The following narratives were performed by the students for their THT 101 class. The submissions seen here were submitted with the permission of each of the students.
Fishbowls and Pandemics by Anonymous
I protest the name fishbowl, and I think my fish Moe would agree with me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my fish. We have a great relationship. I feed him, he ignores me. I forget to feed him, he still ignores me. But I always wondered, as any mentally sound person would do, why he seemed so irritated. And then a pandemic plagued the world and I had a startling epiphany : Fish aren’t meant to live in bowls. They shouldn’t be called fishbowls because fish aren’t even meant to be there in the first place. They are meant to swim throughout the ocean, and explore, and have fish friends and live. Not meant to sit in stale water and suffocate. And I realized this as I watched Moe swim around on day 14 of quarantine. I knew I should be thinking about other things. Like how COVID-19 put me out of a job that I desperately needed, played a factor in breaking up with my boyfriend, separated me from all my friends, robbed me of a graduation and all that entails, and was a constant looming threat to my immunocompromised father. But all I thought about was how bad I felt for Moe. Always stuck with no real escape, unable to do the things he wanted to do. No wonder he seemed to hate me. If he felt how I was feeling, I would hate me too. I mean, do you really want to know what Covid was like? It wasn’t some great tragedy, like we weren’t forced in our house huddled over our last candle with rations to survive on. It was more like the feeling of walking down a set of stairs and then missing a step and then suddenly everything feels wrong and off and not quite like it was before. Except when you look up from falling flat on your face, instead of laughing it off like you normally would, you realize that everything you had taken for granted was gone. And that was what 2020 had become. A year of appreciating what we have than what we want.
The COVID Chronicles by Nuruddin Jitmoud
With covid-19, I’ve seen the profound surrender and age in everyone I have known. Everyone I know has become more than just a little more mature, a little more emotionally stable, a little more humble, strangely enough. Some more than others, and some for the better. I’m no exception to this to this phenomena, and in my case it came in the total surrender of fear, the total acceptance of everything left ignored inside me, taken carefully, dutifully examined, leaving no piece of me, no shadow personality, no strange obsession, burning pain, or lurking terror unmasked. For this, I have been left blissfully exposed to the elements of nature, and then coming to realize that I always have been. That we always have been. I think that’s why covid-19 is so humbling, because it made us poke at every sore spot in our society, in our being. And man, does it hurt to see the truth. But should it really be any other way?
I remember being very relieved knowing I had nowhere to go for a while. Quarantine had just officially started, and it didn’t bother me for a bit. It was nice to be home, not have to worry about going anywhere, not having anyone to see or anything to do. It was a break from the world I felt like I needed at the time, and it was nice. After a couple of weeks, though, I could really feel the loneliness and boredom kicking in. I no longer wanted to stay home. Sure, it was nice at first, but now it just feels forced. I had recovered some of my mental health through quarantine but lost it by tenfold the longer I was inside. I could feel my mental health slowly becoming an issue again, it felt like a burden I could only get rid of by doing things to keep myself busy, but there is only so much someone can do inside. I eventually had done everything--I had tried out new hobbies such as painting and drawing, I tried to learn to crochet, I played through some of my video games and spent time with my pets. But day after day, it got exhausting doing the same things and not being able to go anywhere. My mental health took a major fall, and I ended up having to go through some intensive therapy to get back to where I am today. It was nine hours of therapy a week, and though it was exhausting at times, it helped. I really struggled to keep my mental health stable during quarantine because I felt so trapped. Without therapy to help me through quarantine, I don’t know what kind of mental state I would be in.
It's a lot harder to ignore scary feelings when horrible thoughts dominate my head space every waking moment. Jenifer teaches me how to dispute crippling stuck points, but how am I supposed to dispute what I know to be true? Where am I to run if the very place that triggers my haunted past is where I am to stay? My body is stuck in some sort of purgatory filled with repetition and a looming mystery illness. I can feel my soul tugging on the invisible binds that connects it to a wretched being that takes all that is good for granted. I tell myself that with freedom my inner torment will end and I will grow wings fly to where all my hopes and dreams take root and grow into the magical future I have envisioned for myself, but I can't help but fear the worst.
