Hey, y’all! So sorry I’ve been gone so long. And thank you to all of you who have commented, emailed, and sent PMs to me checking in on us. We’re all fine.
Well, physically I’m fine. But I have to admit that the current state of the world (and our country) has had me so frustrated, sad, angry, depressed, furious, and so much more. And just when I thought at the end of last week that I was starting to come out of that, and I was starting to get excited about getting back into some house-related projects, the country was set on fire.
I’ve always wanted my blog to be one corner of the internet that is free of any politics or current events. If there’s a tsunami in Asia that dominates the headlines, I want people to have a few minutes of respite from that when they come here. If there’s a hurricane that wipes out massive swaths of the northeastern United States, I want to offer a small break from the constant stream of sadness in the media. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’m not affected by those things, or that I don’t grieve deeply for those affected. I do. Matt does. We help where we can, we donate if we’re able, but I’ve always felt that one way I can help is to offer a short mental and emotional break, even if for just a few minutes a day.
But this time, I’ve been at a complete loss. This thing — a worldwide viral pandemic followed by an almost complete worldwide lock down — is like nothing we’ve ever seen. I have felt totally and completely ill-equipped to offer any type of respite from this monstrosity when I wake up every morning and feel like someone has punched me in the gut and I can hardly catch my breath. I’m sure so many of you can relate.
Obviously, the virus itself has been a horrific thing. I know a woman who is on day 60-something of dealing with the virus and the aftermath of the virus on her body (especially her lungs), and she only now feels like she’s out of the woods, although she’s still nowhere near back to normal. Her doctor tells her that could take months. (She’s in her 40s and had pre-existing medical conditions that exacerbated the effects of the virus, unfortunately.)
But the effects have gone so far beyond the immediate effects of a virus that I find it’s nearly impossible to wrap my head around, and I’m sure many, if not most, of you feel the same.
- Over 40 million Americans filing for unemployment in the span of just a few weeks. I’m sure the real number of unemployed is more like 50 million if you factor in those who simply aren’t eligible for unemployment. I can’t even wrap my head around that number.
- The sheer number of small businesses that will be gone for good, never to open their doors again, because they can’t survive this long without income. So many dreams of small business owners destroyed, while so many of the large corporations are raking in massive amounts of money off of this disaster.
- High school kids missing out on some of the most important rights of passage in a kid’s life, like prom and graduation.
- College grads unable to walk the stage and celebrate their accomplishment.
- Millions and millions of kids having zero socialization with people their own age for months now, missing out on school, birthday parties, sleepovers, end-of-year school activities, and so much more that a kid needs in order to grow, learn, and mature.
- The rapidly increasing numbers in child abuse, spousal abuse, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse.
- Kids being told that their “new normal” when they go back to school is to wear a mask and stay away from other kids.
- Governors and mayors using this opportunity to become the dictators they’ve evidently always dreamed of being by enforcing some of the most ridiculous, arbitrary, and draconian rules we’ve ever seen that do absolutely nothing to protect people from a virus. (Two of thousands of examples — you can use paddle boats, but you can’t use motorized boats; beaches are closed, but you can pile into the grocery store and WalMart — more examples in the comment section, including two from my own governor in Texas.)
- People walking, jogging, and enjoying the outdoors in the sunshine, fresh air, and breeze wearing masks. Why? If you’re going to wear a mask, wear it INSIDE and/or when you’re in close proximity with other humans. But wearing a mask outside in the sunshine, fresh air and breeze while walking, jogging, running, walking your dog, either by yourself or with others in your household? It’s not necessary and could even be dangerous. And seeing some cities enforcing this rule that you have to wear masks OUTSIDE when doing these things just makes me want to scream.
- The division and fighting that this thing has caused. Why is a virus political? It absolutely baffles me, and yet, here we are.
- Senior citizens who live alone not having any human contact for weeks on end. The retirement home where my 108-year-old grandmother lived (until the day before the lockdown on March 16th) is STILL on lockdown with restrictions just now lifting a bit. So many of those people live alone, and they haven’t been allowed to come out of their apartments for 11 weeks now. Had my aunt Gay not happened to be there the day before the lockdown, and happened to hear that a lockdown was going into effect the next day, my 108-year-old grandmother would have been trapped there for 11 weeks now with no face-to-face contact with other humans. I don’t believe she’d still be with us had that happened.
