Dear Aqiyo,

It is February 2020 you are in the spring semester of your sophomore year of college. You are finally at a place where you feel balanced, your academics and your social life and health are equally feeling prioritized, life feels good. This is the best you’ve felt in a long time, the city is finally starting to feel like home, you are thriving and not just surviving as you have for so long.

Unfortunately you suddenly come down with a nasty cold and when that passes the world will shift upside down and you and your sisters will be on your way back home upstate to quarantine with your mom and brother. Being back home for an undetermined amount of time, you are numb and don’t really know how to feel. Being outside on the porch with the sun beaming down, reading, and watching reality tv are what is keeping you grounded and at ease. Although school and taking care of yourself and your relationships feel like they are falling apart and hard to keep afloat, being with family is healing you in a way you didn’t expect. Your definition of community is less vague, you understand what it means to show up and care for those around you and for yourself in a deeper, more sustainable way. The community you nourish, is the most important part of your life, and the time in quarantine while plagued with its own tribulations and trauma, was a great reminder on how to do better for those you love and yourself, and I am excited to see how you grow from here on.

Love, Aqiyo Kenyi <3