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Mackenna Lee

Disembark, Grow, Illuminate.

For the last three months, we’ve dedicated and reorganized our livelihoods to be apart. We wear masks to cover our faces; we give wide berths on the sidewalks; we decline invites to gatherings of friends and loved ones. Validity notwithstanding, easing back into full socialization is tinged with a fog of discomfort.

Basic gestures, like hugging, are perplexing. Being waited on in restaurants, an activity that is minimally a weekly occurrence for New Yorkers, is upgraded to a rare luxury for those that dare.

We are figuring out how to be social beings again, all in the background of civil frustration over our societal weaknesses. Physically, we are learning to be with one another again, and mentally, many of us are learning how to be with another for the first time.

The duality of our physical wellness repelling us and our spiritual treatment of others amalgamating us fuses into a strange behavioral limbo.

The persistent skepticism over whether our actions have the intended and desired resonance may be a line of questioning we carry until our society heals. I continue to listen and learn, but I admittedly am overcome with the shades of pain, intolerance, and grief I witness and experience. As well, our global health hinders us from interpersonal closeness.

Each day, it’s an acknowledgement of suffering. Each day, it’s an acknowledgement of growth. Assume a blank slate with each individual, and work to draw in color through their words, not your observations and assumptions.

As we learn to reopen our salons, barbers, restaurants, we are also opening our hearts for the estimation of our faults and expansion of our compassion.

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