words and photos by Ilenia Pezzaniti
Adrianne Rae is a 34-year-old artist living in Akron. She sits on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building texting and listening to music, and is about to go on a walk.
When news started to pour in about the coronavirus, Adrianne started to work harder. “I had severe anxiety at first, but I went into business mode and I was like, ‘OK, time to get a million things done,’” she says.
Adrianne experienced loss of income and is worried about losing her house if she doesn’t have the money to pay rent.
According to the Institute for Women’s Research, of the 700,000 job losses in the United States by mid-April, almost 60% of those losses were experienced by women.
By the end of the week of April 25, Vox reported that data released by the Department of Labor showed 3.8 million people filed initial unemployment insurance claims, bringing the number of people applying for benefits to more than 30 million in the United States.
Although there have been tangible hardships, Adrianne has experienced perspective shifts as well. “I did begin to forgive my parents, more so than ever, for their shortcomings that I’ve struggled with for my whole life, and I got really sad thinking about — if this was my last chance to talk to everyone I know, what would I say? And I don’t have any beef or outlying work with individuals other than my mom, specifically. I feel like I was able to spiritually come to a different understanding of accepting her, which was really good,” she says.
Adrianne’s also been giving things away that she doesn’t need. “I just feel like I should share everything that I own, because if I’m not using it and someone else can use it — like, I literally just want to get rid of all my stuff,” she says.
“So there’s been some positive things and there’s also been some extreme challenges, to say the least. I was sort of expecting something like this to happen for a long time, so being alone wasn’t that hard for me, but yeah — so many mixed emotions and terrible dreams,” she adds.
Because of the adjustments she’s had to make and the inner work she’s experienced, Adrianne says she feels different. “I feel like I’ve expanded but I don’t know if that’s lighter. I just have increased my understanding of my piece in her [her mother] relationship and just with everybody. I just feel like a new layer has opened,” she says.
Ilenia Pezzaniti is a multimedia storyteller living in Highland Square.