At the beginning of 2020 I wrote on our white board, which was perched on a corner of our home office “2020 Let’s Go!”-its just funny when I look back at it now, little did I know that 2020 had a lot in store for all of us.
A Dream Put on Hold
After eight years of working as a freelance photographer while also working as a tech support for a BPO company, my husband, Paul, decided (well, we, decided) to finally pursue being a full time photographer. He resigned from his BPO job last October 2019. Aside from his long standing PCheng Photography brand, we also launched Sparrow Studios (along with Paul’s best friend) which would also be able to cater video coverage for events. We were all so excited and the projects were steadily coming in but by February of 2020 the threat of COVID-19 was becoming all too real.
We already had a scheduled event coverage on the Friday (March 13) before the official announcement of a lockdown was given. Said event was (of course) cancelled and our lives as we know it, forever changed into a cycle of wake and sleep, amidst mounting anxiety and endless news updates of how the government was not handling the health crisis in a satisfactory manner (I’m being nice and holding back words).
As the days of the quarantine stretched, Paul and I settled into new roles so that our little family (we have a two year old son) would survive. Thankfully my company (BPO) was able to provide for the means and ways for me to work from home (Thank you! Forever grateful!). That meant, bringing home my office computer (dual monitors) by day four of the quarantine, I was officially working from home. The company was also generous and supportive enough to also provide for internet and electricity allowance. In these uncertain times, its important to appreciate all the blessings that come your way.
I would work in the evenings while Paul went on full stay-at-home dad mode. And its no joke! Since we didn’t have help, Paul did everything! From the washing, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, taking care of rough and tumble two year old (I have photos of cut lips and bleeding gums from Luke’s (our son’s) leg drops and head butts. Sometimes, I think he is more of a little wrestler than a little Jedi.
So imagine, my husband, who has always had help at home growing up suddenly becoming a full on stay-at-home dad, taking care of a strong and rowdy two year old, doing all the household chores and going out for groceries, which in this pandemic has been akin on being a tribute to “The Hunger Games”.
Paul is the type of guy who doesn’t talk about “feelings”, we’ve been together for fifteen years and I’ve only seen him “almost” cry-once; this was when he walked out of the room, fighting back tears after Hodor from “Game of Thrones” died.
He doesn’t talk about it, but I know that it bothers him that he is unable to bring in his own income, that his life long dream as a photographer, which he has been working so hard on-had to be put on hold.
He doesn’t like to talk about it, but I know it bothers him.
“Tuloy ang boxing” he would say.
Although these days…the boxing matches feel more like an all out MMA match.
Work From Home is not a Vacation
It’s true, being able to work from home is not a vacation, especially when there is an ongoing pandemic and not when you are seething with anger on how the government has been handling said pandemic.
It’s not a vacation, you’re working from home during a pandemic!
My anxiety was through the roof, and because I work the graveyard shift, I would spend the days (morning, afternoon) trying to sleep but will all the “Breaking News” pops popping in every hour or so, its impossible to get sleep and rest, especially since my husband and son we’re also in the same room as me. It got so bad, that I’d only get 2-3 hours of sleep and I had such an awful break out of pimples; it didn’t help that I haven’t been looking at the mirror lately.
When life gives you lemons
There were weeks where I felt like I was in an endless loop of wake and sleep, work and not working. Trying to sleep, failing to sleep, being anxious as the number of infections kept rising and as more and more people become affected and facing an unknown future. But you know the saying, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. So I tried to find the lemonade, even if I don’t like lemonade in general. I tried to find the good in the situation, no matter how much I hated the situation.
Surprisingly, there were times that I got to taste that ice cold lemonade, there were in small moments, like whenever I get to kiss Luke while he’s asleep and I’m at work. Or when the three of us are goofing around, Paul and I wrestling and tickling Luke, while he laughs out loud.
Without our weekly movie premieres or events, Paul and I had to look for other venues to get creative and still be able to create content. Once we started working on our YouTube channel, the days started to get more exciting and I started taking care of my skin and appearance. And I started sleeping better.
We finally finished fixing up our studio, I was able to clean out some (there are still a couple I need to get to) closets and things weren’t so grim as they used to be; despite the continuing disappointment with the government, I started making conscious efforts to stay positive but still signing petitions and sharing my opinions on the current government. We can’t all just drink dalgona coffee and eat banana bread, we must have a stand and make a stand.
I’m turning thirty four in a couple of weeks and the fact that I am writing this, doing what I love, safe at home with my loved ones close and near, makes me realize all the more, how truly blessed I am, amidst this pandemic. You can fall down the rabbit hole of anxiety, fear and hate, I know, I’ve looked down a few times, all you need is a steady anchor to keep you sane and have a bit of hope. That steady anchor can be your two year old, whose warm soft hand holds on to yours, because he wants you to get his favorite toy, his warm soft chubby hand firmly holding yours, because he still needs you. Your steady anchor can be your selfless husband, who will give up his dream and take on a new role for your family. You too, have your own anchors, hold on to them, lest you become lost in a sea of uncertainty.
At the beginning of the year I wrote “2020 let’s go!” And now, midway through the year, despite a pandemic and the world about to change; I still say – ” sige lang, let’s go!”
“You can’t control the wind but you can adjust your sail.” -Cora L.V. Scott
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project” 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. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet and Teleperformance.