• Lucia Joyce

COVID-19 Fear Is A Spectrum

Where are YOU on the COVID-19 Fear Spectrum?

Maximum Fear: these are the hardcore COVID fear mongers. Around every corner is certain death. They refuse to go to work, or really anywhere. COVID-19 is their excuse to be utterly helpless and alone. Screw mental health and genuine connection. Everything must remain shuttered and anyone who ventures out for anything other than toilet paper and 10 lb bags of rice is a monster. HOW DARE ANYONE: a) attempt to bring back sports, b) even suggest a masked play date, c) GO ANYWHERE EVER, including peaceful Black Lives Matter protests and safe, small, masked gatherings. HOW DARE THEY. This group is pretty easy to deal with: consistent and clear, although I often worry that they are not getting enough hugs.

Middle of Fear Leaning: I struggle with this group. They are quick to latch onto statistics when they feel put upon by others, but don't hold themselves to the same standard. I.e. "Everyone in the house must wear a mask and if their mask falls down I will text them from another room to remind them to fully wear it but when my immunocompromised boyfriend comes over and forgets to wear it, I won't say or do anything because I only see things in relation to how they affect me. Between Middle of Fear Leaning and True Middle lies the group I have the most experience with: the ones who consistently wear masks no matter what, and just keep their distance from people who care less about the rules, occasionally throwing in a reminder: "Don't forget your mask!" or "Please take your shoes off and use the provided hand sanitizer." Great. Easy. Basic empathy. I love it.

Maximum No F*cks: The worst of all the groups in my opinion. The uniquely stubborn conspiracy theorist crackpots who think science is make believe. They read Q Anon posts religiously. The concept of wearing a mask or staying home to protect others is untenable to them. They will make a scene when they venture out mask-less and are asked to leave CDC regulated establishments. They might be uneducated or just too far removed from reality to participate with any kind of logic. They are probably also racist.

Middle of No F*cks To Give Leaning: this group can get risky. They understand the rules but take every opportunity to lazily 'forget'. They could be harmless and overlooked/avoided or they might have some kind of financial/social clout and present a true problem for those who must work and associate with them. They own masks but they're usually down on their chin or neck, or hanging from one ear. They might believe the conspiracy theories against all science but are too lazy to act on them, beyond viewing them on Facebook or Twitter.

True Middle: True middle people trust and listen to the science, and play the safe side even if they don't necessarily believe it all... because it's just courteous to keep others in mind, and because it would be ludicrous to abandon science, the one group of people actually fact checking anything and everything these days. True Middlers might attend a protest, masked and gloved, or donate to a cause that has emerged in all of this craziness. They might also not say anything when someone's mask unknowingly slips in their company. "We've both been quarantining," they might say in their mind, "and we're symptomless, and outdoors right now... fuck it, give me a hug." True Middle people tend to be in tune with their inner selves more than the outer world--they find it hard not to because the outer world seems to be total CrazyTown on a regular basis. Instead of focusing on ONE RIGHT OR WRONG ideology, they do their best not to judge anyone, as all the fear and uncertainty brings out the worst in people who have no experience going inward for guidance. True Middle is where self care meets care for others, where fear is seen as valid, but not necessarily helpful.

If I'm being honest, I think I bounce between light fear-leaning and light-no f*cks leaning. I aim for True Middle, which makes the most sense to me, but land wherever my old beliefs and new stimuli tend to place me. I follow the rules to a tee because I just want everyone around me to feel safe, and I try to let the assholes be and put them out of my mind--they're afraid too in their own backward way, and hating them is wasted energy. I am a fairly equal consumer of stay at home memes, social justice shares, and cat videos. I am just out here, breathing deeply, eating well, and trying to remember it's OK to be happy.

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