Meet Cayna Love
It was the end of my junior year and I totally had my life together… so I thought. Track season was at its peak, I had been accepted into a prestigious club at school, and just one week away was the most important orchestra performance of the year. It was as if my life was a car and I was the driver, cruising along a scenic highway. All of a sudden, I hit a gigantic bump in the road, veered off course, and was stripped of control.
This was how I felt when Coronavirus precautions canceled everything in March of 2020. There was nothing to look forward to; I was left only with anxiety. Prom? Canceled. Track season? Canceled. Feelings of stability and sanity? Canceled. I worried about catching the virus, and I stressed about the thought of never running on the track again. Nothing seemed normal and it threw me off balance, making me uneasy. In denial, I worked to maintain tip-top shape for when the track season resumed, and I studied, hoping my effort would result in good grades in my virtual classes. Yet, all my efforts failed to achieve what I truly wanted: normalcy. 2020 continued to wreck everything.
At the time, 2020 seemed like the end of the world. From a global pandemic to killer wasps, I saw nothing positive. With the mental struggles that 2020 brought, I had to either go along with the negative hysteria that far too many succumbed to or to find my own way to be positive. I decided to not let the pandemic ruin me or my high school experience. In the midst of all this strife, my mental strength increased. I found myself growing in confidence about how I looked and acted. This all held true in mid-April when I broke out with anxiety-induced acne worse than I’ve ever had. When I looked into the mirror, I glanced away and shed tears of self-pity. However, when I worked out with friends or spent time with family, it was an opportunity to work on being comfortable in my own skin; I didn’t want to sacrifice time with loved ones. From this, my mindset changed from a fear of what others thought to acceptance of myself. My personality blossomed and I talked openly about my struggles and physical insecurities.
Not only did I strengthen my relationship with myself by fostering self-confidence in my abilities and my body, but also with my family and friends. With the implementation of social distancing, staying in touch became burdensome and strained the relationships that were facilitated through in-person activities like school or church. With this challenge, I quickly learned who was committed to investing in our relationships and those friendships flourished despite uncertainty in the world. Quarantine meant more time with my family. We grew closer and I grew more patient.
Eight months in quarantine gave me the chance to improve my relationships, catch up on sleep, and even perfect my banana bread recipe. Ultimately, this past year was a blessing rather than a curse. Without this adversity, I would have never learned the importance of turning to my family and friends to say how much I truly love them. The trials of 2020 improved my self-confidence and forced repairs on my metaphorical car. I am convinced that this experience, which took any semblance of normalcy or control away from me, has made me capable of handling any future challenges. Even though such challenges will be different than those posed by COVID-19, I know that regardless of any apocalyptic events it will be okay.