• The Oolong Drunk

Open Letter to [Redacted] (Covid Update)

Dear [redacted],

You’re probably surprised to hear from me. I’ve been talking to a professional about moving past some of the emotional trauma I went through when I got sick, and since I’m nearing an end to my journey, confronting you is one of the last steps I need to take in my recovery.


So, here we are.


It’s been quite a while since we last spoke. In fact, you might find it seemingly difficult to communicate with me since I blocked you on social media. However, that wasn’t my intent. In fact, I’d like to imagine that we’re still on great terms and steeping ideas about tea and our place in the world of tea. Instead, all of that came to a screeching halt when I got sick.

On August 6th, I went to bed feeling like myself. On August 7th, I woke up crippled from the fever that engulfed my entire body — a fever that lasted for almost a week straight. I was in the ER, and even blacked out when dialing 9-1-1….

I even found a will on my writing desk. This was a will that I don’t remember writing, and was also accompanied by a goodbye letter to my close friends and family...

In my disillusioned reality, I must have feared that I needed to write this. Not only do I have absolutely no recollection of writing any of it, but I broke down and cried when I found it several days later.

After two weeks of recovery I was released from quarantined, except, I wasn’t really recovered.

I was eventually diagnosed with chronic asthma, chronic fatigue, blood-sugar issues, heart regulatory issues, loss of hair, and one of the most scary things of all — I lost my taste.


For someone like you and I, it’s a devastating loss.

We taste tea, we talk about tea, you sell tea, and I review it.

The gravity of our weight in the tea industry is all dependent on our ability to taste tea.

Losing taste didn’t mean I couldn’t just drink tea, it meant that I’d have to say goodbye to it.

When the thought of losing tea forever crossed my mind, I was dizzy. I was even throttled into a panic-attacked that caused me to hyperventilate, shake, and vomit. Not only did going through Covid physically pain me, it financially crippled me too. I was feeling stress from every angle in my life.


Once I recovered from that panic attack, I took a step back and noticed a large number of tea drinkers in our community had Covid and lost their taste as well — the same people who support you and I both. Seeing some of these people share a similar worry about losing taste forever encouraged me to make a post about my experience with becoming ill with such a deadly virus.


Not only did I need to talk about my experience for my own journey, I needed to share it to reassure our followers that they’re not alone.

I needed to show that we’re all in this together.

So I wrote a lengthy article on my personal experience, made myself vulnerable and exposed myself to the world. I even added photos from my hospital visit, wrote about my own personal health, and shared it with our community.


After posting the article, I was petrified what the reaction would be.

Would I be questioned about my intent, such as doing it for attention?

Or be questioned about looking for sympathy? Or, would I not connect with my audience like I had hoped?

Talking about such a panicked experience with risking losing tea, and even my own life, was terrifying in its own right.

Instead, I woke up to a flood of messages from our followers with people connecting to my experience on such an interpersonal level. Almost everyone who had Covid and drank tea reached out and showed support. They expressed how they went through something so awful and finally felt like they could connect with somebody and feel less alone. On the plus side, it was helping me feel less isolated over going through something so scary….


Until I opened your message.

Yes, your message.

“If the virus is real then ask yourself. Haven't I had a flu before? Is the truth in your cup of tea or in the digital media?” — you questioned.

I was confused. After trying to decipher what you were trying to imply, and told you that I hoped that you weren’t trying to discredit my illness you replied,


“Forgive me, one question, did you had flue shots in the past?”

After I gave you an emotional reply you came back and said,

“My intuitive way has led and leading to uncover things in many ‘places’ of my life.”


Your last message, you insinuated that the problem lies within me and I need to stop thinking ‘inside of the box’….”

I was shocked.


Was this even you?

I read it over and over again until it all became a blur.


You not only betray our professional relationship, you betrayed something much more important — our personal one.

With all of our conversations, all of our connection, all of our mutual admirations for each-other’s work, all of the countless hours I’ve spent making and drinking your tea...

All of the countless hours I spent believing your vision, writing about it, and sharing it with my followers…


You threw it ALL away with just a few messages through instagram.


You tried to link my near-death experience to a conspiracy theory, and all it did was ruin the bond we had.


I blocked you. I went to my room. I closed my door. And I cried.


Despite all of the love and support form my followers, it wouldn't bring my taste back.

With the loss of taste, and with such a damaging message coming from such a highly respected colleague, I almost quit my tea blog.

I even questioned relentlessly, “What’s was wrong with me?”


Thankfully, two months later I started to get my taste back. And thankfully, I was privileged enough to be able to taste tea in the way I used to.


I’m writing you to tell you how you affected me. I need you to understand how you hurt me on such a painful and vulnerable level. I also needed you to understand that I still feel guilty for cutting ties with you — like it was my own fault.

While my physical post-Covid symptoms may never go away, I’m writing you now so I can continue working on my post-Covid meath-health symptoms.

I’m writing you so I can finish my healing process.


I need to wrap up my healing process by telling you that I forgive you.

Hopefully, now that I've confronted you, I can start feeling less guilty over what you did to me.

When I go back to get my 2nd Covid vaccine in 5 days, I will remember that I was one of the lucky ones who survived.

I’ll also think of all the people who I got to survive and recover with.

I will be thinking about how much I love them, and how much I’m grateful to every single one of my followers for sticking by my side. I will also be thinking about the outpouring love and support I received from the greater tea community when getting my second shot...

As difficult as it is to say this, I truly hope you never have to go through what I did and have to have a life-ending crisis on such a monstrous level.

This has been weighing heavy on my mind and on my heart, but I have to try and let that go now. I don’t think it’ll be able to let it go all at once, but I need to start letting go of all this weight.


I've cleaned my site of any mention of you, your teas, or your company.


The audience that reads my blog deserves better, and so do I.

With every cell of my heart, I truly do wish you are doing better for the people around you and for yourself….

~ Cody


The Oolong Drunk

“Blissfully Tea Drunk”



[Click on photo to read screen-shot of message]




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