How the Pandemic Saved My Life
Or, what happened when my shameful personal preferences were mandated.
A recurring metaphor runs through my life, and it originates with actual events in my childhood. I’m on a dusty Texas playground where I passed many a traumatizing hour enduring forced fun at the hands of my cruel elementary school teachers. The sun is absolutely blazing and there’s me, clumsy and dripping with sweat and bizarrely over-developed at eight years old, running alongside a merry-go-round as it spins, trying to grab the hot metal grasping bar, tripping over the cracks in the dry earth, being taunted or ignored by most of the dizzy children on the spinning contraption. Some kinder children reach out, try to help me get on, but because of my sweaty hands I’m embarrassed to take their hands. Once, when I try to accept another girl’s proffered hand, I end up tripping and pulling her off, too.
And that’s an apt metaphor for large parts of the first 47 years of my life. But all that seemed to turn with the onset of the pandemic.
It’s not a comfortable thing to admit, and I understand if it’s off-putting to some, especially those who lost jobs or, even worse, someone they loved because of it. The pandemic was (and still is in many parts of the world) a horrible event that befell humanity, and I wish it hadn’t happened. Yet nonetheless, I think it’s likely that had it not happened, I wouldn’t be alive today.
As background, let me paint you a picture of my life when the pandemic began, circa March 2020. The year prior had been really, really rough for me. In April of 2019, I was laid off with no warning from a full-time corporate cannabis copywriting job that I’d grown to comfortably hate yet very much rely on for my survival.
Since November 2016 (well, actually since I was in elementary school, but especially since the election of 2016) I’d been enraged by what was going on in the world. I felt that a facade of civility and tolerance had been ripped away and humanity’s real face, or at least America’s, had been revealed: racist, hateful, misogynist, hypocritical, and willfully…