Deep breath. I've found myself holding mine at times so sigh that shit out.
Ok! I wanted to get real with y'all about where I stand on the pandemic these days and why that could even matter to you ("you" being people who want to know, and no hard feelings if you don't care).
First off, I have fibromyalgia, which means I have chronic pain, chronic debilitating fatigue and a host of other symptoms that I won't go into. I also have a few other diagnoses that complicate things, but that's perhaps for another time. What you need to know is that I have been and will always be careful because if I catch Covid, it'll be twice as painful for me. That's how my illness works. A classic cold? I feel it twice as hard as I did when I wasn't chronically ill.
What's more, my partner is immunocompromised. Before Covid, I've taken him to the hospital for simple things like a flu or food poisoning, unsure if he'd make it out. Most of us don't need hospitalization for flu or food poisoning but he has. So yes: I support vaccines and I'll be as careful as I can around Covid. My mom and stepdad are also in their 70s and both have health conditions that would make Covid or even the flu dangerous for them both.
So. That's why I am careful.
That's also why I can't stand nor tolerate staunch anti-vaxxers. Staunch anti-vaxxers are the result of fear, privilege, misinformation and wilful ignorance. This blog isn't for those people. To you, I simply say: "Next!"
This blog is for those people who are partially vaccinated and perhaps confused about boosters, or angry or frustrated or exhausted about how the pandemic is being handled by our government and public health officials. I haven't been open to many conversations about vaccines and health care because I've been busy trying to survive, vigilant in keeping myself and my partner safe, keeping up with personal growth in healing trauma and antiracism education. I also have wanted to amplify the science of vaccines and the life saving benefits that the vaccine has afforded all of us.
However, there are very valid concerns that a lot of you are having about health measures, lockdowns, government action or inaction and you have nowhere to put that concern. Some people reacted to their concerns by aligning with the freedom convoy; which, by the way, the convoy was never about truckers and never about freedom. It was about white nationalism. Period. Covid caused supply chain issues and inflation. Not vaccines or vaccine mandates. Almost 90% of the truckers are vaccinated and haven't been affected by mandates in the way the convoy has spun the narrative.
But many people did NOT align with the convoy for
white supremacy "freedom," and are simply exhausted, scared, and unsure what to do. Who can blame you? We've been told we all matter by the government, yet the most recent wave of omicron showed us that workers were expected to suck it up and go back to work without extra sick pay or support. We've been told that we're all in this together, yet vulnerable populations are still hit hardest by this virus. Those who identify as women or who have uteri, struggle with the implications of a vaccine and/or Covid itself on their cycles and on fertility. And we all know that health care loves to educate openly about women's health (enter sarcastic eye roll here). Small businesses that have NOT been high transmission locations were all but punished during subsequent lockdowns while big corporations and malls were privileged/prioritized over those small businesses. Mental and physical health were thrown out the window, even when the science said that it was ok to keep those spaces open in a smart, controlled way. It's frustrating as f*ck. There. I said it.
So. What do you/we do about all of this? I know you feel powerless. We all have to some degree during this slog. I promise you, you're not powerless. If I can stay connected, engage in activism (petitions, amplifying advocates voices, calling campaigns, letter writing, email writing etc) than you can too. You also can work on owning your own emotions, practising self-compassion and grounding, and learning to be less reactive. What's more, there's information out there and people actually willing to listen about hesitancy and all of your concerns.
For example, if you're women-identifying and worried about fertility or menstruation and the vaccine, check out Dr Jen Gunter on Instagram and her blog because she's a compassionate, badass ObGyn who has shared countless facts about the vaccine and health implications (hint, it's safe). Don't take my word for it though. Take hers, or better yet, the advice of someone else you trust. If you can't find someone, talk to a therapist (most are doing virtual appointments, which is super convenient!). Talk to a friend and make it your mission to search out sound, peer reviewed (scientific journals) on topics you're concerned about.
If you're pissed about mandates, lockdowns, etc... get your typing fingers ready or arm yourself with a pen!! Write to YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS to lobby for change you want to see. I cannot stress this enough.
It helps to also get clear about what's actually bugging you, take some deep, grounding breaths, engage who you think is appropriate (your mp, your MPP, etc), and rest when you need to. Rest is not a luxury: it's a necessity.
Hell, if we're friends, you can talk to me! I may not be able to physically do a lot these days but I can listen and talk (within reasonable limits, of course :). Fibro does rob me of energy in many ways, but I can text like a mothereffer.).
I'm not open to or tolerant of someone wanting to school me on how vaccines are gene therapy, or how the pandemic is a scam, or that my calling the convoy racist is me being "divisive." I got zero space and f*cks for that nonsense. Calling out racism isn't divisive: racism and white supremacy are divisive. (that's right: I underlined, italicized AND bolded that shit!)
Conversations between friends or acquaintances can be incredibly healing and a powerful agent of growth in the human spirit and psyche. I realize I may seem closed off to some of you who have concerns about vaccines or mandates because I've been both vocal about vaccines and hunkered down because of my husband's and my health issues. This is why I'm writing this blog. I want you to know that I want to see you and hear you.
Let me level with y'all some more:
I'm tired of racists and racist apologists not being held accountable.
I'm tired of feeling scared for my husband's life when i see people who I thought were decent subscribe to conspiracy theories and throw all scientific integrity and recommendations out the window.
I'm tired for the vulnerable people who don't have access to basic needs, let alone health care and who are being ignored because some loud, idiotic voices are being privileged over theirs. This extends to health care workers who are being blocked, harassed, assaulted and terrorized when trying to do life-saving work.
I'm tired of BIR (Black, Indigenous and Racialized folks'), small businesses and women-identifying folks being squashed under the weight of racism, misogyny, corporate greed, and unfair working wages and environments. And, for not getting any reparations even when there was supposed to be government assistance.
So I'm sure I'm not alone in those tired things. We're all exhausted, and while we may not fit into the exact same exhaustion topic boxes, we definitely have overlapping Venn diagrams!
My invitation is to the following people: people who are struggling with genuine concerns about Covid and the vaccine, people who believe in health mandates but are frustrated with how they're being created and implemented, people exhausted from racism and white supremacy, and people who are exhausted from being scared all the time of this virus.. I'm here. Not 24/7 because I've gotta take care of my own sanity and health (chronic illness is a full time job). But hit up my DMS or text me. Check out Dr. Jen Gunter if you're curious about women's issues and the vaccine (or women's health in general!). Read sound studies. Talk to someone you trust. Ground. All throughout the day.
That's what we'll end on: let's ground together. This is something you can do multiple times throughout the day, and I HIGHLY encourage you to.
- Whether you're sitting, standing, in a wheel chair or lying down, focus on your feet.
- Breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth, imagine roots growing from the feet into the ground, through floors, foundation, the earth, the crust.
- Keep breathing, in through the nose out through the mouth.
- As you imagine these roots growing longer and farther down, they're growing stronger.
- You are growing stronger.
- Keep breathing. When the mind wanders (and it will :)), gently refocus on the breath.
- Clench the hands into fists a couple of times and release.
- Take another yummy breath and voila!