I Did Not Know My Life Would Change on 3/11/2020

Sunday, March 18th, 2023

The Middle of a Long Road

The Middle of a Long Road

Monument Valley
Navajo Nation

On March 11th, 2020, I had no idea my life would drastically change.

Yeah... I am talking about the official onset of the pandemic in the United States. 

I have said from day one that the events of 2020 have messed with everyone, myself included, but it never really hit me until someone posted on Twitter a "where were you on March 10th?" question, and it got me thinking.  (People started dealing with closings throughout the week, so this isn't a typo)

I looked at my calendar from that date and started remembering. 

I had just returned from my first ever live event I hosted in Orlando. It was the weekend before the world closed, and it was stressful dealing with that because there were people coming from different countries, and I wanted to make sure they could get back home with no issues. Europe was in the process of shutting down country by country. There was a lot moving fast.

The week before I left for Orlando, I loaded up on food because everything felt off. I had been tracking the effects of COVID-19 because my day job is researching conferences and events, so I started seeing the closings in late December. It got interesting in late January.

Back on topic... I left Orlando that Monday, 3/9. Flying was STRESSFUL. People were on edge because it was getting real in the news. I remember there was a woman on the flight coughing, and the looks people gave her were murder, death stares. I just held my breath and prayed to get home with no issues.

Tuesday, 3/10, I had a speaking gig for a local networking group. About five people attended. 

You have to remember by this time, things had already kicked off, and people were nervous. The meeting was at a restaurant, but people had already stopped going out to eat in public. They told us that day they were probably going to shut down and close the location because of people not dining there. They eventually did close and never reopened again.

Wednesday, 3/11, things were tense. By this point, if there was an event, you had to call at least 2-3 times to see if it was going to happen or if people were canceling. Most people were in zombie apocalypse mode and hoarding toilet paper. (I still don't understand that)

But on this day, I had my last event where I would take the mic and introduce someone. I went to the tv station to do my money segment. Yeah... I was on a national tv show at this time. Then I went to a friend's house for happy hour and to celebrate working together for four years, running monthly networking event meetings. It was an odd day overall.

People did come to the event meeting, but the topic was "do you believe it's real," "do you think they are going to close things," or "the hospitals are getting slammed." It is hard to focus on trying to land a new client when people were quietly freaking out.

When I was in the chair getting my makeup done for the tv show, the same somberness was there. My makeup artist had a full on end-of-the-world vibe, and by that point, I knew I was going to have to regulate being around other people's energy. It was starting to get to me.

Once I made it to my friend's house, the Final Four was on the television, we popped a bottle of champagne, talked about "what's next" with business, and eventually, we talked about the pandemic... because yeah, the WHO declared it was official that day.

My ongoing "we are in deep sh@# joke" was that if Disney shutdown, we are screwed. Other large events had been shutting their doors, and conferences were canceling left and right, but some were still hanging on because "they did not see a problem."

Well, Disney made its announcement that day that it would be closed on 3/12. Along with the NBA and the Final Four. 

And that is when it all started.

Like most people, I thought it would be a temporary thing, and we would get back to "functioning" (I can never say normal again) in 30 days or so.

I did not know that 3/11/20 would be the last day I would hang out with friends in a public setting for years, and for some, ever again.

I did not know that I would never want to eat indoors again because of not wanting to be so close to people. This is sad because I was a happy hour lover.

I did not know that I would lose so many friends because of them calling the pandemic a hoax, overblown, or going to some dark places.

I did not know I would lose my favorite happy hour friend because she got caught up in the world of QAnon.

I did not know that I would lose my tv gig and all of my speaking engagements would either be delayed by years or I would have to turn on the camera on a daily basis.

I did not know I would spend my birthday looking out of my window and wondering WTF just happened.

I did not know that I would be like most people and go full-throttle with virtual and Zoom presentations until I burned out and could never turn on a camera again.

I did not know that I would lose my desire to get on an airplane and travel the world because of just not being comfortable with the state of things.

