I got well and truly flamed this week on my facebook page over wearing and promoting the use of masks to help stop the Covid-19 virus. I’ve been ignored and had people think I’m over reacting. And I have friends who believe it’s in the hands of fate if they get it or not. And those who don’t believe the virus exists at all. So I’m used to navigating discord and disagreements.
This time, I feel both wounded and angry. Everyone believes what they believe and trusts who they trust. But this person suggested I did no research. So when I showed the reports from the World Health Organization, I got another flame about that organization. “If you don’t do the research, Shut the F**k up.” So I figured the CDC and other health organizations weren’t worth listing.
I’ve been navigating a long term rare degenerative illness for over 40 years now. Fool that I am, I trust my doctors. I trust my friends who work in the medical field and in natural medicine. The consensus practically everywhere is that a mask reduces the risk of spreading it. It’s a harmless and easy way to help stop the spread of the virus.
Plus you filter out pollution, maybe other viruses, and you can wear art on your face.
But, apparently, to my friend, wearing a mask is akin to wearing a swastika. Really? I was dumbfounded. With all the fascist, racists and supremacists out there, you chose to call someone trying to protect your health a Nazi?
So anyway, another friend lost. I hate that. I spent too much time trying to come to some terms of communication, and pass on my belief in peace and conversation. But I got angry, too. I got hurt. I spent too much time trying to figure out how to change this person’s mind.
I know that when you lose a friend, it probably means they weren’t really your friend to begin with. But the loss breaks off a part of you, something you thought was solid disappears and you have to rearrange your memories and question yourself.
A lot of doomsday and conspiracy theories are thrown at me these days, but I think I’m intelligent enough to make a decision on whether or not to wear a mask and take easy precautions to stop a virus.
I’m much more concerned with police abuse of power and the killing of Black citizens, which I see happening. I also see the lists of the dead from Covid 19. I see people’s lives ruined by hurricanes and other natural disasters. I see expansion of poverty. I see evictions.
But then, I peel myself away from the media, and I go to the park and see trees, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies. Tall oaks hundreds of years old toss a few acorns my way.
This year I’ve seen so many deaths. Covid 19 adds a layer of loss to what is already a heavy burden. Distant friends, a close friend, a favorite musician. And I hear the stories of friends who have lost loved ones.
And so I wear a mask. A sign of respect, of love, of the desire for us all to have one less thing attack our fragile and brief lives. I wear a mask because I love people, even if they don’t love me back.
But it’s no good spending my time trying to convert or explain myself to some one so infected with fear and hatred that they are willing to end a friendship over something they have almost no power over and lots of misinformation on.
None of us knows what the future holds, but I will keeping rolling along, through good times and bad, depending on the beauty of nature, the warmth of friends, the care of doctors and nurses, the innovations of science. And my garden, thorns and all.
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