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Connecting in the time of Social Distancing

What a time, we are having. The COVID 19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on many of us in more ways than just our physical health, which is not to be downplayed or dismissed. Our family is practicing social distancing and taking the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick. But, chances are, one of us will be affected/infected. The statistics are sobering and yes, terrifying.

Strangely, the reality of what could happen to so many loved ones isn't quite as terrifying because we have examples of how to contain it (S Korea) and how not to (US). We know there is a way to minimize and flatten the curve...we just need Spring Breakers to get in line and stay inside. Watching the news in doses and choosing reliable sources (NOT Faux News/Fox News) keeps me informed of where we are numbers wise. Yes, Louisiana has the fastest growing rate of cases in the world. We just had Mardi Gras, FFS. Having a hold on stats somehow makes me feel better, despite the growing numbers. Not knowing is harder for me.

Canada closed its borders this week. That one did a number on me. Knowing that no matter what happens in this country, I can always get in a car or a plane and head to the sane (relatively) lands known as Canada has been my safety net. Having the option to be somewhere with paid healthcare and far fewer guns and a bigger safety net has always been assuring and allowed me to continue living in the U.S. That has been taken away from me, albeit temporarily. But, just the thought...I cried. Again.

As expected, I have already had a couple of meltdowns. I am an extrovert and the thought of not seeing my friends, family and loved ones is beyond difficult. Yesterday, I let that fear get the best of me and ended up in the bathtub in a sea of tears. Letting go is super difficult for me. I'm not a very good cry-er. If I do,rest assured I'll do it alone so no one can see or hear me.

Thankfully, I have some wonderfully, supportive, creative friends who have been checking in, responding to my silly and sad digital posts, and sending good vibes. I've already had one virtual happy hour via Zoom and have a second scheduled this week. I've video chatted with a couple of friends, and have been in touch with many others, some I don't talk to very often. It's been great. I need to connect with my people to stay sane.

Both of my sisters checked in and sent me virtual hugs, and reminded me that I need to let go and have a good cry. Some of my friends who know me also suggested the same thing. It was so good to hear from them. I promised my sisters and brothers that as soon as I am able, I will be home. I will hug them again.

The friends and people in my life are checking in and touching my heart in every way possible. My neighbor stopped by today and threw me two face masks that she made especially for me; they are silver with sequence and shiny straps. She gets me...I've video chatted with some long distance friends which has been such a treat! I've been talking on the phone with my buds, which is big for me. I'm not much of a phone person. That has changed.

What I've learned in this strange time is that social distancing is absolutely necessary and as an extrovert, I need to stay in touch with my people. Balancing both is a dance, and so far, I'm doing okay. I've learned that people can be incredibly kind, generous and lovely. I've learned that I need to allow myself to grieve all the changes, losses and acknowledge my fear, but not dwell in it.

In the past week, I've seen an unbelievable amount of creativity, which just affirms the needs for the support of the arts. I think everyone is figuring this out. I've seen such kindness and compassion and it has helped me get through the day, on more than one occasion. I have heard from friends that we will all come together, pool resources and support one another financially, emotionally, spiritually and just about any way you can think of. I have seen people shift their priorities and act in ways they weren't sure they were capable of. It's wild and wonderful.

Let's love one another and take care the best we can. If that means staying away and isolating, then let's do that. If it means calling a friend or checking in on a neighbor we haven't heard from in a while, let's do that too. Let's continue to offer the very best support we can in this crazy reality we are living. Let's just take care.

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