I went out to buy groceries yesterday, the air smelled of disinfectant and collective anxiety.
I haven’t been this anxious in my life. I worry a lot on a regular day but now even more so. That’s why I’m writing this to keep my sanity.
Humans are social beings. When people are forced into isolation, they may start to experience feelings of restlessness and loneliness. Remember that taking care of your mental health is just as important too this time. We all have different ways to cope but most of us turn to art, poetry, film, or music in our lowest points. Remember that song that comforts you or that movie you watch on repeat when you’re sad. That’s the power of art, it gives us hope in the bleakest moments. We turn to art when everything fails.
Musicians, filmmakers, museums are giving their content for free. They hold free online concerts. Directors willingly upload their movies for everyone to see. Most academic online journals are open access now. They remind you that you’re not alone, so just stay at home if you can.
Here are some of the things I saw online that you could explore:
Virtual Museums Tours / Park Tours
Online Libraries and Courses
Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
– Cesar A. Cruz
But even time for reflection and time to enjoy all this free content is a privilege. Not everyone has an internet connection. Some jobs can’t be done at home. Most people are still trying to make ends meet. No time for art, no time for virtual museums or online travel tours. While we are busy with self-care, the poor are just thinking about what they’re going to eat today. The rich are falling into cabin fever while the poor are hungry. Not everyone can NETFLIX and chill. Our people have no chill, and they have every right to criticize or be negative. Please let them demand their right to live a quality life. Don’t shut them up.
In these trying times, our true colors are revealed. I believe we are inherently good. We have the capacity to be good. I hope you’ve seen that viral Facebook video of a woman distributing sanitizer at the foot of an overpass. I hope you’ve heard about influencers who use their power to raise funds to help those in need. We will remember them.
This is my generation’s war; this time, the enemy is invisible. I hope you strive to be remembered as the compassionate ones and not as the hoarders. This time will test the extent of our generosity and goodwill. I am cautiously optimistic that those who can will do their best to help. I am cheering on our healthcare workers, grocery store cashiers, restaurant crews, those who are still outside—serving others and saving the world.
If you’re able to watch all those free concerts, see all those free films, download all those free books, and read this, it means you’re one of the lucky ones. There are many ways to help even when you’re stuck at home. Wash your hands, clean high-touch surfaces, and donate if you can. You will see many call for donation posts on your Facebook timelines. Reach out if you have the resources. There are many ways to help, thanks to online banking. If you’re an artist, share your work. The world needs it more than ever.