Sitting in bio class, I look around and take note of the terrified faces I see as my teacher nervously attempts to explain to his already panicked and confused 9th graders to brace themselves for the major change in life they are about to experience. I see the way my classmates look around at each other, some asking numerous questions about what’s to come (many my teacher could not answer, of course) and some staying silent with eyes wide and mouths open. 

The day has already felt beyond surreal when suddenly, the announcement light goes on (something that rarely happens in the middle of class) and I hear my principal’s shaky voice announce that all school activities, events, and meetings are postponed indefinitely. Then, I hear the dreaded, yet expected news that there will be a “spontaneous, but mandatory meeting” for all cast and crew members of Chicago the Musical immediately after class. I turn to my classmates and say “I knew it”. Without saying what “it” is that I knew, everyone gasps, continuing to ask poor panicky questions. 

After a 40 minute class that felt like 4 hours, I sprint to the auditorium, and upon finally arriving I see my director and principal on the stage, a look of dread on their faces, and an audience full of some already crying cast members. I make eye contact with one of my best friends and run to her. When I go over she says, “I cannot believe this is happening. My grandparents flew all the way from France to see this”. After everyone arrives, we hear the once again dreaded and expected words that Chicago the Musical will be “postponed indefinitely”. Ohh if I had a nickel for every time I heard the words “postponed indefinitely” that day. You guessed it, for obvious reasons, the school musical was canceled. Two hours before opening night. Not so good to tell a room full of drama students. At this point, at least 70% of the room was crying, including my director. I comforted my friends and exchanged looks of concern with everyone around me. But I just could not cry. Whereas I was disappointed that I would not get the opportunity to perform with my friends after three months of rehearsals, I felt more a feeling of unsteadiness for the new world we were all about to step foot into.   

Here we are, almost 50 days later, and that new world has now become our reality. No more real school, only google meet conferences with teachers and teaching ourselves algebra through a screen. No more Friday night hangouts with my best friends, only zoom calls and Netflix parties. No more dance class, only watching youtube links from my dance teacher, pausing and unpausing in an attempt to continue on as normal.

The strangeness of it all is that youths like myself can no longer look to adults for past wisdom as we once could, because well, we are all experiencing this together! Maybe that’s even scarier, or maybe experiencing something altogether is a new way we’re connecting like never before. 

And although these times are new and different, I have been able to find some joy in this new way of life. What better way to spend quarantine than teaching your old man yoga poses to help his back? And not only do I get to hang out with my dad, but I also now have my brother back from college. Having someone here to constantly annoy and crack up with has made every day better.

Another joy that I personally have taken away from this, is experiencing a whole new level of gratitude. I have never felt so grateful to have a roof over my head, to eat the food I do, to be with family, to remain healthy and to have access to the technology that keeps us connected. Now more than ever, I understand how incredibly amazing it is that I have access to all this. 

With that said, I know there are so many who do not have the time to reflect on the possible good, because they are working every day to return our world to normal. So for that, I would like to say thank you to all our first responders. You are the reason we have hope for a better future. 

And to anyone else who is just trying to stay sane during quarantine, remember that it is okay to not be okay. 

Liv Mazz, aka The Lone Teen, is a suburban 13-year-old living with her father, brother and Havanese puppy. She is an eighth grader who enjoys spending time with friends in downtown Westfield NJ.

When not hanging out with her friends, you can find her dancing up a storm at her longtime dance school, running lines to audition for her next show or singing a ballad on stage. Liv also loves to spend time with her giant Italian family by enjoying a Sunday dinner and great conversation. She cannot wait to begin sharing her story as a not-so-average teen and is super excited to be a brand new addition to The Daily Feels.

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