Coronavirus Diaries is a series of diary-type entries written by students and staff documenting the day to day activities and experiences in quarantine. If you are interested in submitting an entry, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to begin by offering my deepest condolences to anyone who has been struggling mentally, spiritually or socially during this unprecedented occurrence. It’s been rough. As strong as humanity is, we can only go through so much before we eventually break – we all have our own limitations. Yet, we have still not broken. Over and over, I’ve read articles and news channels broadcasting similar messages along the lines of ‘We are all in this together’ and ‘You are not alone,’ yet the reality is some people are alone. Even those with family surrounding them 24/7 can still feel alone. Despite their inherent loneliness, millions of people worldwide are still keeping busy, entertaining themselves by whatever means. The lesson I’ve taken away from this pandemic isn’t along the cliche lines of ‘We’re stronger together,’ but rather we are also strong alone. Of course, I know full well that human beings aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Still, to disregard the strength of one man and classify him as weak without his friends is simply ludicrous to me. Do we need our friends to survive, the same way we need air and nourishment? No. But we want to be around our friends. It’s human nature. I respect that. Lord knows I’ve missed my friends dearly. Even with that said, however, I can’t disregard the light that this break has provided me with. I don’t know if I’m an independent person, or perhaps I simply needed this time away from my friends, but I truly believe that now more than ever, I have full insight into who I am. After all, it’s not your family or your friends who define you, it’s you alone. What you do when no one is looking, the words you say when you believe everyone’s turned a blind eye, that’s what defines you. I’ve had a lot of time to define myself, and I encourage you all to use this time to do the same.
While most people are saying this pandemic has allowed them to make up lost time with their families, to be quite honest, I haven’t noticed that much of a difference with my familial relations. Frankly, with three brothers roaming around the house, even before quarantine it was rare for me to have moments of silence without one of them barging through my door. So now in the mornings when my little brother sits on the edge of my bed and groans, “Shary, can you wake up? I’m bored,” or in the evenings when my brothers ask, “Shary, are you done studying? We wanna watch One Piece,” it reminds me of a typical weekend. I know you’ve probably heard this millions of times by now, God knows I have, but this is such a great time to indulge in endeavors you previously haven’t had the time for. Personally, I’ve been working on a novel, getting into drawing, reading tons more and working out often. In light of it being Ramadan, I’ve also found myself in the kitchen often helping my mom cook iftar, which is the meal in which we break our fast. What my mother and I cook never ceases to be anything short of delicious, but I may be biased.
Speaking of Ramadan, with mosques closed and having to distance from friends, the experience has been a roller coaster to say the least. I’m usually so acquainted with going to the mosque often during Ramadan, but now we have to try our best to recreate the same experience at home, and it isn’t the same. We can’t pray in large gatherings and have been stripped of our close relations with our mosque community. People usually turn to religious institutions during trying times such as these, but now I suppose we all have to make do with what we have at home. Overall though, being cooped up in our house has allowed my family to develop a deeper spiritual connection. Right when we began our lockdown my dad said, “It’s crazy how an invisible, intangible, microscopic disease can make humans, the strongest beings, fall down to their knees. Surely God is greater than us.” When I see coronavirus as a test from God, my heart eases a little, knowing that everything will right itself in due time. I know we’ll all be waiting in the wings when it does.