Today I’m officially two weeks post second vaccine shot.
Collectively we are in the Second Pandemic May. It feels biblical.
I am vexed by the ethics of this time; now that I’m fully vaxxed I still feel the weight of the responsibility of being a human in a global pandemic.
First of all, incredible privilege to get to have access to the vaccine at all. I was horrified with the way the US government dealt with allowing other countries to have access to the vaccines, wanting to prioritize profit for pharmaceutical companies over human life. This is one of the many reasons why we must get money out of politics and have publicly funded elections. The donor class is killing people.
I have privilege to be able to socially distance, to work from home by design, to have running water to wash my hands, immediate access to masks when they became mandated because my mom made me some. To live proximal to my mom enough that I can quarantine pod with her and her spouse Pat but with my own space to work and rest and cook. I love having a kitchen and still haven’t eaten out at a restaurant even outdoors yet.
Staying home and social distancing was always about protecting other folks; wearing a mask helps others more than it helps you. Just because I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean I can’t still carry and incubate the Corona. The CDC says as of today the following (and it changes so much!):
“What We Know
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
- COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19.”
So while others are going to big concerts, bars, parties, traveling for fun on airplanes, I’m still here wanting to do my part. In all my frustrated ruminations about this I made a Second Pandemic April playlist. If you haven’t had a tantrum dance to Corduroy by Pearl Jam since the pandemic began, I highly recommend.
The ethics of this time are exhausting.
I am a touring artist, that’s the bulk of how I make my living. I was able to pivot and focus on my Patreon page when the pandemic shut down my tour in 2020. But now I’m trying to figure out the ethics of going to events and traveling again.
What if I incubate some Washington variant of the virus and bring it to wherever I might go? Is it just too bad so sad to folks who haven’t yet gotten access to the vaccine? Children–like this unvaccinated child under 11 years old who died in Hawaii with his vaccinated parents? Who can’t afford to get out of work to get the shot? Who are too medically fragile to get the vaccine? On immune suppressing drugs that make the vaccine less effective? Who for whatever ethical reason aren’t getting it?
I just think about what I do and how it might affect the larger whole. I don’t want to spread something that could result in someone dying if I can prevent it by mindful lifestyle choices.
I also think about the ethics of gathering people in these times. Like going to a meal at a friend’s house with a small group of adults versus a large party.
Why not keep wearing masks most of the time until the spread of the virus is under control? I look at this map from the New York Times in their daily Coronavirus briefing email about how things are going in the world; it’s Second Pandemic May and the world continues to suffer from so many things (literal war! honor killings! just in the past week!) in addition to the pandemic.
I can’t even imagine the mental and emotional gymnastics parents have been going through in the past 14 months. In person school or no? Divorced co-parent not following CDC protocols putting multiple families at risk. So much out of your control.
During my second shot symptoms (the worst of mine lasted a full 30+ hours, with about a week and a half of lymph node swelling) I took a rare couple days of binge watching TV. I watched the recent season of Sister Wives on hulu and the agony they went through being a big family split into four homes dealing with harm reduction and social distance among siblings. I felt for them! And I also remember how little information we had back then at the outset of the pandemic and how much we still don’t really know.
We had a pizza party in my neighborhood (which is more than 90% vaccinated, mostly people are over 60 here) and I was the only one wearing a mask. Outdoors, not socially distant. But–easy to be socially distant if you’re willing to be the weirdo sitting on her own at a table. And willing to get up and move to another table if someone sits too close.
I’ve been a weirdo all my life, being a weirdo who is willing to move myself within a social gathering so I can feel more aligned with my values is not that hard anymore. It’s constantly my edge to continue to not care what people think of me. I care what I think of me.
I think 2021 Summer/Fall is about PRIORITIES, CONVERSATIONS and HARM REDUCTION. My polyamorous friends have been training for this for years, they know how to have these conversations and weigh the considerations of multiple people.
I have two communities that are my high priorities and I’m choosing to attend the Glowing Goddess Getaways in person this year. Covid safe, lots of protocols. Outside. Easy to spread out. Easy to find my space. I’m willing to be a weirdo in a mask and only be near other masked weirdos. I can drive, which is important to me since I don’t yet have private plane access and flying commercial feels like a little metal test tube in the sky filled with covid from around the world.
In person doesn’t start until August and I’m actually really excite for the digital getaways. Creating digital community and belonging is something I’m really passionately working on for Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics and I hope to lend what I’m learning to the GGG.
Everything could be different by August. And also what if folks lie about being vaccinated? I always end up with more questions than answers.
I want to go see my people in Atlanta. I want to be able to go and stay with my vaccinated friends in easily contact traceable ways.
Oh dear Goddess if I could private plane and go to Dollywood masked, be outdoors and stay in a cabin I would do it in a heartbeat. (I’ve gone to Dollywood in my mind so many times when life post gay divorce the past couple years has worn on me.) But I’m still not sure how any of that happens.
I wanted to share some of my thoughts because I know there are others out there thinking similar things.
“That’s great for you; not for me” is a fav new expression (thanks Myleik!) and it sums up how I’m choosing to work on my own behavior versus caring what other people do.
When I spend time having an opinion about what other people are doing I’m draining my energy from the work I’m on this planet to do. I truly, truly do not care or judge what you decide to do. But I care about your life and the worthiness of your existence and wouldn’t want to be part of a chain of disease spread that could kill you or someone you love.