Hey boos baes babes and beaus,
This is a heavy post and more of a marking point for me to look back on as things evolve. Despite the ample free time I’ve been granted thanks to my extended medical leave from work as I continue to heal from my cancer treatments and the aftermath of the toll it has taken on me, physically and psychologically, we are all recommended to be home right now because of the global health crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe Webster has made “Pandemic” the word of the year but there are so many novel terms and concepts that we are adjusting to and that have become our normal; “social distancing,” “personal protective equipment” etc.
As a homebody like myself and recovering from a life-saving treatment my life didn’t change too much when the virus began to spread around the world. In fact, things I had already been concerned about like getting sick from a low immune system to vigilant physical hygiene and wearing a mask in public places was already a habit for me. For once it was actually nice for the whole world and everyone as a united society to be immediately humbled by our mortality and the fragility of life. Of course I recognize that it’s a great global tragedy and many people are suffering and many of those are not surviving. And that’s where my problems start to arise:
I’m slowly thinking about going back to work and considering what kind of job would be suitable for me and that I could sustain, but before I can be confident about that I need to get my mental well being under control. I was very blessed to find my person last year and this summer we moved in together and got engaged–the year has not been without its bright moments. On the flip side of that he is the only familiar face I have seen since June and that brings us to half a year of only having each other for company. We are lucky for modern innovations that allow us to keep in touch with our loved ones wherever they are through voice, video, and text communication, but added restrictions to my freedom where I am coming out of a very limited lifestyle as is, one that for a reason or another I have had to grapple with for years. Not to be dramatic but it feels like it’s been years of just trying to stay afloat enough to breathe. It’s exhausting and I’m really having a hard time with it.
That being said a lot of things are coming to light this year. The systemic racism around the world has been the spotlight of this year for good reason. People are starting to realize that no matter what category they fall into we are all in one way or another affected by being a minority and we need to have more respect and justice for those communities. Global warming is something I have become very conscious of, in anxiety-inducing ways, and work from home initiatives have thrown a whole wrench in the typical hustle culture of the nine to five. People are working hybrid jobs going into the office every now and then and getting more time with their families and spending less time on the commute. It’s even being questioned whether this lifestyle of 9-5, 5/7 is really healthy for the wellbeing of individuals. Pay disparity has never been more at the forefront of politics and the battle between essential and non-essential workers is a discussion worthy of having. The issue of the few profiting on the large is a big, big realization and one that I hope will be dismantled with time to come. I can’t help but think of the quiet heroes in this crisis, the shelf-stockers, the cashiers, the nurses and health-care workers that have for decades been overworked and underpaid, risking their lives through this pandemic and being isolated from their loved ones seeing loss of patients all around them and the trauma of being the last line of compassion for end of life for far too many.
With the news of the vaccine on the horizon I hope some relief lays before us, but I hope that this crisis changes us for good. There is an ableist culture that those that don’t fit into a forty hour work week spending a third of their day at a desk or on their feet, another third sleeping and mere hours to have a life, or to recover from the demands of their work to actually have a livelihood. I hope the governing agencies and those that make policies and changes realize that this is not a free life. The luxuries we have we are hardly able to enjoy because we give our time, our most precious commodity, to companies and entities that care for only their profit. Don’t worry I won’t go all anarchist on you but I am definitely feeling like the disabilities I have are not mine alone, and they are not mine alone to carry.
Normalize a balanced life. Balance looks like time to be healthy, cook healthy and eat healthy and exercise. A balanced life looks like a healthy sleep schedule while being able to enjoy art and culture like reading and TV and movies. A balanced life looks like socializing with our loved ones and making meaningful memories without having to rush off to work missing out on key moments. Please, don’t tell me you want things to “go back to normal,” because even though it was the norm, it wasn’t sane.
20:20. Perfect vision. Let everything come into light. Give us the will and power to make the changes necessary to implement a new “sane normal”, and until then let the tears flow. It’s cathartic to cry, especially when we’re stuck at home with nowhere to go and nobody to see. And if you’ll allow me to give you one tip? Write. Document this experience. It’s going to be something special to look back on once we evolve to our “new sane reality”.