Everyone is dealing with a lot right now, and I want to make it clear that I understand some will find this tone deaf. That being said, I think it is important to respect the way everyone is dealing with the current circumstances, including people like me.
So how am I doing? Honestly, just fine. Sure, I wish I could go to concerts or eat out at a restaurant, but the simple fact is that I can’t, and acceptance is the easiest way for me to deal with it. I consider myself fortunate that I’ve yet to be negatively impacted financially. I haven’t lost a loved one to Covid or any adjacent situation. My job has changed, and has new challenges, but I see that as a positive. I prefer to be involved in progress, and I easily become jaded with the status quo. So this rabbit’s pace of change we are experiencing is good. At least to me.
That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize others’ struggles or heartbreaks. The abundance of deaths related to the pandemic is shocking, and I’m sympathetic to be sure. But I also feel like it’s incredibly important for me to carry on with optimism, both for myself and others. One person crying about a situation doesn’t change anything, but sometimes it’s necessary for them to work through the grief. Two people will only perpetuate that grief and eventually make it feel like it’s normal. Rather than cry with you, I’m the one digging through the tunnel so you can eventually come out the other side.
Some people who, like me, have not truly been impacted, will feel a sense of survivor’s guilt. Like, why are they so lucky to not have lost anyone? Why were they chosen to escape unscathed? Such people have a heightened sense of empathy, and like everyone, this is their way to deal with it. But that’s not me.
I’m the person who hates going to funerals because I can’t muster the level of sadness usually expected. I show up to a room full of grieving friends and family and heartily greet the bereaved with a “how’s it going!” I can’t help it, it just comes out of my mouth, because hey, we’re not the ones about to be worm food, right? Let’s honor this person by living our lives the best we can. It seems heartless, but the fact I feel the awkwardness of my presence is proof I have empathy and self-awareness. I just express it differently than most.
So for those of you surviving this crisis with relative ease, know that it’s ok to feel OK. You don’t have to feel guilty about it, and you should not allow others to make you feel shame. In fact, we are important members of society. We are the glue holding everything together. The victims and empathizers are equally important, but it’s our job to keep digging that tunnel. We may not get the social media love or much credit at all for what we’re doing, which is exactly what we want most of the time anyway.
One day we’ll emerge from this together, on a better path than when it started. It won’t be without sacrifice, and it’s fine to acknowledge that, but I won’t apologize for feeling just fine.