“Dear Covid” is this year’s senior column series in which Hook seniors share their reflections on high school and the pandemic in the form of letters to the virus itself.
When I think about writing a letter to an invisible airborne virus, I roll my eyes and wonder why I got on board with this idea. I hate covid. It stole everything from everyone. I’m mad at a virus. That feels almost as bad as writing a letter to one.
If I were a toddler on the verge of a tantrum, which doesn’t feel too far off, this is where I would be told to “use my words.” I hate covid, but I love words. My friends would tell you I talk too much about how my love language is words of affirmation. I am single-handedly saving the postal service with all the letters I write. I fill Pinterest boards with aesthetically pleasing inspirational quotes. The walls in my room are collaged with cute greeting cards, Bible verses, notes from friends, and sticky notes with messages I wrote to myself. So many words.
I’m not going to tell you my whole cliche shy middle-schooler origin story, but just take my word for it that I didn’t really know how to “use my words” for a long time. When covid happened, though, I was a mess. I felt helpless while I watched all the bad stuff happening outside the confines of my bedroom. I just wanted to be able to fix it. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started looking for stories. I’d been in journalism class for two years at this point, and it was the one thing that seemed to keep going when everything else shut down. I called people I thought might have something interesting to say and just started talking to them. I threw myself into every journalism opportunity I found. I wrote and recorded and found ways to share these words, in whatever form they landed.
I don’t know how many people read or listened to my words in the various places they ended up. Nothing about my journalism changed the world. I do know, though, that I gained a sense of purpose as I turned empty time and an overwhelming desire to just “fix it” into words. My weird fascination became something that felt like action when everything else felt stagnant. As I mixed my words with other people’s, I was telling stories that inspired me and sharing what I believed in.
So I’ll never thank covid, because like I said, I’m mad. I’m grateful, however, to have learned to use my words – to leverage my power. That’s a lesson that applies beyond high school, beyond journalism, and way beyond covid.