Amidst the Chaos ~ pandemic essay by Kelsey Allen

I moved into an apartment across the country to regain the independence I felt I had lost; it took me two days of living alone to understand that now is not the time for independence. I sleep in my friend’s unoccupied room because it feels better than admitting the tiny one next to it is actually mine. When I hear our third roommate walk around, I know that I shouldn’t leave until her door slams. A turquoise bowl that was once filled with pasta and butter and shitty pre-grated parmesan cheese sits next to me and I think about how romantic this must be and in a sense it is. There is natural light and books stacked to the ceiling. I think about going for a walk but am afraid seeing other people will remind me that I am alone. A day and a half is too much time to reflect.

I think about the nights I have spent sitting in this room with my friends and try to remember if I was happy in those moments. I think about my happiness and wonder if I haven’t felt it since high school, a time I was so desperate to get away from. I start to wonder if any of the relationships I have made in college are real if I can’t remember how they made me feel. I remember smiling; there are videos that prove I have smiled. But I have no memory of doing it.

I can remember sitting on a bench next to an ice cream stand with one of my closest friends my junior or senior year of high school. She was picking the chocolate out of her salted caramel ice cream and throwing it beneath the bench, and I remember laughing. I can remember dancing to show tunes on carpeted floors and listening to “Sister Golden Hair” on Vista Del Mar. I can remember lying in my best friend’s bed watching Bridesmaids with her when she didn’t get into the school play. I do not remember sophomore year of college. I do not remember what it was like to share a room with another human being. I used to fear I wouldn’t remember anything before college, but as I sit in a twin-sized bed, my imagination lingers on high school. When I grasp at a semblance of happiness between my lonely tears, I see California. I can’t seem to think of anything I have felt in the past three years. I am sitting in this room staring out the window at Jamaica Plain and it is now a foreign country. This isn’t my apartment; it is temporary lodging. I think about graduating early to avoid online school in the fall, but I don’t know where I would go.


I spend hours online shopping and envision myself as a new person. In reality, I know that I would like my clothes if I were thinner. I have the desire to keep buying clothes on the off chance they will make me realize I am beautiful. They never really have. And even if they have it only lasts for a week until I realize I am the same.

And that is perhaps the biggest problem. Amidst all of this chaos, I am still the same.

Kelsey Allen was Strega Nona in a past life. She is from Los Angeles, California, and is currently studying Literature with a minor in Environmental Science at Emerson College. She hopes to work in publishing when she graduates.

Show Kelsey some love via PayPal at kelseyallenhb(at)gmail(dot)com.

One thought on “Amidst the Chaos ~ pandemic essay by Kelsey Allen

Comments are closed.