Holding In, Holding Out, and Holding On: A Letter to Self

Posted on - in Life

I’ve never been the expressive type, so I don’t know why I’m writing this letter to you.

Me. No, you. No, me.

Whatever.

But maybe you (or I, whichever the case or however you feel like) just need to read it.

See, you’ve been keeping it all inside you since the afternoon of March 15, 2020, before Metro Manila was placed under lockdown. Who knew that after reveling from Parasite’s Oscar win (the last fun moment in the office with colleagues that you remember), you’d be stuck in the condo — and eventually your parents’ new house — for a long, long, long time?

Nope, not you.

You hoped that it would be something temporary. Solvable. Wait, is that even a word?

But then things came to a halt. Your kids’ exams got postponed and the school year eventually got cancelled. Your daughter didn’t get her photo for her moving-up from Nursery. You and hubby holed up in your room and set up to work from home. The family didn’t get to go to out during weekends anymore.

Transportation came to a standstill. Major roads were empty, save for military personnel and a few vagrants.

You had to go to the groceries by yourself, taking turns with the hubby, armed with a face mask and face shield that made walking a tad bit uncomfortable. And disinfect everything you’ve touched. from door knobs to elevator buttons, to cart handles, to items you brought home.

The official get-up of 2020 (and beyond)

The two-year goals you have set for yourself in terms of life, finances, and career were put on hold.

Oh, and one of your colleagues got COVID-19 (fortunately, he was cured of it).

Those major changes in your life had a huge impact on you. You started feeling anxious, affecting your thoughts, moods, and even work and home duties.

You tried to hold everything in. For some parts, you did. I mean, you REALLY tried. Deep breaths, smiles, and a cheery voice to mask the internal struggle. But more often than not, you found yourself ranting about a lot of things. Policies and the lack of it. Alcohol (the disinfecting kind, I mean) and mask supply. The death of work-life boundaries. Even the dust that accumulated in the condo unit because of the halted construction beside your place.

Man, you were all over the place. Mentally and emotionally, for the most part. Because who knew that, at this day and age, we’ll all experience a pandemic?

But somehow, despite the sporadic outbursts, you were able to hold out because you had the family to count on to sail with you through these times. You got to talk to friends and fellow parents from your kids’ former school. That simple and mostly short interactions, whether in-person (with one-meter social distancing involved) or online, was enough to keep you in good spirits.

It also probably helped that you made the most out of staying home by homeschooling the kids and celebrating milestones with them. Patience was never your strongest suit (also Math) but spending more time with them somehow made you learn about their quirks and how to get around them (and your own quirks and moods, too).

And what do you know, you’ve been doing this for over a year now.

What can I say? Congratulations! Even if things are still freaking uncertain at this point, you’ve managed to hold on. Although what’s for certain is that nothing will be back to normal…

But hey, you’re surviving and adapting. So a pat on the back for you. And some more luck and prayers. And a wish that you’d soon get vaxxed because roll-out’s kinda slow…

But we digress. Kinda. No? Well…

You’ll probably be still in this rut for a few more months. Or years, depending on what’s going to happen next year (you know what that means). Nevertheless, you’re making great efforts to grab the sails and just go where the wind takes you.

Hopefully, this time around next year, the winds bring you to a much better place. Until then, carry on.

P.S. I would have told you to keep calm, too. But knowing you… nah.


This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.

#ComCoSEAWriteToIgniteSeason2 #DearSurvivor and #MeaningfulStorytelling

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