No Longer Normal

Over these past few weeks, it feels as if I’ve heard a collective sigh of relief from America. That is mainly due to the easing of restrictions of masking, of social distancing, of in person gatherings. Companies are asking their employees to return back to the office, students have already begun to repopulate empty campuses, vaccines are helping people feel safe and protected.

I, too, felt this outpouring of joy. Not only from inside myself but from the people around me, some openly rejoicing in their regained freedom. However, I am also saddened by this fact. The other day after attending Mass, I made a stop at my local CVS. While looking for an ear wax removal kit, a pair of shoppers came in, maskless, professing their happiness for the ease of restrictions. Although I couldn’t see, I heard one of them loudly say to other shoppers “take off your mask”, “breathe in the fresh air”, and “let’s see your smile”.

As an introvert, at first I felt alarmed. I felt as if I were being yelled at by an unwanted billboard trying to sell me a product or service in the worst way possible. Next, came understanding. It is no secret that we’ve all been yearning to revert back to the olden days of being outside without fear for our health. But quickly after that came annoyance. This time viewing them as the overzealous religious, attempting to shove their beliefs down my throat.

There will always be two sides of this: the side that’s rallying behind this now maskless time and the side that has embraced mask culture as a permanent aspect of our society. I am very much of the latter. In fact, I’ve been wishing for mask culture to reach American soil ever since my first trip to Asia in 2007. I thought it was a revolutionary idea to wear a mask when you’re sick in order to prevent a virus’ spread. Later on, I would learn that there was nothing revolutionary about it; it was merely a form of courtesy and consideration towards those around you.

I felt anger and frustration towards those two shoppers and anyone who thought the same way. In the hours that followed, I felt that it was wrong for people to let their guard down, that we should continue to stay vigilant, if not for ourselves but for the people around us. I felt that it was too soon for us to return to normal.

But as I thought about  it more, I remembered another reason why I felt so strongly about this, why this return to “normal” felt so jarring: with my grandmother’s passing, pre-pandemic does not exist for me anymore. Another friend posted something along the same lines, about her father, and that inspired me to write this post.

On top of the intricacies of living with a deadly virus, we have to live with the absence of a loved one. While we continue to wash our hands of any germs, we also wash away the tears on our face. For some of us, we don’t want normal—we only want to see our loved ones again and again and again.

At the end of the day, however, we must keep moving forward. Even if it’s one tiny inch at a time, we must continue on. This virus and our losses have taught us to remain resilient in the face of hardship. But it has also reminded us that life is precious and we never know when it will end. So be kind, be healthy and safe, and say ‘I love you’ often.

2 Comments

  1. Oh yeah, I get annoyed by people imposing their beliefs upon others too. I don’t really care what anyone’s stance is in life, but the moment they start judging others for their choices, then that’s when I get a little testy.

    But of course, me being the confrontation-hater that I am, I’d probably just seethe inwards, lol. Sorry to hear about your loss. And yes, there have been tons of lessons from the pandemic, so it’s up to us to learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dyllanmykel says:

      I understand the sentiment, but trying to push their beliefs onto others is going too far. Thankfully they didn’t do it to my face, or else my frustration would definitely show, despite wearing a mask. But that would be because, like you, I’m also a confrontation hater lol.

      It’s been a difficult year for sure, but life moves on and we need to move with it. Thanks for always stopping by.

      Like

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