The pandemic arrived in 2020, halting most Americans' lives with what seemed like little to no warning. The unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April of 2020, comparable to the great recession. Twenty-four million Americans, approximately 11% of the adult population, reported food shortages in their homes. Not to mention the number of people who are behind on their rent or mortgage.
Overall, the year had its ups, and it certainly had its downs as the pandemic continues into 2021 with no end date in sight. Still, I found one silver-lining within my fellow girl-gang—a sisterhood that may have been there all along, but I was too blind to see.
I have a wide array of friends who span the western hemisphere from my home in New York to Los Angeles, California, to across the pond in London and Switzerland. Somehow, we've all maintained more connection now than in the past three years. Who knew I'd be thankful for zoom calls, WhatsApp, and daily group chats, when I've never enjoyed these things before.
Early in the pandemic, my friends set up a weekly "happy hour" call that has given us all an outlet and support system. It was a space to whine or cry and, most importantly, laugh with each other. It began with themed weeks, where we'd dress up to provide us with a sense of unity through silly humor. We wore pink on Wednesdays, went on a beach getaway from our living rooms, and planned our zombie apocalypse outfits. Complete with the perfect accessories and, of course, wine.
Later, we hit more intense topics, talking to each other through social activism, civil rights, voting, police brutality, and BLM protests. My friends thrived in sharing different tactics in support of the BLM cause. We made it through the Tiger King, and we made it through Trump.
Covid-19 has left many isolated and alone. People are fearful of seeing their loved ones, leaving them with little positive human interaction. This has led to a broad surge in suicides with a 60% increase for adolescents.
Using technology, I was able to maintain my relationships and also improve on them. I could breathe more life into close friendships and get to know old friends for who they've grown to become. For this, I am grateful to the pandemic for giving me a group of girls that I can lean on. Something I wish for all women is to find their true sisters.