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Freedom Covered at a Distance

I was hesitant to write this post for fear of hurting or offending anyone. The subject brings to mind memories of pain I and many others wish could be forgotten. But I don’t want to tell that story; no I want to tell my “now” story.

When 2020 began, none of us would have dreamed it would turn out the way it did. It started like any other, but for many by its end, had left in its wake a trail of tears, pain, and loss. Governments, companies, and, households had no choice but to put in place new rules for living. Science dictated many of the choices, others came out of fear, and some, well probably the need for control. I don’t know for sure how it all came about so I’m mostly just guessing and giving my perspective.

Back to the point of this writing: While the restrictions put in place felt like a violation to some, others believed it was what we had to do to survive regardless of how it felt. Two of the biggest, the most prominent, were masks and social distancing. Those two survived the lockdowns and when some restrictions were lifted, those two remained. I’m not sorry! I was glad when I began to venture back out into society that those two were still in place. I have my reasons. I suffer from an anxiety disorder that when first diagnosed was called Social Anxiety Disorder. More often than not it is now just throw it under the Generalized Anxiety Disorder umbrella. For me though, I know what it is; it’s social.

Before the pandemic, I was always on guard in public, especially if I was alone. I’d get in and out of a store or public place as fast as I could. I remember more times than I could count sitting in my car trying to catch my breath because I finally felt safe. Then when the calm came, so came the tears. I was relieved yet embarrassed at how silly I thought I was being. I know now it was ok to feel that way, but it took some medical therapy to get there. I know anxiety affects us all in so many different ways and at different levels of severity, so I’m by no means trying to compare anyone with myself. I’m not crippled by its effects, most of the time, and I can function pretty well. Sometimes though, the panic and the panic attacks come before I can control them.

Then came the pandemic. Of course, at first, I didn’t go anywhere. I’d run in a grocery store, always with a friend, and run out, because hey we all needed toilet paper. When we did began to venture out more (especially after having the virus and being told I was immune for a few minute) I can say that I did prefer that people had on masks and that they were, for the most part, keeping their social distance. Going to the store wasn’t quite as terrifying. I didn’t have to talk to people when it wasn’t on my terms. I didn’t have them bumping into me, or crowding the imaginary bubble I had created. It was more of a force field that protected me from the monsters. Being in public wasn’t the tsunami of fear that it used to be. It was more a sprinkle of rain that I could control again.

Once again that’s all changed. It’s July 2021 and I guess social distancing has become a thing of the past. People are crowding me while standing in the check-out line. The crowds are back in public in force. I’m back to being terrified. I guess with the vaccines (and yes I’ve been vaccinated) people feel their freedom returning. They feel safe again, at least more safe than before.

I know getting back to normal is important in so many ways. We all have different viewpoints on what happened and what continues to happen, but how about trying to see a perspective besides your own. There are too many people being jerks over differing opinions.

All that said, I wouldn’t have been upset if mask’s and the six feet social distancing rules stayed forever, especially the distance. I like the masks, because for me it’s means fewer people trying to speak to me, (much like headphones on a plane) and the distance because well “folks, you need to BACK THE HELL UP”. Give people room to breathe. Stop crowding people’s personal space. I’ve healed to a place that now, most of the time, I’m just gonna tell you to back up and back off regardless of the consequences. I work in an industry where I get cussed out on the phone on the regular, so I’m used to it. So back up! Wait your turn to check out, and pay attention to your surroundings along with the people who may not want you rubbing up against them, which honestly is everyone. Slow down for goodness sake.

That’s it. Just remember us who have other reasons for needing space. I certainly don’t want people to lose the freedom to live, but please don’t take mine away from me either.

Love and Peace to you all.

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