What Does the Covid 19 Pandemic Say About You?
Hello everyone! I decided to post this essay after all. If you have the time (which I know I do), scrolling through social media is the best way to get a grip on how your community of friends is handling the stay at home situation. I have discovered that social distancing has not abated, and the social media blow-ups/call-outs have increased. Many individuals are not following the rule issued by the Governor, nor are they enforcing the standard for their families. Many people are voicing their opinions (both sides) on social media. Mothers are calling out other mothers, comments run amuck, filled with disdain and disagreement. During a time when people are posting that we can "get through this together", there appears to be an equal number of posts touting negativity. As I state in the essay - I don't have the answers, but am simply posing the questions - the most important of which is "why?"
At our local amusement park, there is a "ride" called The Pirate's Cove. It's a walk-through funhouse set in a maze of deep black walls, with obstacles and mirrors, designed to be just that - fun. Not to me. What lies behind the walls, around the bend, and beyond the warped mirror is too much to take. I went on this "ride" once in grade school. That was all it took for me to punch a friend who thought it would be hilarious to jump out from behind a curtain and scare me. (it was an automatic reaction - fight or flight, and obviously, my instinct is to fight. I later apologized).
COVID 19 is behind the curtain. It is the unknown, unveiling itself in outbreaks that jump seas and sweep across nations. This virus can fester undetected, without symptoms, spreading without the carrier realizing - before it is too late. This virus is an invisible enemy, and although it may sound dramatic to some, I believe we are at war with this illness.
During wars, those on the home front contribute - in any way, whether it's women stepping up and working in factories, rationing supplies/food, or creating "Victory Gardens," as was the case during WWII. When asked to fight - we step up, as individuals, as a community, as a country.
During this fight against our invisible enemy, COVID 19, we are being asked to stay home.
According to the order, individuals are allowed out of their house for "tasks essentials to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home" (governer.pa.gov).
The order prohibits gatherings, of any kind, and limits any social activities to family members. According to the Erie County Executive, Kathy Dahlkemper, "you can still go outside (such as for a walk, run, or bike ride), but practice social distancing — but you cannot get within six feet of any individual who is not a roommate or live-in family member" (eriereader.com).
Initially, it was a blow to our boys. What? Home from school and we can't see our friends? How dare I speak such words - blasphemy! (Because my boys have reverted to speaking like a Jane Austen novel)
We stood our ground. With my husband working as a family physician, the reality of this virus is just that - palpable, contagious, and looming. We set our guidelines, and after a few days (that felt like a month), the boys did not broach the subject again.
Don't get me wrong. We are feeling the brunt of this home front effort. The days are long, filled with online classes and activities to deceive the boredom. We have taken more walks than my dog can handle. We have even experienced our moments of frustration, someone (me)lashing out over who ate the last bag of potato chips. These feelings are real, and this is how we deal with what was asked of us. This, to me, is the least we can do.
How are you dealing?
I will admit that I haven't posted about COVID 19 because it has taken me this long to catch my breath, take a moment and honestly, collect my thoughts. I don't want to act like I know what is going on - because I don't. We are deciphering this one day at a time, given the information that is changing as quickly as the virus is spreading.
BUT, there is one phenomenon I think it is safe to write about - how are you reacting to the stay at home order/request?
We are all reacting differently.
Are you mad, infuriated with the order? Are you happy to sit at home (finally)permitted to stream movies, and read books? Do you start to twitch when you think about not leaving the confines of four walls? Are you tackling projects that have been sitting for months/years? Do you fear what you're missing - what your kids are missing? Do you feel the virus is attacking your freedom?
What does your reaction say about you?
Moments like this, when we are asked to do great or difficult things for the betterment of someone else, can also bring moments of self-reflection. This is where I have been, in my head, for the last few days. Grasping the realities and understanding that from now on, and on many levels, our lives will be different.
I have chosen to react with a roller coaster of emotions that range from sadness to fear, from optimism to strength to exhaustion - and that was just 10 days worth. On some days, I have eaten my weight in chocolate. On other days, I have walked the dog twice before noon. Why? because I am doing the best given the circumstances of staying at home. My "why" is crystal clear.
"He who has a why can endure any how"(Nietzsche).
I have talked to friends who are strictly following the mandate allowing not even one friend to visit. I have also talked to friends who state they can't stay home.
What is your why?
Why are you staying home?
Why are you not?
I don't have the answers.
I am merely posing the questions.
For me, the fear of "what could be" outweighs the need to be around other people. The fear of what lies behind the curtain drives my instinct to battle. With a disinfectant in one hand and a firm grasp of my boys in the other is how I can fight.
I am proud of my boys for relinquishing their freedom. I say that knowing I could be eating these words later today -- along with every carb in my pantry.
Love and luck and health,