Now that the roadmap out of lockdown has been created and the vaccine roll-out is going well, many of us are starting to see the light. Whether that light is welcoming or frightening is a matter of perspective. For me it’s a little of both.
I’m glad things will get moving again but I’m afraid that, as people and governments, we’ll not learn the lessons and return to the problematic way of doing things as before. This pandemic has highlighted and worsened the problem of inequality. We’re not in the same boat at all. Some are in a yacht; others in a dinghy. Some are on a boat with trained sailors whereas others have some experience yet find themselves in choppy waters trying to wrangle the boat to safety, and still others are adrift with no power and are hoping to be noticed by the passing ships.
For me personally, I’m glad that I’ve seen first hand where my brother needs more support with school, but unsure we as a family have the stamina to fight for said support and be heard. Remote learning is a credible alternative for some, but what happens if a child is too anxious to attend remotely or in-person? The answer is that his family get blamed. Fair?
Everyone suddenly acknowledged that it’s OK to not feel OK. I hope this thinking won’t be abandoned as soon as normality resumes. Those who struggle with their mental and physical health still need you to be understanding, pandemic or not. I also think it’s terrible that if someone has depression that existed before COVID-19 but only just admitted to it, many people see that as ‘lockdown blues’ and try to say ‘it’s affecting everyone’. That may be so, but it’s just made it worse instead of being the trigger. Similar happens with anxiety, which is put down to ‘being a bit worried about all the changes’. Again, this is a factor in why I feel worse, but I FEEL THIS ALL THE TIME, EVEN BEFORE THE PANDEMIC! Sorry, rant over.
Racial inequality is a big one. Our reactions to the terrible events recently and in history finally got us all thinking about the wider systemic context. Are we going to allow things to go back to before, where non-whites are more likely to be suspects even without proof? I hope not. Even as a white woman, that’s not the sort of society I want to live in.
Gender equality. Sarah Everard is a name many know, as a result of her being killed for walking alone at night. Worse, killed by a person in a profession we’d normally trust. Where the heck do we go from here? Hate all police officers? No. Give women a curfew? No. Give men a curfew? No. Rethink the training and hiring of police officers, while also ensuring we properly fund them? Educating all people on safety while out and to be prepared? Yes to both.
LGBTQ+ and those living in poverty have always found it hard to have a decent quality of life and it’s time this changed too. Support networks and awareness and advice are helpful to all. There’s no need for shame.
This lockdown has been especially hard on families with disabled members, families with unstable home lives (including domestic abuse, other types of abuse and threat of homelessness) and those who live alone and are therefore lonely. All these groups could benefit from support and understanding. Don’t assume- ask them what they need! Also, keep it going after things resume! There’s nothing worse than having salvation ripped away.
I think it’s very important to reflect after difficult times. Nobody wants to think that their experiences were for naught and this prevents that. I think everyone can say that, at least to some extent, they’ve been affected by lockdown and restrictions. I’ve decided to document some key things that are NOT OK.
It’s NOT OK to………..
Hate on a group because of the actions of some
Act supportive until you meet someone who is struggling and then leave them in the lurch
Judge anyone for how they’ve survived the last year
Clap for carers then only give them a 1% pay rise which is a loss when you account for inflation
Virtue signal but not actually be willing to make long-term change to help the cause
Abuse a position of trust
Claim ‘We’re in this together’ when that couldn’t be further from the truth
Say or think negative things about anyone INCLUDING YOURSELF
Be a hypocrite- giving advice can be OK as long as you don’t criticise someone for the very thing you do
Punish someone for time off or away by giving them more to do when they return
Say you’re ‘The smartest man in the world’ or ‘The greatest’ before making terrible decisions
Not reprimand someone for breaking a rule, then expect others to still obediently follow the rule
Be an (anything)ist, as this implies your sole focus is that issue, rather than the advancement of society in general. Also, -ist s also get misunderstood and maligned, so just focus on being a decent human being instead.
What if you find yourself doing any of the above? There’s no sense beating yourself up over it- commit to being a decent human being the next time. You’re a work in progress but you’re also enough right now. Everyone is worthy.
Be unapologetically you, but without hurting others
Here you can access my articles on COVID-19 on the We Are Restless blog site Ruberta Bisson, Author at We Are Restless