Actually, scratch that. Dear me:
You’re not going to lie anymore, and admit it, you’ve lied once or twice in the past five months about why you won’t do brunch, hang out, meet for drinks or do any of the normal things you so want to do.
At first, thanks to a not-insignificant but perfectly timed-for-quarantine Lime scooter accident, you had an easy, true excuse. You healed, though, as the city began to reopen, and that excuse became nonexistent—but more than anything, you wanted that normal.
So you went out a few times, purposely going against the voice inside you saying, “Don’t, the pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere,” so you wouldn’t be seen as a crazy, rule-following germaphobe. And each time, you regretted it and felt uncomfortable.
You did it because you didn’t want to own your totally reasonable truth, which is: You’re still social distancing. Because not only is the pandemic still very much a thing, it’s by most measurable stats worse than it was when we first locked down in March.
But social distancing doesn’t make you the weird one, even though seemingly everyone around you is posting photos of the normal you want: Friends and family in large, close, (and happy) group shots.
Most of us unconsciously set our own internalized COVID rules, like: Distancing outside is okay. Distancing inside isn’t. Have you at times been wildly inconsistent and downright hypocritical when you “violated” your own rules? Absolutely. Will you again? Probably. Are you sure your guidelines are right? Absolutely not. But they’re yours.
There’s a massively wide range of social COVID tolerance out there, and these rules have created a divide between social groups and made these conversations so positively awkward and uncomfortable.
You’re not going to apologize anymore, even though you’ve felt sorry. Sorry for saying no. Sorry for being the one singled out in a group making plans, and the reason for the awkward conversation (“Bartner, are you cool with socializing?”), and sorry for being on the other end of someone earnestly and respectfully asking, “Are you hugging people right now?”
But you’re not sorry for desperately wanting the normal back—as we all do—so you’re going to continue social distancing as best you can, and you’re going to own it even when it feels incredibly uncomfortable to do so. Because you’re not alone, even though you feel like the weird one. You’re not.
Amy Bartner is a contributing editor to Indy Maven.