WOW. It’s been a while…

As the headline states, it has been a while my fellow and few followers. First things first, I hope you all are healthy, washing your hands, and keeping distant from one another as much as you mentally can handle.

Things have been easy on my end. Thankfully I am considered essential and still have work keeping me busy. I won’t sugarcoat it, I too wish I could stay home all day and just watch Netflix series, but I appreciate having a job and a paycheck still. Especially considering how many individuals and families are struggling through the month, wondering each day how they’re going to get by while out of work. Things aren’t great, but hang in there because we really are all in this together.

So quarantine life, well it is different, that’s for sure. The difference really has me wondering (as a writer and a reader) what kind of future is in store for us.

We’ve seen the dystopian films, we have read the novels, and we have examined the many series created under the premise of the world’s ending. Now this may not be some apocalyptic ending to Earth’s existence, but what it could be is the beginning stages of the collapse of modern civilization. This wouldn’t be the first time either.

The Roman empire has fallen before, the Mayans have been ruined in the past; civilization has a long history of its ups and downs. Although society has collapsed in the past, civilization as a whole has moved on and persevered through the hard times. Would it not be brilliantly ironic for mankind’s stature to finally fall under the stance of economic failure due to a SARS virus that has slowly and randomly attacked the immune system of many people, varying in age, race, and health? A disease with not patter as for who it will take out.

No, we don’t have our first annual purge coming forth and I am sure we are a long ways out from any televised manslaughter of underage children. Who knows though, maybe there are people with antibodies in their blood type, and first we must send them through a maze to ensure their compatible immunity. The complete divide of our world into different social classes may be a ways off though. And although Rainman may not be saving our lives from a fast acting, lethal virus, somebody out there must be trying to, right?

To think that after everything, all the imagination and creativity in the world, nobody was predictive enough to create a dystopia where people wore face masks and had to maintain a six foot distance from one another. Although that could be worked into a very great love story I bet. Like the film Five Feet Apart. I’ve never actually watched it, but I imagine Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson’s characters felt similar to how we’re all feeling now, minus the extra foot of spacing.

Maybe Idiocracy had it right, and this is our descend into the world’s dumbest era. Perhaps we have evolved so much that was have started devolving. Is it possible we’re reverting backwards from our development? We were having to tell people not to eat laundry detergent last year so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Still, what does this all mean for mankind. Will this all blow over in another month or are we truly facing a deadly disease that will affect man’s numbers in the way many plagues have done in the past? Is this something to be taken seriously? Have we doomed ourselves by not taking the necessary precautions sooner? Is this the beginning of the end, or just another chapter in the history books of the year 2030? Where is the line going to be drawn and have we already crossed it?

I don’t like the idea of thinking this is the end, frankly because it is similar to the ending of the Game of Thrones; hardly thought out and distasteful. Like c’mon God, you promised killing us all off by fire next time, not an invisible virus that may or may not affect us and may or may not kill us.

So I guess to wrap things up, here are a few pointers for those trying to stay safe and healthy out there. Although I may not be a doctor myself, I have family members in the line of healthcare and I am myself not a complete idiot.

DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. Unless you just scrubbed your hands cleaner than a whistle (are whistle’s really our standard of clean though?).

WEAR MASKS IN POTENTIALLY CROWDED/CONTAMINATED PLACES. Gloves are overkill and will not protect you. They offer a false sense of protection. When you wear gloves all day, you’re likely going to wash your hands less, touch your phone while wearing gloves, and the place the potentially contaminated phone DIRECTLY on your face The purpose of the mask is not only to keep your germs in place, but also to remind you not to touch your face.

WASH YOUR HANDS. This is the most critical part to your health. At least 30 seconds of washing with soap and hot water. Remember to scrub under your nails too!

STAY HOME IF YOU CAN. It is understood that a lot of people still have to work and that we want to live our lives still. So whenever possible, stay home, and remember to disenfect your house weekly if not daily depending on your household exposure.

Thanks again for reading. I hope you all are doing well and if you’re not, please reach out to someone. Even if it is me! As Zac Efron, Corbin Bleu, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale put it, we’re all in this together, and it shows when we stand NOT hand in hand, but six feet apart.

The Shoe Analogy

An analogy written many years ago, and finally shared today.

To walk a mile in an addict’s shoes one would find their heels chafing, their toes cramping inwards; they would find the holes in the soles with no plans of replacement. They would be uncomfortable, and it wouldn’t be rocket science to recognize this. The optimal solution for them would be to merely take of the shoes. They are in poor condition and it can be seen that they do not fit well.

Options begin to appear; one could go back to the old shoes they used to live in, the ones that may be a little uncool to wear but are still wearable with the addition of feeling much better. Another idea would be to purchase a new pair of shoes that will fit one’s new lifestyle and personality change.

The point is, there are options. Always so many options every passing day.

Yet while trying to take off these unsupportive, worn down shoes after years of being casted to their feet, they realize that the lining is a little tight now, or that the laces have tangled themselves and the effort it would take to untangle this combobulation of strings is far more elbow grease than it is worth. Therefore, they just leave the shoes on and move forward with their discomfort rather than struggle through the metamorphosis of their footwear. The struggle of change has been validated.

This is when the addiction becomes real, and it is right in front of their eyes, but the letters are too small to read and the lights are blinding and even though there is an idea of what’s going on, things still are not being understood. How can one know that they are supposed to change if the instructions are not clear? How can one even do so?

