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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

The End of the World — Utah

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

On March 12th, 2020 I felt like I was getting ready for the end of the world. My boyfriend had called me & told me he was taking me out on a nice date later that evening. A few hours earlier I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of my high school with a friend from my English class. It was pouring outside. I don't remember a lot of what we said to each other that day, but I knew it wasn't a lot. I definitely didn't think it would be the last lunch break of my sophomore year, sitting in my car, eating cheap fast food. Later, as I was putting in my dangling silver butterfly earrings, I looked in the mirror, outside at the dark clouds inching nearer, and all the pictures on my wall. I knew the world was about to change — not the possible two weeks out of school, not that bad change everyone was talking about — a big change. There was no one on the streets that night. I held my boyfriends hand tight walking under no longer lit street lamps & I cried. It was a gentle overflow, an ending to all I've ever known. That night in my journal I wrote, “if I don't die tonight, some part of me will.” Eerie, right? But that's what the world felt like that day. Death of parts of us we’ve all grown so close to, the inevitable change in front of us, lingering in parts of our lives we never wanted to give up. For so many of us, especially teenagers like me, with graduations, concerts, and dances stacked up in front of us, it really did feel like the end of the world.

Since that day when so much of the world came to a sudden halt, so much has started back up again. Ignored voices have finally been heard, movements have been started, and for the first time in so long it seems as though the entire world has entered a new era of unity. Connections have become stronger with music, media, family, and the people we love. The entire pandemic has almost forced me to look inside myself, what I value, what I want out of this life, and what I'm willing to do to get it. I’ve had so much more time to sit with myself and simply just exist. I’ve said things to people I otherwise wouldn't have had the courage to say. I’ve questioned, I’ve learned, I've journaled, and I've fallen in love with life in ways I previously haven't been able to. With death comes the rebirth, and I think thats exactly what our world is achieving with this global pandemic. Putting aside the politics, the controversial topics, and the sacrifices that have come with this time in all of our lives our voices are still being heard. We are spending more time doing the things we love, and even loving the people we want to love. I've learned more than anything to embrace change. To hold this tired world of ours in my arms and let her know she's loved despite the heaviness of the weight of change and loss that has come into each of our lives since March.

— Emma Johnson, 16



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