The Emperifollá Non-Guide To Social Distancing

Editor’s Note: A global pandemic is definitely a source of stress and uncertainty – both physical and emotional – to everyone. At Emperifollá, we want to continue being a space for our community and use our resources to tell stories and share experiences that both uplift and mirror the reality of Latinxs.

Below our team shares how they are coping in these trying times. ¡Pa’ lante!

Andrea Devoto

When I saw a tweet that said something like “Anyone else was closer than they ever have been to having their life together before all this happened,” I felt that. While being quarantined in my apartment doesn’t affect me at all since I’ve always loved to stay home, the uncertainty of the situation really does. I’m privileged to have a place that feels like home and I can be calm amidst the chaos but, in terms of keeping myself healthy and looking for financial stability, the stress grows every day. At least, after being 8 months unemployed, I was able to start my new job on Monday. Though I’m doing my training online, which is very difficult when there’s a sea of new information trying to process in my head, I am glad I have somewhat a 9 to 5-type of “normalcy” these days that feel empty.

The weeks before starting my job, I tried to do whatever my body and mind told me to do each day. Since the moment I woke up, I asked myself what things I felt like doing that day, whether it was having my coffee at my couch scrolling through Pinterest, drawing whatever I had on my mind on a notebook, finally putting up a frame on my wall, cooking, etc., and I did all that without thinking “I can’t go outside.” Instead, I told myself that I decided not to go outside.

While it’s unrealistic to tell everyone to just stay positive, I do tell people that it’s better to live one day at a time and not to put too much energy in what could happen or how much this could last because the future is not in our hands. The situation is already overwhelming to put even more weight on it. Focus on your everyday challenges and go step by step. Also, there’s no reason to change your pajamas if you don’t want to.

Bianca Nieves

I stared way too long at my empty notes app page to write this. I wonder if that’s how celebs feel when they’re going to share a half-assed apology. Regardless, in my case, I’m not writing an apology, even though I feel like I should. It’s a weird time. I don’t know how or what to feel.  

It’s been a little over two weeks now where I wake up and feel whatever is the fine line between hopeless and hopeful. I’ve learned it’s a lot to feel for something that appears to be so thin. So, I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind as much as one can by creating new routines. Instead of running to the bus every morning, I run to my kitchen stove ’cause I forgot the boiling water for my tea. I don’t skip any beauty routine steps. I work out at least 30 minutes every day. 

Little things. 

I would be lying if I said it doesn’t feel like I’m running on empty. But as a great, pink starfish under the sea would say, “We have technology, Spongebob!” 

My small screens (and the internet) help me stay a bit sane by connecting me with other humans who are also trying to cope with new normals, new “homes” — the new unknown. 

I mean, I celebrated my 26 birthday via Zoom. One for the books. 

Though, as soon as I remember the bigger picture, as to why we’re in this – failing systems, capitalism –, it’s back to square one: I wake up and feel whatever is the fine line between hopeless and hopeful.

Maridelis Morales Rosado

Now wrapping up my third week at home, I can admit this has felt like a long montage in a rom-com or music video where I am introspectively moving from my desk to my bed to the couch in repeat. I’m still thinking about which song the montage is set to– please stay tuned.

At this point I believe I’ve seen every Instagram post (no lives, JK only the James Blake one and the Emperifollá one, duh), story, every Tik Tok, worked on my website a bit, went through my favorite photo books, caught up on all my sleep, baked, finally watched the disaster that SATC 2 is, did my makeup once, shaved my legs twice (true self care for me at this point), and played a lot of Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch (which I am thrilled to have in these trying times).

My strategy has been to go with what I feel like I need that day. I’m thankful to live with friends that have kept my spirits up, looking out the window has been a new source of joy for me. I don’t think I am qualified to advise on how you should spend your time, so if you think the best way to cope is to impulse buy that Nintendo Switch, I think you should go for it!

As I pivot from my desk to my couch for the third time today (it’s only 2 pm), I came to the conclusion that the song to my quarantine montage is… Sensación del Bloque.

Frances Solá-Santiago

I was supposed to be packing to go back home to Puerto Rico this week. Instead, I’m FaceTiming my loved ones and staying in my New York apartment to survive a global pandemic. It’s surreal to feel so safe and threatened at the same time. 

I am okay, though. As okay as one can be with distressing news and Twitter rants and an incompetent government that continues to fail us every single day. 

I’m a Leo, so being indoors – without the ability to put on a new outfit every day and show it off – is the literal definition of a nightmare. But I’m staying positive, doing my 5-step skincare routine twice a day, doing my hair for myself and experimenting with makeup looks I’ll wear when this is over. 

The reality is that staying indoors is a privilege, and I’m using this time to catch up with myself as much as I can, by doing as much or as little as I want to. 

Stephanie Stoddard Cortés

My standard response to how I’m doing in this whole situation has been that I’ve forgotten how to be a person; stuck somewhere between Spongebob’s indooooors, indoooooors and Paul Rudd’s “Look at us! Who woulda thought? Not me!” After binge-watching five cutesy animes as a hopeful escape (yep, my moon is in Pisces) and grappling with how similar but different this feels to post-María, I’m finally getting over the denial phase. 

In general, though, I’m okay. I’m incredibly grateful and aware I have the privilege of working from home and to even have a home to have existential crises in. For the rest, I’m slowly learning that disconnecting is just as important as connecting; taking it day by day, staying in contact with the people I love. And trying my best to do the same for me too, by cooking, moving, etcetera. It’s important to stay informed, indoors as much as possible and to help the community in any way you can.

Frances Solá-Santiago

Born in Puerto Rico, based in New York City. She is the editor-in-chief on Emperifollá. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, Glamour Magazine, Numéro, Refinery29, Remezcla, and Bustle.

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