It started with the cruise ship – no one wanted to let it into their country. And it showed it’s face when everyone wanted to “lock the borders and who was out, was out”. It started with toilet paper hoarding and panic buying.
It reared up in following people from airports to ensure they were isolating and it was present in calling the police on children playing at the beach and putting their christmas lights up.
It showed up violently in social media trolling, cyber bullying and landed heavily on rotational workers. It became apparent that it was better to have anything other than COVID-19. Asian populations were racially targeted.
It was nicknamed the “chinese disease” as the asian community was bullied relentlessly.
But let’s be clear on one thing. This humanity lost wasn’t the result of covid 19, in fact, it’s just the thing that exposed it. Like the #metoo movement didn’t create more sexual assaults, it just exposed a dark underbelly of society. Donald Trump isn’t the problem, he’s a symptom of a deep and dark underbelly of suppression, of lack of truth, of hidden darkness that was brought to the light because he welcomed it.
It lived in denial for centuries as women, people of colour, systems were all denied and gaslit into believing, or at least, going along, with and towing the line.
Black lives matter didn’t rear up with George Floyd’s death. But it was the breaking point for people of colour who had a moment to seize and thrust into the light all that was simmering in denial.
And covid 19 isn’t the cause of lack of humanity we are seeing in our families, friends, communities, neighbours… the hate that is so freely spewed, the death treats, the misinformation that thrives, the made up, the rumours, the lock the doors, lock the gates, let them die by the road side wasn’t created by covid 19 but merely exposed.
Because if we’re going to start telling the truth… we’ve been watching this unfold and rise for many years, decades, centuries perhaps of fear mongering, hating what we don’t see, turning on each other, like a bad scene from Lord of Flies.
But I’ve sat at tables where my friends were discussed, put down, and made fun of. I’ve sat with family who held contempt and disdain for other family and intentionally tore people down. I’ve sat with hypocrites and backstabbers and manipulators.
And if I’m going to tell the whole truth… I’ve been that person too.
Until I learned better, until I grew, until I heard things, remembered things, listened to those people running others down and knowing they would do the same when my back was turned.
I listened to myself when I didn’t feel good after sitting at those tables, participating by not speaking up for another, being a part of the problem by not walking away, and actively engaging.
I didn’t want to be a part of that. I didn’t want to call people friends while they drilled holes in people’s boats, I didn’t want to spend time with people who talked about their “friends” behind their back. I didn’t want that to be my life.
And so I chose differently. I walked away from those tables and never sat at them again. I created better tables with better people.
That’s one part of the problem, of course.
The other, less conceivable part of the problem, is the loss of humanity in general. The people who don’t want prisoners to get vaccinated. And beyond that, the people who don’t want prisoners to be rehabilitated and integrated back into society.
The people who scream “get a job” at the homeless addict, as if (s)he isn’t a person. As if you could possibly understand the events or facts of their life that led them here. And let’s just say it was 100% their fault and they just made bad decisions. So what? Have you ever made a bad decision? Did you ever do anything wrong but never ever got caught or the consequences were’t that bad because you had family or resources or maybe luck on your side?
What if your child, mother, sister, brother, relative was stranded in another country, would you be so cold as to say ‘fuck them” they shouldn’t have taken vacation, gotten a job outside of their community?
If you had a business and were watching your livelihood and everything you saved your entire life for, everything you worked for, being lost, would you have compassion then for the people who can’t stay home?
If you knew one of the 1 in 6 families who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, would you extend your lunch to them?
See, while I might have sat at tables that talked about people until I knew better, I was always raised to give, to give more than I had, to send meals to people in need, to give clothes, to make room at the table, to have compassion and kindess NO MATTER WHAT.
I was taught not to bully, ever. I was taught to be respectful and kind and understand that compassion just means being able to empathize with another and even if we can’t help them, to not hurt them.
Over the last number of years especially I have had the privilege to work with many people who were harmed by others, whether emotionally, mentally, spiritually, sexually, intentionally or unintentionally. And the one thing those people had in common was their ability to have self awareness, to ask questions, to learn, to grow, to want to understand and know why… to wonder if they might have done something to warrant it, to deserve it, how were they a part of it.
And the interesting thing is of course, the ones inflicting the pain rarely expand their awareness in the same way, these people never seem to ask if what they’re engaging in is damaging to others, themselves, the community.
Is the world a better place because you’re here and the actions and words and what you do with your life and how you treat others. And if it’s not a better place, is it a worse place? Is the world changed by your opinion or your behaviour? In a good or a bad way.
Can you reflect on the humanity lost within yourself and can you possibly put yourself in another shoes to understand their life, their struggles, their courage, their hardships? The world is changed by understanding and empathy. The world isn’t changed for the better by hate and shame and degradation.
The world is changed by our kindness, our willingness to do better, our willingness to help… even if it means letting a cruise ship dock safely, providing measure’s to ensure everyone’s safety… even if means feeding the homeless who haven’t showered in 3 months… even if it means seeing that prisoners are people too.
Because humanity is our only saviour now.
And so while the belief is not common, I would say, I would let you in. I would step in if you were sick and unable to care for yourself. I would bring meals to you and I would hold your hand, because even if I died in the process, I’d rather die with my soul in alignment, my humanity in tact, than I would alone, safe, angry and bitter with a stockpile of toilet paper and a pig’s head on a stick.
Humanity isn’t lost because of covid. Covid has awakened the humanity that has been lost for longer than I have been alive.
2020, albiet the “age of light”, is here to clear the darkness and the only way to do that is to expose what lives in it.
When covid 19 is over, I know my humanity, kindness and compassion are intact. Can you say the same?
PS… if you like the writing – buy the book -> https://www.wildsoul.ca/unchainedbook