Quarantine 2020

Please Stop Telling Me To Be Positive

I’m nearing the end of week two of working from home and the first week of Dallas County’s shelter-in-place order. I finally got a work space set up and I’m happily digitizing photos and records while also putting together Passover resources and helping move operations online. I am grateful for Temple’s leadership and their investment in making sure that staff still feel connected while also trying to minimize the stress. I don’t exactly love working from home, but it is what it is.

Social media has been wonderful to have in this time and also incedibly stressful. Everyone is trying to find the silver linings in this global pandemic, which is admirable and I totally get it. There are frequent reminders that we should be grateful for what we have and that if Anne Frank could do it, then we should be able to do it too (don’t even get me started on how problematic that analogy is.) I have people telling me to find the bright spots in the current situation and saying it could be worse. All of this I understand and yet I would greatly appreciate it if everyone could just let me grieve and be angry and despondent for a few minutes.

And why do I feel that way? Let me count the ways…

  1. I’m stuck at home and I recognize that I need to be around people more than I realized.
  2. My mother works at the post office, which is considered an essential service. She is 72 years old, has a pacemaker, and has diabetes, nevermind the fact that she just fully recovered from pneumonia. She is in the highest risk group for contracting the virus and yet there are no safety measures being taken or protective gear being supplied.
  3. I will not being seeing my YLE class for the rest of the school year. We will interact virtually, but that’s not the same.
  4. Passover is in two weeks and it is more than likely that I, along with Jews around the world, will have to stay home to celebrate. I’m the only Jew in my household and I dread feeling so alone on a holiday that has been so joyful for me in the past.
  5. I feel disconnected from my Jewish community and I hate that.
  6. The closing retreat for the Selah Fellowship has been cancelled. The Association of Jewish Libraries has cancelled their annual meeting, during which I was to present at a session.
  7. The state and federal government don’t seem to fully understand what is needed to combat this virus and that’s absolutely frightening.
  8. There are many other things that have come up that I’m not putting on this list.

And these are only the things that have occurred because of the pandemic. Before this, I was already stressed, but I was able to cope and had my escapes.

I understand that in order to get through this global crisis I will need to be optimistic and focus on the good. I will do that, I promise. But first I need to mourn the loss of so many things that were incredibly important to me. I need the space to be angry that my mom’s employer is doing nothing to protect its employees. I need to be able to express these feelings without being told that I’m being too negative or bringing everyone down.

So please refrain from telling me to smile or focus on the good things or meditate or whatever. I’ve been pretty docile so far in dealing with this, but my patience is wearing thin.

A sidenote: I am not looking for pity or sympathy. I just need to vent and besides, if I’m feeling this way, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

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