This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.
It was a fine sunny morning when the facilities team handed us papers for documentation on the system units that we will bring home. I cluelessly joined in the queue of employees waiting for my computer unit to get released. We were told that starting “tomorrow” we will be on a work-from-home setup for a month until the Mayor’s executive order is lifted.
That day was March 17, 2019. And today is already more than half of 2021. Who could have thought that the one-month period we all look forward to will turn into countless months already?
The Beginning is Always the Hardest
Challenging is an understatement to describe the first few weeks. Living with the anxiety of getting infected, the risks it has placed in the lives of your love ones, the side gigs are starting to pull out, the unusual work setup, the misinformation, the pressure, the demands, the stress, everything – the fear has consumed me.
It was hard to wake up everyday and pretend to be alright as I shake with fear when I go out to get my groceries and necessities. The struggle to wear a face mask when I am asthmatic and the discomfort to put on face shield on top of my eyeglasses which greatly contributed to making my glasses prescription went all time high. But I must, to protect me, to protect the people around me.
I and My Hats
As 9-5 Person
Being a full-time employee is not the only hat that I wear. While working-from-home was not the only uncomfortable thing I need to worry, there are other mini worlds in my world where I need to enter and continue living.
Internet has become a necessity to survive and unfortunately, I live in a place which is identified as “nomadic”. Both service providers have told me that my area is somewhere wherein signal is inconsistent.
Connectivity issue was my major concern that in every meeting I need to attend, here always comes the warning “Bad Network Quality”, “Your Internet Connection is Unstable” etc. My tools were not also loading, which resulted to my very low work performance.
As a Student
Same. I do struggle in joining the discussion because I get disconnected countless times in my classes. I can’t count how many singko (grade of 5.0 – fail) I got whenever I am called to recite because I just keep on getting disconnected. I can’t blame my teachers because technically, it is my responsibility to provide my self a good connection since I decided to enroll.
Focus is also one challenge. I can just turn off my camera and leave. But at the end of the day who’s lost is it? Definitely not the school’s nor the teachers’.
As a Blogger
I have classified my blog as a food blog and main contents are food and restaurant guides and reviews. But it has totally become worthless. Restaurants have temporarily (and permanently) closed, people are not allowed to go dine-in, roam around and eat out. Nobody is visiting my posts. I am not getting any traffic.
It is also frustrating when I can no longer write for anything because I was too down and lazy and tired and demotivated and all.
As a Freelancer
Clients have started to halt projects since their ventures are also heavily affected by the pandemic. It’s something they don’t also want to happen, but I hope they can also recover when all of these gets better.
Did the situation improve?
No, but I think I did. I think we all did.
The things that are happening is something beyond of what I can control. I can only control how I am going to respond through all of it. It is totally okay to feel lost, to break down and to whine. To cry, to worry, to get angry, to feel whatever feeling. All of those are valid.
As day went by, it has become a little easier to manage the current situation.
In work, my teammates, and my leadership team whose capabilities to understand the situation is just immeasurable. The untiring root cause analysis, strategy planning, tasks allocation and ownership has been so helpful to cope.
In school, all thanks go to my super solid study group and friends who were always kind to share their notes and resources and coaching sessions whenever there are lessons that I cannot absorb easily. Thank you for not hoarding what you have because you can adapt better than I do.
In blogging, I really appreciate the Iloilo Bloggers Society for all the possible posts ideas. Through the quarantined times I was able to expand my blog category. It is not just limited to food, but it has beautifully transformed into multi-category to cater more readers and niches.
In everything, my mom who never gets tired to understand my mood swings and tantrums. And all my friends who kept the communication lines open that the pandemic may have shut a lot of things but has not cut our ties. And Him, for all the things He did, He is doing, and to what He is going to do.
The 2021 Highlight
While getting vaccinated is a personal choice, I would like to consider that the highlight of my 2021 is the day I and my mother has received our vaccine.
Second dose is coming on the way and the fully vaccinated status is just around the corner. While there are other factors to be considered, getting this protection has already solved a large percentage of my worries.
— coco martens (@sitdownah) June 24, 2021
Every stories may have written differently, every problems may have solved using the different process, but the fact the we all chose to wake up when we want to dream, and we chose to keep going when we all thought it was almost impossible, is not a just a small win – it is a milestone.