A funny thing has happened since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our world. While my interactions with humans (other than my immediate family) have been on average, zero, I have come to see so much good in people lately…from a distance that is. Not just good in the traditional “good deed doer” sense- although there has been plenty of that- I’m looking at you, healthcare workers! I mean good, in the real, raw, “that’s how you should act as a flawed, authentic, human” way. It’s hard to be “fake” or “phony” when you are in crisis mode.
Throughout my life, I’ve come to realize that my circle of friends stays pretty small and close knit. I may have lots of acquaintances in my day to day activities, but I keep the friend list to a minimum. When I do slide someone new into the friend category, I do it selectively. It has to be someone I consider genuine and able to share their real flaws, emotions, and feelings with me. I don’t know how to do surface or fake friendships well. I am my most uncomfortable in a big group setting where I have to pretend to be interested in someone’s “on” or “polished” version of his or herself. I imagine this is why I work with kids. They are honest to a fault. They tell it like it is. They show every emotion that they feel, which I love.
That is what I’ve noticed about people since this whole Coronavirus things has started. People are scared, frustrated, sad, messy, anxious, and they are expressing it. No one has the energy to pretend to have it all together anymore. No beautifully edited vacation pictures filling up my social media. No perfectly styled family portraits with the caption “they’re my whole world.” And no filtered out version of people dressed up for big events. We are just all hot messes and owning it.
While I would never wish long term suffering on anyone (not even the fakest of fake Kardashians), I can’t help feeling so much more connected to people throughout this whole experience. Whether it’s the common bond of going through such an unprecedented crisis with my fellow human, or the fact that the veil of perfection finally has permission to come off, I can see so much more good in people. We are sharing our fears of job losses. We are commiserating about the hardships of homeschooling. And we are cheering each other up with endless, laugh or you will cry at the situation, memes. We are acting like real people, and it gives me hope.