6 feet apart should not stop community

I don’t even have words to explain how I feel. 

Honestly, I feel alone. 

Three weeks ago, we were sitting in classrooms laughing, listening to teachers teach, and talking in person with our friends. And then, it all changed. 

Last week we saw classmates on Google Meets instead of in the classroom. Teachers were understanding that none of this was easy, that this new change was one that nobody expected. Teachers would ask how you were doing and would check in on you, being there for when you needed support. Sometimes teachers would give you time to talk with other students as they understood some students were struggling. But just like the change weeks ago, it has all changed again. 

This week we are on spring break. There’s no forced communication like there has been in the school setting. Before this all started, people complained about having to do Google Meets, preferring we did elearning instead. Honestly I’m so grateful for the decision to do remote learning. I miss my friends and I miss talking to people. But with spring break, I feel more alone than ever. 

Yes I have my family and my friends to talk to but it’s not the same. Now, if you want to actually talk to friends, you have to call them, you can’t meet them to hangout. I know everyone is different, but for me I only have a few friends that I’m close enough to call. I told myself at the beginning of this school year I wanted to branch out, to meet new people, but guess what, that’s not working out so well now. 

I don’t feel comfortable telling people how I truly feel, that I feel alone. I don’t feel comfortable texting new people in order to just have someone to talk to. At school, I definitely feel more confident talking to new people or classmates I haven’t ever talked to before, but to text them is a whole different level. 

That’s where I think it’s important to stand together as a community. We all know we are going through the same things. We all know that some days may be harder than others. Why does it have to be weird if you get a text from a new friend? Why does it have to be weird to text an old friend and check in on them? 

Community is there for a reason. During these times community is more important than ever. Yes, we can’t hangout with each other or be closer than six feet to another person, but who ever said being six feet apart stopped the idea of community? 

I can tell you for a fact that the idea of community still exists six feet apart, we just have to be willing to understand that. 

The other day I decided to take a walk. Not a very long walk, but a walk around the neighborhood. A walk to see what was going on around me. Within a matter of five minutes, I saw children playing jump rope with their siblings. I saw people walking together as a family. I saw people talking to their neighbors from their own driveways. Community was still happening. Everyone was still there to support each other even though it was happening six feet apart. 

What stood out the most to me though was one lady in particular. Walking alone, she felt comfortable playing her music out loud, volume up. From her phone’s speaker played “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood. Let me just tell you, that was by far my favorite moment since all of this began. Since I knew the song and the lyrics, I decided to sing along. Some random older lady, one I had never met before, made my day. From across the rode, we sang the song together, enjoying the moment for what it was. 

Now I look at that moment and think about how easy it would have been for me to keep walking, to act like nothing was happening. But let me tell you, that lady smiled so big that it made me truly realize how much it mattered. People everywhere are alone. People everywhere feel alone. Why not make a point to try and support others, to bring back connection despite the disconnection?