Values Among the Vegetables, or Finding Myself on Instagram

Dear TRENDS Diary,

I'm a member of CU's class of 2020—the COVID class. It has been almost a year since I left school wondering where I was headed and quite uncertain about where I would land. I recently talked with two friends, class of 2021, who shared familiar feelings of uncertainty and confusion. I'm in a very different place now, but I cannot talk them out of their concerns.

I can tell them I figured out a place to land. It has to do with using the time of isolation and uncertainty as a springboard and asking the question: What matters to me? Asking it over and over.

My answers to that question led me someplace I didn't expect. This place involves creativity, self-care, community, food, and my passion for social justice. What do you do when you can't leave home? I cooked, and I shared photos of my cooking process on Instagram. That was fun and gratifying. I was surprised by the number of positive comments I received back from old friends.

But that wasn't enough. I needed a place to speak my values and my politics, particularly in a time of great social strife and awakening. I wasn't sure how to do that, especially since my Instagram followers are a combination of new and old friends; my politics are easily digestible for the new friends--not so much for the old.

I kept cooking and posting more Stories. Only I started adding things—the names of Black men killed by police this year, a snippet of a song about liberation, a photo here, a quote there. And before the final reveal of my finished dish: a link to resources about relevant social justice information and opportunities for action.

The pandemic led me through raw ingredients to food for the soul.

- Brooke Guarienti, as told to Glenda Russell