To quit a drug- or to move out and on from any addiction, be it depression, obsession, alcoholism, introversion, eating, exercising, sex, whatever the mind attaches itself to- the best path is to seek help, get clean and sober from the addiction, and follow a healthy routine to continuously deter one from stepping back into those old shoes. Who would want to go back to those rugged cleats anyhow? Put them in the back of the closet; repress their existence. Forget about them.

Forget about them when you’re going out for the night with a gal pal or a bromate.

Forget about them when you feel lonely in a crowd of strange faces, or worse; in a herd of familiar ones.

Forget about them when you speak and are unheard; when you are screaming out into the universe, yet nothing responds back.

Forget about them when you are anxious about your future, your decisions and actions that needs to be made. Meanwhile you find yourself worrying that every action and decision you have made up until that point has been wrong. Has it all been wrong? Have you always been wrong? Is it the world that is broken, or is it you who does not fit into it?

Do not envision their style or their memorable feel when you are feeling low and in need of a familiar discomfort.

Forget. About. Them. Try to remember the comfort of the new.

Especially when the new ones are, well different. They are unmarked of damage, they offer great support, and make you feel like you could run a mile in any which direction. They allow one to fantasize about being youthful and full of natural energy. To be innocent like a child again, free of fear and anxiety and the scars that have scratched the fabric and tore the soles; that have hurt your soul. You can do it. We all can.

But under that superficial layer…one cannot forget that these feet are still the same old feet. Bruised, scarred, and permanently damaged. Even though it may not be seen by others, it is still felt inside. It is always felt on the inside too much, and never shown on the outside enough.

So, who are we kidding? Who were you kidding? Sure, one can have on a new pair of shoes that make things appear to be better and brighter, but don’t forget the little details here- the shoes are new, but you are not.

A Note on Mental Health

March 2nd has cordially become mental wellness day this year. Most of the advertising that I’ve seen for this has been pushed towards the teen community, but mental wellness is important in all stages of life. From adolescence to young adults to people in their thirties and beyond, the state of your mental health is always one to be concerned with. Because a mentally unwell adult is just as likely to take action as a teenager is.

This is a topic that I connect very personally with, and depression is something which I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I have talked to therapists, I have taken the prescription drugs to help, I have smoked pot to drown out my emotions, and I have even spent two weeks in the hospital due to my wavering instability. So yes, this is a topic that I will not joke around about because I understand the struggles people face mentally, and they can be vastly difficult to overcome.

Obviously we all have different experiences in life and react to certain situations in varying ways. I cannot speak on behalf of everybody with depression, nor can I tell you the exact ways each person with mental problems struggles. The human mind is so much more complex than science, research, and studies can make it out to be. My mind does not work the same way that my sister’s does, and hers does not work the same way that our parent’s do. We all think, behave, and act in our own mannerism, so no I will not speak out for everyone who struggles with their emotions, but I will speak on behalf of myself and my challenges, and I am sure there are people out there who can relate to what I say.

In my non-professional opinion, depression is very similar to happiness in the sense that it is a fluctuating mood. Meaning that we will not always be happy in the same sense that we may not constantly be sad. There are some days where I am great, on top of the world, and I feel like nothing can bring me down. Then there are the days where I can hardly pull myself out of bed to face the next sixteen hours.

Depression comes in waves, like a current, and so does happiness. It is not a destination, rather it is a constant battle. There are ways you can suppress the sadness, sure there are, but that does not mean it has gone away. I can go months without shedding a tear, and then one things goes wrong one day and the floodgates are opened and I cannot stop the salty fluid from gushing out. Maybe I will cry until my head hurts and my nose is running and I feel like vomiting. Then I might feel fine again for many days, or weeks, or months. This does not mean that I am healed or cured from my depression. It is still there. It is always there.

On the topic of mental wellness, I find it is most important to remember that just because somebody appears fine on the outside, or someone who has struggled before seems to be doing better, does not always mean that they are. Whether it is depression, anger issues, being bipolar, or whatever else fills the book of mental problems, we all have to remember that it takes constant support to push past these struggles.

Therapy today will not solve all of your problems for the rest of your life. A prescription drug will only carry you so far before your tolerance decides it is no longer enough. One great moment cannot equate for every bad one that has yet to come. Each day is a new opportunity for us to seize or let slip away, and each day those who struggle with their mental wellness have to decide on which they want to do. The answer may seem easy, but for us who struggle with inner demons and past mistakes, it can be a lot harder than a simple “today will be great and I am going to be happy”. Like many things, that is much easier said than done.

So in regards to this mental wellness amongst teens day, be sure to look further than just the youth of your community. Look at your friends, your family members, your coworkers, your significant other, and ask them “How are you today? Is there anything you need to talk about?” A simple question of concern may not always be enough to break through their wall, but it is a start. Sometimes in order to find out what is on the other side, one has to climb that wall not simply destroy it. If you are able to get on the inside of that wall you may be able to better understand what is going on in their mind, and only then you may actually be able to help them get through their issues.

Tomorrow is March 2nd, Mental Wellness day. I encourage you to not only look out for the well-being of others, but also check in on your own mental state. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” and please do not let it stop there because honestly, everyday should be mental wellness day. We are all in this wagon together, so let’s make the most of it for all of us, not just our loves ones and not just those who are clearly struggling.

For those of you who do struggle, I would like to share this piece of wisdom that I try to live by. Through the tough times it has helped me and I hope that it will help you as well:

Tank you for reading, following, and liking. If you have anything you’d like to share or discuss, please comment below, we’d love to hear what you have to say. Also, check back in tomorrow for a snippet of my own personal wisdom: the Shoe Analogy. Until then, stay strong, be wise, and go ask someone how they are doing dammit. ❤