Catapult Alumni | Nonfiction

Change Is Good

“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Like many others, the pandemic pulled the rug right from underneath me and left me on my juicy rear.  In a matter of forty-eight hours  I was packed up and on a plane heading back to my childhood home unable to process anything that has happened. An unprovoked racial attack in the city abroad I was living in that happened to me a week before, my mind spinning about what this virus is and how it will impact my aging parents, mourning my travel lifestyle, and the underlying anxiety of heading back home indefinitely for the first time in four years. I found myself  spinning.

Two weeks of quarantine with my sister proved to be easier than expected but instead of decompressing, I put undue pressure on myself to be as productive as possible. Updating my resume, applying for jobs I really had no interest in, signing up for courses, yoga, work-outs, up at the crack of dawn for absolutely no reason but to feel useful. After quarantine and thankfully good health, I headed to those walls that housed all my childhood memories. Sleeping in a room that wasn’t mine, bathing in a bath that hasn’t seen my body since it has matured, it was all so overwhelming. I lay at night counting the stucco air bubbles on the ceiling with feelings of  emptiness and  stressfully basking in the unknown. 

I kept myself busy for weeks at a time. Five weeks of working remotely, six weeks of at home workouts, two weeks of reading. I was able to find time for anything other than processing. Processing what is happening in the world, where my place is in the world physically and mentally,  processing all these new feelings of lost independence but also old feelings that surround me in the walls and people that raised me. 

It wasn’t until I decided to let the change guide me and let go of these ridiculous standards I harboured for myself that weren’t realistic or healthy anymore, that I was able to breathe. I was able to reflect and take all the time I needed to to make decisions. Some decisions were small. A safe solo trip to the beach, a bike ride, indulging in my love for ice cream, and some decisions were big. Do I stay or do I go? Do I cross that boundary with a friend? Do I love or do I shelter my feelings? 

In the midst of the madness I did the craziest thing I’ve ever done and  didn’t run. I let the mental roadblocks fall, the societal pressures roll off my shoulders like beads of sweat in thirty degree weather, and I let the past teach and guide me in a direction. I don’t know if the decisions I’ve made are the right decisions or the direction is the right direction but it’s decision and a direction  and it’s all about moving forward not backward, right?