words and images by mk swanson
Social Distancing is What I Want

Social Distancing is What I Want

Now that we’ve been in isolation for three weeks (more or less), I’m feeling the pressure to be online social even more. Before COVID-19, I could say, “I don’t do social media,” and people accepted it. Now, social media is the only way to communicate—ok, not the only way, but people apparently do not enjoy texting or making phone calls. I feel self-doubt because I am not sharing pictures, taking online challenges, and writing about my feelings to my facebook community.

And so, when I sit down to get my usual work done—writing, editing, critiquing—I check my feed to douse the fire of shame. And then a half-hour, hour, passes while I get nothing done. Another hour passes while I reflect on my poor social skills.

I didn’t social before coronavirus, why should I now?

I feel embarrassed if I don’t check in with my friends, make sure they are healthy and sane. But of course, most of my friends are in relationship, not isolated from other people. They don’t need me to secure their safety. What was I hearing from Katie W of Hands over Heart? The difference between ally-ship and responsibility. I am not responsible for my friends, but I can be an ally when they need it, or when I see an opportunity to do them some good.

It feels like I ought to be doing something for someone, not just sitting at home, reading, worrying, and watching TV. But the world needed me before just as much as it does now, and I didn’t feel the pull of guilt so strongly then! I accepted that I am an introvert who writes, who occasionally works for money, who helps her friends and family, and who has in the past done volunteer work and may do so again, but is not required to.

Social Distancing
60 Feet Away Feels Like Enough

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