Featured Entries

Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:

  • We won't post any photos that include faces (even with masks!) or names.
  • We won't post audio that includes names or more than one voice.
  • We might edit text entries slightly to remove proper names – but this won't change anything you've written in your journal.
Imagine you’re talking to a couple of high school students in 2050. They ask, “How did the pandemic change the world as you knew it?” How do you think you would answer?

2020 a new vision

the one no one knew they needed and it came anyways

following us like a shadow emerging from the depths from where we plant our feet on the ground

firmly we stand with our spirit

Unpacking COVID-19 like clothes from a suitcase

each a process of the fresh memories from the journey's experience

clouds came crashing down like the raindrops splattering, splitting into splinters of hope I once thought of as a whole

the scattered parts seem like a dream as the rain showers me as though to cleanse the vibration of olds past

trying to find solace in something

a solstice seems so rare even suspicious as I try to rise as ashes.

Wandering around in time as it seamlessly melts into one long never-ending day

how long till we get acclimated to the new climate like the ringtone on our cell phone

Has the pandemic affected your political views in any way? If so, how?

After watching the debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence It's affected the way I think of my life and the conditions that I along with my family are in currently. I understand that my vote counts and it would help immensely to change the presidential tide by getting Trump out of office but honestly the democrats are no better than the republicans. This system was put in place not to help those in need or take of the needs of the people but to still keep black and brown bodies below or at the bottom. From what I've gathered it makes more sense for African Americans to create their own nation divided from all the other mess that American claims to provide. It's said that America is land of the free, but how when it was built off of the backs of enslaved black and brown bodies. So called the American dream and when African Americans are being racially profiled, murdered and disrespected on the daily. Now this COVID virus which is killing many of our friends and family. This is a continuation of years to come if their isn't actual change, and honestly it'll only become progress for us until we just leave and do what's right for us and our families.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

10/6/20

S got his first ever flu shot (because of his allergy to most kinds of flu shot)! The allergist nurse brought it out to the car. Not much of a reaction at all. Great to have him protected from flu this season of covid!

P told me about her poor friend who has 5 children, can't speak English very well, just lost her husband who died of covid and is distraught. Their community is treating them like lepers and they're so crushed with grief and terror. Meanwhile the sociopath in chief has a hospital suite with a dining room with a chandelier and then goes home to a functioning clinic inside his residence. It's so unbelievably unfair.

10/7/20

It's Sukkot. We got to spend some time in the sukkah of two strangers, thanks to our synagogue's matching program. It was very awkward that D hadn't set up everything and so was bustling around too close to me, but it was outside and everyone was masked so I tried not to freak out about it, they were doing us such an enormous favor to let us come! It's actually the first time I've had to negotiate that kind of distance issue because we mostly just shelter in place except for walks.

They left everything we might need, plus hand sanitizer, and they brought their chaise lounge out for me to lie down on, and had an extension cord for my heating pad... Their sukkah was ugly and sad, almost no shade from scraggly twigs and very minimal decorations, but it was all we have this year. S brought his banjo to play. It was too hot because of the lack of shade but it was still incredibly sweet.

10/8/20

S couldn't run because of the air quality from wildfire smoke so he took a long walk to bring our extra paper bags to donate to a meal program for the homeless.

I finally succeeded in getting the third of 3 freezes placed with the 3 credit bureaus (still aftermath of getting my identity stolen to apply for covid disaster relief)! Equifax took the longest. I burst into tears when the representative told me I had to send them more documents. When I told her the date I had already sent copies of my passport, driver's license and social security card, she was able to find them (why couldn't she find them before she made me cry?) and it turned out happily because finally I placed the freeze! All of this identity theft saga since my identity was stolen to apply for covid disaster relief has been the most ridiculous ordeal. It took more than a month to get my credit fully locked down.

Over Zoom I got to chat with some new people from my synagogue. It was so delightful to have an in-depth conversation with someone new! Easier to achieve because of the pandemic.

We're trying meal delivery from a local movie theater that usually serves food and has pivoted its business model. Not so great and probably not going to get used again often. But it's nice we supported them a little.

10/9/20

It enrages me so much that our sociopath in chief is planning a rally in spite of his still being potentially contagious. I can't even think about it without wanting to scream. I can't help hoping he will have a covid crash like some do after a week or so. The poor staff at the White House, so many of whom are older people of color. I'm so glad Pelosi is acknowledging the need to invoke the 25th amendment even though her effort will not pass.

