This lockdown has been tremendously robust on everybody. Personally, the inflexible laws in Toronto have woke up completely different emotions in me. After the novelty of the primary lockdown wore off — whipped espresso and limitless Netflix binges — I discovered myself feeling lonelier than regular.
Whereas I used to be surrounded by my loving household, I longed for the pleasant, teasing laughter of my highschool buddies. I used to be additionally remoted from the social spheres of my work and U of T. Being caught in my room and confined by the 4 partitions of my home, I felt anticipating social contact.
Regardless of the numerous FaceTime classes, I ended up downloading Tinder — and different courting apps — to hunt some pleasure within the snug routine of my days at house. Due to the elevated time spent in isolation, I started to blur the traces between relationship and friendship. In different phrases, I used to be obsessively checking to see if there was a ‘match.’
As I excessively swiped and imagined quite a few romantic potentialities, I noticed that these addictive habits generally put me in a poisonous mindset — scrolling by means of courting apps grew to become an all-consuming distraction.
Ultimately, I deleted the app. As somebody who tends to over romanticize issues, this helped me keep away from pointless emotional labour. Surprisingly, for the primary time in what felt like endlessly, I lastly discovered extra time to be alone with my ideas — not essentially in a foul method. Often, the distractions of labor and commuting served pretty much as good excuses to disregard my individuality, my character.
I noticed that if there’s ever a great time to be single, it’s most likely now. We’re in a lockdown that feels neverending, which in flip grants us the time to develop ourselves somewhat than daydream a couple of potential ‘somebody.’ The mounted mindset of eager to be in a relationship obscured the significance of my very own individuality and private progress.
Private growth has seemed like reconnecting with my previous creative hobbies, together with studying and writing poetry. I additionally picked up my flute for the primary time in a very long time and was very enthusiastic about practising once more! As musical notes easily danced round my room, I felt reconnected to previous recollections and former aspirations.
Specializing in myself has additionally concerned reconnecting with my household. I do know this sounds cliché, however I typically took their presence with no consideration due to the monotonous rhythm of every day life.
As well as, specializing in my individuality has included navigating the metaphorical diasporic mess I discover myself in. As an Italian-born West African, I’ve not all the time been capable of clearly outline my id.
All through the lockdown, I’ve taken the time to be taught my mom’s Ivorian dialect, Baoulé. I’ve additionally come to understand that studying my native dialect is an inherent means of decolonization, provided that my first language is French. This has additionally helped me decolonize my understanding of self within the West African diaspora in different methods.
To additional floor me in my cultural heritage, I’ve additionally been exploring West African strategies of storytelling. I’ve all the time been drawn to story-based narratives, so this has been a rewarding method of working by myself particular person story as a West African in Canada.
All in all, I don’t suppose I might have achieved any of the above with out deleting my trio of courting apps. Reconnecting with myself has granted me the dear risk of cultivating my individuality, with out the prospects of a relationship on my homescreen.