Let’s start with disclaimers: White, Female, Blonde, Gay, Veteran, Middle Class, 50-something, Alive.
Now let’s get into the reason for this letter:
I know you’re frustrated. COVID has got you down. You’re being told what to do. You’re living in a world where you just can’t be yourself. Can’t express yourself fully. Can’t just go out into the world without a little bit of either judgement or fear. You feel oppressed. It’s heavy and horrible, and you are fighting back. “This isn’t right! This is a free country and I’m a free person! You can’t do this to me.” I know…it’s so hard.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I get it (I just put my arm around your shoulder). I don’t like it when the government (or anyone for that matter) tells me what to do either. Like when they said I couldn’t get married to the woman I loved. Or when they said that it’s not a priority that women get equal pay. Or when they said that I could serve my country, but I had to stay in the closet or be kicked out. I don’t like it when I get targeted for being gay or being female…and I am aware that I have it easy compared to many others. Oppression and being told how to live…well, it’s simply a bitch.
I would guess others feel like they get it too. Like the black person who is already marginalized after years of systemic racism and oppression. Like the Muslim person who is targeted because of 9/11 and someone thinks they “look like a terrorist.” Like the pregnant woman who needs to abort her baby but can’t, because her body belongs to the state. Or like the elderly person who is alone in a nursing home right now with no way out. They probably don’t like to be told how to live their lives either. They probably don’t like to be judged. It’s probably scary for them too. They probably feel helpless and don’t know when it’s going to get better. Just a guess…
Shit, as far as I know, nobody likes to be told what to do. We never have. Those of us who have experienced oppression know this is painful for you. This is a little bigger than someone just telling you that you have to pay taxes. This is something telling you that they have control of your life. That you can’t run your business. You can’t go to a store without a mask. This is not the freedom you’ve taken for granted…the freedom you’ve come to depend on.
So, I’m going to leave you with a little invitation, take it or leave it: Do what you tell those of us in the margins to do. Live your life. Live it out loud and proud. If you don’t want to stay in your home, don’t stay in your home. If you want to stay in your home and social distance, do it. Open your business or keep it closed. Just do you. Listen to your heart and be yourself. Be mindful and respect that others might have a different opinion. Don’t live your life based on what you see on the news…focused and heavy sensationalism. As my Grandma used to say, “Turn that shit off.”
It’s gonna be okay so, hang in there. This time just might be waking us all up to the experiences of others. Maybe you’ll look back someday and have a little more understanding of what it’s like to be marginalized and oppressed. For this short time…not for your lifetime. Maybe see where you’ve actually had advantages that others haven’t had. Maybe use that privilege to benefit and support those “others.” Lastly, maybe that will help you, and the rest of us, have a little more empathy and compassion for each other.
Maybe. At least that’s my hope. 🤞✌️
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