The first aspect of myself that has changed through this pandemic is my confidence to turn ideas into action. While a part of myself feels stressed that I haven’t accomplished anything substantial yet, I still feel empowered by watching the people around me. I feel like teenagers are much more powerful than we are usually expected to be. This period of time is almost a safe space for people to try new things and put good things out into the world. I want to start a personal website where I can set up a thrift shop and sell my clothes, and share poetry and book reviews and all the things I love. I think it would also be really cool to educate people through my website about global issues, such as racism and climate change. I don’t think I would have had the initiative to even consider doing something like this before the pandemic.
Secondly, I have also found myself to be more opinionated, or at least more confident to express my opinions. Healthy disagreement is important, and while I’ve been at home I’ve had a lot of free time to think some things over. All of this thinking has given me fresh insights on how I should conduct myself around people who disagree with me, whether it’s politically, morally, etc. Before quarantine, I’d avoid any conflict at all costs, but now, I've been able to overcome my shyness, which has helped me develop a better sense of purpose in the world.
Another change I’ve experienced has been the shifting of my perspective on my own introversion. Starting from months before quarantine, I have gone through a roller coaster of feelings about myself. Before quarantine, I didn’t have a wide network of friends, just a couple close ones. I felt like my worth depended on my ability to be outgoing, so I tried changing myself dramatically. This only led to me feel less satisfied about my life. Once the lockdowns started, and everyone was ordered to stay at home, I felt so comfortable in this environment that I wondered why I ever tried to fight against alone time. I thought to myself: maybe reverting back to introversion is a good thing. It feels refreshing to be free from the pressure to hang out with people constantly. I have also heard the stories of a lot of other introverts over the internet, and I’ve realized that the quarantine was good for a lot of people who have felt the same way as me.
Before quarantine, I was so sure of myself in everything I did. I told myself I was being the best person I could be. But without the distractions of school and other obligations, I found myself in a rude awakening. I learned aspects of my personality that I hated. These were qualities I had always denied having, such as being a little too self-centered here and there or simply being too anxious over some things. Overall, the things I’ve experienced during the pandemic have changed my view of things so drastically. I think if I met my past self, the Kayla before quarantine, I would genuinely not recognize myself. Although the virus has not directly impacted me or my family, I owe so much to just being able to slow down my lifestyle and get to know myself better.
Written by: Lily Zeng