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“I’m done wearing grey-colored glasses.” A note of hope from our contributor Astrid, currently in Italy.

Well, this is one I never thought I’d even begin to type. When I left nearly four months ago on my big adventure, I never expected once I would find myself stuck in the middle of one of the worst hit-countries of a global pandemic- Italy.

I am scared, I am stressed, and I know I am not alone in the world as a traveller stuck outside her country. It’s very easy to fall into a panic state of mind. I know I have. But while I have this little moment of clarity, let me tell you what the past two weeks have been like for me, and how we can rise from what’s happening right now.

As some of you may know, I left the comfort of not only my city, but my country in December. After a month in El Salvador, I went on to discover my cultural heritage in Italy. And as most of you may also know, shit started to really hit the fan about two weeks ago.

I learnt some things about myself quite quickly.

For one, I learnt how badly I react to stress; I either avoid it at all costs and push it down, or, I transfer it to anyone and anything around me. Not the greatest thing for a new relationship, let me tell you. I went from traveling and having fun to being locked down in a foreign country on a different continent. I lost the job I had lined up and with that an income and sense of security. Fortunately I was lucky enough to have a partner willing to welcome me into his place and take care of me, but no matter what kind of help you receive, being stuck far away from home and running on little money will always make you feel unstable.

I tried everything to get home from Italy; contacting my airline, my insurance company. Turns out there wasn’t a way of leaving earlier, I would have to wait until my flight got cancelled. I am still figuring out how to go back home to Canada.

There are a lot of things that have happened in the last two weeks. The world effectively shut down. Overnight our lives turned upside down and what’s more, we don’t know when it will end. I tried running away from that thought at first. I tried drowning it in Netflix and games and arguments. But there’s no avoiding it- it’s happening.

So instead of running from it, why not chase it?

I’m now thinking that maybe this happened when we truly needed it. With everything that was going on, not only in the world, but our personal life as well. Maybe this is a call home, and by home, I mean to ourselves. Maybe this shift is not only happening in the world but inside ourselves. And when the wave is that strong, fighting it won’t get you anywhere.

But riding it? That will get you anywhere.

So, Mother Nature, Universe, whatever is swirling things around, I will take the call. I will take this opportunity to look inwards, to work on that instead of going in circles and freaking out over my situation here in Italy. Maybe with this shift in the collective mentality, things will start to work again. Maybe if I don’t succumb to the stress, I will have a more positive outcome with the actions I take to get home. Or maybe I just won’t take the bad outcomes so hard anymore.

‘But all of that is just guesses’ you’ll say. ‘A nice speech full of maybes and what ifs.’

But at the end of the day, that’s all life is, isn’t it? A world of opportunities mistakes and trying again.

So, if you are currently away from home like I am, and hearing the panic alarm ringing in your head, take a deep breath. Maybe the alarm isn’t actually intended to make you panic, maybe it’s just trying to catch your attention, draw it to what’s inside.

Or, even if you are at home and not dealing well with the situation right now and are going stir-crazy in isolation, I want to invite you to do something. Can you take this time to yourself for yourself. Can you re-learn how to live alone, how to be absolutely fucking amazing with yourself, how to keep growing, expanding, even under the most trying of circumstances.

Just because the world as we know it is coming apart does not mean that we need to fall apart. We can choose to grow stronger from this, to rebirth ourselves in this apocalyptic state. Like almost anything in life, it’s all a matter of perspective.

And I don’t know about you, but I am done wearing my grey-coloured glasses. It’s time to see a bit of color in the darkness.

 

About the Author:

Astrid is a poet and writer from Montreal, Canada. She bases her work on personal experiences and the hope of helping others one word at a time. You can find her at @itstheotherastrid

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