Behind the Mask
The Remains of the Rose — Arizona
If you knew me before COVID-19, you would notice that I'm different now. Yes, COVID is a genuine problem, one of the biggest issues that our generation has ever faced, but I have benefited from quarantine. I found the person I never thought I could be. I slowly stopped wasting my energy on what others thought about me and used it to transform myself into the confident girl I now see in the mirror.
It wasn't an easy process. I went through many negative experiences, thoughts, and people, but that only made me want to become better. I have learned many lessons throughout the pandemic. For example, people come and go, you are the only one you can truly depend on, and a heart can break more than once. 2020 has been a painful year for everyone, affecting us either physically or mentally. For me, it mainly affected my mental health.
I did not realize until now, looking back, that I was in an unhealthy state of mind and body. My coping mechanisms were, unfortunately, boys. I know it was not my proudest moment. I would catch feelings easily and always end up getting my heart broken. It was a continuous cycle that I wanted to end. When I finally did something to end this ongoing cycle, I felt proud of myself. I would only focus on myself, in a non-narcissistic way, and by doing that, I overcame the scary feeling of not being enough for others. Learning to love yourself and doing what you want is the vibe every teenager these days should focus on. We shouldn't be so stuck on ruminating the same thoughts but instead, live our young lives while we still can. Time passes by quickly and your chances might disappear in the blink of an eye, and you will regret it. I know I am not going to make that mistake. Not only during the pandemic but always, we should all just be ourselves and learn to love the little things that got us to where we are now.
— Roseann Phan, 14