The last three months have been a test of every emotion possible. I spent time crying, laughing, questioning my life choices, talking to and answering myself, and wondering how in the world we got to where we are.

At the beginning of quarantine, with so much uncertainty, I was fortunate to spend a few weeks with a friend’s family. I was terrified of being alone and not being able to confront my feelings on my own. I knew that mentally I needed to be around others to be sure I didn’t resort back to old feelings that have been a part of my mental health struggles. I was thankful for the friend that came into my life at a previous dark time and has remained steadfast in her support of me.

Eventually I had to return home and I was unsure what to expect once I went back to a space that consisted of just four walls and an inability to pay for them for the time being. You see, a year ago I decided to move into a studio apartment because it was simple, “affordable”, and in my ideal neighborhood. For an entire year, I was absolutely fine. Then, COVID-19!

Not only was I stuck in a box but, I had no idea how I was going to afford this small piece of what had become my home. Now, before anyone offers unsolicited advice for me to invest in home ownership, I. DON’T. WANT. A. HOUSE! That’s for you, not for me.

Anyway, there were days where I felt scared, vulnerable and extremely unsettled about not only being alone but, how I would be able to afford the weeks ahead. Many may not know but, I had opened a new massage therapy studio on March 16 but was never able to see a single client due to the shutdown. Therefore, I had no money coming in and initially didn’t qualify for any small business loans or unemployment benefits. I was terrified.

One of my morning meditation sessions

One day, I remembered the peace I had found from discovering Buddhist practice and decided to increase my daily meditation and allow myself to control what I could. It was at that point, the village heard my cries. It was if the ancestors received my prayers and sent word to the village to answer them. I am extremely thankful.

There were days that I woke up to CashApp notifications that said “From the village.” Another day, I received a card in the mail that included a grocery gift card. Truthfully, I needed it.

I had a friend who messaged me for therapeutic advice that I know she didn’t need. Afterwards, she paid me for such advice. Another CashApp was for my “transparency, knowledge and being me.” It was simple acts like that that made me feel valued and that I must stay hopeful. One night I went to bed crying and woke up to a friend that CashApp’d me with a message of “buy you a bottle of wine.” The timing of that gesture kept me from doing the unthinkable.

There have been days that I didn’t get out of the bed. Days I went in overdrive working out. Days I went without showering or changing clothes. Days I didn’t eat or ate too much. Depression has been very real and I don’t ever want to go back to that place.

To all those who offered support whether monetarily, in the form of wine, advanced massage services or words of encouragement over these last few months, I am forever indebted to you for your support. It is because of you that I did not become overwhelmed and am here to write this now.

I also want to express that, your village isn’t always close family but extended family and friends that you don’t always realize their love for you. I am encouraged by those who continue to see the light in me when I sometimes doubt it in myself. I am grateful to those of you who see that I am worthy of your love and generosity.

To the village, thank you. May your light continue to shine as I promise to pay it forward.

Peace!

** COVID-19 has exposed many Mental Health Issues in our communities. If you are feeling overwhelmed or know someone who is suffering, please seek help.

Resources and tips are available at https://mhanational.org/covid19