Rising Voices Award winner badge.

My struggles and thoughts in quarantine

May 19, 2021 3:37 PM

Photo Essays

I know everyone has struggled this year. We all share some worries in the present & for the future. We’re grieving for those who we’ve lost, we’re braving the fight for those who are holding their heads high when we can’t, and most of all, we’re doing it together. As an Asian teenager in quarantine right now, I’d like to share some things that have been on my mind and even a bit behind the marvelous culture that I've passed down. After all, it’s not good to bottle everything (so I’ve been told). 

Let me start with my family. I was cleaning and found this photo and couldn’t help but mourn and be saddened that for the safety of us and others, we have to communicate in other ways. Though I’m consoled that we’ll make it through and that they’ll always be with me in person eventually, or in spirit.

It seems like just a plant. However, it has taught me wonders. My mother has always given me the advice that whatever you like, you will put in the effort to care & cultivate. Ever since then, this plant has sat next to me. Whenever I work, I look at that plant & remember that if I truly care, I will make the time for it. Thank you, mom.

This is a tree I’ve seen many times. I’ve looked at it for as long as I can remember. I sometimes fear for my own family. My dad going to work and my mother going outside to shop. I can’t help sometimes but wonder if something would happen to them. It’s a nagging feeling that always persists and even more so now with COVID-19. The fear of, “what if it was me or any of my family members as a victim of that hate?” So I always stare at that tree, so full of life, waiting for their return home.

I’ve been lounging around in the kitchen more than I should. Often after eating dinner, I’ve stared at this window. Pondering when I can go outside again. When will I see my friends? I can’t help but watch as the days seem to start blending like the skies. Day after day seeming so monochrome. When will it end?

I finally built up the courage to go outside after so long. Fed up with being paranoid about having my mother go alone, I decided to tag along for once. I couldn’t help but be scared for my life still and was on guard for my duration outside. The beating of my own soul and the hawk-like eyes that I found staring.

I had never realized how defined my own hand was. I thought that I seemed like everyone else. A normal young teen from immigrant parents — I hadn’t thought to appreciate who I was as a person & how lucky I am to be in my own skin. I’m finally realizing that I have a purpose, and I was chosen to be me. I shouldn’t take anything for granted. I find that lucky, and it took only a gaze at my hand.

Finally, I have my M7 card. I know it might not seem much; it’s just a card that we always get. However, it brings such heaviness for me. Since the rise of COVID-19 and the Asian hate crimes, it couldn’t help but hit me hard. I’ve never spoken about this but I feel it’s a good time to say something. Often on transportation to school, there are times where I have been mocked for being Asian and it’s not okay. I’ve learned to stand up for myself over the years and even more in these circumstances. I can’t be silent anymore.

I hope this gives a nice insight into some thoughts I’ve had on my mind as one of the many Asian teens in quarantine. We all have our own struggles, and these are just some of mine that I’ve found have risen. I promise that we can get through this together as we work hand in hand to fight and that we will live to see a brighter future for those we love and ourselves. You’ve got this!