Image courtesy of the AM/FM 2020 Xmas Dumpster Fire Channel. I’m not kidding, check it out.
Hello, friends. Isn’t the world a strange and terrifying place? For me, it really has turned out to be a rough few weeks in what’s been a difficult couple of years dealing with this stupid pandemic.
What’s that? It’s only been nine months?
Anyway. In March I included a picture on a blog post that reads, “I wanted zombies, this virus sucks”. As we enter another round of lockdowns, I find myself wondering if the zombies might have been the better choice. Every day a new bucket of sewage is dumped onto the burning pile that is 2020. The smell gets worse and it’s harder to see through the smoke. It’s like someone cancelled all the good news. What I’ve been left with is that life is hard, and everything sucks.
This may be true, but we have to keep moving forward.
As one half of Pencil on Paper, I spent most of November preparing for our first in-person market. Not only was it a distraction from the garbage fire this year has turned out to be, it represented a great opportunity to launch our business into the world. A lot of time and energy was put into building a display and getting product ready.
Little of it was easy but seeing it all come together gave me something I hadn’t felt in a while. Joy in a creative endeavour. Pride. It was going to be amazing. Three days before the market, in response to growing COVID infection numbers in Alberta, new restrictions on gatherings were put in place. Because the organizers weren’t able to pivot in time, the event was cancelled. Disappointing doesn’t begin to describe the situation.
But we decided to keep moving.
All of our focus was put into finishing the updated pencilonpaper.ca and turning the new online store live. More time, more energy, more stress. Let me tell you, though, I had a big, stupid grin on my face processing that first order. We did a thing! We did an amazing thing!
Having something positive to focus on in these times is important because the pressure that the world puts on us and the fear of what darkness hides around the corner doesn’t seem to go away. The stress for some has become overwhelming. I’ve never seen my friends, family, and community struggle as much as they have over the last few months. Everyone I know is tired. I feel it too. Just when you think you’ve hit bottom, that you’re as broken as you can be, you find another level to fall. That brings us nicely to what happened this past Tuesday.
Another round of even harsher restrictions has been announced. For the next four weeks, no social gatherings are allowed, inside or outside. Businesses are forced to run with little or no capacity, at least those that weren’t told to close, or have no way of staying open under the current rules. People will be even more isolated. People will lose their incomes in what should be one of the happiest times of the year. We’re already in a place where people are fighting back. Enemies have been created where none exist. Opinions and privilege have become more important than facts. If facts even exist anymore, it’s become increasingly difficult to tell. Life at the moment is confusing and scary.
But it’s how we face it that matters. Now more than ever, it’s important we keep moving forward.
How we do that is with kindness, for ourselves, and for others. We have to reach out for help as much as we can and be there to help as much as we have the energy for. We need to keep in touch more (this I’m not so good at, so here’s a reminder to myself to do better). It’s especially important that we support creators and small businesses. That means buying a painting or book direct from the person who made it, streaming a live concert until we can gather for one in person, and stopping in at the store up the street run by one of your neighbours instead of the nationwide big box that won’t go anywhere, no matter how bad this pandemic gets. If anything good has come from this mess, it’s the focus on buying local. I hope that doesn’t change.
Yes, we will get through this. No, it won’t be easy. I like to think it won’t be quite as hard if we remember what being part of a community really means. And hey, at least it’s not really zombies. Not yet, anyway…