I was used to being on stage. I was used to being in front of people singing, dancing, acting, and teaching. But here I was, with my heart pounding so loud it could drown the noise of the traffic and all I had to do was talk to one person.
Where’s my Normal?
Artist. Writer. Crafter.
Loves all things whimsical.
Let’s face it; we’ve all been thrown for a toss. Our jobs, routines, studies, sleep patterns, livelihoods, right down to the way we interact with people. Our relationships have probably been through the wringer throughout this season, the season we call THE LOCKDOWN. Families have been slapped together indefinitely and there’s nowhere to hide, nowhere to go, nowhere to shop. Parents have developed new respect for the teachers who manage their kids, and children miss their teachers because newsflash, parents aren’t trained to teach. We’ve been having to teach our children entirely new words and references, and futuristic doom science is not all fun and games.
Never has our vocabulary been so extensive as to involve never-heard-of-before-in-normal-life words like quarantine, lockdown, shelter in place. We’d reserved these for an apocalyptic future, filled with the dust and smog of smashed buildings, alien dogs running around and no water (Enter Will Smith and his rakishly torn leather jacket). You know, true Armageddon.
But as fate would have it, here we are, using these apocalyptic words in daily stories and texts. No one is spared. Even Will Smith is sheltering in place in sweats and pajamas. So, if the heroes aren’t hero-ing, who’s saving us all? Are we doomed to live like internet hermits, living from behind our screens, and trying not to look like bandits behind our designer masks?
While the world is precariously teetering on its proverbial axis of balance, we the people are fighting to find ours. We are working furiously trying to set up schools online, small businesses are fighting to stay afloat. One of my favorite stores, sadly, closed up their landmark retail space and have taken their business online in the hopes of being relevant in a world that is changing ground up. They’ve taken a beating; the small business owners, the boutique-owning auntie, the bhaiya in the grocery shop, the ammama in the fish stall.
And yet amidst this mad, mad world, it is these small business owners who are standing up to support those who can’t fend for themselves. They are pledging monetary support, starting funds for the under-privileged; they are using their deep-set connections within the business world to prop up smaller-owned business and offering them retail space in the online world. One of my favorite women CEOs who founded her own sustainable fashion brand opened her online space to showcase artisans and owners of other single-owner brands. Artists have set up support pledges in order to help other artists earn livelihood. Writers are stepping up to offer free resources. Workshops are being set up all over the world, for people to connect, learn, earn and in this terrifying time, find a semblance of balance. If this volatile situation the world over has but one good takeaway, it would be that of the emergence of continued Kindness.
Kindness of strangers helping each other, giving each other grace, turning good Samaritans for the lesser privileged people, showing up in small and beautiful ways. There are grandparents learning to ace zoom calls, neighbours dropping off care packages, gentle smiles shared between people walking in parks while maintaining social distancing. There are innumerable stories that speak of the beauty of kindness shared between people all over the world. Humanity when done right, shows up in the best of ways.
And while, on the other hand, we continue to hear dark stories of hate, racism, and more impending doom, there are these heartbreakingly beautiful instances that shine through like sunlight, breaking through this stifling haze of hatred and depression. Doctors, nurses, medical professionals all over the world are gathering forces, mustering those last remnants of courage and powering through. Essential service workers are making their way around cities, shoring up defences in their small ways, keeping the cogs of life running smoothly.
So while we’re here, living our life behind our screen, mindlessly scrolling through media and wondering when our lives will return to normal, there are countless groups of people, essential workers, people you would never know or meet, working tirelessly to see that the world enters this new normal efficiently and seamlessly. They are working hard to keep the momentum going, to ensure that their friends, co-workers and employees don’t dive into that empty recess of despair. They are working to bring things to your doorstep, so you won’t have to step out and meet the virus. There are so many incredible minds working overtime to ensure normalcy in this new world remains attainable.
To answer my own question– who is going to rescue us from this crazy new world we’re entering? It’s these amazing people that work behind the scenes, conjuring up solutions to suit the maddening rush we have, to enjoy things at the earliest. These clever magicians that find opportunity in the bleakest situations and turn them into stepping stones for the future. They are the quiet heroes of this story. They work from the unseen spaces, from behind the curtain of normalcy, to hold the life you live and love so much in tandem with the world rushing around you.
So the next time you step out to shop, or settle behind your screen to watch a favourite serial, or go online to buy that ratty sweater your mother would not approve of, know and acknowledge that a real amazing person is somewhere out there working tirelessly in the chain of events to get your things to you, just so that you would not be inconvenienced. Not even a little bit.
Because we all know, humanity would not survive inconvenience. We’d survive the virus, but not this.