As written by Maria Melo in her blog Woman Up.
Audre Lorde put into words the truth we all face today: without community there is no liberation. Funny how that belief plays out in our lives in times of Covid 19. Beyond the face masks, the physical distancing, and the sense of isolation, there is also the question of understanding who we are and what we believe in.
As I stand in all my intersections, as a mother and as a daughter, as an individual and a member of a wider community, as a professional and a parent, as a bisexual and bi-cultural woman, as a Colombian and American, I know that I am not divided or lost in the crossroads, but instead, I am merged, unified and changed into something new. Something different from other people and also, something different from what I was before.
I do not know who I am yet, I mean, this new version of me that is adapting to living in a world turned upside down. My intuition tells me that my beliefs and perseverance will guide me through the hardest parts; thankfully, long before corona appeared in our lives, issues such as equality, social justice and solidarity had become ever abundant sources of meaning for me.
More than ever, I am full of admiration for so many women who are fighting to keep their loved ones, families and community safe; making sacrifices, fighting bravely with empathy, intelligence and strength. Perhaps, as said by Samantha Powers, former US Ambassador to the UN, this won’t end for anyone, until it ends for everyone. But the challenge will be in coming together. Even as we are painfully reminded of what sets us apart from each other, from who we were before this all started.
In the meantime, and to keep us sane, there is the now, the day to day. This evening, I was fortunate to be able to embrace the people I love the most as we prayed and saw how the first star came out. As we started the new week, I felt thankful for the safety of my loved ones. At the same time, I thought of families and individuals, that I do not know, who are suffering hardship. I thought of my own sense of fear of the unknown.
Slowly and silently, as we put out the last candle, I realized that gratitude would be the only way to fully treasure each moment. The only way to guide me through. Tonight, life was a fragile, immense, bittersweet and interconnected miracle that still tasted like waffles with blueberries and honey made by my daughters on Mother’s Day.
Maria Melo, Los Angeles, CA, May 16th, 2020