Behind the Mask
Finding Light in Midst of a Pandemic — Philippines
I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 was the worst. The moment the pandemic hit, I was a 17 year old at the brink of finishing my junior year of high school. The moment that lockdown was announced, I knew that the last years of my high school life would be taken away from me. I missed my prom, college entrance tests, and a real senior year. Now in 2021, I’d be robbed of my last year with all monumental moments that senior year students should experience. I wouldn’t have my last prom and of course, my graduation.
Apart from this, I’m a dancer in my school’s dance team. Every year was filled with competitions, performances, training, and other activities that have impacted my life more than anything. I had so many dreams of becoming the captain of my team but when the time finally came for me to lead and serve, it would all be at home. Those dreams of leading my team to victories and being an inspiration to others never played out. Apart from these, there were so many problems going on in my own country. The incompetence of the government as well as their abuse of power was exasperating and infuriating, especially when I see my fellow Filipinos suffering. Oh, and I must add that my dog of 10 years finally succumbed to her heart disease. Lastly, my parents separated. Being at home was toxic for the most part because my parents were just fighting all the time and dragging me and my siblings into their problems. So yes, 2020 was the worst for me too, I could say.
But in this pandemic, my life wasn’t over. I gained a boyfriend with whom I’m in a very healthy relationship with. He is always there for me and makes me happy. I have my friends whom I always confide in and are there to keep me in check. There were people that I got closer to as well who’ve helped me grow and become a better person. I didn’t stop dancing either. I became captain eventually and continued the new school year training online. I made it a point to do my best and serve my team as best as I could even through the screen. I decided to make this year worthwhile and unique. What I’ve learned was that it’s really up to me how I choose to deal with whatever is happening. I didn’t let all the negativities that the pandemic brought about destroy me completely. In the end, I chose to be grateful, happy, and positive. I wanted to see the light in any way I could even when everything seems to be going down. I am not grateful for all the bad things that have happened over quarantine but I am grateful that I’ve grown, improved, and come out stronger after everything.
— Chloe Vale, 17