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in these times, how we respond is everything ⌇by ivette mancilla

by victoria larkins |

a narrative piece on life in Tulum during this global pandemic⌇by ivette mancilla

 

As I read that phrase at Sankalpa’s Homepage… it hit me. How have I responded to this new coVIDA? 

Oh Dear, get ready… there’s not just “one” response but several to this current phenomenon and I also believe there’s no wrong response either. All of us are acting and manifesting differently to the changes this disease has caused us; some better or worse than others, but all feelings are valid; why wouldn’t they be; if no one prepared us for it? 

 

My name is Ivette Mancilla, I’m Mexicana, 33 years old and before the virus I was living a healthy and pretty pleasant life in Tulum as a yoga instructor, fashion designer and illustrator. But the wheel changed since March, and now my life has been divided into B.C. or A.C. (before Covid or after Covid). When this thing arrived to México, I decided to leave Tulum for a while (everything closed anyway) and go take care of my parents in Baja; besides, I had not been home in almost a year. I wanted to spend quarantine with them; so I packed my bags, wrapped myself in masks, gloves, hat and all sorts of disposable cloths so I wouldn’t get any bug during the flight; I even bought 2 tickets, so I would have 2 seats for me next to the window, avoiding anyone from sitting next to me; exagerada, right? I was too scared to travel. 

 

Luckily I arrived fine, and what started out as 40 days became 3 months in Baja. I am grateful I was able to spend those lockdown days in a big house with a huge garden where I could play, paint, read, walk… with my 2 bebé beagles, my parents, my sisters and my old childhood memories. I was happy, in spite of “the situation”; and when I realized it, I felt ashamed, guilty, despicable even. Suddenly I couldn’t upload stories or photos to social media of me having fun during those days because felt it wasn’t fair; people were struggling, hurting, dying… and there I was enjoying my vacations. How cruel was I? 

 

Was it relevant to share a post about my favorite kombucha, my home workouts or playing around with my dogs when the world was in panic? (Never uploaded a tik-tok though! Just to be clear, lol). I felt so selfish and ashamed of myself of posting silly old me when half of the world was suffering.  Was I to move on with my life, ignoring the situation? 

 

One day I spoke about this on IG and how I was feeling, “sentimientos encontrados” we call them. I asked then what could I do, how could I help? What was the correct way to use social media in favor of this? I had mixed feelings… and apparently, so did many of others. 

 

I received so many responses and from people in other countries that I did not even knew: from Italy, Sweden, USA, UK, México, Colombia… everyone coping and reacting to Covid in their own way and going through similar emotional stages as me. 

 

At that time, Italy was doing really, really bad, they were in serious lockdown with poor resources, no more beds in hospitals, thousands of deaths…. and this one girl from there responded to my story. She acknowledged the situation was scary; she was worried, anxious, stressed and tired of confinement. But also told me, that in spite of it all, when she saw stories of normal life (like mine), “happy and smiling people”; she felt hope. She encouraged me into living my life as if this thing didn’t existed; she said people like her needed to see things like this in order to believe that one day, the world would get better again; that she felt relieved when watching life going on easily in other parts of the world. “Please don’t stop living; keep sharing your smiley faces and relaxed environment; we need to see this more than you think”. 

 

I got similar responses from others. They all needed hope. So I aimed to give them that from now on. If it was within my power to help even a tiny bit, with videos of the beach, family meals, nature sounds and birds and butterflies… I would do so. Sometimes the best way to help is simple; all you need is to send hope, love and good vibes from the heart. After all, we’re ALL in this together in our own way. 

 

This too shall pass. 

 

With Love,

Ivette Mancilla

 

 

 

 

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