We are all in a pretty fearful position on this planet. Plague strides across the face of the Earth like it’s in a footrace with War, Pollution, and Ignorance to cover the most territory. Stock markets falter and Dollar Tree can’t keep toilet paper on the shelves.
There is no magick formula for defeating fear. It is something that must be faced in every heart. Realize that almost all of us, Warriors of Every Stripe, are bred to fear from the moment we can walk. Mommy or Daddy won’t love us if we make noise in the restaurant or a mess in the living room. Our friends won’t love us if we have the cheap sneakers or facial breakouts. Someone might kill us for who we truly love or our gender beneath our skin.
My greatest gift on that front was my cancer diagnosis. I had had a skin biopsy a few years before of a precancerous mass that had my brain swirling for months afterwards at the lethal possibilities. The next one might slip by and and get me, metastasize to all my vital organs, kill me like my mother and her father before her. Then, I got my colonoscopy out of a sudden rush of self-care and responsibility. My wife and I got the bad news while I was still loguey from the anesthetic.
From that moment on, I was gifted with momentum and focus. Doctors were lined up and consulted. Arrangements with my job were made so I could take chemo and have my radiation treatments on my extended lunch break. Support was lined up for every eventuality.
My last evaluation at work before I went on leave, my supervisor told me” “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem happier with cancer.” She was right.
My petty concerns had fallen away. I no longer cared who liked me at work, or what drama might be stirring with my siblings. It didn’t matter if my books weren’t selling, and if that meant I would be forgotten after death. All that would sort it self out with only minor interventions from myself.
A cancerous tumor in my rectum was chewing its way through my colon wall to get to my lymph nodes. That sort of behavior is not allowed in allowed in polite gastrointestinal tracts. More pages could be written about the epic battle in my butt, but the important point was that I focused on killing Tommy the Tumor, not what I feared he and the treatment could do to me. That’s how I’ve been getting through this prolonged annoyance without a meltdown or a drinking problem.
My only advice for our situation now is put some time into filtering fear from need. Know the facts of this situation. COVID-19 is a new, aggressive respiratory virus that has spread far further than SARS, MERS, or Ebola. It is less lethal than the flu, but it seems to have reached true pandemic proportions, so the number of infections and deaths will be higher. In the initial epicenter of Wuhan, word is that new infections are dropping and patients are recovering. There is hope that this will end without becoming the Apocalypse.
The immediate government and business responses have an effect on the outbreak, but produce economic side effects just as fearful. In trying to game all the effects without having all the facts, governments and media have created a world-choking cloud of fear.
Fan through this cloud and find what you truly need. You may be expecting to stay home for a while to help slow the spread of infection. Extra toilet paper and supplies are good, but leave some for the next guy. I have plenty of old manuscripts, just in case. If you get sick, call your doctor or closest ER to consult first. Simply rushing down to ER for a test will recreate scenes from Soylent Green, and nobody wants to watch that one again.
WASH YOUR HANDS LIKE SOMEONE’S LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.
You, or someone you love, will be affected by the chaos. Schools are closing, daycare will be overwhelmed, megalithic businesses will attempt to turn on a dime. The gig economy will temporarily collapse as large events are postponed and caterers, clubs, drivers, and various scutpuppies are no longer needed. This is when you will need your own focus and momentum. Reach out and network with friends hit hardest. Sell, gift, and barter your way through the tight spots. Form support circles, but call them Stitch & Bitches, potlucks, or Magick Circles for Prosperity. Prepare for more casseroles than the aftermath of a Southern funeral. Whatever light you can cast on the shadow of fear that hangs over us all.
There are a lot of awful things out there right now, but the fear will paralyze you and leave you to be eaten alive. Just like some giant mutant wasp for a Syfy original movie.
Weirdmaste, Warriors of Every Stripe.