I haven’t felt inspired to write much or share much of anything lately. Especially related to food. I have held this in my drafts. I look at it. I edit it. I don’t know what I want to say or how I want to say it. I’m not looking to offend. I have not been able to put my thoughts to words. I have something I want to share before I post about food again. I need to talk about some real things. I posted something months back, and took it down because I received some very negative comments. I wish I had been more brave. I wish I had been more eloquent. The problems of the world are not about me. I know this. But I experience them. It’s difficult to explain what’s been going on in my mind and my heart, but I’d like to try.
I am a chronic over thinker. I have ways of pulling myself out of the pattern. I am also an over feeler. I tend to feel intense emotions related sometimes to things I have no control over. Sometimes its suffocating. It feels like the weight of the world. I just want to cry when I read the news. I just want to scream “how could you?”, literally, how? Lately I have been lost in thought and feeling about the current state of our country. I feel this sense of foreboding. I feel this heaviness, anxiousness, uncertainty. It think it is almost ironic to me, in an incredibly sad way, that we are call the United States, when I feel like we are constantly so divided. Especially right now. I am proud to be an American. I feel quite blessed to be born in this country with the parents I had, the access to first world resources, and the opportunities that I have been given.
I am not interested in talking politics. I do not believe that politics are a part of who we are as individuals. I believe that our values are a vital piece of who we are, what do, how live, and how we interact with the world around us. Our values are what contribute to our partisan view. I was taught at a young age that we are all equal, that we are special, that we are all important. I was taught that we should take care of each other. I was taught that it matters what you do in this life and how treat other people. I was taught that you should do good.
I have felt great sadness, guilt, anger, and fear in 2020. In many ways I feel helpless. I am not asking for pity, I just want to talk about what I am feeling. I wonder if others feel this too. I am a white female. I have been educating myself. For me, that looks like reading, A LOT. I have been checking my privilege. With that comes guilt and questions. The biggest question is age old, “why?”. I have donated to causes, local, national, and global this year. It doesn’t actually make me feel better. I have many things that I believe everyone deserves. I know that is not realistic and is not a reality for many. I have never been discriminated against because of skin color. I have never had that dictate any aspect of my life. I have been discriminated against because of my age and because I am a woman. But that is not the same. I have felt safe, protected. I believe that laws are important and should be enforced to keep people safe. I have never feared institutions that should be designed to protect, serve, and promote peace. I have known individuals in law enforcement, those are people I respect, love, and admire. I could never do that job. I wouldn’t even try. I also think they have a responsibility, just as I do as a nurse. I know that what you do, as a career does not make you better or more valuable. It does not make your life matter more than another.
There is a code of ethics for nurses. If you cannot uphold this code, you shouldn’t be a nurse. The code is specific and straightforward. It says that you will provide care to those in need, free of judgement or personal prejudice. As nurse, you take care of individuals often at their most vulnerable. You are their advocate. It is a huge responsibility. I do not take it lightly. I think this applies across the board with any public service. With the pandemic, healthcare experts and healthcare workers have begged the public to heed the warnings, to mitigate their risk, to do simple things… like wash their hands, social distancing, and wear a face covering in certain situations. These requests are not meant to infringe upon people’s rights. These requests are made as a plea to care about each other and protect each other, especially our most vulnerable populations. We are all just trying to figure out how to deal with our “new normal” and live our lives. This is temporary, but far from over. When I hear people make comments about the pandemic, mask mandates, and people’s rights, I cringe when it gets political. It’s not a political issue. It’s a human issue. It’s a global issue. It’s a free country, thank God for that. We have the right to make our own decisions and believe our own beliefs. People fight and die for that right. I am all for diversity of belief. We do not have to agree. The only problem I have is when individuals justify certain actions and as inherent freedoms. I cannot understand, on a fundamental level, making a choice to condemn and refuse to comply with a recommendation that is put in place to try to protect people.
It all feels heavy and wrong. Can we do ourselves a favor? Can we care about the people around us…in our circles, in our communities, in our towns and cities, in our states, in our country? Can we care enough to stand up and say something, do something, when things are wrong? Can we care enough to try to protect each other? Is it too hard? What I am most afraid of is that we won’t show each other we care on a personal, political, professional and national level until its far too late.
Be smart. Be kind. Stay healthy and safe. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.