On Pandemic Restrictions & Those Forgotten

Sometimes I ask myself; what would they have me do?

Stay at home? I have been, yes. More than most people. However, what people fail to take into account is my wife and child need to leave the home. In particular the school situation presents some awkwardness for a few different reasons. So then, what should I be doing? Separate myself from my wife and son? That certainly doesn’t seem ideal for several reasons, including the logistical and financial impact that would have on our family. Yet it seems as if that the consensus that serval people have now is that it’s something that I simply need to “deal with”. It’s a “me” problem that does not concern them.

At least that’s how things come across.

The entire situation I find difficult, for many reasons. One of the reasons is the words that people spoke years before seem to carry no weight any further. When my solar urticaria was diagnosed, I explained to people what it was and how it worked, and for the most part people were fairly understanding. For those who don’t know, my immune system thinks that *light* is trying to kill me, which results in anaphylaxis. I take medication now to help mitigate things, however that does not change that my immune system does not function as well as others – and on some days the amount of light/ultraviolet is too much. This immunological disorder is rare, not many have heard about it. And again, when I first told people, there was allegedly understanding. When I started taking the medication, some people were happy, stating “I’m glad we can see your face now!” because before I had to cover up my whole body.

Yes, that’s correct; covering up my whole body. Before the medication, I had to take precautions to protect myself. UPF 50 clothing. A hat with fabric to cover my face. Pants in the summer. Gloves on my hands. Going outside was (and at times still remains) *an event*.

Fast forward a few years, I get diagnosed as autistic and dyslexic. Again, people spoke words about being understanding. They said they’d love and accept me for who I am, who I have always been. And in most cases people have backed this up with words and actions.

What I wasn’t anticipating was a segment of people who said they were understanding about all of the above, to turn around and disregard all of that during a global pandemic.

I understand the restrictions are tiring.  I understand that mandates may make you feel uneasy or alarmed. I get how you just want to move on with your life carefree. And, to be absolutely clear, I agree with those who think that some of the restrictions are inconsistent and should be revised.

But to throw out everything, to oppose mandates and restrictions in general, smacks of hypocrisy. Wearing a mask is such a small thing. Children can pass the virus to others, so yes, they should wear them too per CDC/Health Canada guidelines. If someone errs on the side of caution and wants a lower age, humor them (and me) and go along with it.

It’s distressing. It’s enraging. It’s upsetting. These are people I have known for years. Decades, sometimes.

Which probably explains the difference in how things are viewed. These restrictions are largely viewed as an inconvenience. But for me, I’m familiar with being inconvenienced, familiar with taking precautions. Even familiar with covering up my face. For me, a lot of these things are survival. And now with how pandemic response has treated those with intellectual (not me), learning (yes me), and neurological (also yes me) disabilities, it’s even more about survival than what it was previously.

Every day is a new day, yet also the same. There is no escape from the organized chaos that is my mind, my physical form remains in a state of disrepair. My immune system, as mentioned, is not working as it does for others. And every day I see people who claim to care about the least of our brothers and sisters proceed to disregard that notion. And when this is all done, when the pandemic passes, somehow *I* will be the one expected to remain courteous. *I* am to be the one that will have to pretend like nothing happened. Where people will speak from one side of their mouth about how happy they are to see me and how much they “care”, yet they spent time and effort to speak from the other side of their mouths. The words they place on the screen, which yes, I can read – I’m dyslexic, not illiterate. I’m autistic, not stupid.

A further thought to end this.

Although many such as myself believe in the supernatural and the Divine, we are temporal beings. We exist within linear time. Death comes for us all, either we run towards him or he walks in our direction. Our bodies are mechanical in nature, erosion occurs. Wear and tear occurs. Take it from someone who knows, your body will not always be the way it is now.

Not everyone ages gracefully, not everyone avoids accidents. Sometimes life just happens and you develop something. And other times it turns out you’ve been a certain way your whole life.

You may not always be as you are now, you may not always have the privilege you hold.

Until next time, remember that people like me do see.

We’re smarter than you think we are.

And we’re not going to forget.

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