How are we all doing on this Wednesday–*checks calendar twice to make sure she has the day right*–afternoon? For me, it’s raining and I’m listening to it with my window open. I’m caught up on work emails for the day (so far, anyway) and hope to get some writing done this afternoon, before I head to my chiropractor appointment (the only time I leave my house these days,
yay back spasms and pain flair ups returning right in the middle of a pandemic) and then come home to work out, eat dinner and relax before bed.
Of course, the pandemic is still at the forefront of my mind, especially as protests foolishly arise about reopening businesses early, while many others prepare for the fact that this isn’t going to end any time soon and arguing for ending lockdowns, social distancing and self-isolation this early is only asking for disaster, death and further destruction of our country. Some are talking about wanting to return to normal and at first, that was my lament, too. There are a lot of things I miss in my life that have been taken away by the pandemic.
- Movie threatre date nights with my boyfriend on Friday nights
- Taking my dog to the dog park and watching her have way too much fun (and often get way too muddy) playing with the other doggos and puppers
- Going to visit my family on the weekends
- Meeting up with friends for dinner or hosting a hang out sesh at once of our homes
- Travel, whether it’s a weekend trip a few hours away or planning a vacation to another state to international travel dreams
- Going out to eat
- The temptation to get another tattoo I can’t afford (or a second sleeve 👀)
- Or, how I was finally going to dye my hair red and black
Those are some of the things I miss, being self isolated for almost 40 days, now. Some of the things I wished when I said I wanted life to return to normal.
But that wish isn’t what I want, anymore.
Something as horrible and as life-changing on a global scale doesn’t happen very often (thank God). But it has shown in a glaring, ugly, unrelenting light just how much of our “normal” lives was actually unhealthy and wrong to begin with (as if many didn’t already know this and experience it on a daily basis?! But I digress).
I think, if there was ever a time for us to come out of something changed and refocused for the better, this is it. And I’m not talking about learning a new language or a hobby as an individual. No, I’m talking about as a society. As a people. As a country. As a planet.
So, while I miss some things, like I described above, one of the things I find myself doing now is wishing for a new normal and wondering what I can do personally to help better the chance of these dreams to become the new norm.
- Voting by mail and stopping voter suppression: my boyfriend and I were able to vote by mail for the primary and I don’t understand why this is so hard to be a widespread, common practice? Also, voter suppression is a thing and a problem that needs to be sorted out (alongside international interference) immediately.
- Healthcare that is universal, affordable and not tied to employment: I can’t believe this is something that is still present in modern day America (I mean, I can, since America is so backyards and profit-driven in everything), but the fact that you have people who are forced to chose LITERALLY DYING because they can’t afford to get basic healthcare is ABSURD. The fact that it is tied to employment when access to good healthcare should be a basic human right is ABNORMAL and INHUMANE. The fact that I’m terrified for my little brother, who will need to get a good job with good insurance, in order to afford the insulin that literally keeps him alive with Type 1 Diabetes is ridiculous. The fact that my back is still fucked up and I was unable to get it adjusted because it was quoted to thousands of dollars out of my pocket, AFTER INSURANCE, is fucked.
- YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR ABILITY TO FINANCIALLY SURVIVE.
- The absence of student debt: Oh, I could rant about this for ages (or for as long as I it will take to pay off my college debt, which is ten years at $300+ a month for a loan of “only” $26K). Not only is the rising cost of college debilitating and makes it practically impossible to not only try to afford to attend college, but creating it this way makes it to where only the most privileged are able to attend, which makes our campus and the future less diverse, inclusive and open-minded as it could be, if college was at an affordable rate (or free). It creates this double standard where you have to have at least a Bachelor’s to get an entry level job nowadays that pays anything over $20K (though, good luck surviving on anything less than $40K with all the loan payments you’re about to receive) and now, it’s becoming even more of an expectation to have a Master’s or higher, which is even more money that no one can afford to spend in the first place. How can you expect anyone to buy a home, go shopping or help boost the economy in any way when every literal spare cent is going to loans you had to take in order to get that job that doesn’t pay you a living wage anyway?
- Protecting the planet first and most certainly above profit and admitting that climate change is real and a threat: This will forever baffle me. Whether it’s because you don’t want to believe scientists (which, I dunno why don’t want to trust in science, but here we are, I guess, let’s ignore this powerful and amazing tool God gave us to use and better understand the world He created, because that seems sensible) or because you don’t want to change your lifestyle or because you don’t want to take ownership of the fact that we as a species are destroying the only planet we have to live on; I dunno, but the climate change deniers are out there and it’s the largest form of stupidity I can see. What you risk by being wrong is THE DEATH OF OUR FUCKING PLANET. Where you going to spend all that money you’re hoarding now after our world burns, Janet? Fuck.
- (And, if you can’t handle staying at home and not getting to socialize or cut your hair or go on vacation, yet you might have access to plenty of things like Netflix, delivery, video games, books, internet, etc., how do you plan to survive when the planet is literally DYING, on fire and in ruins, and we’re forced to live through and then die because of the anarchy of the death of our entire species??? Just a thought.)
- A living wage regardless of career: If this pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is that minimum wage is much too low, regardless of what job you do. No one can live off $1200 a month, despite what the government believes. Rent is too high (because no one can buy houses or have mortgages because we’re drowning too deep in student loans, remember?) and I believe everyone should be able to work and not stress about how they are going to afford to live (and that includes luxuries like eating out or going shopping every once in a while, because, newsflash: getting to LIVE YOUR LIFE should not be considered a LUXURY), without needing to work half a dozen jobs to do it. I don’t care if you are working at McDonalds or a grocery store or the thousands of other professions society says “doesn’t deserve” to make $15 an hour. You are working to provide a life for yourself. You deserve a wage that lets you make that happen.
