How ARE you? Checking in before we all check out in the midst of a Pandemic

By Daniel Paiz

“How ARE you?” is a phrase dismissed as quickly as “Hello”, “Good-Bye”, “Thank You” and many other common phrases. However in the midst of a global pandemic, these three words might become synonymous with other three word phrases that come to mind. Some individuals have built up a network of support and have weekly Zoom meetups, Disney Plus watch parties, etc. etc. But, not everyone has consistent support or for some, any support at all.

That’s what I want to explore, finding out where people are as 2021 gets started. If you and I can reach out to someone we might think of occasionally but don’t talk to as much anymore (for no particular reason that comes to mind), perhaps the state of things can improve a bit. Yes, there are also historical moments in politics, health, and more unraveling all around us. No this is not meant to ignore or sweep under the rug how those things impact people’s well-being. This is simply an exploratory idea being brought to fruition.

How it works

It’s pretty simple: I put out a call for people to contact me if they’re interested in a new project, but I left it vague. I only asked that they be honest and reflective. I also asked that they share it with whomever they think might be interested. I did reach out to a select few as well to add some variety I didn’t think I might get organically as well, just to see if they’d respond. The following is basically that call culminating together. I asked people to give me four lines (in any form: prose, poetry, rhymes, etc.) about how they are, and how the past year during COVID, an election year, and the state of their countries today has impacted how they are.

Names are thanked at the bottom, and everyone has been told they’d be thanked at the bottom. No one’s name is attached to their answers. Here’s how everyone is:

How ARE you?

I wish there was an easy answer,

it always ends up in people questioning, “you are how?”

Gotta keep it together so no one sees it fallin’ apart,

Tired, and ain’t no one gotta know.

XXXXX

Seeking alignment making peace with myselves,

Relentlessly motivated to exist healthier,

Afraid of nothing because fear is a state of mind,

Joyously building my tribe and sharpening my blade.

XXXXX

Trying my damnedest to keep balance on this tight rope,

I’ve been waning in my expectations, patience, and hope,

I’m “essentially” still carrying this load with my back broke,

But mentally I’m waxing in experience and self growth.

XXXXX

Wanting something more than the usual routine,

where I blink and the days become irrelevant to a nightwalker like me,

But at least I’m fine, I could be better honestly,

No reason to spell it out that you can’t break somebody…

XXXXX

Debating what world to exist in today,

balancing between growth and doubt y que?

Action is the route through despite the risks,

the world still spins and it’s up to me to be okay.

XXXXX


Many Thanks to Luis Morales, Sara Hernandez, Anna Dayan and Xarly Mendoza for joining me in answering the preceding question. How are you is something that everyone is finally starting to come to terms with; 2021 is no better time to be honest with each other and with ourselves. Measure what space your head, heart, soul and being are really in, because you might surprise yourself when accepting an honest answer.

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