When COVID-19 started spreading across the US, I felt a strong sense of “We’re in this together.” I had no idea what was in store for our future: my kids’ school, my career, the economy, all the businesses in my small town. I soon came to the conclusion I could sit and soak myself in worry, or I could work as hard as I could and get my kids through the school year.
It was comforting to know we were all in this together
Summer was the light at the end of the tunnel and every time I thought about the worst, I would think about how everyone was in the same boat and we were all uncertain and scared. There was comfort in knowing we were in this together, although it was all still very unsettling.
I look around now and I just want to shut it all down.
There are mask debates, conspiracy theory debates, and people slamming others for having a difference of opinion. Our “We’re in this together motto” has been replaced with “If you don’t agree with me on all accounts you are wrong and I’m going to publicly shame you.”
I have some friends who think we are being controlled by the government and others who think we still aren’t doing enough.
People are spewing their thoughts on social media about how horrible we are if we don’t send our kids back to school while others are pleading for us not to send our kids back because we should be afraid for their lives.
The vitriol is everywhere and I can’t get away from it. My social circle; my online communities, even my kids have strong opinions about the way things should be working in this country.
There is no room for people who are doing their best
There doesn’t seem to be room for people like me; people who are doing their best but simply aren’t sure.
It seems that it’s not okay to say “I really don’t know if I’m doing the right thing because I’ve never been through this.” And it doesn’t seem okay to say nothing at all. Apparently, if you are silent you are part of the problem. Where does that leave those of us who need time to process what’s going on or just like to handle things quietly?
Everyone is judgmental and abrasive. We aren’t hearing each other. Everything is political and we have become so quick to point a finger at someone else and blame them for the problem. All I know is that I want to escape from all of this. If that makes me look weak, so be it. It’s too much.
What I want to focus on right now is providing a stable place for my teens. I want them to enjoy their last few years at home. I want them to sleep at night. I want to turn down the chaos so we all can think clearly.
I’m not talking about living in a bubble and ignoring everything.
I believe that masks work and I’m not up for sending my kids back to school yet. I believe that teachers are working hard and they are doing the best they can. I don’t know how they have the patience to do what they are up against.
I just want to do my thing quietly without judgement
I want to do my thing without any of nastiness and I am happy to let others send their kids to school and do their life in the way that suits them without all the fighting. It doesn’t feel like anyone can say anything these days and it’s really a freaking lonely place to be.
We are definitely not in this together any longer. We are divided and it’s gotten ugly and mean. The only solution I can come up with is to just keep to myself; less posting on social media, and once I do post, I just get off.
Every time I see what’s happening on certain pages, or even between my friends, I get tense. I get incredibly nervous if my tees go anywhere now. I’m afraid that someone will see my kids without a mask and ridicule me for being too lax or on the flip side, someone will call to tell me they think I’m being way too strict and uptight.
My anxiety is at its highest point, I’m not sleeping regularly and my stress is manifesting into physical symptoms. I’d like to say that I don’t care what other people think of me, but I do care because this is a huge deal. And one we’ve never experienced at that.
There is so much is on the line here – our lives, our kids’ last years of high school and first years of college, the economy and our mental health. I can’t help but think if we could all be more gentle; if we could all just agree to do the best we can and let others do the best they can and be less harsh, we would all be in a better place.
Can we all be a bit more gentle with each other?
No, it won’t bring a cure for COVID-19 or anything that has happened in the past few months but it certainly would be a start to a healthier environment for all of us. We can all admit that we are more motivated to listen to others when we are met with compassion and kindness than when we are when we are constantly being confronted and shamed.
The only thing I can do right now to preserve my sanity is to pay attention to what I’m doing and what my kids are doing, and leave the rest alone. I’ve never been so exhausted or felt so alone in my life.
I know I can’t be the only one feeling this way.
The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.
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