I’ve been awake all night. I’m blaming it on the fact that I had coffee at 6 pm and boba tea at 10. I spent my night doing mundane tasks like getting an extension to file my taxes and shopping for a few new clothes for summer. Now it’s 5am and I am listening to the birds begin to chirp and this weird howling noise from an animal I don’t recognize—maybe it’s a bird? Who knows. Either way, there’s something special about the early morning. It’s mostly quiet and everything is peaceful.
As the sun rises and I begin my day, I love the little sounds that pop up in my apartment—breakfast sizzling on the stove, the creaking from the walls, the fridge humming, the sound of my neighbors making dinner next door, or people talking as they walk by outside.
I never thought the pandemic would make me grateful for the sound of community or that I would struggle to be home alone and separated from my family and friends. I coped by learning to fill my home with the voices of my community via Zoom, Facetime, and Houseparty.
Now, I pay attention to all the sounds I took for granted. Sounds I overlooked when I was a hurried and less-grounded version of myself—when work was my only focus and personal connections fell short between travel and meetings. I was consumed by work, and the forced quietness of the pandemic showed me how isolated my life had become and how much I desperately needed community. I love to hear others’ voices. I love the sound of laughter and the feeling of being connected.
Humans are a social species, and generally we do not thrive in isolation. We need at least one person who can give us an inkling of support—especially as Black women, we need each other. That’s why I am so grateful for my sisters.
My sisters—my community—have given me the courage to write the words that have been in my heart and in my head for so many years. Those words lingered in my soul and I wasn’t sure I had the courage to release them, but during the pandemic I decided to write more than I ever have before. I rediscovered the sounds of words. The click of keys as I craft a new sentence, the tap of my acrylic nails typing a random note or memory into my iPhone. The words that lived within me were set free during a time of isolation and grief. It’s as if the quiet of the world standing still made the words within me grow loud.
So many words flowed through me about isolation, joy, pain, and new beginnings… I found myself writing to my Black sisters and seeing if they could relate—they could. I was finally finding my “fit.” Even once we’d come out of isolation, I knew I needed to keep writing and sharing my triumphs and failures.
The silence I’d come to love so deeply also made me treasure the noise—the sound of community, the sound of life. When I hear everyone talking, laughing, crying, and celebrating, I am reminded we are alive. We are living freely. We are making the best of a hard situation and finding ourselves along the way.
Sis, you can embrace quiet moments and let the sound of community into your life. Most of us wouldn’t have made it this far into the pandemic without community or some sense of connectedness.
So, how are you engaging with your community again?