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I Will Allow Myself Grace

The first time I saw this piece of art by Lucky Little Queer, I smiled – and moved on. It was pretty, seemed like a nice message, I love purple, but I didn’t think anything more of it. At first.

In the months since it’s been one of the pieces, and sayings, that I think of the most often. Lately, with all the turmoil in the world – and just how different our worlds and existences look right now – it’s been something I’ve thought about daily.

I will allow myself grace.

There are numerous articles and discussions out there that validate the fact that the changes to our lives due to COVID-19 are having a profound impact on our mental health – both collectively and individually.

For folks on the front lines, whether that be in healthcare or in essential businesses, the stress is incredibly obvious. The threat of exposure is enough to make anyone anxious.

For folks who have lost their jobs, taken reduced hours, or otherwise been affected – the financial stress is also obvious – and incredibly valid. While the government is cobbling together a series of initiatives to try and help, the uncertainty in this time of waiting for them to figure it is friggin hard.

For folks who still have their jobs, even ones where they already worked from home before the self-isolation measures came into effect – there is still stress. The news, day after day, fixated on this virus, the deaths, the illnesses, the thought that we might be in some form of lockdown for 18 months …it’s tough.

But you don’t need me to tell you this: you know. You’re living it too.

It’s been hard. I’m lucky: I’ve been able to work from home. My job duties have changed slightly as I don’t have access to what I need in order to do my “whole” job – but I’m okay financially. Mentally? Honestly, I’ve been riding a roller coaster.

Those of you who know me well on a personal level will know two things about me:
1. I have anxiety and depression.
2. I keep busy.

What this self-isolation and the reduction in work in my three side hustles (this, ShowWiz, and renting 2 rooms in our house on Airbnb) have shown me is that #2 is at least partially a heavy coping mechanism for #1. With all this time to my thoughts and my hands a little tied, some days have been a challenge. Some days I have not been even remotely productive. Some days it was a victory to go and shower – at 10pm at night. And that’s okay. I am allowing myself the grace to see that as a victory.

I’ve seen a few posts around Facebook and TikTok (yes, I’m one of those Millenials crashing TikTok due to self-isolation) that have the message that people shouldn’t be complaining about this because of X, Y, and Z. The posts largely have a vibe of the “this sucks Olympics”. Yes, some people faced obstacles prior to the pandemic. Yes, some folks face more obstacles during the virus than others. It’s important to be cognizant of where we all have privilege here (and always).

That being said, my thought is that it is important not to fall for the “this sucks Olympics”. No one wins that game. All it does is cause hurt and feelings of invalidation.

It’s okay to be bummed that Pride Festivals across the country have been cancelled (Capital Pride • Fierté dans la Capitale is still planned, and I am holding out so much hope).

It’s okay to be devastated to spend this weekend – normally one centered on family and religion (if you are so inclined) separated from families (of choice and origins).

It’s okay to express these feelings of dismay, sorrow, and whatever other feelings you’re feeling in all this.

Allow yourself grace. And give others the same, just from 6 feet apart.

And wash your hands.