For the moment we are stopped. Still. Waiting. Uncertain. Unified.
For the moment, we are able to see through the veil of separateness. We are allowing ourselves to question the ocean of humanity and wonder: what do we need in these times?
What the world needs now is collaboration. We need to share our knowledge, resources, support, and experiences. We need to reach out to those affected: the homeless, the sick, the widowed, the unemployed, the lawmakers, the essential workers. We need to reach out to everyone, no one is unaffected. We need to nurture within us an emphatic and compassionate patience.
For the past year I have been zig zagging around the country and asking people, “what do you think the world needs more of?” For now, I am quarantined in my home in Asheville, North Carolina asking this question virtually.
In an effort to collaborate while we are all separately quarantined, I wrote to my friends who are scattered across the world and asked them: how is this virus affecting your life, and what do you think our world needs more of?
We need to show up for one another by saying “I want to help. I am ready to listen.” I invite you to listen the accounts of these humans. What can we learn about ourselves, our communities, our world? Scroll to find out more.
Thank you to all who have written to me. I am still collecting accounts if you are interested in sharing, write to me! Stay healthy and stay connected.
Carleigh: Richmond, Virginia
“I take care of sick people for a living. I have held hands of those that were dying. I have celebrated with those receiving another chance at life. I have seen people on their worst days and their best. But this, this I have never seen before.”
Madeline: Squamish, Canada
“I cry and a kind stranger asks me if I’m okay. I’m instantly sobered by the fact that I am being observed. After two weeks inside, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be scrutinized…There’s this little crevice in my brain that excretes rage when I am told to “be positive”. It has been a defect for as long as I can remember. I think I just hate being told what to do especially if it’s good for me. The bypass for this defect is tricking myself into being positive without telling myself to be positive.”
Jess: Belmont, North Carolina
“As I was driving through NY, gas stations wouldn’t let you use their bathrooms, gas prices were cheap, less cars were on the roads, and signs on the highway said “practice social distancing.” The mood was different as I headed south: there were plenty of cars on the road, and the highway signs just said check local state’s government websites for details. My consensus is that culture in the South is not respecting this virus as seriously as it should which I think is due a lot to it not hitting close to home yet.”
Dylan: Salt Lake, Utah
“The funny part is I quit my job that I could have worked from home exactly one week before this hit the U.S. and everyone started working from home, so that I could travel and fuck around and have the house to myself. Now I can’t travel, or climb, and there are 4 people working from home in my house every day including a thirteen-year-old who doesn’t have school anymore. Pretty fucking classic, I absolutely deserve all of the irony.”
Diana: San Francisco, California
“We need the resilience to think past the short term and into the long term. We need a long term plan to counter the inequities our society Is built on. We need the resilience to fix the broken systems so future generations do not have to live with our mistakes and our misconstrued belief that we had infinite time.”
Delaney: Charlotte, North Carolina
“We need more community driving/carpool. More attention to one another instead of only through technology. We need genuine human connection. I feel the lack of that in these times will help drive it full on when we are able to interact with humans again. That is what life is: energy and connection.
Casey: Melbourne, Australia
“As I mentioned, my house is quite small. And for 10 days I have not wandered outside it’s walls besides stepping out the front to put trash in the bins, grab mail, or go out back to hang our laundry or enjoy the solitude of our small, 4 walled backyard. No runs, no walks, no lounging in the grass at the nearby park. It’s hard.”
Laura: Bedford, Virginia
“They shoved a bunch of shit up my nose and down my throat to make sure I didn’t have mono, strep, or the flu. When those tests all came back negative, the man in the hazmat suit shoved some more stuff up my nose and then ordered me to quarantine until I got the results back in three to five days.”
Josh: Brooklyn, New York
“I really thought it would be kinda cool at first. No job, no school, just all the time in the world to do whatever I want. Unfortunately what I learned about myself is that with all the time in the world…I do nothing. Or I do nothing but write raps.”
Melina: Cool, California
“We need to check in with ourselves and embrace ourselves more than we ever had before. Radical self-love, especially if you are spending all your time only with yourself. Hug yourself, make your favorite foods (if you can), do small things each day that help heal your heart. This is a chance to dive into what matters most to us, and really reflect on how we want to spend our lives out in the world once we get the blessing to leave the house for more than the most basic necessities again.”
Emily: Crane Lake, Minnesota
“I woke up on March 17th in tears. It all hit me at once that this Coronavirus and the economic impact it has is very real. Loved ones are in danger, many of my friends are out of a job, and if it continues.. we could be out of a job too. On the other hand, I am joyful about the positive impacts that this scary virus has on the environment and our togetherness as a country.”
Lace, Fall City Washington
“As I watch this unfold, I can’t help but feel like the collective We is getting forced to examine life the way we chose to on our trip. We are resetting as a society and hopefully reevaluating what is important. When life slows down and you start to look at what’s important, we all seem to want the same things—local businesses, homegrown food, accessible music and art, nature out our backdoor, and a community we are connected to.”
Baer and the Lady: Gainesville, Florida
“This outbreak has been refreshing. It has made me appreciate people more, the earth more, our food more, our home, our art. This is the most connected I’ve felt to my community in my life. Right now people care about the things that really matter…people in need, local businesses, artists, food, creativity, wellness, relaxing, going outside, and slowing down. It has been shocking to see this.”
Emily: Boone, North Carolina
“Never before have I been given this type of opportunity; where exterior stimulation is mitigated, the pressure of working comes to a halt, and I am called to focus on that which is within my home and myself. I feel motivated to take this time to dive deeper in the depths of my soul and allow some of the seeds I’ve been sowing to blossom and grow.”
Eli: Crested Butte, Colorado
“I think the hardest part of this pandemic has been the uncertainty that it has created in my life and my friends lives. Most of us work in the service industry and many have lost their jobs, it makes the questions of normal seasonal change harder to answer. Where will we live? What jobs can they get for the summer? Will there be enough tourists to support our local businesses? These are the questions that are in everyone’s head in Crested Butte.”
Ellie: Radford, Virginia
“While most of my time is spent behind my laptop trying to be productive, I spend all of my time trying to stay sane. I am a person who thoroughly enjoys spontaneity, however, I’ve found myself clinging on to a routine lately, as that is what makes things feel as normal as possible.”
Ben: Bristol, England
“As in her trees we remember to engender hope/ Grow branches, plant seeds that evoke/ Love for our neighbour no matter what colour or creed/ For like the dappled autumnal leaves/ We all shall one day fall and recede/ Back into the land our bodies worm feed”
Check back weekly for more accounts of how the pandemic is shaping our daily lives. If you are interested in writing your own account, contact me. I’d love to hear from you!
Now get up, and shake your booty.