Calling COVID Out & Courage In

So I’ve been thinking, a lot, which you wouldn’t know due to my prolonged silence.

It’s not because I haven’t had anything to say, as you also might have guessed. But my words couldn’t seem to escape, like something was covering my mouth…

I thought I was handling it okay. I mean, I’ve looked death in the eye more than twice, so I figured I could navigate a pandemic with some level of resillience.

But then I started to feel it, all of it- the rage, desperation, and pain bubbling up as the world shut down.

I knew I had to remove myself for a spell so I could catch my breath- secure my own mask first if you’ll excuse the metaphor, which it definitly is because I haven’t been able to wear a mask…(don’t worry, we’ll get to that part soon enough).

But It wasn’t COVID, “the virus” that took my breath away. It was the COVID we have given the reins to, or reign to- the one we have simultaneously crowned our ruler and declared our enemy. 

The COVID we’ve raged war on using the same elimination approach we’ve deployed again and again, no matter how destructive the means- victory over the common enemy- over a virus, over Trump, over extremism, over white supremecy, “weapons of mass destruction”- walls to keep them out, mandates to keep us in, War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, Operation Warp Speed

 “You’re either with us or you’re against us.” 

COVID is spreading faster and causing more harm than any virus we’ve ever experienced. But it can’t be conquered with good vs. evil, made right by the left, or eliminated with a vaccine. Because it’s not a virus that’s killing us. 

It’s fear

Fear is what’s driving us further and further apart (6 ft. and counting) and infecting our ability to reason…to the point that we are trusting politicians to heal us, Big Pharma to save us, and the media to tell us the truth.

Devolution

What sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to consciously reflect and connect, or better stated “…our open-ended ability to imagine and reflect on different situations and our deep-seated drive to link our scenario-building minds together.” 

Our unbridled potential to innovate is clear. We’ve advanced technology to the point that we don’t even need to think anymore; we have the media to tell us what, Siri to tell us how, and Google to tell us why, when, and where.

But we rarely credit our intellectual achievements to their true origin: our innerent need for belonging. Even language, regardless of how or when, evolved from a desire to understand each on a deeper level, which in turn, inspired better collaboration and creativity.

The problem is, we let our minds go to our heads and lost sight of our hearts- assigning more meaning to our personal achievements than our relationships.

The more “connected” we’ve become, the more attached to our devices, the more we’ve disconnected from our lives and detached from our relationships.

This collective disconnect has led a one of the most destructive and incedious health crisis we’ve seen in decades.

And no, I’m not talking about COVID, although the two are now inextricably linked…

Loneliness: Our Nation’s Invisible Epidemic

Former United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, declared loneliness a national epidemic- as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarretes a day; twice as deadly as obesity; and directly linked to a list of life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.

And this was all before COVID hit, which we continue to combat with isolation. So now, it’s not just society perpetuating an epidemic killing hundreds of thousands of people- our leaders are mandating it.

* Side note: loneliness and associated illnesses also weaken the immune system…you know, that advanced defense network our bodies have specifically designed to fight off viruses and such…

Divided We Fall

But let’s not get bogged down with facts. Let’s talk politics, instead. You’ll have to pick a side, though…and use your mask accordingly.

Now, since I had left the States for a spell, and the media, I didn’t know this, or at least the extent of it, until I returned home to vote. To be clear, I flew home specifically to vote, against a man I despised and a party I did not support.

But there was a minor issue…I looked like I did. I unknowingly walked into a warzone, unarmed and dressed as the enemy.

The previously mentioned mask issue marked me as “the other”, exposing a truth I couldn’t see before. This was not an election, it was a staged battle of good vs. evil- COVID had become a weapon of war, and the mask, a symbol of allegiance.

You’re either with us or you’re against us. 

I thought I was one of the good guys, fighting for the right side…which was the left, right?

But the behavior I saw and experienced from the left was anything but right. And I realized, assigning “good” and “bad” to left and right is no different than doing so with black and white.

So I made a decision. I will no longer prop up a two-party, winner-takes-all-system that has stripped our vote of its power, our candidates of their integrity, and pitted us against each other to the extent that “civil war” is being tossed around as a legitimate concern.

Calling in Courage

True belonging- something I have craved my entire life, but rarely felt. It is also something I have abandoned myself over and over trying to keep- pleasing, performing, settling, conforming…

And now, when even the briefest exchange can feel like a hug- the thought of alienating people I considered my tribe or losing the respect of those I admire, even if from afar, feels terrifying.

But what I see happening around me feels infinitely more so.

I know I’m not alone, and I can’t keep watching people suffer in silence because they are afraid to speak their truth, nor will I continue to betray myself by doing the same.

We have held our breath for long enough.

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”

– Maya Angelou

So where is this going? I really don’t know. I don’t have the answers, but I have questions about the ones being given to me. And I won’t tell you what to believe, but I’ll tell you why I don’t believe what I’m being told.

I am not an expert, or a doctor, or a scientist. I am not a Democrat or a Republican; a racist or an anarchist, a conspiracy theorist or a conformist. And I am not sick. 

I am a voice. And it’s time to exhale.

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18 thoughts on “Calling COVID Out & Courage In

  1. “assigning more meaning to our personal achievements than our relationships” powerful Brooke. I need to sit on your words for a spell. I am sad we are isolating out of necessity but also I believe in doing my part to protect myself and others. While at the same time to not judge the myriad of ways each of us is reacting, acting and responding to this incredible to challenge to the very fiber of the already frayed societal norms and ties connecting us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get it, I’ve had to sit on them for 9 months….and it wasn’t exactly a labor of love. No, judging doesn’t do any of us any good, although that feels impossible too when emotions and stakes are so high. Again, I don’t have the answers. I just want us to take back our humanity- mind, body, and spirit. Huge hug to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a brilliant post Brooke. You’re describing so much of what I feel, only much more clearly and eloquently. I’ve been bothered by the divisions in our media, politics, etc, especially social media. I hope we figure out how to listen, talk, build bridges, and cooperate. I also think the rich and powerful like us divided and distracted. Thank you for the courage and clarity to write this post. Big hugs of gratitude. 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  3. OK I’m sitting in my car with tears running down my face. I feel you girlfriend and I’m so grateful for your eloquent voice. I’ve been having this conversation with several people lately. I’m glad I have you in all this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brookie,
    I love how authentically you emote. One thing I heard once that always stuck with me is that the word courage comes from the origin HEART. I know you know that.
    Your words bleed heart.
    I love your courage.
    Sending love and grace to us all at this time.
    I miss the shit out of you.
    Jules

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an amazing post ~ the clarity of your writing of this turmoil we faced in 2020 is brilliant. Now, almost a year later it is a bit sad how even more relevant and disappointing things have become. I hope you are doing well, staying safe… and sane. Take care ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you, my friend! I couldn’t see through the cobwebs and almost missed this! In full disclosure, I’ve been hiding since I posted this. I guess I needed to “secure my own mask first” (if you’ll excuse the atrocious and exhausted metaphor).
      I don’t know if I’ve been staying sane, exactly, but sometimes it takes a little crazy to fight off the insanity…fire with fire if you will.

      Thanks again for visiting, and please excuse the dust. 😉 Wishing you lots of peace and sanity as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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