Step One

Day of quarantine: #1. On Argentina’s coronavirus quarantine’s beginning; a writer’s wish to write history and the fear to suck.

By Laly Steel

March 20, 2020

At 19-years-old, still living with my parents, I went on my first summer vacation with friends; I was beginning to give in to the traumas I had gone through, and those days were … a nice break from it all. When I came back home, there was a sign on the living room door; it said, “Honey, Colita and I were waiting for you.” “Colita” (Little tail, in Spanish) was my dog; and the “I” stood for a black and white kitten snuggled up in a basket, whom I called “Tomás”.

That year I fell into depression, hard, for the first time and Tomás became almost a part of me; I couldn’t take a step without him following me; he was on my chest if I was lying watching TV, over my books if I was trying to study. If I’d yell “Tomás!” he would come running as if I were his only reason of living.

By the beginning of the following year I started feeling stronger; and when I got better, when I got up from bed and I said “I’m gonna get through this!”, Tomás died. The way I see it, he lived exactly the amount of time I needed the company of an angel; and when his job was done, he left.

I was alone with my mother when he died on an afternoon; I cried drowned in desperation for hours. At night, my father came home from work in the middle of a huge storm that was approaching; we told him what had happened and he – without saying a word – headed over the living room and started closing and opening the windows.

I’ll never forget that… Seeing that powerful soldier – who had always found a way to make me happy or to help me stop crying – now unable to speak, with tears stuck in his throat, just opening and closing windows…

These days I’m feeling like my dad did; powerless. Last week I lost control over my life; the uncertainty froze me, and I couldn’t do anything… so I butchered a couple of plants in my backyard.

This morning I thought, “Just write something; whatever; write it and post it; do your thing; work on that blog.” I opened a blank Word document and I wondered, “How can I change the blue border of the software? It bothers me; and it bothers me even more that I can’t have the color I want; Mac OS should allow me to change this!”

Enough said…

Last week in Argentina, we were kindly asked by the government to stay inside our homes, but I took it as mandatory; since I live mostly on the web and stay in touch with people from all over the world, I knew the freedom – the life as we know it – was about to end (to be paused, hopefully) here too… and last night, it did.

As of today at 00 hs, we won’t be able to circulate – initially – until March 31; we’ll be allowed to go walking to get groceries, medicines and cleaning products; if we do so by car, we can be pulled over and our vehicle can be impounded.

The federal and local police and the army will be on the streets, and if you know something about Argentina’s history (recent history) you’ll understand this is not going to suit us well.

When I opened this blog, I did it with the desire to share my journey; but the one I lived, processed and learned from; not the one I’m going through now! Writing about what I’m feeling, sharing what I am currently experiencing, makes me feel I’m gonna look dumb… because my mouth doesn’t necessarily express my true feelings most of the times (or do they?)

Plus, I need to have and to give answers, solutions… But I have none, nor I will for a while… and I can’t breath if I don’t write.

History books were always my favorite, and their authors the people I’ve probably envied the most; to witness history, to become part of it with our voice… What a privilege…

Well now I have it… And I believe that’s what I’ll do. I’ll make mistakes; I’ll write things and about things I may regret; but I’ll do it.

There’s a saying… something like, “If you don’t know where you’re going, the roads will take you nowhere; so, stay still.” Holding on to that phrase, I kept putting my blog on pause thinking, “If I don’t have a teaching, if I don’t have a clear goal with this copy, it’s not worth it.” How wrong I was…

Just by writing this today, I began to realize I do know where I’m going: I want to improve my English to become a good writer with this language so I can connect with you; this is what matters.

I’ve been hiding my fear of sucking at this, behind the excuse of my poor grammar, the need to share something inspiring and the lack of a cool title or the “perfect featured image”. This is dumb.

Words matter. Every single one them. The coronavirus is not what is going to end my, our, world; being silent is what can kill me… us… And I’ve paid some overly priced dues to stay alive, so I refuse to feel I’m dying due to this situation and I choose to take one step; one single, simple, step; and tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll do the same.

I may be on lockdown; my body may be trapped in this house and it may feel a prisoner of these walls and circumstances …; but my words…, I’ll make them fly.

References

La Nación (2020) “Coronavirus en la Argentina: una por una, las medidas dispuestas para la cuarentena obligatoria” URL: https://www.lanacion.com.ar/politica/coronavirus-medidas-cuarentena-nid2345315 [Last visit: March 20, 2020]

Comment to boost my dopamine!
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8 replies on “Step One”

Laly Laly… oh my god, this has been one of the most pleasurable blog posts to read, so far! My thoughts:

Your English is indistinguishable from any distinguished author I’ve ever read in English… I’m being serious! It’s hard to think that you’re still being hard on yourself about the English. You’ve achieved that perfection you were aiming for! But, I do get it, I understand the perfectionism and wanting to do something passionately :D.

“Just by writing this today, I began to realize I do know where I’m going: I want to improve my English to become a good writer with this language so I can connect with you; this is what matters.”

—YES!!! Yes, that is exactly it! So often writing is the thing that we need to do, to release us from our mood. Writing can be done in all moods, with different results. I do some of my best and favourite writing whilst in bad moods! When I had been putting it off for fear of embarrassing myself in that state.

“we’ll be allowed to go walking to get groceries, medicines and cleaning products; if we do so by car, we can be pulled over and our vehicle can be impounded.”

—Wow, that is tough. If that happened here, I would be screwed because I have to use my car to get around, with my mobility problems with my knees.

You’ve got it, Laly! Keep writing throughout this adventure, that is my plan too.

“History books were always my favorite, and their authors the people I’ve probably envied the most; to witness history, to become part of it with our voice… What a privilege…

Well now I have it… And I believe that’s what I’ll do. I’ll make mistakes; I’ll write things and about things I may regret; but I’ll do it”

—Yes, Laly, your writing reads like the heartfelt journaling of somebody who is going through an unprecedented time, with personal as well as global challenges. If you keep this up you can certainly assemble these into a very worthy account of this historical time! But at the very least, it’s going to be so good for yourself— and for me to read! I’ll keep reading your updates, I was really moved by that! 💙.

Will do. Thank you. Same here
Dude I’m still crying…
I just wanted to respond to your comment
It’s like I just received a diploma on being a writer. I shit you not LOL
I cannot thank you enough for your words, for the time you took to read it… I didn’t even write an excerpt!
Man, thank you 💞

So what do you think?