Like millions, even billions of people during these Corona Pandemie (as they call it in Germany), life has been challenging. When you’re already struggling then something like this hits? Well, you bunker down, you do what you’ve been doing for years anyway. Making the best of it, doing the best you can. We’ve had to fight all along.
It has been interesting, to say the least, seeing so many people who issued platitudes a.k.a. blew off the struggles of finding work, buying food and making rent, the emotional and mental struggles of depression and chronic anxiety because of insecurity, chronic health issues that reduce quality of life. Now suddenly they too were faced with some or all of these things, to see them now slapping their heads in shock, while also dealing with feelings of worthlessness, lack of productivity, inability to concentrate or produce. Fear. I don’t wish any one to deal with these things, the things my son and I, my family has been dealing with for a long time. But…
It’s been interesting, to say the least, seeing the many people who say they have no privileges (especially not any greater than POC) suddenly outraged, furious, marching in the streets spreading COVID because of health restrictions imposed by experts. To be denied service?! To be rejected from entry?! To be required to wear pieces of fabric they don’t want?! Wow, POC have been forced to exactly these things by people just like them since new avaricious Euros touched toe tip to ocean water. Wow, these things are every day for many of us, but which apparently much privileged usually white folks in the “freedom everybody-is-equal” western society never gave a 2nd thought to. Well, except maybe to say, “They must have done something wrong for it to be that way”, meaning normalized discrimination/exclusion for POC.
As the world slowed to a stop during the first lockdown in March 2020, for the first time in a long time, I felt like everyone else. Or rather, that many others were now in the situation we’d lived with for a long time. Insecurity, food insecurity, wage insecurity, future insecurity, just-getting-through-another-effin-day insecurity. Komisch. I actually felt empowered in a way, because this was the kind of stark survival skills needed situation I was used to, but now I had unexpected peers! Having had over a year of barely being able to find or go to work, the latter because of my son’s extremely critical health care needs… living on close to bread and water for months but refused social funds I had the rights to…. Suddenly I could apply for and then actually receive assistance!
For those like us, the pandemic has been a chance to actually have real food again, be able to pay rent with the funds we should have been awarded years ago, to have someone actually call or write and ask how we were! To have the Arbeitsamt finally send me that Gutschein for professional counseling as an academic, that assistance for advanced language courses due me as an academic in a extremely needed field especially. All the things that we applied for our new gratis lawyer said we should have received in 2019, but now, a few weeks from 2021, we finally received it… and all it took was a pandemic.
Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful to have received that sure, and even the occasional “how are you?” now, but it was the distinct absence of it previously when locals friends knew we were in critical need. They made sure to make themselves scarce, but now tried to run up in my face looking for comfort and commiseration. This pandemic has certainly shown me who the real folks are, and I’ve been thankful to find more. I welcome more in this gleaming. This all actually had confirmed some choices of distancing I had already started in 2018.
We are both lucky and stressed to still be in Germany, away from our immediate family, ALL of whom are high risk. Extremely high risk as POC, cancer survivors, transplant recipients, over 70 and/or with several chronic health conditions. One plus being growing up in starkly racist Alabama, so the shit-show of what is world stage foolery that is the (dis)United States of AmeriKKKa is zero surprise to them. It’s not much different than every day Alabama life. But I’ve not seen my father for eight years, my grandmother who is 98, in more than 10 years.
The ways things are going because mostly white folks are being stupid mother-effers not wearing masks and distancing even though they far more often have the resources to do so many POC don’t have, there are lockdowns again, blockaded countries, white supremacist government and state sanctioned violence in the US and growing in Germany, too. All while leftists and liberals, that white moderate MLK told you about decades ago, aren’t doing shyte to help but discuss and apologize and/or shrug. I can’t even with them.
We’re doing the best we can. I actual remain positive because that’s all I know to be, because giving up is never an option, and each day is another way to hope to see my family again. For things to be better. I am committed to working with those, anyone, who shares good values and goals. I am tired of “You should be with___!” and “Stay with/be helping your own___!” narratives when some of those “own” folks have treated us worse than the supposed enemy. The enemy stays the enemy but I must remember to recognize those who are about themselves, their platforms, follower “likes” and gatekeeping, and say nuh uh.
- I still live by “Nothing for yourself.”
- I am learning my Indigenous languages and loving all parts of heritage that is the whole Me.
- I am continuing my projects working with those who can help achieve mutual objectives & helping other achieve theirs.
- I am expending no further energy of body or mind for anyone still doing colonized behaviors & correcting those lingering in myself.