It’s been awhile since my last post because I just couldn’t write about the pandemic anymore—I was feeling pandemic exhaustion, or “languishing” as it’s being called now. I was definitely languishing. But I decided to write in the Pandemic Journaling Project again today, so I’ll post it here, too.
They give two questions to answer, so this will be a little long.
Question 1: How are you feeling this week?
After almost a year and a half of maintaining at least 6 ft of social distance, I have a very hard time when a stranger stands closer to me than that, even though I’m fully vaccinated. Today I was in line at the grocery store and a man came up and stood right behind me, at most 2 feet away. It made me really uncomfortable and anxious. Plus he wasn’t wearing a mask, which also doesn’t really matter now that I’m vaccinated, but it just made it worse for my anxiety level. The same thing happened a few weeks ago. I get really angry and want to turn around and scream, “6 feet, people! 6 feet!” But I don’t say anything because I hate to make a scene. And honestly, I’m afraid the person might be aggressive. So I just keep trying to inch forward to get away from them. Of course it doesn’t work because they just inch forward, too. I by nature have a large personal space, so social distancing has been quite comfortable for me with strangers (not with family or friends, though—I want to be able to be close to them). But I was okay with a couple of feet between me and other people. I don’t know how long it will take me to be able to stand comfortably any closer than 6 feet now.
Question 2: What was the biggest event of last week?
The biggest event started before last week—the COVID situation in India is horrendous. And Thailand is suffering from the biggest surge since the pandemic began. Africa doesn’t have enough vaccines to give out, Europe is still restricted in many places, and the U.S.–Canada border is still closed. With the rate of vaccinations going up in the U.S., it’s easy to feel like the pandemic is ending. But it definitely isn’t. And only 41% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, so we’re not anywhere near “herd immunity” yet even here.
I read an article yesterday about the conflict for vaccinated people who want to feel relieved and happy and optimistic for the future, but so many people are still suffering and dying that we can’t just celebrate. And Americans are still dying, too, so it’s really hard for people who have just lost someone to the disease to see other people going around without masks on, having parties, etc., when a loved one just died from COVID.
We’re entering a very complicated time in this pandemic where some people are coming out the other side of it while others are still buried in it. And some people are vaccinated while others aren’t. The wealth gap is blazing in our faces, both domestically and globally. Why are so many Americans vaccinated when India and Africa can’t get enough to go around? Why is India running out of oxygen for treatments? Why are people in poorer communities here in the U.S. not getting vaccinated as quickly as middle and upper class (and mostly White) folks? I hope this horrible suffering will be redeemed at least a little bit by people seeing the injustices that have been exposed to the light, and doing something to change them. I wish I could be more optimistic about that actually happening.
It’s been a while since I felt motivated to write here. Beginning a new year knowing it will be just like last year for several months or all 12, or even worse given the new strains that are appearing. It made me feel totally exhausted emotionally, so I had no energy to engage with it in writing. But it’s time to get back to reflection.
At least we have a mature adult back in the White House. That lifts a huge weight off my feeling life. It was a horrible trip there, but we made it. Now we wait for the next neo-Nazi attack. I’m sure there will be one.
Louie has come up with a game to play during our zoom get-togethers—he calls it “Chaos”. We set up a whiteboard that we can all draw on, then Louie draws a city and has me draw a house. For some reason I haven’t figured out yet, he draws a fried egg in the middle of the city. Then Gwad starts drawing lines and boxes all over the screen, playing the part of chaos, while Louie erases them as fast as he can. He’s been wanting me to be “on his team” lately—I guess maybe being the house and his teammate makes me a safe place amidst the chaos. And he feels totally safe with Gwad, so it’s a way for Louie to deal with the chaos of his world right now in a safe place. We have a great time playing, lots of laughs, destroying the chaos with fun.
His most telling quotes from yesterday’s game:
“Chaos levels are high today.”
“Fighting chaos has never been easier in my life!”
I’m glad we can make this all a little easier for him. I can’t imagine what his sensitive 7-year-old soul is going to take away from this pandemic time.
I haven’t been able to write here for a little while because the tragedy of COVID-19 cases and deaths has just been too overwhelming to talk about. Almost 210,000 cases per day in the U.S., and over 2,500 deaths yesterday alone. The daily death numbers have gone over 3,000 recently. I can’t even get my head around numbers like that. Like I said, too overwhelming.
To stay sane and not horribly depressed and anxious, I focus on the fact that no one in our immediate family has gotten it, and in our extended families there have only been a few cases and none life-threatening.
I found this video today on Facebook. It comes from a family of white privilege, but so do I, so it really speaks to me. I love these guys—they say true things in fun and creative ways. Some of their parodies are priceless! The Holderness family. I recommend them.