But it's honestly for the best that one of the remaining 2 "debates" has been cancelled because they don't help change anyone's mind and they just create more stress.

I can't actually believe the New England Journal of Medicine and Scientific American have come out against Trump -- not exactly the most political publications! I don't end up even mentioning some of the most bonkers news in here (the terrorist plot to kidnap Gov Whitener!) because I'm just too exhausted by the unending stream of head-whipping shock and terror.

This morning I woke up feeling completely hopeless but felt better after forcing myself to go for a walk, which I do even though it hurts a lot to breathe hard. I'm proud of my discipline. I refuse to let my life be ruined. We are going to get through this.

10/12/20

Enjoyed our weekend even though it made me very sad that Simchat Torah felt like a complete dud -- the services by night were stupid and there weren't any by morning, and when I tuned in to a minyan in LA by zoom it was just stiff singing with backs to the camera. I don't feel like I got a real holiday season this year and can't believe it's over.

R had her periodic cancer scan this morning and at the hospital they didn't have a proper surgical mask for her and wouldn't let her wear her own mask into the MRI for fear of hidden metal, so she had a mask that looked like a torn sheet of paper, no seal to her nose at all. PPE shortages continue, though nothing about them is in the news.

Woke up super grumpy and lethargic with an upset stomach. Allowed myself a very slow start which made me available when s found out his beloved former boss B had an aneurysm and has been in a coma. Her family can't be with her because of covid and he wonders if she would come out of it if they could hold her hand and talk to her. It was merciful that he was working from home so he could cry with me and tell me about it.

I think part of what's making me feel not great physically is eating very carby cheap food without enough protein because that's all we have this week.

S had to do the riskiest thing he has done since the pandemic began, take his steel guitar to the UPS store for shipping for repair. He wore an n95 with the valve taped plus a face shield and gloves, and they were only letting in one person at a time. Weird and unsettling but went as well as it could have.

10/13/20

Stressful, we can't get tissues with lotion in the size and kind S uses for less than $9 a box unless we get from Amazon Fresh delivery, made a busy morning harder, trying to set up a delivery. First world problem but creates stress.

Everyone in my pain group has some amount of struggle with getting enough of the right food during the pandemic

I voted absentee, which is normal for me since I got injured. S brought my ballot to the box -- an official one, not the fraudulent kind the Republicans have put out illegally around the state! -- and I felt nervous about the different signatures (mine on the ballot, his that he delivered) matching properly.

Hideous pain today.

Think about something really important that happened to you this week, and tell us about it.

Today I got a job.

It is a PA job. Not even close to my dream job. Not even close to anything I trained for or hoped for.

But it is a job. With a paycheck. With hours to not be at home. With hours that have concrete things to do.

I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I have the potential for a paycheck at the time that SO many people are losing theirs.

So I am trying to be grateful. I'm trying to not be sad about the things I'm losing out on. I'm trying to look at what this job is going to be able to give me: money; a sense of stability; the ability to regain strength to be creative again; a flexible schedule so I can continue doing work that is meaningful for me.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Yesterday (15th Oct) London and Essex, areas adjacent to Kent where I am, went into tier 2 lockdown which means you are not supposed to travel out of it. This means that even though my area is not directly in proper lockdown (just tier 1 - cannot meet more than 6 people at once) half of my in person classes will be cancelled and made online after all because the professor lives in London and cannot make it out to our university.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I took a COVID test through my university (grad student and employee). I bought more reusable face masks. I backed out of something that I know is dangerous (no masks and not enough social distancing) and I'm really worried for the people doing it. I feel really lonely and hopeless.

¿Esta época del año le parece ser diferente de lo normal, o diferente de como debería ser? Si es así, dé algunos ejemplos de lo que siente que es diferente.

Sí tengo la impresión de que es una época diferente. Eso que dicen tanto en redes: que saltamos de marzo a fin de año, es cierto. Siento que prácticamente no hubo año. Pasamos tanto tiempo encerrados que el tiempo se trastocó completamente. Mi agenda va por las últimas páginas y siento que no hice prácticamente nada. Voy a llegar a diciembre y será como un año perdido.

