By Cheryl Smith
These are the times that will try the strongest of souls. People I know who are introverts or almost recluses who enjoy being alone are having a hard time with social distancing and self-quarantining and some actually want to get out and be with people. Others who are extroverts, and real touchy-feely are trying to cope with having to scale back, not being able to be the life of the party because there are so few parties—well actually, while there are some parties, we really could follow the science and avoid them. Each person is dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic different ways, in their own way; some healthy others not so healthy ways.
Which brings me to my truth.
Whether it was at the first day of class, virtually with Dallas College, where I am an adjunct professor; or in an editorial meeting with my team or The Dallas Morning News who we are collaborating with; I stress the importance of wellness checks and I share a little bit of me. That’s right, while some might say that women, especially in leadership, must not show any type of vulnerability because it is seen as weakness. Well, I am an “In spite of” person instead of a “because” person.
In a nutshell, yes, I am challenged at times, and like falsely-enslaved Solomon Northrup whose life was chronicled in the movie, Twelve Years A Slave; I, too, tell myself “I will not fall into despair.” Admittedly I feel as though my life has been filled with pandemics. When you consider being a Black woman in America; the maternal morbidity rate among Black women; mass incarceration of Black men; infusion of guns and drugs into the country’s Black communities; and, institutional racism, we are in a state pandemonium.
So here comes coronavirus. In my head, I’m saying, ‘just add it to the list!” I could become an underachiever, a person who does not continue growing and lifting as I climb; and say it is because of COVID-19. Instead, as I deal with these times that test the faith of some and my very fiber, I try to make each day count, working to make this world a better place; in spite of COVID-19.
But it is at times challenging. People are in pain. Sometimes when you are in pain, you want to hurt others. Some have heard the phrase, “misery loves company.” It’s true. Yes, there are miserable people who can’t spread love, hope and compassion because they don’t feel it and some may not know what it looks like! Then some people hurt themselves. As we continue to live through and adjust, adapt, or pivot; I am asking that you be a source of love and support if you can, ask for support and love if you need it; and work on being the best that you can be. Sure, no one’s perfect, but you can strive for perfection, and through all of this; in spite of this pandemic, come out a better YOU.