I’ll start this off by acknowledging the fact that I missed a March post. As much as I’d like to berate myself for this, I genuinely don’t have the energy to. Plus I think we can all afford a moment of grace given the Covid-19 climate.
If there’s anything Corona has shown me, it’s that I dwell in the calm before a storm. I didn’t think the virus would hit as hard as it has or have the global repercussions we’re seeing. Part of that is my personality: I’ve worked really hard to not allow fear to be my default reaction. To the point where most of the time I genuinely think things will work out and be fine. This I think is a fantastic trait of mine. I don’t sit in a state of panic, nor do I float in a constant stream of anxiety. Now, take my words with a grain of salt. Our new reality hasn’t affected my general life too drastically, so I’m very well aware of the luxury I have to self-praise.
The other reason I was slow to grasp the scale is because of the people around me. For those who don’t know, I’m in nursing school. I’m set to graduate this December and I’m praying to God the devil ‘rona doesn’t delay those plans. Part of nursing school is doing rotations at hospitals- we call these clinicals. Of course, by being in the hospital I had heard more about the virus way before it became a constant cycle in the news. And even then, nobody was fearful. Of course, precautions were taken, but I never felt concerned about it upending our lives like this. We would even joke that we wouldn’t worry about the virus until the ER nurses started to. Then they did. All our hospitals have since kicked us students out so we’re not able to complete our clinical hours. This is the biggest hurdle to possibly delaying our graduation, but again I’m optimistic things will work out.
Again, I can have this gleaming optimist because although my day to day schedule has changed, I’m still able to go to school (online) and have always had the option of working from home. Make no mistake though, I’m not completely without worry. Within say 3 degrees of separation, I now know three people who have passed since lockdown. Two I don’t believe were from the virus, but one is a confirmed yes. As Covid-19 continues to close in on us, we’ll unfortunately be hearing more and more of these stories. My sister comments that it’s been interesting to watch me progress from lackadaisical to now wiping down incoming mail. I also worry about the profession I’m training in and the absolute disregard for the safety of healthcare workers in this country. This is terrifying. This is the British sending soldiers to WWI with cloth caps instead of helmets. It’s telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when you only gave them flipflops. It’s recruiting only the color blind to act as pilots. It makes absolutely no sense, it’s absurd, outright neglectful, but most of all it’s terrifying.
As a Black person, I should have absolutely no faith in this government. As an immigrant, maybe foolishly I do. Be that as it may, the light in my gleaming saucered eyes is very rapidly dimming. As the virus spreads, we’re now getting stats on the people most affected. It’s Black people. This sadly isn’t surprising. We live in a White America. An America where wealth is disproportionately distributed in favor of White people. With wealth comes things like having a second home to run to when your city becomes a Covid-19 hotspot. It comes with the perks of not relying on public transportation to get from point A to point B. It comes with being able to afford a post-mate’s delivery for your groceries. It comes with not needing to be a post-mate delivery driver during a pandemic.
My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t critically think, so for those who are gathering their rebuttals, use your critical thinking here. Of course there are minorities who can afford such, but statistically these numbers are disproportionately skewed in favor of White people. Another of my pet peeves is when people use minorities and Black people interchangeably, so henceforth I’m speaking only of Black people. The way this country is set up, Black people are suffering and will continue to suffer the effects of the Corona virus more than our White counterparts. Racism has led to wealth, educational and stress disparities which ultimately affect socioeconomics and genetics. I’m highlighting stress and genetics because of hypertension, which black people are more likely to suffer from compared to white people. Racism is stressful. I don’t think I need to delve into the why’s, but the fact that Black men are toggling with the decision of whether or not to wear facemasks lest they appear a threat proves my point. This video shows two black men being escorted out of a Walmart for wearing facemasks. Yup.
I’ve just had an epiphany as I write this. Perhaps my optimism is a coping mechanism. As I write this I am getting more and more stressed. I’m getting angry, infuriated, and honestly I feel hopeless. I feel all this even with the privileges I have, so I can’t imagine how others less fortunate feel. It’s exhausting. And so, I will hold on to the philosophy that things will work themselves out. Because if I allow myself to dwell on the fact that because of who I am there are many more hurdles stacked against me, then I risk chronic depression. Yes, for some people these thoughts will spark motivation and drive. That is admirable. I however am not wired this way. And so I make dance videos and I create Instagram characters. Because though I hold awareness, optimism, distractions and my joy are the shields I can comfortably carry.