En este año nada fue normal: los proyectos de trabajo se cayeron, las proyecciones de estudios se congelaron, tuvimos lapsos de terror por el contagio, mi economía casi colapsó, tuve que mudarme cuando no podía cuidar de mí misma por la enfermedad, tuve que invertir mucho tiempo en apoyar el estudio en casa de un familiar, mis ciclos de sueño se trastornaron. Recién las cosas comienzan a tomar un rumbo y un ritmo más adecuado y ya casi es fin de año. ¿Qué pasó? ¿Qué ocurrió con todo este tiempo? ¿Cómo es posible que estemos casi al final? y bueno: ¿al final de qué? Al reducir nuestro espacio de actuación, cambiamos radicalmente nuestro sentido del tiempo.

Dejaron de existir rutinas y las rutinas brindan seguridad. Nos vimos en un barco a merced de la tormenta llamada COVID 19. Cuando el Papa caminó completamente solo por la plaza de San Pedro para dar aquella bendición universal supe que estábamos tan solos como él y que esa no era buena señal sobre lo que íbamos a enfrentar.

La economía ha podido más que el cuidado de la vida y estamos de vuelta. Saltan los cierres de las restricciones y podemos salir. Al salir sentimos que nos estamos acercando a la "normalidad" anterior. De nuevo, la ampliación del espacio nos devuelve un poco del tiempo que conocíamos. Pero el hacha del COVID 19 pende siempre sobre nuestro cuello y el de las personas que queremos.

¿Volverán el tiempo y el espacio a parecernos coherentes y rutinarios? No lo creo.

Additional Material

A church near us has this message board up and usually it has been a sweet thing to glance at as we walk past--- names of people who are being prayed for, etc. These past few weeks people are scribbling over each other's messages and erasing each other's words, all about politics. I hate looking at it -- it's like an embodiment of our current situation, some people (only a few around here) yelling about how great Republicans are and others reacting with justified fury. I wish the church would just take away the chalk because there's nothing sweet about it now. During this pandemic we are all in a state of fury and terror all the time and our opportunities to connect are few and limited, and even a church chalkboard turns into polarized social media war.

¿Esta época del año le parece ser diferente de lo normal, o diferente de como debería ser? Si es así, dé algunos ejemplos de lo que siente que es diferente.

Este año, y los acontecimientos recientes, han cambiado por completo mi rutina y mi estado de ánimo.

La manera en como me despierto, la comida de todos los días, los sonidos alrededor, y las mismas paredes que me rodean han sido parte de mi día a día y se ha convertido en algo por lo que me resulta difícil de manejar.

De todas formas, establecer una nueva rutina que se adapte a mis nuevas oportunidades ha servido de gran ayuda para mantener mi mente ocupada e inquieta.

Es importante que, ha pesar de hundirme en un agujero que no existe, siempre debo ver la luz al final del túnel.

Think about something that has changed really dramatically in your life since the coronavirus pandemic began. Tell us about it.

i am never alone.

Imagine you’re talking to a couple of high school students in 2050. They ask, “How did the pandemic change the world as you knew it?” How do you think you would answer?

The pandemic changed everything, every second of every day was affected, from leaving the house and putting a mask on to not seeing loved ones in order to protect one another. It changed how we interact and how our politics killed hundreds of thousands of lives. It showed how one person became a cult leader of a political party at the expense of his citizens he was supposed to serve. It changed everyone I know, from all parts of the world.

It changed me.

Does this time of the year feel different than it normally does, or different than it should? If so, give some examples of what feels different.

I have not seen my mom in person in almost a year. I didn't get to visit for Mother's Day or her birthday or just to go because I missed her. I have decided to go for Thanksgiving, but there are caveats. I will wear a mask and maintain a distance. Normally at Thanksgiving, we have a family reunion with aunts, uncles, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Only a couple of her grandkids (2 live next door to her) will be there and no great-grandkids. Her sister and brother-in-law won't be there. No traditional girls' breakfast at Craker Barrel on Saturday morning (I still haven't eaten in a restaurant). Nothing is normal when you can't hug and kiss your mom.

¿Cómo les está impactando la pandemia a los niños en su vida? Dé uno o dos ejemplos específicos de lo que ha visto pasar.

Los niños que conozco extrañan a sus amigos y a la escuela, el poder salir sin barbijos y el alcohol para todos lados, no poder subir a los juegos y no poder ir a espacios abiertos al notar lo llenos que están.

