First and foremost I think it’s important to realize everyone will be dealing with a completely different reality during this time.
Let’s take a good look at this really scientific chart representing the full spectrum:
Really Scientific Chart
Some people will be able to use this as a carefree vacation, and some people are, in lack of a better term, fucked.
And make no mistake, there are varying degrees of fucked. Some people will not be able to work, not be able to pay rent, and could potentially lose everything. Some people will get sick and fear for their life, while others may barely notice the outside world changing besides the inconvenience of having no toilet paper. I luckily fall somewhere between carefree vacation, and only slightly fucked.
As an emotionally exhausted introvert who works in the mad world of Hollywood nightlife, I couldn’t help but feel relieved to have some time off. Some time away from the constant drain of humans, parties, chaos, and superficiality that I had surrounded myself with for four years. Besides the few financial inconveniences, all in all I was moderately excited. I could finally read all the books I wanted, play 10 hours of video games straight guilt-free, and work on the things that I was really passionate about (like my company Sadire) without any distractions.
This is Sadire where I make clothes for sad people
Sadire Stands for Sad Attire and Satire
Sadire is the use of honesty, humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to remove the stigma of sadness in modern culture.
An example of how to use it would be
"This article is so damn sadire I love how he uses humor to make light of a heavy situation even if he's not that funny"
By March 12th things were getting serious, and I was starting to get phone calls from people freaking out about quarantine and a possible lockdown in LA. By March 15th I found myself driving to my girlfriends place in Sedona, where it would be less densely populated and probably a whole lot safer.
I planned to spend the week working on my new business, reading Tony Robbins, meditating, working out, and becoming the best possible version of myself. This was my golden moment to improve myself, and emerge from the corona virus cocoon a stronger, healthier, smarter, and more magnificent butterfly! After about a full day of that, I decided it was time to goto a local Walmart to get a controller for my PS4. And it was here I met a woman in her 70's that worked there who had a completely different experience of the corona virus.
Actual pictures from Walmart
Although we were pretty early in the hysteria, she already looked like a war-torn veteran, and I could see the pain in her eyes. She seemed unfriendly and tired, so I tried my best to be polite and as nice as possible while I told her I wanted to exchange the teal controller for the black controller because didn’t know the teal color was 20 dollars extra.
Let's take a quick break to look at this shit, and tell me you wouldn't do the same
Ok we back
I cracked a few jokes here and there because I felt bad, and I could see she was starting to smile. Her spirit yet not defeated, it was enough for her to open up. As we started to chat, she reflected on the things she witnessed in a Walmart in Cottonwood Arizona.
On that very same day, she had been screamed at for not having toilet paper despite working in the electronics department, bullied for not having fruit in stock, pushed over, and even witnessed a scared older woman in a wheelchair cry and breakdown as someone took all the hand-soap right before her, leaving her with nothing.
By the time I got to the poor electronics cashier, it was 9:45 pm and she was finishing a long day of work. Somehow she still had enough in her to crack a joke or two, and smile while giving me my ps4 controller that I desperately needed for Red Dead Redemption that night.
Bless her soul.
Naturally on the car ride home I listened to sad music and imagined what it would be like for me to be 70 and still working at Walmart and getting yelled at for something that isn't your fault. I imagined her sad, alone, tired, and beaten up by life– forced to do a job she didn't like. Whether that was true or not, it was the narrative I created for her. As yellow by Coldplay came on, my thoughts turned to the Grandma at Walmart trying to get hand-soap but couldn’t, and how scared she must have felt. Imagining her as my own grandma was enough to make me extremely upset and disappointed in the world.
I can’t help but think sometimes life is incredibly sad at its base level. When you are born you are not promised a good life, you are promised a life. You have no choice but to live the life you have been given, and make it the best you can despite the circumstances. Some people are not given good circumstances. I think that applies to this specific situation as well.
Sometimes the only thing you can do is change your point of view, and make the best of it. Granted, that is not always easy to do.
As much as I’d like to believe good can come from bad, I do believe bad comes from bad.
Let’s not kid ourselves. This is bad. Bad for countries, bad for people, bad for our mental health. Our lives have been interrupted and we do not know when we can go back to normality.
Although this virus affords us a chance to just slow down in a mad world, and has the potential to lead to some positive change– it’s certainly not good for everyone. Some people are living paycheck to paycheck. Now they don’t have money. How do you turn that into a positive? You can’t. But here are a few small things that can help if you find yourself in a similar situation:
THINGS YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO
1. Ask for Help
- If you need help, ask for it from your friends and family. Hopefully you have people like that in your life, but you may not. But remember, no one can help you if no one knows you're struggling. Put away your ego and ask. It’s about survival at this point, not looking good.
2. Help Others
- For every person who is getting fucked right now, there is always someone who is getting infinitely more fucked. Sometimes it takes that to realize your situation is not that bad. When I went to Walmart and heard that story it really put in perspective how lucky I am.
