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One Year of Ling ...And Other Updates

It's been a bit since I've posted anything on Ling and the truth is, I haven't really felt like it. When the pandemic hit in mid-March I managed to muster up a few posts, but after that, I just hit a wall. Back in May, I had every intention to write a post commemorating the one-year anniversary of launching Ling, (in fact, this post initially started as an anniversary post), but then George Floyd's murder and subsequent Black Lives Matter movement happened. At that point, I decided to press pause on Ling because I felt that there were more important things happening in the world.

After much thought, I decided to start posting again because I realized that one of the main reasons why I started Ling in the first place is because I want to use my voice and create dialogue as a Filipino woman living with a physical disability. Also, writing has always been an outlet for me to express myself, and right now I feel like I need to do that.

I'm not going to lie, the last six months have been rough. Like most people, it has taken time to settle into "the new normal" (i.e. social distancing, wearing a mask every time I leave my apartment and working from home). The early days of the pandemic saw a set of challenges for me that made it hard to cope. Between dealing with my own fears and anxiety and managing and receiving care from justifiably worried personal support workers, and not seeing my family or friends, there were points that felt pretty isolating, even though Sean was with me. At one point we were so fearful of contracting Covid-19 that we didn't leave the apartment for about 45 days. We got everything delivered. Groceries, prescriptions, and of course whatever weird shit I decided to order from Amazon. The combination of my awareness of how high-risk Sean and I are of contracting the deadly disease because of our physical disabilities, and hearing my personal support workers say things like "it's only a matter of time before it comes here (in the building)" made me not want to leave our safe bubble (the apartment).

It wasn't until the weather started to warm up and the number of Covid-19 cases in Ontario started to drop towards the end of May that I felt a little more comfortable leaving my apartment. At first, my ventures were nothing more than daily trips to Starbucks, but to me, those coffee runs were a huge deal. As I started to feel increasingly comfortable leaving the homestead and more businesses started to re-open, Sean and I decided to go to a couple of restaurants and I finally got my hair cut at the end of July. The first restaurant we went to was the patio at Pogue Mahone with my Mom. As scary as it was at first, it was the first time in a long time where I felt a sense of normalcy. Mind you, there were strict rules in place (staff were wearing masks, tables were six feet apart, etc.), but it felt good to experience something familiar and I felt pretty safe.

As the Covid-19 cases in Ontario (particularly in Toronto) have started to increase in recent weeks and an imminent second wave, those feelings of normalcy and optimism that the pandemic might soon be behind us have started to dwindle. Sean and I have decided that we are going to minimize how often we go out, but this time around I've vowed to leave the apartment more often than I did before. I'm constantly repeating the words "it's the small things" as a reminder to myself that doing little errands like grabbing a coffee to get some fresh air is important in getting through this tough time. It's those things (and video chats with friends and family) that make this time a little more tolerable.

A couple sitting outside wearing masks during the Covid-19 pandemic
The first time Sean and I left the apartment together after months of self-isolation


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