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Morning routines

By Grace Wakim


DARIEN, Connecticut - I never intended to change my habits, but it happened. I didn’t anticipate the restoration of my brittle, wounded subconscious when Miami University announced its decision to hastily implement remote, online course instruction.


On Friday, Mar.13, my mother arrived in Ohio, against my will, to move me out of my room. We spent the day climbing up and down two flights of stairs to load everything into a rental car. Some furniture was brought to a storage unit, which made me sad. The whole process felt rushed and memories of that day are foggy.


My sophomore year dorm life came to an abrupt end, so I spent most days in Darien aimlessly staring out of the living room window, craving independence.


Darien is a quiet and small town along the Long Island coastline. Travel restrictions and social distancing measures created new obstacles for working parents and local students. Parents no longer commute to New York City as companies implemented work-from-home mandates.


Healthcare professionals and science research companies knew little about this virus. I was scared a family member would get sick or die.


My anxieties and worries ran high, but I discovered what I could control.

 

“Make your bed! Make your bed!” said my mom. But despite her reminders and micromanaging tactics, I ignored her.


I pull back the warm comforter and stare at the ceiling until my nightmares conceal each wall. Memories of youth and innocent bliss slowly appear as the life I fancy ripens. My focus shifts to the floor, and I discover a reoccurring image: a damaged body. I wipe my eyes then prepare myself for the nearing moment full of dread.


I see my reflection in the mirror and depressive thoughts rush in, for I am reminded of everything I desperately want to escape.


I grew unexplainably aggravated by the repetitive routines at home. I was convinced that making my bed would trap me in a disillusioned reality. Then again, maybe it was laziness. How could one not be eternally aggravated by school-day mornings?

 

I regularly questioned my future at Miami after the 2019 spring semester.


Frustration, anger, guilt and isolation consumed my thoughts. I was angry for sabotaging my self-worth and potential. Guilty when my excuses for misbehaving or acting out easily fooled others until the constant lies fogged my perception of reality. And I isolate to avoid confronting my demons and tangible failures. Impulsive decisions intensified while indulging in my own darkness.


I felt unwanted and out-of-place at home. I suffer alone, in silence.


I miss me, but I am slowly finding her again. I am strong and healing.


A lot has happened since that semester. I guess quarantine was a blessing in disguise. I regained focus and mental clarity that was lost, then seemingly forgotten while engrossed in Miami’s toxic social culture.


No matter the trauma, I’ve realized how to take care of myself and why it is important. Pain forced me to grow and demands me to reenter so I know when to save myself from the darkness.


New habits help redefine my flawed identity and distorted assumptions no longer fog my perception of existence.

 

A few years ago, I sat amongst a room full of college students when the speaker asked, “what do you want to be?”. Although I had no intention of raising my hand, thanks to my debilitating fear of public speaking, I was deeply saddened by this question because I could not find a satisfactory answer.


Deeply broken, no satisfactory answer came to mind.


Impulsive? Check.


People pleaser? Check.


Chronic worrier? Check.


Perfectionist? Check.


2020: a year of hardship, loss, misfortune and self-doubt that ignited a constant state of numbness. I perceived this as rock bottom– drowning in anxiety and loneliness with no purpose or desire to fix myself.


Today, I honor my fears and imperfections.


I am optimistic about the future, but there is no way to control how the pandemic will change my plans—nothing is written in stone.


Now, almost 21 years old, I make my bed each morning to avoid my mom’s infamous ‘morning voice’ echo throughout the house. I am grounded in genuine happiness with a meaningful direction. I seek greater purpose and accept the journey.



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