WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
Social media can be a powerful – sometimes cathartic – tool in expressing personal feelings.
Just ask Serena Williams.
Last week, the 23-time Grand Slam champion from the United States expressed, both on Instagram and later via TikTok, how difficult it is for her to socially distance from others due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Williams, 38, married with a two-year-old daughter, said that as she planned to spend six weeks at home because of the crisis, she’s struggling to deal with the anxiety that she’s feeling.
Williams, who has been idle since representing the United States in Fed Cup play the first week of February, shared with her 12.2 million followers on Instagram last week:
“Spending the next 6 weeks in solitude. Being a wife. Being a mom. Cooking. Cleaning. Spring cleaning. Face mask. Makeup tutorials. I’ll let you know how it goes. … Stay safe everyone. This is serious.”
Then, earlier this week, Williams posted:
“I’ve been staying at home and practicing social distancing. I want to make sure I’m doing my part during these uncertain times. Your actions matter and to #stayhome is one thing we can do to flatten the curve. Thank you @voguemagazine and Anna (Wintour) for raising awareness to make sure we take care of one another, even if it’s from your couch. And thank you to all who are out there taking care of us outside of your own home.”
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I’ve been staying at home and practicing social distancing. I want to make sure I’m doing my part during these uncertain times. Your actions matter and to #stayhome is one thing we can do to flatten the curve. Thank you @voguemagazine and Anna for raising awareness to make sure we take care of one another, even if it’s from your couch. And thank you to all who are out there taking care of us outside of your own home.
In a candidly honest story about Williams published March 20 by the Daily Telegraph of London, it quoted her very frankly from her TikTok videos. She said:
“I wanted to take a minute and talk about my experience with corona. It started out with me feeling like, ‘Oh it can’t really affect me.’
“And then suddenly Indian Wells was cancelled and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s weird but I have a little time off and I’m going to enjoy that time off.
“And then one cancellation led to another and then led to another and led to all this anxiety that I’m feeling.
“Now I’ve been social distancing for actually a really long time, for probably two weeks now, and every little thing makes me crazy.
“And by anxiety I mean I’m just on edge. Any time anyone sneezes around me or coughs I get crazy. I don’t hang out with anyone, and when I say anyone I mean my daughter.
“(Olympia) coughed, I got angry and gave her a side-eye. I gave her that ‘angry Serena’ and then I got sad.
“I was like, ‘Is she OK? Is there something wrong with my daughter? Is there anything I can do?’ I just don’t know what to do, so instead of being relaxed I’m really under a ton of stress.”