I See You (Columbus)

Alllllllllllllllrighty!

We just finished our third Zoom workout… Yay! (ish)

(At least) 3 more to go before there’s even a remote possibility of seeing each other. 

I know that we place a lot of emphasis around positivity. I mean shoot… we have a piece of wood we give out to people who are beams of positivity. These are strange times though… Positivity looks different in different times, and different on different people and I want to take some time to talk about what it looks like right now… 

I feel like there are a lot of posts on social media and elsewhere that are saying that we are going to get through this together. That we will come out of this pandemic stronger and better than we were before. I’m sure all of that is true. Yet, as positive as those posts are, they can be somewhat invalidating to what we’re currently experiencing. So fair warning, if you came to this blog to read about all of the positives that are going to come out of this pandemic… you have come to the wrong blog… Sorry y’all. This blog is to create the space for people to truly #comeasyouare.

These are hard times. There’s not really any way around that fact. We’re all struggling and scrambling to find our place in this new (and hopefully temporary) world. I have personally struggled to put my feelings into words. (I probably could have ended that sentence at ‘struggled’.) However, there are a few things I have thought about in the last few weeks that I have tried to put into words and I would like to share with you. 

  1. Experiencing Grief

I admit, this isn’t an original idea but it’s one I think worth noting. So many things have changed in the span of a month and in many different ways, we’ve all experienced various forms of loss. This could be a loss in the traditional way, where someone you know and love has passed in the last month, whether to COVID or other causes. This could be a loss in a less traditional way, like the loss of normalcy, loss of social interaction, loss of employment, loss of everyday luxuries, loss of physical contact, etc. Whatever you have lost in the last month, I invite you to create some space to grieve. 

Many of us have lost the foundation in which we stand on and while we should always find ways to be grateful for what we do have, I also think it’s important to acknowledge that the lives we live are very different from the ones we lead a few months ago. Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and upset and confused. And because everything has changed so much, I think it’s important to change our expectations of ourselves and others. I invite you to ask yourself each day, “What expectation of ‘normal’ am I letting go of today?” Because it’s not fair to hold yourself to the standards you were holding yourself to one or two months ago. Maybe you ran less than you were hoping to today. Maybe you didn’t get everything done at work that you were supposed to. Maybe you weren’t able to help your family in the way that you wished you could have. 

Give yourself some grace. You’re doing your best. 

That

Is

Enough.

  1. Feeling Helpless

I think this is the first time in my life that truly and without a doubt, the best thing that I can do to help a situation is do nothing and stay home. I know I’m not alone in feeling frustrated at this fact. One of the great things about November Project, is that it’s filled with such amazing people that care for others. I want to validate how difficult it is for all of you to stay home, while you watch the news every day, seeing the numbers grow and hearing about more suffering. It can feel like absolute shit. But I appreciate everything that all of you are doing to stay home and do your part. The science is behind you and your actions. You are helping, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

  1. Pain olympics 

If you have made it until this point, but have had the thoughts, “Well, yes…. I have lost some things but man, it’s nowhere NEAR as much as healthcare workers or other people I know” or “I haven’t been affected THAT much…” 

Sure… yep, that may be true. Not sure if anyone told you though… The Olympics were postponed until next year. And these pain olympics that you are currently attending, well those should be postponed indefinitely. There’s no contest for who experiences the most loss or accumulates the most pain in the next few months. Don’t compare your pain or situation to another because regardless of what you’re going through, your pain is real, tangible and valid. And so is theirs. Everyone is going through this difficult situation differently, and therefore is struggling in different ways. This experience of struggling can outwardly manifest in all sorts of ways, and it’s not our place to judge ourselves or anyone else for how it is presented.

Moral of the story: There is space for you (and everyone else) to grieve. You deserve, just as much as every other person, to feel your pain.

  1. Despair

Like all of us, I have seen the horrible situation the world is in… but then I see the status on FB advising that we shouldn’t want things to go back to normal because normal was not working. Between the environment, healthcare, disparities… it is a valid point to make that we weren’t in the best of situations before COVID hit. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make me feel better though. Because honestly, it makes me feel a trillion times worse. Because then I’m like… ok, so even when the pandemic is over, are we really going back to anything good? 

Here is what I’ll say about that… this is the first time in 100 years that the entire world has shut down for a virus. Even if we actually go back to our normal lives in May (honestly I don’t feel super optimistic about this but let’s just say this happens), some things will have to change. Change is the only constant. We will all have the opportunity to advocate for change, there is time to make our world an even better place. 

Don’t lose hope.

Lastly, I just want to say…

To all of our healthcare workers that feel unsupported and unprotected… 

To all of our teachers that feel lost learning a completely new platform…

To everyone staying home feeling depressed… 

To everyone with mental illnesses (despite taking their medication) feel their demons creeping back up…

To parents, who now have to work and be a full time parent… 

To everyone getting sick of their family… 

To everyone who can’t see their family… 

To everyone socially distancing, being questioned by friends or family… 

To everyone who knows someone suffering from COVID… 

To everyone who sees others not socially distancing, while going to painstaking measures to follow public health officials’ advice… 

To everyone not able to spend time at their place of worship… 

To all of the grocery workers and janitors and non healthcare professions that have to work right now… 

To everyone who has been let go from their place of work… 

To everyone worried about finances… 

To everyone… 

I see you. 

Your pain is valid.

You are not alone. 

The community NP has created is here for you and will always have a space for you to grieve and to feel supported. Know that one day, in the very near future, we will be able to see each other again.

Give yourself grace until then… 

#NP_Continues

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