For ten years I have worked so very hard to quiet my fears, stifle my anxieties and to learn how to functioning in a foreign world and now things have changed.
A virus is sweeping across the world and creating a huge impact on how people live, what they were used to. The new life rules are to stay distant from other people, self-isolate if feeling ill, no hugging, shaking hands and washing hands to a borderline obsessive level. The toll this has taken on people, communities and the world has been both frightening and could possibly have lasting effects on lives and how we live in the future. Change is inevitable in life but this is a new experience for this generation of humanity.
As I listen to the updates in the media of what is required to help stop the spread of this deadly virus and try to follow the advice, I find myself returning to what was and has always been my comfort, my calm. I have returned to my past where I will once again stay away from too many people at once, to not allow people to touch me and to practice my need to have proper hygiene. You would think I would be content. I am somewhat since I have experience where others do not but I am not alone. There are many others that have spent a lifetime living the same way that I had. They also struggled to function in a world that confused them and at times shun them due to their differences.
I believe the reason I personally am not totally content with knowing how and remembering where I once found comfort is partially because I have had a small taste of living otherwise. I now miss seeing my friends and interacting with others. I miss having the opportunity to challenge myself further to experience things my past deprived me of and my fears stood like a fortress in front of me. There is another reason that I am not content with returning to what I knew, it is not of my choosing!
With all the time I now have to take a step back in my life and really take notice, I realize that although the deadly virus is among us there is also an opportunity to teach and learn, to step back as a society and redefine normal.
For the general public that misunderstood, shun or were unsure of how to become more aware of the struggles, resilience and courage of people that did not quite fit into the social norms of functioning, we welcome you into our home. You are now our guest. Please take this time to learn as the circumstances are giving you lessons in part, on how people with communication and social differences live. The feeling of disconnect, frustration and isolation that you may be feeling as you are forced to distance others and for them to distance themselves from you will take its toll on your mental health as you slowly learn the new normal. Yes, we all hope that the end of this roller coaster of unknowns will end but until then take notice of the changes you have made and how they may affect you. There are some good changes that you may notice and may even decide to keep once life balances out again. Remember your visit to our home. Remember that this virus attacked all races, all religions and all people, sparing none since it did not choose which people to infect because of their differences and has created a sameness for all.
When life begins to return to what will be the new normal, take with you the lessons you have learned through your new awareness. Do not be afraid of those you may not understand because of their differences since you now are also different then you were before. The virus that spread across the world has created an opportunity for us all to begin again. To see each other and realize what is really important within humanity. We are all human!
My personal mantra is, "Differences are meant to be discovered and understood. Once understood they are no longer just differences."
Discovery time is now!