Just like most people before this COVID fiasco, I had pretty decent school and study habits. Now that our self-quarantine has extended far past Spring break, and will last till god knows when, those habits are a thing of the past. Once this pandemic hit, all of my extracurricular activities were slashed from the schedule and my social life basically went down the drain. On top of that, I felt like I was learning zilch in school and that was my prime worry. I love academics, especially topics that I thrive in, and this pandemic has made me lose my passion. In all honesty though, this pandemic has been a good thing for me. While my way of schooling has changed, I find it a lot less stressful. I can complete my work on my own time (depending on the class) rather than a teacher's day by day schedule. My extracurriculars have allowed lincies due to the distancing circumstances, so my anxieties have decreased immensely because of that as well. Lastly, I actually got on depression medication. I’ve always struggled with depressive and anxiety-like tendencies because of my school life, and this pandemic gave me an excuse to get help, and for that I thank it. So COVID, thank you for your help, but please leave before I head to a four year university. Thanks
Wellness on Hold: A COVID-19 Personal Narrative by Mia Rorah
Prior to quarantine, my mental and physical health was improving; I was going to the gym frequently, my side business was doing well, and I was excelling in school. All was well until the Coronavirus pandemic permanently changed my way of life as all schooling was converted to online, my job was put on hold, and my local gym had to temporarily shut down. This sudden change took a heavy toll as my ADHD, anxiety, and depression came back with vengeance. I ordered fast food every day, I stopped working out, and I slept in all the time. Before I knew it, I was in a constant state of irritation, eating my feelings, and constant mental breakdowns. One day, after another breakdown, I looked at my husband with desperation as I said, “we can’t keep living like this”. He agreed instantly, so we made small but significant improvements by cutting down on fast food, working out from home, buying healthy groceries, and going on walks. Even though these were small changes, it significantly improved my mental and physical health. Looking back, it put into perspective how bad I was living, but at the same time I could only do so much. Coronavirus fears were at an all-time high, so I did not want to risk getting sick with my measly health insurance. Also, I realized my experience was not that bad since I had steady income and a supportive husband. This experience helped me develop selfcontrol and confidence in my abilities during times of crisis.
When I woke up this morning, my first thought was that it is Thursday. Today was the day I was supposed to get my results from the Coronavirus test. I was almost certain that it would be negative but there was still a chance that it could be positive. Once I logged into the website the nerves began. I was not nervous for me, but for my 75 year old grandma who lives in my house. I am not sure what we would do if I tested positive. I clicked on the option that said see results. The few seconds that it took for the results to load felt like forever. When the page finally loaded, and I scrolled down to see the results and read every word slowly and carefully. “The results of your September 14 test was: Negative.”
It was the week before spring break, junior year of college. I was sitting in an auditorium; we were squeezed in shoulder to shoulder. One of the girls my group leaned across me so our we could all hear her. She wouldn’t be here next class. She was going to visit her friend in Italy for break. We all joked about how that was supposed to be a new hotspot for that corona virus. Hope she didn’t get stuck quarantined in Italy and miss the rest of the semester, wouldn’t that be awful. I was annoyed with her, but because she wouldn’t there to help with the project, not because she was going to a hotspot. Because, I mean, how bad could this corona virus be? On the Wednesday of spring break my school said they would extend the break for one week. But as other schools announced they’d close for the rest of the semester, I realized we wouldn’t be going back. It seemed overly cautious, but I figured it didn’t hurt to be too cautious. Because, I mean, how bad could this corona virus be? I lost my job sewing costumes at the start of quarantine. So, I started working at one of the only places that was open, Target. They called me an essential worker. Essential worker? I fold T-shirts. We have a board in the break room telling us how many employees have tested positive recently. They don’t tell us who, or if we’ve worked with them. In the beginning, we had hazard pay, an extra $2 an hour. They took it away on the 4th of July. I guess they think the hazard is over. Because, I mean, how bad could this corona virus be?
If you are an essential worker at Schnucks like me then you know that when the COVID virus started it was all hell on high water. I work at a Schnucks up in South County when the first COVID case came to St. Louis for me as a bagger I was working more than I ever did and it was stressful. It all started we ran out of hand sanitizer and that meant pumps and little squirt bottles. The store then got so busy that we ran out of toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, diapers, Lysol, Clorox, baby wipes etc. I remember a customer had said this to me.
“You know why the coronavirus has stores across the country out of toilet paper.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because the coronavirus gives people the shits.”
I thought the joke was funny especially since I was so stressed out. Not only was the virus creating havoc, but it got to a point where I was scared that I might get it. When it came to St. Louis City and County shutting down that was the most unplanned business, I think Schnucks ever was. I then started seeing people start wearing masks and gloves. We did not start wearing those yet. Every week I only got two days off in a week and that was terrible for me.
Then once it got more settle, I started getting three days in a week off and they were all in a row, so I just took it as a mini vacation. The first Schnucks case of COVID was not at my Schnucks but it was at a Schnucks in U-City. Once the company had two COVID cases they started providing us with masks, but we never wore gloves they just had hand sanitizers for us. It was a havoc all over the company.
It was nice towards the end of the bad part. However, Schnucks did get back to normal on being busy when more places started opening back up again. My advice on getting a job in a pandemic is be careful it’s going to be stressful as hell.
2020 By: Connor Beck
Who knows who will die tonight?
I am sick and tired of
And politics trying
To settle the score
In this society
I must shut the door
And social distance
Six feet or more
Our black brothers die
Out in the street
Why we look on
Trembling to our feet
But how can we live
Like this much longer
Because on the horizon
I see a storm wander
I ask Uncle Sam
To take off that mask
The one that says
He’ll take up the task
Of feeding our children
And saving our businesses
This poem is obviously
Sung through rambles
But that’s because
Our country is in shambles
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