El marido de una amiga que vive en la ciudad vecina se infectó del virus, y su hija mejor de 8 años es una niña muy sensible, y su madre me ha contado que llora por todo y se encuentra depresiva ante la enfermedad de su padre, la pequeña siempre fue de "corazón blandito" y tener a su papá bajo el mismo techo con fiebre, más la exposición a los medios que cuentan con números los enfermos y los muertos la tienen con el miedo a flor de piel.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I was watching a high school football game (in my state) on ESPN this past Friday night. The stands were PACKED. There was NO social distancing or mask-wearing. It was an abomination. In my opinion, there is no excuse for a school system or community to allow that. The pandemic is not over. Today in our state, there were over 900 reported cases. Why would you endanger the lives of those in your community? To me, it is a selfish act to disregard the effect of your actions on others. Shouldn't a school system be teaching its students to care for others? To do what is right instead of what is popular? Makes me think about our governor, giving in to pressure and not doing what is best for the state as a whole. Sad.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Sorry but I do not feel like writing a lot this week. Overall, the pandemic has made this week draining. I am approaching midterms for my grad program and having all courses online has been exhausting. Also, I am a supervisor for my universities contact tracing program. This week has been extremely busy and it makes me wonder how much long they can continue to have in person classes. I think they are going to push it until November, but I believe it is reckless and causes extreme harm to the local community. Also, I went for a walk on campus Saturday evening and passed by a large group of students. As I passed by them, I heard a girl say "... yeah I am supposed to be in quarantine right now." That was pretty demotivating...

Who do you trust most -- either in the news or in your personal life -- to explain what is going on right now? Tell us about why you trust them.

Right now, I place most of my trust in public health officials and health professionals. I wish their voices were elevated in mainstream media more. Lately I have been thinking about effective public health communication a lot.

Talk about how the events of recent months have affected either your work or your ability to work.

Because of the pandemic, I wasn't enrolled in school last semester -- this lead to me scrambling to find opportunities during the summer and trying to find really, anything, to make me feel productive. Ultimately, I ended up overburdening myself - I took on too many part time jobs and found that as I got move involved with them, they all began to ask more of me, escalating responsibilities towards the mid summer months, when I was working more than 15 hours a day, all in meetings on Zoom. I think the worst part wasn't necessarily the work - it was the time I had to spend on Zoom, and the fact that I had to bring my brightest personality to all of these calls whether it be tutoring and trying to sound excited about the SAT, or doing sales calls and doing my best to look on top of it and professional, when internally, I began to overwhelm and exhaust myself. I also had very, very poor internet through most of quarantine - well below average than what most of us have access to now in school (I hope!) and well below the national average. This meant that during Zoom calls, I was either awkwardly frozen, seeing frozen faces, or had to dial in via phone. This sometimes caused a lot of anxiety, like when a student got mad at me for the poor internet and wanted to reschedule their session entirely - which would've been a whole process for me since my schedule was so packed. I'm still continuing to work during the school semester, and while I've been trying really hard to create some boundaries, I still regularly get overwhelmed when I look at a particularly heavy schedule of social Zooming and having to maintain that face.

We hear a lot these days about the economic impact of the pandemic. Has this been on your mind? If so, tell us what you're thinking.

I sometimes help at a nearby farm. I help a fellow who had hoped to lease and farm full time, selling his wares at a farmers market and to upscale restaurants. Because of the economy he had to get a “real” job teaching so he wasn’t as dependent on the weather, and the fickleness of consumer spending to support his family. This year he did not even try any produce because of time restrictions he knew he was going to need for figuring out how to teach in this new world, so it’s just a handful of beef cows. They are pretty independent so it’s often just a head count, checking gates are closed, and water is available. I miss watching the tomatoes and or corn crops growing. The corn field went to pasture, and the hot house remains empty. There’s been limits put on every aspect of my life, and while I can stay home and isolate, With the cows I still get some interaction, some close contact with something living. This picture is Daisy, the one cow that allows touches. I know they all eventually end up at the “burger barn” but they have been my go to source of socialization during Covid. I’m hoping the owner can hold onto the land so I don’t lose this outlet as well as the many other activities that were part of my “normal” life.

We hear a lot these days about the economic impact of the pandemic. Has this been on your mind? If so, tell us what you're thinking.

