I went crazy, I learned how to make soup, I wrote a book.

I don’t need to tell anyone about what happened last year. It wasn’t one of those things that only tangentially affected some people. We all went through it. We’re all still going through it. A lot of us didn’t make it.

I don’t intend to write this as someone looking for sympathy. Everyone was disadvantaged by Covid and my experiences were not unique. I mostly wanted to express my thoughts on last year as a signal to return to my blog. I had a lot of fun writing this when I did. It was a project started as a means to make a grade at my school. After a while, my posts were genuine reflections of me.

Then the pandemic hit and I found myself lacking the motivation to keep up.

It was the final weeks of my education at the Colorado Media School when the news broke out that the world was effectively shutting down. It was the busiest and most productive time in my life; I was working a 50 hour a week job and attending night school. I was hoping to graduate said school with the prospect of leaving said job. I had made connections, forged opportunities, and had a promising future in a field I had always wanted to break into.

We were in our Television News class when news broke out that Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19 and an entire NBA arena was put into quarantine. After that, our work and research focused solely on covering the virus. My teachers, seasoned news professionals, told us that these events were unprecedented. My last two weeks were changed to online courses, via Zoom. I don’t know if this needs saying, but learning broadcasting and news backpacking over Zoom is nearly impossible.

My band had a concert scheduled the Friday before everything imploded. We didn’t know if we should play it or not. We ultimately decided to play to a small, nervous crowd. The following Monday, nearly everything had closed down.

We were all there. I don’t need to tell you that we all thought we’d only have to quarantine for a week or two. I don’t need to tell you about the toilet paper shortages, or the constant confusion, or the president’s second impeachment. We were all there.

What I will tell you is my life as it was effectively came to an end.

I had just moved out from my house. I rented a tiny room I found on an ad listing. I intended to spend any free time with my relatively new girlfriend. When the news hit that we were to stay at home, I elected to take a pack of my things to her place, to live with her and two room mates. It was only a week or so, right?

Those first weeks were a party. I mean, the government was basically forcing us to take a week or two of vacation! I bought a 30 rack of beer. We’d play games and drink in the evenings. We’d wake up late and do art and projects in the mornings. We’d howl at the moon at 8PM along with the rest of our apartment complex (a tradition I am sad to have seen fade.) As two weeks became three, as the numbers of the sick and dead climbed, the party turned more into a moratorium.

My school ended. I graduated with honors. All of those connections I had made in the news and entertainment business dissolved. They wouldn’t return my emails asking for work. Of course they wouldn’t, there was no work. Any positions for newbies had been eliminated. They couldn’t offer me help because they needed to keep themselves afloat.

I separated from my job. It made me miserable any way and they didn’t need me. I went on unemployment and searched for jobs online. I applied to between five and twenty five postings a day.

We got our stimulus checks. I spent mine on film equipment and software. I reached out to any social connections I had, looking for freelance video work. Luckily, I had some genuine friends who put their faith in me. I got music video and social media content gigs.

The mania of Covid’s sick party came to its height when the BLM protests started. All of my friends and I were furious with the injustices perpetrated throughout our country. We fledged support where we could. Some of us tackled against cops. I brought my fight, clumsily, to social media.

Whether it was being cooped up and frustrated, bored, chemically unstable, or a combination of the three, I found myself lashing out at anyone who criticized the protests. I had already been fighting with Covid deniers. I could not believe so many of my social contacts were so ill-willed and ignorant.

I fought with a long time friend. Then, I realized that I was being pig-headed in a public space. I wanted to be a professional in a new field and I was making an ass out of myself. I reserved to cut the social media crap out.

I needed things to do. My partner, Michelle, and I realized that we needed to be healthier in our eating habits. We were stuck at home, after all. Through some weird volition, I learned how to cook. Then, I made a hobby out of making soup.

I started getting desperate for work. No one would respond to my applications. I was months past an education with no experience to show for it. One day, I saw a Craigslist post looking for authors. I had always wanted to write, so I clicked the posting.

The site was looking for creators to make serial content. I had a few chapters written for a project that I abandoned long ago. I picked the story back up again and kept going. The motivation to deliver a new chapter every week (or else I wouldn’t get paid) was the encouragement I needed to keep going. In six months, I had completed Death and Human Resources, my first ever novel.

As the last few months have whittled on, I’ve gotten more freelance work. I’ve even gotten a few great gigs with PBS12 and Denver’s Mile Hi Church. As the world takes the first collective sigh of relief- one that may be too early, but is welcome nonetheless- I’m happy to report that I survived.

Many people were not as lucky as me in changing their lives over Covid. Many lost their lives. Families are still struggling and fights are still being fought.

This is far from over, and I hope we all realize that. We don’t have to wear masks in stores and we can go to Pizza Hut again, but the world is far from repaired. We need to continue to support each other and love one another.

I’m here for it if you are.

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Published by markandrewswan

Videographer, Sound Designer, Author, Singer, Song Writer

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