So the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Well here’s (one of) mine. Social media and the news have been messing things up for me lately. I have become so consumed with both that I’ve noticed it’s started to have a very negative effect on my mental health. I’ve also been using it as a coping strategy to numb certain feelings while simultaneously working myself into a rage. Rather than sit with my feelings, I’ve been glued to my phone. Instead of diving into my fear and anxiety and sifting through it, I read news articles that create more fear and anxiety. So I’ll just be over treating myself like a child and limiting my screen time and creating rules and boundaries about how I consume.
I had a complete meltdown last week. I’m talking yelling, sobbing, boogers flying, curse words spewing meltdown. You see, I have an “underlying health condition”. We don’t need to get into specifics because honestly it’s not important and I don’t believe in what I call “feeding the beast” which gives my disease more attention than it deserves. This is a topic for another day but I instead choose to focus on my good health and good looks. Haha! Just kidding! But seriously, the more attention I give it, the more I feel it and that just doesn’t work for me. So until last week I hadn’t seen my condition mentioned in any articles about COVID-19 that would bring me alarm and I was hopeful that since my immune system overreacts that this would actually be a benefit for me. Silver lining to an auto-immune disease? Sure, I’ll take it!
Well guess what? If you search enough, you will eventually find what you’re looking for. So sure enough, I scroll through an article and I see my condition listed. SON OF A! Coupled with the fact that it was the day after Easter and I was so frightened by the amount of photos I saw of people not social distancing for the holiday and I was beside myself. I felt like people had given up. That they were no longer caring for themselves and their neighbors and were putting everyone at risk. Did I wish to be sharing a meal with my family for Easter? You betcha! Do I want a giant hug from my nieces right now? Absolutely. But I’m not going to because I care deeply about myself and my community and staying apart is what we need to do. So anyway, that’s when the boogers started flying. When it all amounted to too much. When I started to feel that people not following the rules were putting my health at risk. Because to me it’s simple. I stay at home for you and you stay at home for me.
And then there’s the posts I’ve been seeing about separatism online. It might seem like funny, cute things you’re sharing but maybe you can ask yourself if it’s creating more divide between us when we need togetherness more than ever. I’ve seen a few posts recently from moms with young kids. One insinuating that people without children are just casually sitting home learning new hobbies and one that asks those of us without kids to check on those who do. And yes, I will check in on you because I can’t imagine how hard it is to be without your network of support and to be caring for your family 24 hours a day without a break. But you know what? I’ll also be checking in on my friends without children and maybe those of us who wish we were safe at home with little ones but aren’t blessed with them. And I’ll check in on my friends who live alone cause that must be a whole different kind of struggle. And I’ll make sure my friends who are unemployed, struggling small business owners, people with underlying health issues, those who are pregnant, friends who are worrying about how they’ll pay their mortgage or about the future of their careers, people who are struggling with learning new technology or working from home. I’ll check in with you all because you know what? This shit is hard. It’s hard for all of us so let’s think twice before we add more separation. And let’s think about our privilege here. It’s a privilege to have children, it’s a blessing to have a home full of food and warmth. What a gift to have family and friends to miss and that you’re longing to hold. There are lots of people out there without any of that. And there are healthcare workers sleeping in their garages or not coming home for fear of infecting their families. There are people getting paid minimum wage and putting their health on the line every.single.day. So what is my point if you’re still reading? That there is no one who is untouched by this so the best we can do is to support each other in any way that we can. Let’s reach out, let’s check in, let’s speak, post and make our decisions out of love. And yes, it is an act of love for you to STAY SAFE AT HOME.
When all this quarantine business started, I felt paralyzed. I didn’t know where to go or how to process my feelings so I just sat with it. Let’s be honest, a lot of the time I still feel that way. In recent days, I’ve realized that movement has been key for me. I move and I feel better, it’s as simple as that. So I decided to venture out and offer some virtual barre classes. I asked for $10 donations from folks if they could spare it. I told them not to pay if they or someone in their household is under or unemployed right now due to this godforsaken virus. I figured it was a nice opportunity for me to move my body, make a few extra bucks and connect to the incredible people in my world.
And then the payments started rolling in...one for $30, $25, $60, $15. So many members of my beautiful community contributed not just to me but to help support those around us who can’t swing the extra money for a class right now. It might not seem like a big gesture but to me, it’s everything. And then there was a sweet surprise left on our doorstep a couple of days ago. Some lovely humans from AG Fitness (where I’ve only worked for a few months by the way) all got together to send us instructors a gift card to Laney and Lu...one of my absolute favorite spots. I am still absolutely blown away. I don’t know if I can accurately describe how full my heart is.
A couple of weeks ago, like so many of us, my world got turned upside down when the businesses I work for and love were forced to close their doors. I myself am my own little small business as a fitness instructor and I immediately started worrying about the future, finances, and what might become of the industry that I’ve dedicated so much of my life and energy to. And just when I began to worry, you all showed up. Without saying a word, you reminded me that I have your support. With a small gesture, a click of a button, you gave me back my motivation. With your kindness, I know that we’ll all get through this together. So thank you.
In a time where we’re afraid of being too close to each other, I feel in some ways closer than ever to you all. Our love and kindness knows no bounds. Let’s remember that even in the darkest times, we can still support our friends and neighbors.
So let’s think now more than ever about where our money is going. Before we spend our cash at a big grocery chain, maybe we consider buying from the local farmer who is busting their hump right now to get fresh food to you. Or think about your favorite massage therapist or hair stylist and grab a gift card for yourself or a friend to use when we can get back out in the world. If you want takeout, let’s rally round those mom and pop places like Laney and Lu. When all of this is over, we want our favorite spots and small businesses to open their doors and welcome us back in. Trust me that Target and Walmart will still be standing at the end of this but how about all of those other people in your community who are completely adjusting their business models to continue to support us? Let’s wrap them up and show them how much we admire them and need them in our world.
So thank you for supporting me. I can only hope to repay it in the ways that I know how (mainly through cheesy jokes and funny faces). Love you, friends.