This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sumaiya shams. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Small Changes Brought About By 2020 That Have Changed My Life

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

We don’t remember the bad times by what they did to us, but by how they changed us.

We are officially in June 2021 and I am still here contemplating how 2020 was for me because of the changes that it has brought in me. I am sure we all have stories of how 2020 brought changes in us, either good or bad. There are changes we want to keep, build on because they have improved us as a person or brought us a step closer to that ideal self-image we have.

Then there are changes that we want to strip out of our reflexes or whatever part of the memory they are stored in because they promise harm and misery. The year 2020 may have given a whole new outlook or improvement, but I think it is a common consensus that it took a lot more from all of us and left us with something or the other to deal with.

What I have to say about my experience is no flowery tale of how I grew in my productivity or a narration of my fight against the consequences of the pandemic. It is about some small transformations that have taken on impacting my life profoundly.

1. Ability to initiate or sustain Conversations

depression sad girl
Representative Image.

One fine evening, I found myself watching a ted talk on how to make conversations, “7 ways to make conversation with anyone”, the title precisely. I realised that I have lost whatever communication skills I had built over my school years. A month of offline college during the time between two waves of the pandemic was enough for me to notice my desperate condition.

I was never an extrovert, but I had definitely improved my public speaking and the ability to make random conversations in classes 11 and 12. The lockdown took that progress to the negatives. I was never much of a talker, but I could make friends and hold interesting conversations.

The lockdown first made me lazy, then stripped me of my need to socialise, which eventually resulted in me struggling to make even basic conversations when I faced the offline world once again. I struggled in college to say a simple hello. Making new friends seemed like a task which I was failing at miserably.

The realisation struck painfully when a classmate introduced me as “kafi introvert” to a senior. I don’t have a problem with the introvert personality type, but I aspire to become a girl known for her confidence, who can charm people with witty conversations, and strive to become that.

Unfortunately, my 2-year effort went in vain. I now feel that making random conversations without feeling that you are being judged on every syllable that comes out of your mouth or going blank or constantly think of interesting topics to continue the conversation is an “art”. An art that will take me excruciating efforts and a long time to develop.

2. Laziness

I think most of us will relate to this. The year 2020 had been so catastrophic that these small changes that occurred in our life went unnoticed. But you know what? These changes may be small, but they continue to have a damaging effect and will for a long time. Laziness is one of them.

sleeping beauty
Representative Image.

Here I do understand my privilege of being in a state to notice a small change in life as becoming lazier. The lockdown and the shifting of education online have made me lazy in a very problematic way. It has snatched away my stamina or enduring capacity. I cannot pay attention in class for a long time, not to mention the constant urge to lie down. An hour of online work feels too much to bear; 10 minutes of physical activity feels like rock climbing.

I noticed the problematic nature of this small change again when I was once again out in the physical world. The endurance for a whole day of working mentally and physically built over school years is crushed. I get overwhelmed so easily now. I am a girl who has lots of hobbies, ideas, aims but needs a lot of pushing to actually convert the thoughts into actions, which is why this small change of becoming lazier impacts my life so severely.

3. The feeling of not doing Enough

As I said before, 2020 was different for everyone and some managed to increase their productivity; I am not one of them. You know, social media isn’t exactly a helpful pace when you are already guilty of not doing enough. Whenever I use social media, I notice that so many people have worked on their skills and achieved so many goals, made use of their lockdown time so efficiently, the grip of these feelings gets stronger and stronger.

I am not jealous; I just get stuck in a downward spiral of self-doubt. These feelings have taken such strong roots in my mind that now I feel like I shouldn’t waste a single minute of my life. My thoughts are preoccupied with increasing productivity, learning new skills and starting earning at an early age.

These thoughts aren’t bad but only till the time they are in limits. Mine have driven me to a point where my mood depends on how productive my day was. I find myself busy all the time, unavailable for my loved ones even if I am not doing anything because my thoughts are preoccupied and the idea of spending time on something other than achieving my goals makes me feel guilty.

It’s not exactly a feeling I can describe easily. The gist of what I am trying to say is that, as I said earlier, I have become lazier. The laziness combined with this crazy guilt of not doing enough is making my life quite a battle.

But there were some good changes too.

4. Creativity

girl
Representative Image.

A very rich man once said, “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” And I think I now understand the brilliance of this statement. My laziness has led me to figure out creative and easy ways to do things.

The online shifting of education has also played a side character here. The online assignments, especially the ones designed by my university, have really honed my creativity (no matter how much I whine about them). I was always more of an artistic person, but my ideas were always more on the “hard work” side than “smart work”.

So my laziness and the constant demand for fresh and creative ideas by my uni assignments have helped me in switching sides.

5. The random thoughts of being Grateful

Well, no philosophy intended, but the year 2020 really did bring this small but amazing change in me. It’s wonderful because it’s not like my mother telling me to be grateful for things I have as that will enhance my spirituality. It’s more of a realisation, a realisation that I am blessed to be alive, healthy and without any worries of how I will arrange for the necessities of life.

These bigger realisations have found their way in my thinking pattern and accommodated themselves in small bits. I now get sudden, random thoughts like, “Wow, I am blessed to be able to ask my mother for anything I want while ordering online,” or something similar.

The point is I started appreciating the smallest blessings of life, which have definitely impacted my life beautifully.

Featured Image by nonmisvegliate from Pixabay 
You must be to comment.

More from Sumaiya shams

Similar Posts

By Deepak kumar Pandey

By Roki Kumar

By Rushil Saini

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below