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COVID-19 Thoughts from SZP

Today’s post is a little heavy, and I’m not gonna lie, it was written at 3am. It’s a chance to share our thoughts on COVID-19 and how it’s impacted all of our lives.

We’re always really cheerful and happy on our feed because we’re very optimistic. Lately though, I find myself quiet and withdrawn which is so the opposite of me. People keep posting messages about how this is a special time to come together with family. But it’s always been special for me to be with them, enjoying their company is MOST important to me every day regardless of a quarantine, and has always been something I’ve made time for. I’ve never taken for granted the time with my family and children.

We have bad days, too.

Yesterday was a really tough day, I had to put down my dog (Two years from the date we lost our other dog, too!). And, we found out that Steve’s mom is sick. We are hoping this is NOT because of the virus but time will tell.  

I will MISS You BiG and Etta!

2.8.08 – 4.23.20

Every day now I check to see if I have my first gray hair, because if I don’t get it now then I’m convinced I’ll never have a gray hair. I feel guilty for wanting to indulge in lighthearted articles and trash watch TV as I just need a break from my news that I constanly watch and flip through the channels (watching the new on a daily? Am I turning into my parents?). I haven’t worn jewelry or make-up since this began because it feels so superficial in the face of what’s going on. OH and have I mentioned I have lost complete control over my kids. My two children are running MY life – imagine a 2 and a 4 year old are telling me what to do!

Learning About the World

I saw a meme a month ago that stuck with me “world is closed, folks” man is that not true. Social media gives us a platform to voice our thoughts and opinions, but who am I to publicly voice anything on what’s going on in the world. I’m no expert on COVID-19 or how to handle this crisis. I see a lot of political views and “can we do this or that?”. I see and acknowledge it, but don’t share or comment. Instead, I just sit alone with my thoughts.

I find myself reading every article I can to get other’s point of view. I recently read one that a good friend’s husband posted (he works as an ER doctor). The article gave the doctor’s perspective, and what they’re going through. It was really eye opening! I only know my own perspective of the world, and don’t see what’s happening with this virus right in front of me like they do. 

I watched a different video that another close friend and colleague of mine posted of one his clients. The client had just lost their brother to COVID-19, he was only 30 years old, and it hit me hard. I miss talking to friends, just small talk without all the heaviness. But I talked to friends that are helping in the soup kitchens, and the meal prep lines for the children who rely on the school lunch program; and to friends who work for DCYF. They’re doing everything they can to keep supporting as many people as possible. And it makes me want to help too.

Front Steps Project

In the beginning I put my energy in helping the community based on a friend’s recommendation to start the Front Steps Project here in RI. I started the Rhode Island branch and together we raised $25k to help support the small businesses in the community. I did that project strictly to give people hope, and in return it gave me hope. It was sincerely something I did from the bottom of my heart. They were the only days in this pandemic that I felt empowered and truly happy. I haven’t felt that way in a long time, and it sparked something inside of me. Giving back to the community is what I needed. I saw smile and nuclear families coming together and helping out the small community. It was a soul inspiring project!  

But every up has it’s down. What a lot of people don’t know is that by participating and spearheading the Rhode Island branch of this project, I had to endure the fellow photography community bashing my work with their personal views and claims that what we were doing was dangerous. I just read and stayed silent. Let it be very known that I did this far before the stay at home order, and kept significantly farther than 10 feet from my subjects. Regardless, this has been the best thing I could have done for myself and the community because I got to see people smiling again and I know the impact that $25k has on this community. This is something I am honored to have done and WILL have done again in a heart beat if I went back in time.

front steps project during COVID-19 with Sara Zarrella Photography

We miss celebrating with you.

I’m just shocked at where we are as a society right now. Honestly, 2 months ago I was photographing big bash celebration weddings getting up close and personal with my couples; and now I’m photographing small elopements from yards away. Who knows what 2 months from now will bring.

I want the big celebrations again. And, I know they’ll happen eventually, people miss being around people, but I’m still sad by all this. I know that this is not the end, and this is just a switch (like a circut beaker) that’s temporarily shut off… But still, I mourn the temporary loss of the career I have built over the last 17 years. I chose to surround myself with joy, people falling in love, social celebrations, smiling babies. I chose LOVE. That was my choice as a career. As a home that relies on income from these beautiful events (and dental work that no one can have right now!), we have to find creative ways to bring money in to pay our bills. It’s not at all how we envisioned our lives.

I talk to my couples and we comfort alongside each other. I help advise them as they postpone their celebrations while the switch is shut off. BUT it will be turned on again. And, when it does NO one will take for granted being able to eat, drink and marry.  Not one of my couples are cancelling their weddings, postponing yes, but not cancelling; because you can’t cancel love. You just have to hold onto it a little longer before you can share it with a big gathering!

We don’t know what we have ’til it’s gone.

I hear about the loss of life, of freedom; and loss of self. We’re mourning being able to do the small things we enjoy, like a cup of coffee with your friend face to face. I mourn too. I cherish the friends I’ve been able to talk with. Though it’s just a few voices, it’s my tribe, and I can count that tribe on one hand. Anyone who knows me knows I am very social! But this has really shown me that I can really count on less than one hand who my tribe is. I constantly talk to close colleagues and friends and say “man I miss you.”

Recently, I had a friend who dropped off a bike so my little girls could borrow it. It was a small gesture that really made a difference to me. It was so wonderful to see a familiar face!Aall I wanted to do was give her a big hug! But I could not. She stayed in the driveway and me at my door. We are talked to each other 10 feet apart. Meanwhile, she wiped down the bike using lysol and wearing gloves… It just hit me how the world has changed.

You don’t realize what you take for granted until it’s gone. And while I feel like I’m one of the few who didn’t need COVID-19 or a crisis to cherish time with my family, I realize now it was everyone else I needed to cherish. I always took for granted the small talk I had with people. And man, do I miss the small talk.