Sacramento summers are part of the reason why I fell in love so quickly with the brisk windiness of San Francisco. The summers here in Sactown are contrastingly harsh- often reaching +100 degrees. This August, I found myself retreating back to the summers of my childhood. This meant drawing the shades basking my room in darkness so minimum amounts of sunlight and heat could escape through. Not leaving the house after 11 am when the heat begins to really burn. Though it sure looked like the summers of my youth, it didn't feel like summer break at all.
Unlike many of my peers whom had elected to move to far away places or back to SF to live out our troubled times in the best way they could, my family and I came to the decision that it would be right for me to stay home and weather out the COVID storm.  It was hard seeing everyone move on with their lives as they continued to make memories and share laughs. A lot of the times we tend to box ourselves into thinking that whatever we're going through is happening exclusively to us. And it's important to be aware of this thinking to avoid getting too negative. I know I'm not alone. I have friends that I can talk to and are there for me which I am incredibly grateful for. But friends are not therapists and I wouldn't want them to be. One of the most valuable lessons I've come to terms with lately is that everyone is so caught up in their own lives, how can they really have time to think about yours. It's important to not take their attention or lack thereof personally. I'm not alone in that sense. But I sure felt alone. I still feel alone.
So the question I asked myself was "how do I navigate this feeling of loneliness and isolation." 
I wish I had the answer, but the truth is I've gotten better. The momentary thing I am telling myself right now is that it is okay to feel alone. In fact, that I should embrace it and really appreciate the isolation and opportunity to put my head down and reflect and plan my next steps. We're constantly changing and it's refreshing to be able to take the time to be aware of this. Time to time, I still get these harsh waves of intensified loneliness and they are rough but I just remind myself that we will not be alone forever and that's true.
In fact, I've made plans to drive down to Southern California in September to see some of my friends who live there. I can't wait to smile with them and take some pictures along the way. I deserve it. - ST
Photos were taken in Sacramento, CA
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