I did not know that I would never talk on the phone to some people I talked to weekly ever again.

I did not know people would be so angry and react so horrifically towards a disease that was hurting people.

I did not know I would watch the news so much and live at a level of anxiety that was not good for my mental health.

I did not know I would not leave my home, not even go for my morning walks, because I would never feel entirely safe in my neighborhood again.

I did not know I would witness firsthand that mentors and people I called friends would lack empathy.

I did not know I would get phone calls, texts, or DMs that people I knew died.

Then the closures were extended. 30 days. 60 days. And the next thing you know, it's May.

A video of a man went around who died at the hands of the police. A young woman was killed in her bedroom at hands at the hands of the police. A young man was running and was killed at the hands of faux police.

I thought we were all at home. I could not process what was happening, and the ending result of people's attitudes, viewpoints, and thoughts sent me over the top. On top of that, I was burned out mentally.

I did not know I would lose more "friends" and "associates" because they decided to exhibit signs of racism or be okay with inhuman behavior when it comes to policing.

I did not know a black box being posted on social media would start to tip me over the edge.

I did not know that my opinions and existence would be questioned because I married someone of a different race. I became interracial marriage porn for some people because they only wanted to know how my husband was treating me.

I did not know I would grow to loathe social media and would stop posting for three years and never really make a comeback to it. And yes, I deleted all of my photos and posts.

I did not know that I would be so gung ho for a therapist because I was mad and realized that I was grieving a life that I would probably never return to again.

I did not know that scheduling a video call with two friends every Friday would be a lifeline to my sanity and that it would last for three years.

I did not know that I would start a podcast with a friend in the UK that would last for three years as well, and it would be a form of therapy. We honestly thought we would run out of content. LOL

I did not know I would get "used" to seeing kids getting killed in schools or people in grocery stores... and people being okay with it.

I did not know I would ever utter the words, "I do not want to live in the United States," and make a concerted effort to make that happen.

And yeah... I spent the remainder of 2020 living through a Presidential election in a neighborhood that was aggressive with flags that did not have positive meanings. I pretty much stayed indoors for a few years. The best thing that happened were friends that made us leave the house for an impromptu camping trip to Arizona with a stop in Monument Valley. I needed that so much.

Then 1/6/22 happened. 

Of course, the world had opened back up to some degree, but I was still at home, tuning out and finding my version of happy. On this day, for some reason, I felt a release and made peace with where this country was and has been. We are unempathetic. As a black woman, it really hit that I would never be fully wanted... tolerated, but not really wanted. Always looked at with questioning.

As I watched people storm the Capitol building and people say things like, "we have never been more divided." I laughed my a$$ off because this is a country that has prided itself on its growth while tip-toeing over how native Americans were decimated, black people had to wait to be considered humans, citizens, and not segregated, Japanese Americans were sent to camps, and Mexican Americans get treated like servant class. Yeah, I laughed my A$$ when I watched the news that day.

And yes, I muttered... white people done lost their minds.

From that point on, I just said, this evilness is what it is, and I chose not to participate because I was tapped out. I released it all and decided to worry about myself and what I wanted from my short remaining time on this planet.

So here I am now. My life has forever changed.

If you are following my journey, the choices made have led me here, and you have an idea of what is happening. Which is a good thing.

Over the last few years, I have been safeguarding my peace. I don't tolerate much nonsense, and I make a quick exit when I see it coming. It is not worth it to me. At first, I did miss some of the friends I lost, but I soon realized they were never friends... or they were people that I would never be safe around. I have, unfortunately, because hyper-aware of my safety these days.

I do focus mainly on my family and the small handful of friends I choose to let in my life. I value them, and they bring me joy.

I have said that the pandemic was something I never wanted, but it was probably what I needed because it forced me to sit down, be still, and evaluate what was really important in my life. So yeah, my life changed dramatically on 3/11/20.... and so far, I am very okay with that.

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