Real Stories

Feeling Apocalyptic

My day to day life in the age of COVID-19

My bustling city of Toronto has become quiet and gloomy. Is it possible for silence to be deafening?

I long to hear the lively street noise that I regrettably took for granted. Hearing children playing, neighbors talking on their porches, or even seeing people chitchatting while they go for afternoon walks. Being in isolation feels so surreal to me. I feel like I’m a character in a futuristic apocalyptic movie, reliving the same day over and over again. I’m just waiting for the director to yell cut.

My days consist of waking up, walking over to my bedroom window and peering through, only to find a handful of cars on the streets. I notice that buses pass by frequently, however they are only carrying two to three people.

Venturing out to the grocery store has made my anxiety and feelings of “the end of the world is near” intensify. As much as we hear on the news that shelves are fully stocked, the reality is that they aren’t. I do groceries weekly, and the amount of empty shelves that I see, tell another story.

I am trying to adjust to the new norm which consists of social distancing, being in isolation, and spending a lot time alone. It just gets a little much at times.

I have lived through emotional lows of 9/11, and the SARS scare, but this is vastly different. The fact that we are living in an age of an actual pandemic that’s highly contagious is terrifying. I don’t just feel nervous, I feel despair. I wear masks and gloves to be safe, but I am still nervous about catching it.

Every day I hear new updates, which most of the time is usually bad, and understandably contributes to my paranoia. Limiting my news intake is now a part of my self-care practice.

I’m trying to keep a brave face, but the uncertainty of it all is overwhelming. The easy spread of the virus is alarming, and the mortality rate is even scarier, especially for people of color. Everyone seems to know someone that has it, trying to survive it, or succumbed to it.

After the pandemic runs its course, I don’t know when I will feel comfortable being in a restaurant again, riding on a bus, or even accepting a hug or handshake from anyone.

This “new normal” is a little hard to grasp as I’m a writer and totally inspired by others. But I’m embracing isolation, as I need to stay safe and healthy.

I know that the world as we know it will never ever be the same. I keep wondering to myself if that is a blessing or a curse. Either way, I am forever changed.

by Michelle Joseph

Michelle Joseph is a Toronto-based content creator who publishes the blog Words With Michelle, and Words With Michelle - the podcast. The blog features the achievements of people of color in her community, and the podcast is a series of conversations about topics that affect the community.

Her most notable accomplishment was being featured in #Herstoryinblack in 2017– a digital project that showcased 150 women of color across Canada, who have carved a place in Canadian history.


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