- The millions of people whose loved ones have died during these last 11+ weeks who have not been able to have funerals or other customary gatherings to mourn the loss of their loved ones. Consider that an average of 55,000 Americans die each and every week, and that’s a lot of people who have died with no funeral allowed so that their loved ones can gather together and mourn their passing.
- The hundreds of thousands of of people who have had to go into the hospital or who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities who are not allowed to have family members with them advocating on their behalf. Considering that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, you have to figure that that number has definitely increased when people aren’t allowed to have family members advocating on their behalf. Plus, there’s just the mental and emotional toll of being left alone without the comfort of family by their side as these patients are admitted for care. It’s devastating.
And y’all, I could go on and on, but you’re here with me, and we’re all seeing this play out in front of our eyes, so I don’t really need to. It’s just all so sad.
(EDIT: To be clear, it IS possible to believe that these responses were necessary, and still be saddened by their effects on our country and society. Those things are not mutually exclusive. I’m not debating the necessity of the measures taken (other than some of the stupid and arbitrary rules, which I’ve stated ad nauseam in the comment section). I’m simply discussing the fact that these measures have brought about so many drastic changes that MAKE ME SAD. It’s okay to be sad, even if things are deemed “necessary.”
And I just have to say one more thing about the mask issue. Y’all, this has been such a source of frustration for me. I don’t care if you’re pro-mask or anti-mask, I think we can all agree that the masks have changed us. I mean, it’s bad enough that we see cops dragging a man off a bus or tackling a woman with a child to the ground for not wearing a mask. But then when we see civilians ganging up on a person and yelling and screaming and shaming her until she leaves a store, I just can’t help but think, “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO US?!”
The masks are destroying our humanity. You can argue that they’re necessary to keep us safe. Some will agree, others will disagree. But whether we agree or disagree on the necessity of mask wearing, I think we can all agree that it has changed us. And that’s sad to me. (To be clear, it is possible to believe that masks are helpful while ALSO believing that they’re having a negative effect on our humanity. Both of those things can be true at the same time. I’m not debating whether or not a mask is helpful regarding the virus. I’m simply talking about the emotional/mental toll this has had on society — and me personally — from what I’ve seen. Those are two different topics.)
We humans need each other. We need the hugs, hand shakes, and close interactions with our friends and families. We need the smiles and cordial greetings when we pass strangers on the street or in the grocery store aisles. We need those normal interactions that remind us each and every day that we’re all human we’re not all that different from one another, and we need each other.
But those damned masks. Those masks that cover up the smiles of strangers. Those masks that make a simple “hello” all the more difficult as it muffles our voices. Those masks that make the idea of actual conversation with another human seem like more effort than it’s worth. Those damned masks that serve as a constant reminder that the person we pass in the grocery store might infect us, and therefore we need to turn the other way as we walk by rather than making eye contact and engaging.
EDIT: And I will add — those damned masks that have become the SINGLE major source of division, anger, strife, judgment, arguing, name-calling, etc., between people just about everywhere I turn where this virus is concerned. The topic can’t even be brought up without it becoming a fight. The comment section on this very post is a prime example, as is every social media outlet. And THAT makes me sad as well.
The virus has certainly taken lives. Our response to it is destroying our humanity. And I can’t stand the thought that this is our “new normal.”
Anyway, all of that to say that I really do want to get back to business. I don’t know what that will look like, because Home Depot, which used to be my favorite place where I would go and wander around as I dream and plan new projects has now become a place of dread for me. But I know I can’t just hide out in my house with my husband and watch movies and play video games and pretend like the world outside the walls of our house is as it used to be. At some point, I do have to face the world outside the walls of our house as it is today. And I suppose today is as good a day as any.
So I will be getting back to my projects today, and sharing along the way. Hopefully I can return to some semblance of normalcy around here and work on some fun projects. Fingers crossed that no one burns down the Home Depot.
Feel free to comment and let me know how you’ve been handing the last few weeks. I just ask one thing. PLEASE DON’T MAKE THIS POLITICAL. This still isn’t the place for that. Leave the political discussions for your social media pages. We can talk about how we’re feeling, how we’re dealing with this (or not dealing with it), how it has affected us, etc., without turning the conversation political. I beg this of you.
So how have you been?