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Creeping Back into the Open

Let’s get the cliché out of the way now: It’s been a long year. Like, a really long year. As someone who is very comfortable at home, man was lockdown hard. About midway through it, I found myself restless and irritable and certain that nothing was never going to change. Anxiety attacks were making a more consistent appearance in my days. When I talked about it with my therapist, she asked me what I did throughout a typical year. After thinking about it for a minute, I said that I normally went on several domestic and one or two international vacations a year. In that time, I typically had a lot of revelations about myself and wrote a lot. So, in that light, the anxiety isn’t fear so much as is claustrophobia. For the last year and a half, I’ve been trying to shed my skin but haven’t had the room. Now, though, as the world begins to open to vaccinated people, it feels like it might be time to molt.

Throughout quarantine, my fiancé and I have gone a couple of getaways in Massachusetts, which was a surprising delight. I went swimming in an ice-cold lake in August, played video games in a bungalow in November, went camping (which my mother was shocked to hear), and spent a lot of time in a secluded cabin in Maine. It was a lot of fun, but the undercurrent of anxiety over getting sick made it difficult to relax or decompress.

Post-vaccine, things are a little different. I feel safe enough to leave the house. Last night, Richie and I went to our first restaurant (albeit, outside) since this whole thing started. We ate with real forks and drank out of glasses. And this weekend, we are taking the train down to New York to see our friends Ana and Sergio perform an opera. We’ll obviously still be wearing our masks as we travel, but the threat level feels reduced. Not exactly safe, but it’s a step towards normal. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to NYC, and I have to admit that I’m excited. Here’s to the beginning of a summer to make up for all the time we lost. Here’s to shedding skin.


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