The List-Maker

A friend sent me the most poignant quote (thank you, J): “…everything we do before a pandemic seems like an overreaction, and everything after seems like drastic under reaction.”

What do you do when you’re anxious?

I write out lists. My telephone has a few, each one categorized based on the matter at hand. Each list ends with: Pray.

Because no matter how much control I pretend to have, I know that I in fact have none. But I will always go down fighting.

So. Let’s start making lists.

Why have I been so anxious about SARS-CoV-2?
1. Because I have been following epidemiologists, pandemics experts, and data crunchers. SCIENCE. Not because “Fake News.” If you are still someone who has chosen to not believe the utter devastation this thing will absolutely cause, kindly note that I have lumped you in the same group as Vaccine Conspiracy Theorists, and Climate Change Deniers.
2. I do not wish to be a carrier and potentially infect others.
3. I do not wish to take a hospital bed the availability of which can save the life of another. (Essentially, I truly believe that I have no more value than you, and I am approaching matters with this mindset.)

Note that 2 + 3 are not just about my elderly parents or those whom I know that are immunocompromised. For those of you who have lived here long enough, you know that my world view is simply that: I am a part of God’s Creation. And He is One. Which means that I am a part of this same One, as are absolutely all others (Muslim and not). The health of Us, is dependent on the health and safety of the singular ‘I’. (You don’t need to be religious to believe that we are a One, fyi. But my belief is rooted in my deen.) Simply, I take my social responsibility to others extremely seriously, and I think those who do not are proper fucking assholes; I believe that the reason this world is such an awful place is precisely due to people lacking social responsibility toward others.

What I have been doing to safeguard
4. For the past 8 days, I have cancelled all social engagements and only seen friends virtually. I sent an official message to this effect a couple of days ago. I do not plan on seeing anyone face-to-face for some months, because I truly believe that we will need at least six months for things to clear. If you have been paying attention to the data, six months is about the point everyone is looking to. Which takes us into next flu season, and we can only pray that we have a ready and safe treatment by then. (On this note, I do believe that world leaders need to make room for a very differently shaped world than is present. This, for another day.)
5. I have been Lysol-ing all surfaces daily. (Leave on for 10 minutes, then wipe.)
6. I cancelled a trip to Europe (from which I would have been returning on Sunday, had I gone). Best money lost, EVER.
7. I have, for three weeks, been purchasing extra food items, and cleaning supplies. The reason that I am not in Costco flipping the fuck out today is…see Point 1 above.
8. I began skipping rope the second I slipped into survivalist mode. Three weeks ago, I could barely skip 2 minutes straight. Today, after three weeks of skipping five times a week for 21 minutes each time, I can skip 7 minutes straight and not be out of breath. This virus hits our lungs; skipping rope strengthens them, and our hearts. It is also something that you can do without seeing people (STOP GOING TO THE GYM). It is never too late to start; you can be healthier tomorrow than you are today. If you’re cocking an eyebrow at skipping, try skipping 150+ times a minute like I do, because thank you boxing.
9. Speaking of healthy, I also cut all of the sugars three weeks ago. I am not fucking around. If this thing wants to take me down, I plan on fighting it as hard as possible. And what’s the worst case scenario (aside from my dying)? I am more fit when all is said and done. InshAllah.
10. I have requested to work from home all week, rather than my present state of going into work one day a week. If they don’t permit it, I will be going into work with gloves, Lysol wipes, taking the stairs, and speaking to people through doors or from across hallways. Like I wrote – I am not fucking around.
11. My mother will also be teleworking. And if she needs to go to work, I will work my schedule around hers and drive her to/from so that she avoids buses.
12. We open the window and balcony door daily, to air out the apartment.
13. I go for a little walk daily so that I do not go stir-crazy.
14. I have been leaving my apartment to pick up essentials from the grocery store, and take care of matters for momma’s home (which should be ready for her within the next couple of weeks; I plan on quarantining the home, too, because workers).
15. I am keeping up my beauty routine. Because we will get to the other side, inshAllah.
16. I’m also making a list of what I will do in six months. This includes eating many donuts with Destine.
17. I wrote my will. Yup.
18. I have accepted and believe that every single family is going to be harmed – be it our immediate families, our neighbours, our friends. My mind is there, which helps me fool myself into thinking that I will be prepared when it happens.
19. I am checking in on my friends very regularly.
20. I am doing a lot of drawing, colouring, puzzles, and watching of television shows and movies.
21. I purchased a survivalist magazine, which is in the image above. It reads like Swahili, but I have it.
22. I have two humidifiers running 24 hours a day.
23. I am keeping as hydrated as possible.
24. I got the flu shot on Wednesday, because I don’t need something looking like Covid, not in fact being Covid. Not today, Satan.
25. I am taking my temperature every morning when I wake, and every night before I sleep. Tracking all, in an effort to diminish potential reaching out to healthcare providers in the event something goes wonky and I think I have become infected when in fact I have not.
26. I have a running list of every single place I have had to go daily, in case healthcare professionals need to track where I have been.
27. I am praying. Above and beyond my usual daily 5, I am praying a lot. For everyone.

To those who are having anxiety
28. I AM WITH YOU. I HEAR YOUR FEARS. I DO NOT DIMINISH THEM. You are always welcome to reach out to me if you need support. My email is my last name (dot) my first name @gmail (dot) com.

The present pandemic is not any different than any other matter which may give you anxiety. It presents the opportunity for toxicity to make its way into your world (such as someone telling you that you are overreacting, and that this overreaction is crazy).

Remember: Anyone who diminishes from, or mocks whatever the fuck you need to do in order to feel safe has got to go. If they are people with whom you are stuck, like a parent, then minimize contact with them and do not discuss this present matter with them. Sideline it, literally.

The present situation is one where the lessons learned are literally deadly, and social responsibility is being tested to its limits. Ultimately, I have fully prepared myself for the fact that I will likely contract this thing, eventually. But at least I would have gone down fighting as hard as possible. Stay safe. Wash the fuck out of those hands and stop touching your face, please and thank you.

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