And suddenly, the world stopped. Businesses stopped operating, employees were forced to work from home, and everyone was locked inside their houses. There was no war, yet people were dying all around the globe –millions of people died with an unforeseen threat that even the richest country almost gave up. For the first time in history, the world is united in fighting an invisible enemy.

Well, here I am (in the South-East part of the world)- someone who celebrated 31st birthday thinking it would be my year despite the year starting with calamities- Taal volcano erupted after so many years of being inactive that caused ash fall within a 25 km radius (including the area I reside in), but life keeps going. I was still being positive, hoping everything will be better once it subsides. Then another news came that World War III almost started. And then we lost Kobe Bryant in a plane crash.

All this chaos happened in the month I was born. But like all other tragic news, it didn’t take a toll on me. I was happy because I was with the man I met and fell in love with. Fear blinded by love kept me going and made me optimistic. But everything changed and my world turned around completely when the pandemic, Covid-19 spread havoc.

This invisible threat spread rapidly, so the government decided a community quarantine –having people locked up inside their houses, allowed to go out only for essentials. It was scary because for the very first time, everyone had to stay inside to keep the virus from transmitting.

Not being able to work from home, I risked my life going to work with complete protection gear- face mask, cap, and tons of alcohol, making sure that every employee in my company gets paid the cut-off. This made me realize that I’m one of the unrecognized front liners, and I’m proud of myself for that. But being unable to go to places other than my workplace, I felt trapped, and all the anxieties and my insecurities came flooding in when the love I thought I had, suddenly vanished. I felt so lost.

Everything was falling apart. I was anxious each passing day not knowing when this virus would vanish and everything would go back to normal (if everything would even go back to normal). Having a heartbreak during this pandemic made it even worse. All the negative thoughts about myself kept piling. I was begging for attention again. Swallowed by darkness, I found God who lifted me up from the mud that kept pulling me down.

I found myself having a lot of time to do my unfinished projects. The two scrapbooks that had been laying on my closet for two years were now finished. Not only that, I did some paintings, too, for my sister’s house. Simple ones, but it made me feel so content. Feeling hype, I pushed myself to workout everyday to keep myself in shape and feel better about myself. And also the chef within me was unleashed. I baked a variety of desserts and prepared many delicacies from the recipes I found online. I’m telling you, it was very fulfilling!

But my greatest achievement during this time was when I found time to edit and publish my poetry book about Hope on Amazon Kindle. I pat myself for finishing it, for I dedicated it to the friend I lost last year. He was the one who always believed in my talent. I fulfilled my promise to him that I will publish our book no matter what.

Even though this year didn’t start so well, and the lockdown caused panic, I was still able to find myself and unlock the hidden gems inside of me. And that self-love is never selfish. Not at all.

Together with Mother Earth, who’s recovering from the annihilation of humankind, I will be much wiser and more able to give love because my heart is filled with lots of it. And one thing’s for sure- after this pandemic, everyone will appreciate their lives and will take proper care for Mother Earth!

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