For this weeks journal entry, I wanted to focus on how the pandemic has affected the economic status of my family. At the beginning of COVID-19, there was a general sense of being uncertain what the future holds. As things got worse, and more restrictions were being enacted, being uncertain turned into worry. My dad ended up losing his job working as head of sales for a small coffee business. Because of this, I was forced to work longer hours, and pitch in on groceries and other basic supplies. These times have taught me how important family can be, and how things can change in an instant.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

The restriction to not be allowed on campus for any sport activity wether it’s a small group of athletes working out is extremely frustrating. Most of us came to college to play sports and not being able to do what we love is stressful and depressing while others can.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

not gonna lie i'm 100% a homebody so i was and still am fine with staying home and not going out but i was a bit salty when my mother banned me from going out on march 13th because on that day i was supposed to meet up with my friends and that was going to be the last time i saw them but i didn't get the chance to do that so i cried for the first week but then i was chillin'. when summer came and we didn't have to do any school work i was the happiest i've ever been like i forgot what being sad was like. yes i missed seeing my friends but i was doing great. i did not miss school at all nor did i miss the outside world. the only times i went out was when i was going to my mothers home but even then i would go directly to her car and then straight to the apartment. now that she cant really move much i have to go out and do the grocery shopping but that's all the outside time i have and it's still too much for me. i just want to stay home.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This week has me feeling a bit like I’ve fallen down a rabbit’s hole. Politics aside, the mixed messages on COVID are other worldly. More people seem to be out and about. There’s more traffic on the road, more cars in parking lots outside of restaurants and stores. More invites from friends to get together, with social distancing of course. Yet cases are on the rise, and The Presidents gets it which proves no one is immune. Then he gets an experimental cocktail and seems to indicate this is a cure and we should not be afraid. I guess he thinks it’s all over and It’s no big deal. Yet the cocktail contains stem cells, which will be interesting to see how that plays out with Pro-lifers who clearly will have to abstain right? And it’s experimental so not available to us. And the cost was tens of thousands, and we don’t know that he’s out of the woods yet. And contrast that with the video of the sobbing nurse who is furious at his indifference in social distancing because she has done chest compressions on hundreds of patients and knows this is not a joke for anyone else. Occasionally I pop on to one of the talk radio stations and am always amazed at the lies and vitriol that is allowed, and encouraged there. Having isolated and been so careful for so long to see the leader of our country speak and act with such indifference is another example of the parallel lives In other worlds some of my fellow Americans seem to be living in. Move over Peter, I guess I may be here awhile.

¿Tiene alguna preocupación acerca del impacto de la pandemia en los niños en el largo plazo, sean niños en su vida o los niños de forma general? Si es así, háblenos de una o dos de sus mayores preocupaciones.

Sí, me preocupa el impacto de la pandemia en los niños, tanto de forma general como en el niño (mi sobrino) que tengo más cerca en mi vida.

De manera general, me preocupa el acceso a alimentos y a educación de los niños de mi país. La desnutrición siempre ha sido un serio problema y ha campeado en mi país, pero esta pandemia vino a poner las cosas más difíciles. Muchos niños dependían de la comida que se les daba en la escuela y aunque el Ministerio de Educación decidió dar bolsas con alimentos, se ha visto que en algunos lugares, la bolsa no lleva la cantidad de alimentos requerida, es decir, se están quedan con el dinero en los establecimientos educativos (corrupción).

El acceso a educación de la población infantil, en general, siempre ha sido por debajo de la cobertura universal. Ahora, muchos niños dejarán de cursar la preprimaria y una gran cantidad de niños probablemente han desertado o desertarán del sistema educativo oficial. Este retroceso serán grande y será generacional.

Me preocupa mi sobrino porque, aunque tiene acceso a mejores condiciones educativas que la mayoría de la población, la pandemia lo tiene recluido en la casa. La educación a distancia que recibió este año no se puede comparar con la educación presencial que recibía anteriormente, aunque el establecimiento educativo haya hecho su mejor esfuerzo. Asignaturas que le han sido difíciles siempre, como matemáticas, en la distancia, se volvieron aún más difíciles.

Mantiene la relación con sus compañeros de manera virtual, pero eso no sustituye la convivencia presencial que aporta una infinidad de aprendizajes sobre las relaciones sociales, los conflictos, la amistad y los valores que necesita experimentar y aprender con sus pares para vivir en sociedad. Además, su actividad física también disminuyó grandemente. Nunca ha sido un joven muy activo, pero el confinamiento le dio una justificación para moverse aún menos. En el establecimiento educativo debía realizar ejercicio físico y algún deporte. Eso ha sido borrado de su vida en esto meses.

Talk about how the events of recent months have affected either your work or your ability to work.