My heart goes out to those that are fighting the Corona virus, to those that are ill, and those who have lost a family member or a friend. I hope you find support and strength in this difficult time.
In the news and on social media, I keep reading that more and more people are having difficulties with staying at home. Social distancing has a lot of impact on us all. Above all, we are social animals, and being restricted or blocked from meeting others is very impactful. Although difficult, most of us stay at home to make sure we don’t get ill, the virus doesn’t spread further and to protect those that are vulnerable.
As everybody experiences the impact of social distancing, I would like to ask you to imagine that this is how you have felt all of your life. This feeling of not feeling safe to go out or being restricted as society requires you to stay at home. This is how I felt before my coming out as a transgender woman. Instead of showing my true self, I kept hiding as I was afraid of reactions, afraid to be rejected, by those I care about.
Early on in my life I decided to keep quiet about it and live in the shadows, as I was insecure and afraid. So in a way I created a shield and socially distanced myself, in order to not get hurt, but all the time quietly longing for a time I could be me. Hoping someone would notice and be there for me.
Although hiding felt like a good strategy, somewhere down the line it started to cause stress and anxiety, as I couldn’t truly connect to others. There was no one to support and hold me in difficult times. By keeping my secret, I made it impossible for others to reach out and help me on moments I needed it most. And without anyone knowing, I have been living part of my life in isolation. The only way to turn this was to come out and share how I really felt. It was scary to lower my shield , but it was necessary to undo this feeling of isolation. Coming out has not been easy, but the best step I could have taken.
Please think about this, if a friend, partner or someone in your community reaches out to you, with their feelings and emotions. Think about this when they let their shield down. Feel proud that they picked you to connect with. Try and understand what they are going through. And even if you don’t fully understand, just be there for them and listen.
The Corona virus has brought us a lot of stress, fear and grief. But I also see a lot of people helping others, people stepping up to make a difference. I hope this crisis teaches us we are all vulnerable, yet when we care about each other we can make a difference. I also hope this makes us all more mindful and aware of what the stress does to someone. And how important it is to have people around you, who care about and support you.
Empower each other by love. Be kind.