Working from Home During the Pandemic : THE GOOD SIDE AND THE UGLY SIDE!

It's been about four months since I've started working from home due to the pandemic. I'd be lying if I say it's all good and working out pretty well for me.

If you've read my previous posts, you would know that I moved out of my dorm and into a new place somewhere in Manila. The first month was such a struggle. I worked on my bed using a laptop table, getting little to no sun on a daily basis and accumulated back pains by the end of July. Come August, I started working in the living room using my roommates' chair and the dining table in our unit - much better! Or so I thought!

While I do get sunlight (finally), sometimes it's just too much to the point where it would trigger my crazy migraines. The entire wall in front of me is made of glass and while it's really nice to have a view, I wish I could mute the sounds (I meant NOISE!) that I am hearing while I'm doing my job. The chirping of the birds is fine! But the loud and unnecessary barking of the dogs is definitely not! People walking and talking outside once in a while is tolerable, but the hammering and drilling due to renovation or construction is like a living hell.

I had to ask someone else to sub for the last few hours of my shift about a week ago because there was another unannounced construction while I was in the middle of work. This is the second time it happened to me while working from home. And it's getting ridiculous! Call it pride, but I usually don't want to disturb other people if I know I can do something - especially if it's about my job. But I had no choice, I'd rather lose my salary and incentives instead of getting complaints from clients and eventually ruin my reputation. After a few cuss words while logging off our system, I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed - trying my best to cool my head. Anger really consumes a lot of your energy, and for me, it's about twice as hard to get it back. I need to be with nature, to chat with a few good friends or have my mandatory alone time if I want my energy back. None of which I can do these days - thanks to the pandemic!

While I was literally feeling my energy leaving my body, I tried to do a mental inventory of the good side of this pathetic story. The first one is that I don't get cat-called on a regular basis anymore. While I was living in my dorm, though I normally take a Grab car in the morning, I'd walk from my office all the way home. The city is full of uneducated and indecent people who think they can get away with everything as long as they have a d*ck and a loud mouth. It shouldn't be the norm, but I know I'm not the only one who gets cat-called at least once or twice a week. So, there's that - a great plus side of working from home! Another good thing is that I can crash in my bed during my one hour break and I can cuddle my beloved pillows! Yay! I can finally eat homemade food these days! I can also stay away from the city's batshit crazy heat and pollution and I don't have to wear shoes everyday. Triple yay!

The ugly side is that I don't really feel the line between my personal and professional life anymore. I work on the same table where I eat and paint. I can't tell the difference between my working week and my days off, somehow. And I am never alone. I like living in dormitories because my roommates almost always go back to their hometowns during the weekends (and holidays!), so I usually have the dorm room all for myself when they're off-duty. And I look forward to that all the time. That's how I get my sacred 'alone time' without having to go outside if I don't feel like putting pants or shoes on.

While I like making and eating homemade food, I am not used to doing the household chores anymore, and it's pissing me off that I have to do them WHILE I am in the middle of work sometimes. I've been living in dorms for almost a decade now, and my normal life has been all about working my ass off, spending some time alone or meeting a few good friends after my work shift, and eating somewhere before I head back to my dorm. Then, I'd make some art or binge-watch on anime when I reach my dorm, and then I'll pass out and do it all again the next day.

I love living that way! I freaking love it!

But this world crisis ruined my life. And I can't help feeling bitter about it! Sure, things could be worse. I could be unemployed and not even have a place to live in or food to eat. I get it! But that shouldn't invalidate my suffocation at this point. I am frustrated as hell now that I can't even do the simple things that I used to do before. Things like getting new contact lenses, going to my dental appointment, getting coffee, set an appointment with my stylist, get a massage, get my nails done, buy whatever I need from a nearby mall or even just hanging out at my favorite park when I need to calm down and see some greenery. I lost all of these in the snap of a finger, and I don't know when I can get them back.  I also can't visit my Grandmother in the countryside or spend some time with my nephews and cousins! Not going out because you don't feel like going out is one thing. But not being able to go out because the government says so, is a totally different story. 

I am more than grateful for the fact that I still have a home where I can spend the quarantine days. I am thankful that I am physically healthy; I've never really been ill since that time I had an allergy attack sometime in January. I am grateful that I was able to get back to work after two and a half months of hiatus during the early stage of the lock down in Manila. I am happy because now, I can save more money to buy better art materials that are essential for my sanity throughout this world crisis. However, I also need my FREEDOM. I want to be able to do the other mundane sliding in and out of the car in the morning, taking a long walk after my shift, staying for about an hour at my favorite cafe (where old people usually hangout!) just to read a book, write in my journal or sketch. I want to breathe fresh air, meet a few close friends, or go grocery shopping early morning just when the shop opens to make sure I can avoid people and the long queues at the checkout counter.

That's all I really freedom.

I feel suffocated as f*ck right now, just like a bird held captive in a fancy cage. I don't care if the cage is made of gold or diamond, it's still a freaking cage! I feel like this kind of set up would never ever work for me, unless I have my own home with a soundproof office. I chose to live in dormitories since I hit my twenties because all I really need at this point in my life is a place where I can crash once I'm done being a badass at work. I love that I can switch from 'working adult mode' to 'kidult mode' the moment I step inside my dorm room and take off my suit. And I like the boundaries between me and other people. I like that I don't feel obligated to talk or check up on anyone on a daily basis. I like having a caretaker who can clean up our place as long as we pay him. I like working on my art, binge-watching anime or getting more sleep instead of doing laundry and other chores. I was madly in love with my life before the pandemic - I'm not saying it was easy and 100% convenient, but I love it because it's mine. 

I know I sound pathetic at this point because other people have it way worse, but I also know that I am not the only one who's getting suffocated with this kind of set up. I know that there are people who would still opt to work in an office instead of their homes because not everyone can have that peaceful environment all-day, everyday. It's really hard to focus on your work when there are just way too many distractions around you - don't even get me started with the garbage truck that does its rounds everyday at 11 AM in our village! This working style is great for parents who have been craving for more time to be with their family and kids. It also works well for those who live really far from their offices, or for older people who are having trouble walking or getting on public transportations. But honestly, it's not working well for me. Since my early twenties, I have developed this habit of living close to my offices to make sure that I would never have trouble going to work. I've had a lot of that sh*t as a student, but back then, I didn't really have a choice. I don't get to choose my school. But when I started working, I started calling the shots. And I would really appreciate it if one day I could get back to that.     

There's a huge possibility that things may not go back exactly the way they were before, but, all I'm really haggling for now is my freedom and another chance to be independent. I really hate being stuck and not having options. 

How have you been doing for the last 6 months? 


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