- Valuing members of the community that aren’t like you: Racism is rampant in my country of America. I can’t speak on what it is like or what that experience is, but I know that if you are black, Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, African-American, Native American or any other ethnicity that isn’t WHITE, that you are being robbed of a lot of respect, rights and opportunities that so many others get just because of white skin. Similar, unjust fears and judgement surround those who aren’t Christian. To those who weren’t born in America. Those whose native tongue isn’t English. Those whose gender expression or gender identity doesn’t match with their gender assigned at birth. Those who aren’t heterosexual.
- This “abnormality” in our society prolly breaks my heart the most. I don’t understand why we are holding onto this historically claimed belief that white is supreme. It fucking isn’t. My worth is no more than a black woman’s. My worth is no more than an immigrants’, someone in the LGBTQIA+ community, a non-Christian. I lived blinded by privilege for a long time and not wanting to accept this is how the world works, but currently, this is how our world functions. And it is MORALLY and ETHICALLY wrong.
- Open borders: Immigrants are not the problem. They come to America, looking for solace, safety and a new opportunity. Why would we would want to deny someone a second chance, a safety net, a life with hope and promise and protection and happiness, is fucking beyond me (though, at this point, if they are coming to America to seek that solace, then you know their country is a horrible place to live, because do you see the amount of problems we have?!). White supremacy, the lack of access to affordable education and the misogynistic backbone that creates inequality and unequal opportunity are the problem. Get it sorted.
- Not-heterosexual marriage legalized and accepted: WHY DO YOU CARE WHO SOMEONE ELSE FUCKS? This makes no literal sense in any capacity, in any way. Let someone love the way they want. Man to man, woman to woman; gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, demisexual, pansexual, asexual, questioning, it doesn’t matter. Every person deserves the opportunity to love and be loved in return, openly, without fear of repercussions.
- Fatphobia erased and body acceptance widespread: Oh, what a world we would live in if we didn’t have to feel the constant pressure to hate ourselves because of what our bodies look like. My mental health has been destroyed for years thanks to being fat and now, weighing more than I ever have, the self hated is at it’s peak. And then you have everyone trying to capitalize that now is the perfect time to lose weight and, if you don’t, you’re somehow lesser of the person. Because obviously rolls and curves and fat makes you less deserving of respect, love, fashion, expression and the ability to life a happy life, right? Just fuck right off.
- End of the mental health stigma: Similarly, could we get rid of the idea that going to a therapist is a bad thing (and stop making it so expensive to get the help you need, be it medication or therapy or a combination of both and more)? Erase the stigma that medication for mental health is a bad thing, perhaps? IT IS NOT A BAD THING.
- More remote job opportunities: Obviously, it’s possible (see the current state of the world as an example) but so many industries and companies don’t want to provide that opportunity because it gives more underprivileged an opportunity that is normally reserved for those who are usually white and wealthy. Also, maybe let’s take a hard look at the 40 hour work week while we’re at it, huh?
- Eliminating billionaires, poverty and homelessness: No one should not be able to have the basics you need to live, including a home. No one should not be able to afford to eat or get daycare or have clothes that properly fit. And no one should make so much many that they literally can’t spend it all in their lifetimes.
- Gun control and the end of school shootings: Why is this even being debated? How is it that it takes a GLOBAL PANDEMIC and nationwide school lockdowns for us to have our first month without a school shooting and the death of children in years? WHY.
- Female equality and the right for a woman to control her body: Just fuck off to every single person who believes they have ANY right to assert control upon my body. Abortions should be legal. Birth control should be available at a reasonable cost to any person and should be available to both women AND men. I shouldn’t be expected to have kids or give up my career for them. I can be a breadwinner. I can have a career and a be a mother. I can have sex with whomever I want. I can wear whatever I want and not have to fear rape as a result. I should be able to hold positions of power and be paid the same as any man (and this is doubly true for women of color). I should be RESPECTED, not controlled.
- Being able to live without the fear of rape: That’s it. That’s the tweet.
I’m sure there are other things that I’m not thinking of right now (and this is already the most lengthy post I’ve ever written on this blog), but why am I rushing back and wanting to return to a world where all of those things listed above don’t exist? In a world where politicians can lie and scheme against the public to put money in their pockets while children die in cages because their skin is brown; or a family can’t adopt a child who has been stuck in foster care for years because it is two married women filing the paperwork; or a woman wearing a hijab is labeled a terrorist for no other reason than her faith; or people die because they cannot afford healthcare and basic medicine, yet others own multiple million door homes as a place to go to for two weeks during the summer.
There is a lot in our world that is good and worth fighting for.
But there is so much room for growth. There is so much more room for compassion. For empathy. For opening your mind to the differences of others and embracing them, instead of othering them or, damn you, labeling them as lesser.
This might be considered a utopia, some impossible fever dream, but it is so? It is so wrong to wish–and speak up, pray, fight, vote, donate and work towards–a world where this is our normal, instead of what existed before a pandemic stopped us in our tracks?
I refuse to believe that we are a society cannot change for the better. That this is unachievable. And perhaps the horror of this pandemic will help others who didn’t realize, didn’t want to admit or were too blinded by their own privilege to accept that these changes were necessary; to see that it is necessary. And not only necessary, but it is the core of the very foundation of human decency.
Stop with your misogyny. Stop with your homophobia, your racism, your classism, your sexism, your elitism, your fascism. Recognize your privilege and help those that we’ve created the system to work against. Build a better system. Pandemic or not, we can change the world for the better and we can have hope for a better, more inclusive, more honest, more emphatic, more diverse, more accepting future.
That’s the normal I want.
PS: if you made it to the end of this post, you deserve a cookie. <3