Friend or Foe

We’ve all had a year of it. I’ve yet to hear one person deny that, but as we emerge from our unpredictably long hibernation. Yes, I call it hibernation, don’t come for me. It’s much less intense than quarantine. As we unlock our doors and cautiously tiptoe into the grocery stores, gyms, and restaurants, we start to communicate our fears, anger, and frustrations. Shockingly we all have discovered close friends and family don’t have the same reactions and emotions we do, causing breakups in marriages, friends, and even division of families.

Somehow masks and vaccinations have become a political issue and not a medical one. I am all about embracing differences in one another and accepting people for who they are. Why is it so hard to do with this particular topic? Some people feel obligated to decide on vaccinations, and masks are within their right to choose, while others think they must protect their community and the most vulnerable.

Talking with the public, it became abundantly clear that one affiliation of politics was pro mask while the other defiantly opposed, the loudest ones labeled Karen’s. These temper tantrums have become wilding popular on the internet, causing hours of entertainment. Unless your aunt is screaming profanities at the store clerks who refused to ring up her groceries because she won’t wear a mask, odds are your family members aren’t causing scenes worthy enough for YouTube.

In most situations, gray sits happily in the middle of black and white. Not for this one, NOPE! There are two clear sides to this with no middle ground. You either are pro-vaccination and masks or not. I was hesitant to touch on this topic for people who feel so strongly about each side. I want to be completely transparent; I have been fully vaccinated and believe they work and are necessary. However, I have friends who don’t. So how do you get past something so controversial in a long-term friendship? Is it even possible?

Having talked to a close friend recently about the state of our country, I was astonished to hear words escape her mouth that I didn’t expect. It was in no way comparable to my beliefs. But how could something like this happen? I thought I knew this person better than she knew herself. How could I be so wrong? It sent me into a tailspin of questioning my choices, and have there been other clues I’ve missed? Do we as people filter out the negative to only see the positive on purpose? So many questions whirled around my head only to conclude that people change throughout their span of life. It’s a good thing to evolve and learn lessons making us the people we are today. My motto has always been to care about others and try to make a positive difference in this world if it’s only one small gesture at a time.

The beauty of our country is the freedom of choice. Many of those are currently being argued within our government as we speak. I have no control over what others do, even if they are in my circle of friends. Being raised to pick my battles was ingrained in me from the time I was a little girl. It’s just another example of how I’ve evolved into the person I am today and why my inner social circle is constantly changing.

I believe the most important qualities within a person are empathy and compassion. If you have them both and you follow your heart, the friends who represent that will find you. The others will fall away, while you need to be willing to let them go. So to answer the questions I presented in this blog are to be authentic, practice what you preach, and reach a helping hand wherever you can. That is a guarantee you will encase yourself with the people who make you a better person.

So while feeling like we just finished making an extreme pathogen film, but is our real life, it’s going to get better. It has too. Stick to your convictions, and don’t feel like you ever need to change to fit the mold. Find what you believe in and stay strong.

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