- Helping others can come in many forms. It can come from helping out someone you know doesn’t have much family. Helping an older fellow getting supplies. It can be calling your friend and giving them support. For me it’s writing this article in hopes that it can help someone in a similar situation.
3. Do what you can
- If being prepared and having extra supplies makes you feel safer go do that, if you want a gun to feel safer go get that shit. Get a grenade launcher I don't care, but if you’re gonna be a fucker and take more shit than you need– then you’re part of the problem.
4. Try to change your point of view
- This is probably the hardest thing to do, and the easiest thing to say on the list. To look at the bright side when everything is going wrong can sometimes seem like an impossible task. The thing about point of view is that things will always be the way they are no matter the way you react to it. When you get a parking ticket you can either let that shit ruin your day (which I do quite often), or you accept the fact you got a parking ticket and not let it bother you. Either way you're paying the parking ticket, so you decide how much you will suffer. Some random asian dude with a big stomach named buddha once said something along the lines of "you suffer not because of events but you suffer from the way you react."
5. Look at the Facts
- The food supply chain is not gonna suddenly stop because of flu like symptoms. America is not gonna let you starve. They aren’t gonna shut down the entire food supply chain, and bring us back to the hunter gatherer times due to a mostly non lethal disease.
- Elon Musk thinks everyone is over-reacting and we are fine. Are you smarter than Elon fucking musk? I don’t think so
6. Stop Refreshing the news
- Look at it once a day, get the latest updates so you’re informed, but then go on with your fucking life. Googling Corona Virus every 3 seconds and refreshing Instagram and Facebook every 2 seconds isn’t helping you.
7. Do things you may have been too busy to do in the past
- You ever wanted to learn a new instrument? Here’s your time to finally do so. Learn how to play guitar. Finish that screenplay about alien robots. Start a vlog about cooking. Make that mouse Diorama that you always dreamed of!
8. Do things you’d never really get to do guilt free
- The world has been given pretty much a giant sick day. Like the ones when you were little and got to take off of school. Time to play Red Dead Redemption for 10 hours straight and not feel bad for it! Read all the books that you always said you didn’t have time to read. Binge watch every show on Netflix till your brain goes numb. Make a couch fort and stay up all night.
9. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN
- Slow down. Take naps whenever you feel like it. Don't check your emails. Wear sweatpants and no make up. Take long-ass existential showers then follow that up by wearing just a towel for way longer than normally acceptable. Or don't even take a shower if you don't feel like it. Who cares!
10. Go Outside
- I don't know if people know this but you can still go outside lol. Get out get in the sun. Nature is really good for when you feel like shit. Taking your focus away from your head and into your immediate surroundings keeps you grounded with what’s real. The world out there that you can see is real (not the world in your head
11. Reconnect with your friends and family in a real way
- Your friends are probably just as bored and lonely as you. Instead of texting them, call them, or FaceTime them. Check in on friends you haven’t seen in a while. Talk with them– no, really talk with them. Listen to them– and really listen! Ask all the annoying questions like who they are dating, what music they have been listening to, and what they have been working on. It's time to reconnect.
At the end of the day, a shitty situation is a shitty situation. You didn’t ask for any of this but now you have to deal with it. I guess that is what they call life. You can dwell on the negatives but they won’t help you. Self-pity is addictive but ultimately pointless, and crying about your situation although sometimes awesome, will ultimately not do anything.
I realize there are people who really are about to struggle to make rent or pay for food. A lot of these things I talked about may not apply to everyone. The advice to slow down doesn't really apply when you are trying to survive. So to all those really struggling my heart goes out to you. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope some things can still resonate with you. I can only imagine what it's like to be on the other-side, because even while being extremely fortunate, it has been very hard for me to be happy.
My head constantly chattering. "How am I going to pay for this and that. What will I do? Will I be able to survive financially? What about my grandparents in Japan and Arizona– will they be okay? How is everyone else handling this? Maybe I should check Facebook and Instagram for the 100th time today… But how am I going to pay for this and that? What will I do? Will I survive?" Repeating the same phrases in my head over and over again.
Finally at one point I had to step outside and just take a breath.
As I stared outside into the backyard of my girlfriend’s house, whose family had taken me in out of kindness, I couldn’t help but notice a world un-phased by the chaos of humans. A world unaffected by the paranoid voices and thoughts in my mind. The birds chirped and the wind blew like it has for millions of year, and I couldn’t help but think how we are so connected yet disconnected from everything these days. Our world is a world of our minds– a noisy brain. We constantly refresh social media feed to gauge how we should feel by the feelings of others. And as a person on the spectrum of being slightly less fucked, I couldn’t help but think maybe this would be a good time to connect with myself and what is real– not just the thoughts inside my head.
Whomever you may be, I hope this article finds you well. Remember you are not alone in feeling alone
Forever your friend,
Sad Boy Hoban