I come to you from the comfort of my apartment, specifically my patio, today – where I have been since March 16th.
My dog now has social anxiety and gets aggressive towards people because she’s been quarantined as well. We are waiting for Michael’s Covid-19 test results to come in because his coworker showed up to work sick and wasn’t wearing a mask. I have accepted working, eating, drinking, and watching movies from home for the foreseeable future. When I thought I was being proactive and smart, I was not, and I was wrong. I realize that Covid-19 is out there and community spread is rampant no matter where you are or what you do. It is best practice to STAY HOME if you can. We should not be dying to open to go to bars, restaurants, vacations, or nail appointments. We should be dying to open to go back to work.
It often feels like time stands still, then I realize July is next week and I wonder how we’ve made it this far.
I’m sure many people are feeling a lot of weight, guilt, sadness, confusion, and emptiness. I would describe my most prominent feeling as lost. I want to do so many things, help in any way I can, but navigating social issues is like navigating a haunted corn maze with the same amount of anxiety. I have felt this way about many issues that I support (sensible gun reform, voting rights, and climate change). I, for some illogical reason, turned away from the Black Lives Matter movement because I am not black. That’s a sorry excuse for not understanding what’s going on. I have an endless amount of work to do on myself from that point alone. I also don’t want to overcompensate for being awakened by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and burn myself out. There is so much work to be done, and it’s only just beginning.
When I have a strong sense of ‘lost’ I typically call my dad. He’s been around more years than I have and has seen much more. He reassures me every time, “this is not the first, nor will it be the last.” It will not be the last civil unrest. It will not be the last time we hear about riots in the streets. This could, however, be the first VERY TINY step in the right direction for the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform. He explained that Kent State in 1970 shifted his view of politics – his “aha moment” if you will. This BLM movement has changed many people the way Kent State changed him. I have seen it, and I believe it. Unfortunately, we will not see significant change in our lifetime. We will see baby steps. Like the reopening of Elijah McClain’s case, or the indictment of Ahmaud’s and George’s murderers, or Georgia finally passing Hate Crime legislation.
One of the best things I have done is learn the history of policing, riots, civil unrest, and systemic racism that has been around FOR-FUCKING-EVER. I have read, watched TV shows, watched movies, and asked a lot of questions of myself and others. I feel as though I now live protest-to-protest. I truly love hitting the pavement, sign in hand, with like-minded people. To me, it’s the definition of awakening. A little risky with Covid-19, but worth it. I have signed countless petitions, donated whatever I can, and emailed reps and mayors for change. Whatever we are doing for this movement is continuing to work. The proof is there.
If you are feeling stuck, burned out, exhausted, confused, lonely, or just blah please know you are not alone. This year has me all sorts of fucked up, but I’m also thankful to be here living through probably one of the most iconic years we will experience in our lifetime.
Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay strong.