So, I have long been of the opinion that “Social Media” is, more often than not, not very social after all. I cringe at some of the things I read and simply shake my head at others, or both. So, the presence of COVID-19 has resulted in the absence of many things — common sense, empathy, the ability to stay away from the fridge, cupboard, as well as having other people around.
I came across a profile status someplace, where someone was actually poking fun at people who are single and childless; having to be by themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then the lackeys, AKA friends, AKA followers of said person, were also laughing and making fun right along with the female who posted this. Yup, I shake my head at these non-empathetic people who feel superior to others who are living differently from them.
That made me think about those living alone in COVID, but also the different ways in which people are actually alone in dealing with this pandemic; alone together, alone even though you are with family, alone with your spouse, alone as a nationality and countries being alone in their fight against this thing that has already claimed thousands of lives and that we hope will go away sooner rather than later.
Alone together — I recently saw the hashtag #AloneTogether on an ad on TV and had to WhatsApp a childhood friend to laugh about something that happened years ago. We were out to get food one night at Sovereign plaza and a guy approached us. I moved away a little bit, as I was just not in the mood to engage anyone in a conversation at the time (I obviously wasn’t socially distancing COVID style, but I guess I was socially distancing MC style at that point in time). However, I was close enough to hear the conversation between my friend and the goodly gentleman and I nearly swallowed my tongue when he asked “A you alone live alone together?”
So, when I saw the TV ad, I linked my sistah-friend and we laughed at the fact that what we found SO hilarious back then has actually become a thing; a reality in 2020; being alone together. YUP, as we practice social distancing all over the world where there are cases of the virus, we are now in fact alone together.
Alone even though you are with family — being with other people doesn’t always ease loneliness. Many people are more than okay being alone, while many people are even lonelier with others around them. What COVID has revealed is that loneliness in families is like Christopher Columbus “discovering” places that had people already living there; because it isn’t really a new revelation — the fact that many family members cannot stand being around each other for too long.
When it is the day to day stuff; going to work and school, and doing other things that kept them away from each other, that made it more bearable, but now being forced to be together all the time has been very unbearable for many people. It is true that it has also brought some families closer together though, so in those cases the feeling of loneliness in families is not so pronounced. It is a lot more difficult to take when you feel alone in the midst of being with other people; especially when it is the people you are related to, and it is people you want to share a special connection with but they can’t stand you and vice versa.
Alone with your spouse. As a relationship counsellor I have had to be counseling couples — married or otherwise — through this pandemic. Ironically, many couples who were complaining about not being able to spend enough time with each other are finding it stifling now that they are having so much time with each other. Many issues are now coming to the fore; things they dislike about each other and things they had left buried and not dealt with in their previous, before COVID existence.
But there are also those couples who have finally been forced to admit what they have long known, that they are merely just passing each other like ships on the ocean; living in the same house but not really together emotionally anymore. As such, even though they are occupying the same physical space, they are both alone as they traverse the realities of COVID-19.
Alone as a nation and a different nationality. I recently blogged about the fact that the good ole US of A stopped a shipment of COVID test kits from coming to the island, and others responded to say that the same thing was done to other islands and countries. When it really comes down to it and if/when push comes to shove, will we get the help we need to survive COVID, or are we truly alone in this?
I pause to acknowledge the help of our sister island Cuba in sending health workers and offering their virus drug to us; even though the drug is not being accepted at this time in Jamaica, even though it has been used; seemingly successfully in China.
But I go back to my wonderings; are we ALL alone as countries in this pandemic? That, and are different nationalities/races alone in their COVID fight in countries where there ARE different nationalities? There have been cries of racism in some countries and it is being said that certain nationalities are being targeted; left out on the streets and being barred from supermarkets. It has even been said that there are certain nationalities that are being given preferential treatment when it comes to being taken care of in hospitals.
So, I ask, are we REALLY alone together in this pandemic, or are we ALONE – alone? Food for thought.