Bright-er Side: Social distancing helped me find myself

I didn’t realize how much people’s opinions influenced me until I stopped seeing people

ILLUSTRATION: Danielle Ragas / The Peak

By: Marco Ovies, Features Editor

Before COVID-19 and social distancing, I was filled with social anxiety constantly. I always thought that everyone around me was silently judging me and that I had to try to be as “normal” as possible. I would cycle through the same three outfits (that consisted of jeans and a T-shirt) so I would not stand out. I would walk around SFU’s halls with my headphones in and head down to avoid drawing attention to myself. I would even make sure to wear shoes with a soft sole so I wouldn’t make too much noise walking down an empty hallway. 

But with the new social distancing orders from our lord and saviour Dr. Bonnie Henry, all these anxiety-inducing social situations disappeared. So with no one to judge me, what was stopping me from doing what I wanted?

My wardrobe quickly expanded from just a few articles of bland clothing to clothes I felt good in. Greys were switched with mustard yellows and black for bright green. Instead of pretending I wasn’t a huge Pokémon nerd (though I’ll admit, I don’t think I did a great job hiding it), I ran with it. My obsession with Dungeons & Dragons podcasts was no longer something I had to hide in shame because no one was there to judge me for it. And the more I started to get into it, the more these interests started to slowly pop up in the few social interactions I had.

Gradually I would talk to friends online or coworkers over Slack about the things I was interested in. The more I did this, the more I realized that other people are into the same things as me. Hell, some people are even nerdier than me (can you believe it?). 

It felt like a weight off my shoulders; I finally didn’t have to pretend to be someone else. I could finally be the plant-loving, Pokémon-obsessed, Minecraft amateur I was destined to be. 

Now that COVID-19 restrictions are being gradually lifted, I know that I will be coming back into the world as myself.