This is an ode to the collective oddness we are enduring. I say oddness because this waiting game, this unprecedented space and time feels different for everyone. I am holding space for this experience to unfold for everyone on their own terms — to figure out what it means in the moment, or to process it later. Whatever you feel is okay, come as you are.
I am watching the rain fall on spring blossoms outside my window. Feeling as if I’m part of a new world that didn’t exist mere weeks ago. I combat this by reminding myself: the only constant is change, and that this is out of my control. Where do I put all this unanticipated grief?
I am a biology student anticipating graduation in a few short months. To add insult to injury, my primary academic pursuits are infectious disease. I have been working toward my Master of Public Health for so many years, which I will finally begin in the Fall. This karmic irony (or joke) is not lost on me.
Since I was a middle schooler I have wanted to study infectious disease. When I peered into pond water through a microscope I was taken by a world of organisms I couldn’t see with my naked eye. How could something so small, have such a large impact? It’s humbling to think about how we coexist with other multitudes. Disease has forever shaped the course of history, as we are seeing unfold in real time. This is what made me to decide to study public health. Pathogens and people will always exist in the same orbit. How do we coexist? I spend a lot of my time thinking about small things. I pipette microliters of reagents into tiny tubes, over and over again, trying to figure out what the genetic code says. Asking questions and looking for answers in sequences of As and Ts, Gs and Cs.
I spend a lot of time thinking about small things (and there are few things smaller than viruses). A lot of my grounding practice has to do with gratitude for the mundane. There are a lot of things I’m missing about my status quo.
I miss grocery shopping with my roommate on Sunday mornings, eating free samples at Trader Joes for breakfast.
Local pear pepper bread, free lunch at work on Thursdays.
Evening walks under the full moon with my partner.
The way my plants bend toward the sun, the way I anticipate their soil drying, so I get to water them again.
The lilacs blooming just in time for my birthday in late March.
Lecture notes I can’t keep up with, the cramp in my hand.
The ordinary is so extraordinary, I never take it for granted.
I am bunkering down with my family in Washington and muddling through the unknown, like we all are in our respective living rooms. I don’t know when things will begin to feel normal again, but I’m grounding myself with new small things.
I have propagated every pathos in the house, and placed the cuttings in a glass jar. I keep it by the window I’m working by, on top of a silk scarf — the last thing I thrifted before everything shut down.
I brought two crystals with me, a tumbled malachite and opalite. I’m reveling in their banding and optics as the light diffuses around and through them.
I found some rosewater spray at the grocery store down the street, something that I forgot to bring with me, that reminds me of my routine at home in New Mexico.
I am writing letters to friends and sleeping enough that my skin looks dewy. I am doing Telehealth with my therapist and giving myself enough space to just be, and breathe.
There are no wrong ways to be during this time, so long as we are intentional with our actions and make sure to look out for one another. Stay safe, stay home.
Written by brand ambassador Lauren Sarkissian.