Contrary to what I should've been doing, during quarantine, I started going out more. Our small apartment was suddenly too small, my mother grew tired and stressed from lack of work, and would grow angry at my brother's lack of presence. My older brother left the house more to work, and my sister was always in bed texting her friend. I could never be in my room because my sister would be in there, I could never go in my brother's room because it felt so lonely, and I could no longer hide in the kitchen because my mom would always ask about my grades. So I fixed the bike that was hidden in the corner of my room.
I collected my savings and walked to the store less than two miles down the road and bought a tire tube for my bike, then I walked back to my apartment, carried the bike downstairs, and walked it three miles to my grandfathers' house, where I replaced the back tire tube. By dusk, my grandfather drove me home. The next day, I rode it to a park four miles away. I went to that park twice a week so I could sit on the swings and pretend I didn't live life the way I did.
Joining this community, my first publication was for the April contest, and it somewhat was about that park. I'd leave in the early afternoon while my mom was in the bathroom or analyzing the news because if I did then, she wouldn't question my absence, it was easier to avoid her scrutiny when she was distracted. I wouldn't come home until early evening, five or six, then I'd make dinner and go to my room to read.
Just once in May, I was on facetime with my best friend while we were doing an essay discussion for one of our classes, he was in his kitchen when his aunt came in and yelled at him for face-timing strangers. He tried to tell her I was his childhood friend, but she took his phone. I only messaged him on Instagram after that.
Quarantine made me think more about my idiotic choices. I would've joined Track that January, but my grades were too low. I also would've joined the English Honors Society, but my English average was too low because I decided I wouldn't do my homework. My mother had her standards set. Always, and yes, it was suffocating. Being in the same room at an age where I'd grown weary of the presence of adults in my life, I learned to read her moods, then I learned to avoid her, and my realities.
I became increasingly aware of my sister's bipolar tendencies, I tried to make as little noise around her as possible if I felt she was in a sour mood. She'd grow irritated, but I never blamed her. We always laughed heavily moments later.
Whenever my brother would go out, to meet his friends or to go to work, I'd beg him to take me with him. I'd walk into his room in the morning and stand in his doorway. I'd follow him to the front door. I'd stand by the kitchen counter and pick at my nails as he washed his hands when he came home in the evening and ask about the next week.
Before the end of the school year, my mom found out about my grades while I was halfway to the park with the swings, and demanded me to turn around and head home and complete my missing assignments. I went home, and the next time I left, I started going to a park two miles away and walked the track there. I grew to love the sun, even if I started coming home sunburnt.
When Summer rolled through the bay, the easiest topic with my mother was scouting, but I found it like school, required of my age and not fun. I was supposed to go to *NYLT this summer, but it was canceled. The near year I'd been a scout I hated scouting until I went to a scout camp for a week to earn merit badges in bulk. I loved it, it was fun, hot, and sandy, but no matter how long I spent outside and got solar rashes on my legs, I never complained. I would feel miserable in the humid nights, but I never complained. By this point, all electronics used for communication belonging to my best friend had been confiscated by his aunt. This was one of the few times I'd been severely anxious over the Summer. *I can imagine you the reader, can understand well enough. I asked to go to another camp for a week with my friend's troop using the refund money from NYLT. This was the first girls' troop I'd encountered, my friend and I were the oldest, but it was fun. I fell in love with the camp, the following September, my first job application would be for their Winter camp staff.
I went back to school in late August because distance learning had been terrible, an opinion I expressed to my mother. I joined the marching band on a whim. Any other year, I would've been too self-conscious to join any activities that'd force me to be confident. The lack of social interaction with people my age who I could relate to without being related to left me embarrassed with how I treated my peers. I'm still trying to atone for every word I say.
Oddly enough, quarantine didn't amplify my depression or anxiety. I found myself struggling with a rise of *mania and disassociative tendencies.
Believe it or not, but I'd been updated about Covid since November of 2019, I'd talk about it with my classmates from Human Geography in the hallway. I find myself with a thought I wouldn't have had in November of 2019. I think, what if I'd tried to befriend those people.
Word Count: 999 * NYLT - National Youth Leadership Training
* "I can imagine you the reader, can understand well enough" - Do you have a friend who is constantly in a dark place?
* Mania - Sudden manic to depressive personality tendencies (At least that's how I describe it)
Before Spring break, I told my mom that I would seek counseling for my depression. I was supposed to schedule a meeting for after spring break so I could join the mental health program. This Spring, I constantly felt like my lungs wound out through my mouth, and the organs would always strangle me. This is irony, so was my Spring. This piece wasn't about falling into depression during the year, but living through a mental illness related to in cause and description of depressive tendencies. There is such a perverted spin on what it means to be depressed today, I can no longer explain it.