My name is Loralei, I live in Arroyo Grande, CA with my parents and my 3 younger siblings, Elli, Jayce and Quinn. My siblings and I are all close in age, I am 15, Elli is 14, Jayce is 13 and Quinn is 11. I am the girl who loves school, a member of the AGHS marching band, I am a member of Scouts BSA troop 414 and will be working towards my eagle within the next few years. Along with scouts and band I am also very active with my church going to seminary before school Tuesday-Friday, youth group on Wednesday, and Church on Sundays. My life pre-pandemic was chaotic, and I was starting to crumble under the pressure of it all.
My life was altered by the pandemic in so many ways. First church was canceled, then Band concerts were cancelled, and lastly my scouting activities were canceled. It felt like my whole world was being canceled on me and there was nothing that I could do to keep it from crumbling in. I had been back at school for only a week when school was canceled after spending a week with my family in New York, and then all having the flu the next week. We all were ready to get away from each other, get back in our groves and finnish out the rest of the 3 months left in school strong. Then when things began to get canceled we all were stuck, stuck with each other again. At first we all were upset, Jayce was antagonising Quinn with his teasing, Elli would randomly burst out yelling when she reached her limit, and my anxiety worsened. After the first few weeks we all started to accept that this is the way that we have to live right now, and that we should make lemons out of the lemonade. We started watching movies a few times a week, we have done various backyard campouts, we have participated in the now weekly car cruise in the bug taking turns who gets to ride with Dad and who sits on the street watching the various old and custom cars go by. Learning how to make lemonade out of lemons took some work but we are finally getting to that point I think.
Okay, so right when I was getting used to being under lockdown. Now things are opening up and it is stressing me out. My mom is a hair stylist so she will be going back to work this week and I don’t know why I am feeling so weird about it. I like all this time that I have had with my family, and I am now sad to see it go. My biggest worry is that everyone goes back to normal and then we have to go back to this again. I just want to live my life, and right now my thought process is that if we stay in quarantine a little longer maybe that means it won’t be as bad when we go back but people are getting restless, and people need their jobs back, people are suffering, and all the news media can advertise is that the stuck up white supremiststs want things to return to normal. They advertise the crazy people, and that’s not the case a lot of times I think.
I really feel like the media has blown this whole thing out of proportion. I do believe that the virus is real, and I do believe that it can be deadly. I just think that the media hasn’t really been a huge help during this whole thing, they say one thing and then another, they over dramatize things, and half the time their calculations in the articles are flat out lies. After reading 1984 in quarantine for English I guess I am kinda just freaked out about what the media puts in our heads, what they want us to think versus what is the actual truth. When this whole pandemic was first talked about it was all the media could talk about. I just thought it was another virus, and when the media blows things up like that, I think a lot of people feel threatened by it and believe that they are being fed lies.
The pandemic has been hard for me, and my opinions about it keep on changing. When it first was brought up and everything got canceled, I was so angry. I thought that this was not something that we should lock down for. Then I transitioned to a conspiracy phase, where I was questioning where this virus came from and everything about it and thought it was biological warfare. When the biological warfare claim got debunked, I moved onto understanding that this is a virus and that being under lockdown matters. Now I feel like the virus is real and that we need to understand that and take precautions, but also that it is vital for us to return to life. It is so important for us to live. My new thought is what is the point of living if you aren’t really able to live. Maybe that’s silly, but I think we need to live our lives and that everyday we face dangers that could take away our lives, car accidents, possible school shootings, illnesses, things like cancer that we could get, and the coronavirus is another added to the list. My English teacher gave us 2 days before we left school, 2 days before everything was canceled, an anticipation guide for 1984 with various statements he had us choose if we agreed or not with them and then at the end of the novel decide our new opinions. Some of the statements were things like “To assure our country’s freedom, the government should be able to spy on its citizens.” and “People who are a serious threat to the government should be able to be held in prison without being charged.” and as my English teacher asked us these various questions he asked the class, “Do you think safety or freedom is more important?” At the time I didn’t know. At the start of this pandemic I might have said safety, but now I would say freedom.
This pandemic has affected everyone in so many ways and throughout it things are constantly developing and changing and being a teenager the same is happening to you. My life was suddenly torn apart, while I am trying to learn how to deal with my hormones, and crazy emotions I’ve never felt before. This whole experience has been weird. It has been longer than a summer break. I miss school, all my friends, my family I was going to visit for spring break but then couldn’t. I miss backpacking with my scout troop, I miss playing in the band, I miss sitting in the pew at church every Sunday singing hymns. This whole pandemic has made me miss a lot.
So I write in a journal, this year I told myself I am keeping my new year’s resolution for once and I am going to write in my journal my thoughts, my emotions, and whatever. I am gonna write a few of my entries here for you about the pandemic.
In this one I had the flu, and we were scared that it could have been corona, but it was just influenza A “I’ve been so sick I haven’t journaled in a few days…I slept almost the whole plane ride, the drive home. I got home, took off my shoes and didn’t even change and went to bed. I woke up the next morning to mom telling me she got me an appointment with the doctor and that Dad was going to take me but we had to leave in 15 minutes…We Got to the doctor. Dad joked about coronavirus and my doctor did not find that funny. She diagnosed me with Influenza A and double ear infections.” 3-04-20
I didn’t have corona, so that was good, but just the whole thing of my dad joking about it, that was the attitude.
I wrote 2 days before school got canceled, “Today was a good day. Lots of coronavirus jokes and memes. The NBA is canceling all games during. Coachella was postponed. No audience at General Conference. No large Gatherings in Washington. Italy is quarantined. And none of the stores have toilet paper. We have a crisis. Dystopia is coming. The media is spreading so much fear. People are panicking everywhere and there are 200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 right now in California. So it has been madness, the memes, the panic.”
Those were just my random thoughts and feelings at the time.
The next day when everything started to get canceled I journaled so much. I complained about how everything got canceled, I was angry too. Then because of superstition the next day even before school got canceled, I could feel the day was going to be weird and I wrote: “Okay, so I learned that it is Friday the 13th and there was a super worm moon. And all this coronavirus stuff. Weird! Conspiracy!”
I think I will write one more of my entries from when this whole shelter in place order was set. I had just filled all the pages in my previous journal so I started this new one with: “Our story begins March 18th 2020. ‘San Luis Obispo County Health Officials Issue Shelter-In-Place, Seven Coronavirus Cases Confirmed’ – 3:03pm 3-18-20 … I just got informed that I am officially trapped in my house until further notice. Why you may ask? Coronavirus is my answer. Starting with bats on the streets of a market in Wuhan, China. That is where the virus began last december, but none of this was really brought to our attention until february though…” I went on to explain the national state of emergency and what all had gone on that past week with corona, and how things were changing every five seconds.
Okay, so I know you only wanted to write a few paragraphs, but here I am. This is just the surface level of everything for me. I could probably go on to write 10 pages, but I won’t. I will do that in my journal. These times are weird. Its kinda interesting to think that the world is changing as I change and grow up.
Submitted by Loralei, San Luis Obispo County – Arroyo Grande.