As New York City reopens, I’m thinking a lot about the things that have sustained me most through the quarantine. I figure it can’t hurt to ask myself what buoyed me through all of this, and to consider the meaning of my answer. One of the things that I’ve been most grateful for is community.
I’m accustomed to spending time on my own, but the Covid experience tested the limits of my comfort with solitude. At times, I felt acutely aware of being on my own in the world, which was difficult. At the same time, I felt supported by the many communities that I’m lucky to be a part of.
This includes my yoga community in particular; the people I messaged with most often were yoga pals. And the very first people I was able to see and take socially distanced walks with were fellow yogis, too, since we all live relatively close to each other.
I’ve been grateful for my friends in the vegan community. I already have a lot of strong online connection in that space, and I’ve been more grateful for it than ever. I’m glad to have some fellow introvert friends on Instagram. As silly as it sounds, sharing introvert memes with them gives me a lot laughs and comfort, a reminder that our way of being is OK. At a moment in quarantine when messages and incoming FaceTime calls were particularly abundant, it was nice to know that I wasn’t the only person feeling a little overwhelmed by it.
And of course, there’s this community. The fact that I was able to sit down in front of my computer each Sunday and write something about what I was feeling was a tremendous balm, especially in those tense and frightening months of March and April. Comments and DMs that let me know how others were feeling was a reminder that we’re all in this, and everything, together.
I’ve read some essays and articles that address the erosion of community in contemporary life. They’ve suggested that this increases isolation. They say that it sometimes compels us to place excessive pressure and expectation on romantic bonds, family bonds, career.
I think there’s probably truth to all of that. But I also feel incredibly lucky to be alive at a time when I can access and sustain community virtually, through the internet and social media. It has helped me—a person who sometimes finds it difficult to reach out with a phone call or to meet new people out and about—to feel much more connected than I would feel otherwise. It’s allowed me to meet people who share similar interests and orientations in life.
Today, I’m celebrating the communities that I’m part of. I’m also acknowledging the communities that I’m not part of, but which support my friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers around the world. Passionate groups of hobbyists, neighbors and neighborhoods, houses of worship, social justice movements, and more: I’m glad for their existence in these surreal times.
Happy Sunday to this community, which blesses my life in so many ways. Here are some recipes and reads.
It’s the season for cooling, frozen treats! I love these roasted cherry and pineapple popsicles.
Vegan blue cheese dressing, yes please! Cadry’s version looks terrific.
A beautiful, savory vegan leek and onion frittata.
I love the looks of this vibrant spinach and artichoke pasta.
Finally, a stunning vegan chocolate cherry ice cream cake.
1. An important look at the ways in which male expertise and male voices have dominated coverage of the pandemic. This undermines the voices of female scientists, the article notes, and undercuts diversity in the public narrative.
2. Via the New York Times, a blood test for Alzheimer’s may be within reach.
3. A powerful and inspiring account of resilience as a means of overcoming both addiction and a traumatic brain injury—two conditions that many people struggle with in silence.
4. Important reporting on power shut-offs, which disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. As the article notes, extreme heat can be lethal. With Covid-19 making public gathering in air-conditioned libraries, malls, and coffee shops impossible, the danger is even greater (shout out to Nicole Cardoza’s anti-racism daily email for the link and the awareness).
5. A look at how Covid-19 isolation may be causing PTSD. It’s an important consideration, and it makes the community we are able to access safely now all the more vital.
This week, an easy snack and another simple, summery recipe. Till soon!
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Thanksgiving this year was a surprise. For weeks, I looked forward to it as being a homecoming of sorts. It was the first Thanksgiving that my mom and I have had on our own since 2012, when we ate at Candle 79. We did the same this year, and I think a part of me expected the whole ritual to be as if nothing had changed. I thought it might momentarily feel the way things did before the end of my post-bacc, before…
I often read about the power of choosing one’s thoughts, or something along those lines: shifting perspective, flipping the script, quieting negative self-talk, and so on. It sounds so compelling and empowering, yet so elusive. Most of the time, I feel that my thoughts choose me. I often wish—especially when they’re particularly exhausting—that they’d choose someone else. Once in a while, I’m able to choose different thoughts, or to change a gloomy perspective. The amount of effort that it takes to do this…
I’ve been reading a lot about authenticity lately. I guess this is self-selecting, as it’s a topic that interests me and tends to permeate the spaces I spend time in (yoga studios, blogs that focus on health and self-care, therapy). But authenticity seems to be having something of a moment, too—or so book titles and articles would suggest. For the holidays, my mom gifted me with a copy of Baron Baptiste’s new book, Perfectly Imperfect. I was touched that she thought of it,…
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YES to virtual communities sustaining us and this being a time to clarify the ones that support us most. For me, that’s been church. And a few friendships that had the chance to blossom b/c we weren’t so bogged down by “ok I can meet in 3 weeks for 15 minutes between 1 and 1:15 pm when I’m in Flatiron…” I do NOT miss that!
I definitely noticed a spike in anxiety over the sudden rush for everyone to connect–especially because the lockdown happened at the same time a major trade event for my industry went online so I was having to participate in several Zoom/Skype/Hangout meetings. What pushed me over the edge was how many different channels were coming at me. Not just the usual social media and Slack for work, but now my online communities were adding Discords and livestreams and and and. It was too much. The one place I have been much more active is on Reddit where I joined a few subs for cross stitch, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, jigsaw puzzles and books, so I can decide whether to interact passively by upvoting or actively by commenting or posting, and people have been overwhelmingly supportive and kind. The Mildly Interesting sub also makes me laugh at least once a day.
Dear Gena, I love what you write here about community–and how virtual community counts too–it has meant a lot to me for years, as my own health challenges apparently had me “practicig” for some of this without even knowing it. Thank you! Glad we are a part of each other’s overlapping communities! Love you!
Yes to introvert friends and sharing memes! It’s connection without the pressure of conversation. And thank you for using your space to share with readers each week and connect us to you in that way.