A New Normal by Margo Zani

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking during my time quarantining. Thinking about my future and how it will be affected when this is over. Thinking about the people I miss and wondering how much longer we have to be apart. Thinking about all the frustrations COVID-19 has caused for everyone and myself. However, in spite of all the negative thoughts that have lingered in my head, I am frequently reminded of all the good around me. The good I see in my family, friends and people across the world who are all affected in some way by this pandemic.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Judy Smothers, Betty Zani and Eli Zani eat dinner together. They are sitting several feet apart since Smothers and Zani are more compromised to COVID-19. March 26, 2020. (Photo by Margo Zani)

Over the last week, I’ve predominantly seen the good in something as simple as being outside. I’ve been reminded of how calming being in the sun is, especially when I’ve been stuck in my house for days at a time. I’m not alone in that. It’s as if the sun was beckoning people out of their homes to be reminded of this simple joy.

In my hometown neighborhood, parents have been congregating in the cul-de-sacs sitting in giant circles in their folding chairs, at appropriate distances of course. Often, I hear kids screaming while they run around playing tag with one another and jump on the trampoline until the sun sets. Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time outside on the back porch of my home for family dinners, other times for morning coffee but most often to think.

Sometimes when the negative thoughts begin to cloud what good I can see, I head to my car to take a drive. With all the windows down, on the not so secret back roads of Franklin, I am reminded of what is good. The sights of families walking the streets, playlists made specifically for quarantine drives and sunsets that look like they’ve been painted keep my thoughts from growing too overwhelming.

This pandemic wants to make it hard to think positively, but it can never steal what good can be found in all of these moments and spaces, and it most definitely cannot steal fresh air and the simple joy of sunlight.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Eli Zani driving on the back roads in Franklin, TN to catch the last few minutes of the sunset. March 31, 2020. (Photo by Margo Zani)


Journal Entry #1

On March 7th, I made the brief drive home to Franklin, Tennessee for my spring break, never even thinking about the possibility of finishing my junior year of school online. I had been hearing about the coronavirus for a little while, but I had yet to realize its impact on my life. It wasn’t until all of the county public schools in Franklin closed pending further notice that I began to pay attention more to the headlines involving COVID-19. Coronavirus had found Franklin and soon after it spread like wildfire across the US.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Calypso Resort in Panama City, Florida hangs up a sign about social distancing while at the pool. Social distancing, quarantining and the closing of all restaurants and bars quickly began as COVID-19 spread. March 19, 2020. (Photo by Margo Zani)

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quickly sent out an email the following week stating that classes would be cancelled until March 23. At the last minute, my family decided to head to the beach for the week. I felt guilty as I laid out in the sun. While the whole world was being asked to practice social distancing and quarantining, I was relaxing on a beach. One night of our vacation, my guilt quickly turned into tears as I cried to my dad describing how overwhelming it was to watch this pandemic escalate so quickly. I cried for my friends who I knew were losing their homes, jobs, graduations and school semesters in a matter of one email. I cried for my own losses.

Two weeks ago, my normal life looked like going to class every day, being with students for my internship with The House Campus Ministry and hanging out with my friends. Now my normal looks like not leaving the house, participating in online class and not physically seeing or touching any of my friends in what feels like forever. This virus crept its way into our lives and made its home in the places we love the most, disrupting anything we knew as normal. It makes me anxious to think about how much longer it has to be like this. I dwell in the unknown of it all and the waiting game for it to end continues to make me anxious.

Monday, March 23, 2020

A new normal looks like living out of duffle bags for several weeks. March 23, 2020. (Photo by Margo Zani)

Although, there is still a long way to go until this pandemic is solved, my heart yearns for the day when I am allowed to leave my house again knowing I will not be harming another individual. For now, I find comfort knowing that in the middle of this mess I am still surrounded by family, moments of rest and plenty of facetime calls with dear friends.

Meet the Storyteller

Margo Zani is a junior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in Communications with a minor in Psychology. She enjoys photojournalism and writing stories that portray people’s lives in an authentic way. Margo is passionate about developing deeper relationships with those around her in order to better tell their stories. She currently interns for The House Campus Ministry where she is able to develop that kind of relationship every day. Contact her at yph692@mocs.utc.edu

One thought on “A New Normal by Margo Zani”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s