As I write this letter it has been more than 4 months since your arrival in Singapore, and close to 2 months that we’ve been in circuit breaker lockdown. If you asked me in January if I was afraid, I would have said no. But that’s just us, no? We don’t panic until things happen to us, and affect us. Selfish, but the hard truth. I’m gonna break this down so not just you understand how things have changed and affected me, but also for me to process things for myself because honestly, I don’t think I’ve really sat down to think about how I feel about everything, and how my life will change from here.
The scariest thing for me, was turning 29 and being unemployed. S**t even typing that sounds like a joke. My whole life went by thinking I had this (my life) under control. No one saw you coming, so making that decision to leave my job in December 2019 I thought was the best decision I had made for myself and my sanity. I used to be proud of who I am and where I was, and now I’m scared, ashamed and a broke ass b****. From finding and losing job opportunities, to realising I can’t afford my previous life anymore, to having to move back home, and basically trying to be productive in my very unproductive life. You just caused a series of unfortunate events in everyone’s lives. You’re the real b****. Oh, I’m getting angry now...
You know how it feels to be completely uncertain of your life? Like if someone asks you what your plans are, but you don’t even know so you process it in your head and it comes back to the same answer over and over again: “I’ll figure it out”. 5 months later, I’m still figuring it out. I get it, people are concerned and want to help, but how the hell am I supposed to know what to do? But that’s life isn’t it, everyone is just figuring it out. You too are figuring out when the hell to go away. In all seriousness, I’ve been trying to look at the good, and here’s how I balance this mess I’m in.
Being jobless has allowed me to look beyond what I thought I wanted, expanding my searches and thinking I could do more for myself. Learn more, explore more and just be more. I always wanted to be someone that could afford things on my own and provide for my mum. I am so, so very far from that. No thanks to you, I might add.
Moving back home has given me the opportunity to be back with my family. Having lived away from them for 1-and-a-half years, the first few days were, strange. I used to see them once a week, every Sunday for family day. Now, I had to see them every day and figure out how I felt about that. Things were different; I had no room, everyone was home 24/7, we had to have meals together. There is a lot to love about being home, seeing my mum and spending time with my siblings, cooking with my new sister-in-law who is now a roommate. I used to hate these things because it was an everyday occurrence.
My mum had to celebrate her 60th under these circuit breaker measures, and without you around it would have been a whole-day affair of not being home. Looking on the bright side of this all, we had oysters, grilled food and wine right in the comfort of our home, where everyone could be together, undistracted and there for mum.
All in all, I think I’m scared because everyone expects you to be fine. My biggest problem has been about comparing, I compared my job, my life, how much I earned with my siblings and I always wanted to be more. You made me realise that I have more, a lot more than other people. The one practice I started was praying, because I thought it would make me more grateful. I know I cannot change the things that are happening; I can only be thankful for the things that I have and look towards better days. I thanked God for giving me my family, and putting people in my life who love and care for me, and for keeping them safe in these times. I asked God for more patience in this situation, and to help me look for the positives and be hopeful. I prayed for the people who have it worse, those who have lost someone, those who are sick. Those who are not just unemployed but are homeless, those who don’t have a family to go back to, and are doing this alone. I thanked God for allowing me to feel, all the bad and the good because feelings make you human.
Does praying make this better? No. But does it make me feel better? Yes. I wake up every day hoping to be better.
I made a decision with all that’s happening. When this is all over and when I get a job, I will work 10 times harder. I will be more appreciative of the things I have that others can only hope to have. I will save more, I will love more, I will help more, I will continue to pray. It is easier said than done, but the best thing about being alive is knowing you can try until you die. I hope this is something I will remind myself every day, because with or without you COVID-19, I know I can do better.
So no thank you, for taking away lives that mattered to someone, for the tears shed by people who lost their jobs and livelihood, for the fear you put in millions of people around the world, and the stress you gave to world leaders and health care people who have to put the people first. At the same time, small thank you (it’s rude to say big thank you to a pandemic), for helping people appreciate the other things in life – family, time, having a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a heartbeat.
Nothing is more important than living.