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Letters From Home: 'I Need To Be Around People More Than I Thought'

Macey Phillips
A dinosaur printed child's mask sits atop an adult's mask, both hand sewn by Macey Phillips' sister.

WOSU's Letters from Home is a new series collecting stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we're collecting responses to a new prompt: What has been the most surprising challenge you've faced from physical distancing? Submit your stories below.

But first, we wanted to highlight a few more of your responses to our first question, "What have you learned about yourself during this time?" 

Macey Phillips from Columbus, Ohio

I am a writer in the middle of crafting a short story collection. For the past month, though, during this time of isolation, I find myself writing poetry instead. Poetry is the emotional core of a thing. Whereas a short story unravels slowly into plot, a poem has density. A poem is imagery and sensation. It is the voice of our experience.

Poetry is my two-year-old niece whose tiny hands I miss.

It’s the dinosaur child mask her mother has sewn for her.

It’s the frozen yogurt from the local shop that I crave on these slowly warming days.

It’s the way people say hello from their porches while they smoke or sit in the sun or enjoy the distant company of neighbors.

It’s the good and the bad taken in equal measure.

I am thankful for the amount of time I’ve had to write during this pandemic. It has been a great tool for healing. It’s the good I’ve been searching for.  

Joe Russell

I might be more of an introvert than I realized. Fortunately, I am not experiencing job loss or reduction, all my family and friends are at this point healthy. Certainly, we understand many are experiencing job loss and/or health issues and that is tragic.

However, we couldn't help but realize staying home more and doing less feels good.

Amy M. from Columbus, Ohio

As a self-described introvert with a history of PTSD, I’ve been social distancing for years. This crisis has certainly activated my symptoms. But being ordered to isolate makes me realize that I need to be around people more than I thought. Yet it also makes me realize that I’ve needed, maybe we’ve all needed, to STOP and draw inward for a long time.

No one deserves to live through this virus, the suffering, the hardships. But maybe a worldwide quarantine is the only thing that’s going to make us take a good hard look at ourselves and finally figure out how to fix all the things around us that have been broken for a long time. I hope we don’t just miss the opportunity entirely.

Jenn Wiezbiski from Columbus, Ohio

Carrying my load

As I learn to like myself

In the time of "self"

Cindy Snyder from Canal Winchester, Ohio

I have learned that your home, regardless of what that might look like, where it might be located, or where it is on the planet, is the best place to be. I have had my share of melt down days, sad moments, even big sloppy tears during my time spent in isolation. But I have also learned how to slow down and even love the warmth and comfort that my home brings.

I have learned to lean into fear, dig deeper into making my home my most safe haven. I fill it with fun, dance, exercise, warm meals, hot tea, fuzzy blankets and I tell myself daily it’s best to befriend my angst and live fully in the present. I have done my yoga practice, breathing to eliminate the scary feelings that crop up. I walk in my neighborhood, rain or shine, and always grateful to return home to my space that keeps me safe and hopeful.

Pomeroy Family
Credit Rosemary Ebner Pomeroy
The Pomeroy Family's latest family photo.

Rosemary Ebner Pomeroy from Worthington, Ohio

I learned a lot about my family during this time. First, I am incredibly proud of my adult children. I have never heard either of them complain about any aspect of their lives that has come to a halt. I love their strength of conviction, and it makes me proud to be their mom. They still manage to connect with friends and co-workers and even find the ability to laugh, and quite loudly I might add. They also have a willingness to help us, as we are in the over-60 population, and they help with grace and good humor.

I've also learned that the same steadiness that I admired about my husband Mark, when we met 36 years ago, is still the basic part of who he is even today. He's working from home, and often on the Zoom app, with multiple coworkers, but I still hear laughter and work getting done, every time I catch a passing listen as I walk through the family room - now his office.

I believe we will all come out on the other side, and get back to our beautiful world.

Jen W. from Hilliard, Ohio

Perhaps the biggest thing I'm still getting used to is the feeling of being scared, consistently, for such a long period of time. Scared that one of my parents will get sick, scared that a family member or friend will get sick, scared that I will get sick and my daughter would be the only one here to take care of me. Scared that I will not be able to be there to help anyone in my circle who may need help.

I try to live my life with a positive outlook but this sometimes overwhelming, the feeling of being scared takes over. It's been an everyday practice to distract myself with work, a conversation with friends, or a walk to get myself away from that feeling. I look forward to the day when that underlying feeling is no longer there.

Jacqueleen Bordjadze from Hilliard, Ohio

Doing college schoolwork online is sooooo hard. My self-motivation is out the window and I’m finding every possible way to distract myself. The massive thunderstorms at night really are the thing, aren't they? It's springtime, green, and everything is growing and quiet but then at night you remember the world is dangerous.

Animal Crossing has been fun, although I’m torn between making my island nice and then feeling bad for destroying the natural landscape.

My grandparents moved in with us (from Eastern Europe) on the 19th of March, a day before Turkey closed its borders. I’m incredibly glad it's been three-four weeks and no one is ill. My home has a nice rhythm to it, but I want this to be over now.

Credit Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU Public Media
WOSU Public Media
Signs of spring in Columbus, Ohio.

There's still time to join the conversation. What has been the most surprising challenge you've faced from physical distancing?

Answer this question using the form below.

WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.
WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.