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Why it Took Social Distancing to Recognize This

Just like the rest of this world in uncertain times, keeping myself busy has been undeniably difficult. In these past two weeks I have already exhausted all the resources that I have at my disposal. TV shows have been caught up on, books have been read twice, the Rainbow Loom that I’ve had since 2014 has been used more times now than it was when I first bought it. But throughout this almost entire month of social distancing, I have realized this one very important thing: everyone is now a ‘normal’ human being.

As this article relates to the last, people who have disabilities have recognized and experienced this feeling of isolation for almost their entire lives. They have felt alone, unrecognized and misunderstood. With everybody now in the same state of isolation, the playing field is even. Each person is feeling the same way as everybody else: sad, alone and after talking to a few people some of them feel hopeless. The high school seniors that I have mentored share stories of how defeated they feel because everything that they have worked so hard for those past four years feel like they have gone down the drain. There will be no proms, graduations, yearbook signing parties and for my friends who participate in things such as sports, band, theater and choir, there is no final bow or curtain call. After dedicating your heart to these activities where you have made friends that will last a lifetime, there is no proper goodbye.

When checking in on these people, they are telling all these stories, some three words but they also mention some three words that any person longs to hear, “I understand you”.

Just as any human has felt misunderstood at one point or another, or maybe multiple times, that feeling is nothing new. During these conversations, we ask each other about how daily life has been going and how the same routine is now driving us bonkers. They then take the time to apologize about the fact that I wasn’t included as much as they should have been and that I got left out of conversations that I should have been able to express my opinions throughout. They tell me how they have yet to process that their senior year has been taken from them and they do not know what they are going to do with the rest of their time until states get the all clear. When hearing these words, I immediately stopped what I was doing. A deep breath filled the lungs, the phone was picked back up and words were spoken “it is okay”. In that exact moment, it was absolutely okay as a matter of fact, it was a happier moment that was had in almost a year.

As of right now, all of us are on the same playing field and for many of us we finally have the time to come to terms with our feelings and express how we truly feel underneath all the stress and pressure. For others, new feelings may be experienced throughout this time and that is okay too. No matter what comes, we will all be okay. We may not get to finish the school year, celebrate with prom and graduation or take that final bow, but in 15 to 20 years will it truly matter? No matter how it all ends all those accomplishments have still been made and all the experiences still happened. Those things can never be taken away from you or forgotten because you have earned the right to keep them for the rest of your lives.

While we may not think of this as a time to be thankful for right now, it may be one of the only times that we have to sit back and spend time participating in things that our busy lives have not made priorities.

Hi! My name is Emilee Beers (my friends call me Em). I am 20 years old from Orange County, California. I am in my third year at Grand Canyon University and I am majoring in Elementary Education with a Special Education endorsement. My hobbies are reading, journaling, singing, Disney and hanging out with little ones! I love hanging with friends and going on adventures. Hope to see you around!
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