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Like This Meme, I Too Have the Capacity of Emerging From the Suffocating Cocoon of the Pandemic to Become a Different Person

Embrace a different you

As I continue to ask myself when I’ll be able to greet the pizza delivery person without a facemask, I can’t help but reflect on how much has happened over the past year and some change. The beginning of 2020 had a lot riding on it, being a new decade and all, and a lot of us (myself included) believed that it would, quote, “be our time to shine.”

2020 said HA, followed by, HA!

Having an entire pandemic to begin the new decade was not part of the plan. I still remember feeling an impending sense of dread about going to the grocery store. I remember the toilet paper shortage, the kneejerk reaction to take up baking, the hand sanitizer wars, and, on a more serious note, the overwhelming sense of loss and uncertainty.

We coped in the best way we could, and are still coping today, but with a bit more optimism than April 2020. There are vaccines being distributed now, and while there are plenty of other steps to take before we reach a point where I actually consider going to any kind of gathering, it feels okay to look at vacation destinations and dream.

But wow, I whisper to my reflection, I’m not the same person I was last year. I don’t think any of us are.

There’s a meme for that.

Based on this New York Times opinion piece, the headline has been transformed into a meme factor where folks post pictures of who they feel they’ll become once the pandemic is over. Some pictures are of themselves or of actual, real-life people, but when you look for the meme now you’ll probably find loads of fictional characters.

I think the message of the piece (how we’re gonna be different after the year we’ve had) and the humorous response is a perfect reflection of, well, insert me gesturing frantically around the world as it is today. I’ve unconsciously changed in ways I didn’t think about, like how I automatically leave space between myself and the person in line without needing that “social distance” sign to guide me, or how I got over feeling bad for sharing personal victories because damn, with all the bad, it feels good to share the bright spots. So yeah. When I step out of the house and no longer break into a cold sweat when engaging with the general public, I’ll be different.

The Internet response to meme the hell out of the headline is also an indicator of what we’ve been doing to deal with the gravity of the situation. Shit sucks, so here’s a meme. Why? Because we don’t know when we’re “coming out of this,” so here’s a meme. Change is good, but the vehicle to that change (a whole ass pandemic) is depressing to think about, so here’s a meme. Both “yes I’m a different person” and “ugh I’m surviving a pandemic and am running out of ways to change the way my bedroom looks” can, and do, coexist.

So yeah.

Here’s a meme.

And because it’s required, here’s mine:

My take on the meme using Sukuna from Jujutsu Kaisen

Listen. I ate some interesting things during the lockdown.

Though honestly, I’m more liking to walk around in public like this for a while once we get the official, for sure, “okay you can have some outside now” order:




(Image: New York Times/Crunchyroll)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)