowing that life isn’t a race. There is simply a shoulder-shrugging acceptance of what is. People tell me all the time that the journey to success is a long one, but no one has ever cared enough to tell me why I had to take the longer way there. Others will have had maps taped for them in every corner of their room while the rest, well, the rest had money to spare. Those of us who have only but an able body and the will to move forward despite the gruesome expectations of a fast-paced world can only wish that the universe had been kinder to us.
I personally feel like I’ve been romanticizing just how awful and excruciating it is to be in quarantine for over six months. My words cannot succinctly describe the bleakness that accompanies the dissatisfaction of having to get up everyday around noon and to relive a loop from there. When you read it in my writing, it almost feels ordinary, like the succession of eulogies we see on our timelines — nothing out of place, nothing remotely special, everyone dies. More often than not, we like to mourn publicly for some sense of release. When all that pent up sadness escapes us, we cannot help but feel lighter, miserable, but lighter.
I am certain that once and/or if this gets out, I will have been told that I know nothing. Of course the only group of people bold enough to make such a claim are those who know nothing themselves. I say this because there is so much hate and distrust surrounding the youth in my country, and I cannot bear to stand the cult that thinks our pleas for a collective effort from the very people who are meant to serve us is an act of terrorism. Sometimes I lay in bed and think that maybe the virus was in favor of those in office—that this was all some sort of simulation and the only way we’d survive is to follow through without any forms of dissent and political obstruction.
I thought that the new year would make up for the dreadful 2019 I had. I vowed to myself that I was going to put things in order, take multiple leaps of faith (only if they were headed in the right direction), and carry on—headfirst and brave—with a heart courageous enough to face the unrelenting ferocity that we now know today. The virus is unmerciful and unforgiving, and we are all helplessly in its way, though, I wouldn’t say all is to be fair then. There is a talk about some boat, how we are all on the same one. The rich will tell you this from a vessel big enough for you to wish you were a crumb on a plate they serve at breakfast. Politicians will say the same as they thieve their way through rough waters. The averagely privileged, like myself, will complain about the oars being too heavy or too thin. When the distance from the shore feels like it is one deep breath away, I wonder what would have happened if we had let those drowning board our ships.
I am sitting out this school year because I lack the resources. I have food on my table, yes. A roof over my head, check. But when I look around my room, I see no maps made to ensure my success, no secret stash of cash to guarantee my future. Some of us have to craft our paths with what little we have. I am not asking for an academic freeze because others are running on a deadline. Teachers need their paychecks too. There is simply no linear form of resolve, but we’d all be kidding ourselves to think that the way things are being handled today is a grace from God. In the event that we all do retreat back to the earth as ash and dirt, when we are all finally equal, I imagine a clamor of stories. God looks to the far right and asks them why they are soaked and weary if they had, like the rest of us, arrived here on a boat. One looks at the other and sighs. They answer, “What boat?”