The Silver Lining of Social Distancing
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
by Aisha Binghalib Almaazmi
I have always considered myself a writer. I love documenting events, as well as creating my own poems, short pieces and eventually, writing my first-ever novella. Many people don’t seem to classify me as the writer type, because I am an extrovert by nature; I love being surrounded by people, being a part of conversations as well as making new acquaintances. Even though many may disagree, there is a stereotype of what a writer’s personality should include, and trust me, I do not fit that stereotype.
Being an AUS student means that I am constantly under academic pressure, which eventually took a toll on my writing. My role as a student dramatically pulled me away from one of my favourite things to do, giving me less and less time to express myself through my favourite way: writing. In the free time that I rarely got, I could be found completely transfixed by Netflix; I did not have the energy or strength to produce content worthy of writing.
Recently, the emergence of the coronavirus and the eventual closure of all public institutions led to students turning to online learning in order to maintain social distancing. Just like most students, adjusting to the new routine of attending virtual classes was a bit of a challenge. I still struggle to remain focused, and I often find myself walking around the house during my classes. However, social distancing proved to be a silver lining in this difficult time for me; I finally got the chance to write again. I pulled out my journals and immediately began documenting my experiences quarantining with my family, along with listing important announcements and news from the government such as the implementation of curfew, the mandatory requirement of a mask, and the eventual cancellation of the rest of the academic year. Holding a pen and scratching my ideas into the clean, lined paper of my journal felt a little foreign to me because I immediately realised that I haven’t been creative in a long time.
I would write poems and short pieces about anything around me or the way I felt about a certain topic; It was my way of positively venting, knowing I wouldn’t hurt anyone in the process. Emotions like fear, anger and happiness inspired the majority of writing. However, my primary emotion in university, stress, never helped me become a better writer. My ideal place of writing had to be someplace comfortable, a place I could stretch and physically feel relaxed. At home, it would be a couch in my living room or a comfy bean bag in a quiet room. With social distancing, my writing flourished. I was finally in a comfortable place (both physically and mentally) and I had more control over my time table.
Most people who know me knew that I liked to write and that I was good at it, but I never shared my work with anyone other than my family. But as time went by, I realised that I was ready and comfortable to share my work. I realised that the best way to do this was by opening an Instagram account to publish my writing pieces. I had done my research prior to my decision and found a massive writing community on Instagram, ranging all the way from beginners to fully published, well-known authors. I opened my account a few weeks ago and so far, I’ve published 18 pieces on my page. I’ve received a lot of praise from my friends who didn’t even know I liked to write. Many writers and poets on Instagram have followed me and commented positively on my posts.
In the end, everything we go through, whether good or bad, has a lesson to teach us. Social distancing might be interpreted as something that puts a pause in our social lives, but it can prove to be the ideal time of self-reflection and the discovery of talents. When you’re not constantly interacting with people, there is an opportunity for you to expand your own creativity and skills. Maybe we needed a little social distancing after all.