NEGATIVE for COVID-19 - A Lesson Learned about Community
NEGATIVE for COVID-19... A Lesson Learned about Community
It's been a crazy few weeks! As you saw in my last Blog post, I finally got tested for the coronavirus after 2 weeks of fever, cough, fatigue, etc... To say it was a scary time is an understatement! But through it all, I learned one very important lesson.
COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING!
I admit it - I'm stubborn. I'm independent. I'm a perfectionist.
Asking for help doesn't come easy.
When our shelter-in-place order began, I took responsibility for helping out my aging parents. I did their grocery shopping, ran errands, and yes, scored toilet paper!
But when I started having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, my doctor ordered me to self-quarantine. Suddenly, I could no longer be that person for my parents.
Sharing Personal Experience
The night before my COVID test, I hesitantly shared my very personal thoughts here, and then made a heart-wrenching video right after taking the test (you can view it here).
The video was raw, emotional, and captured what happens when real fear bubbles to the surface.
My intention was to emphasize the importance of staying vigilant about doing all the things we need to do to keep ourselves and those around us safe. But the response was completely unexpected. I think when something like this happens to someone you know, things get REAL!
My posts were flooded with comments from all of you expressing concern, sending well wishes, and offering to help. Honestly, I was overwhelmed by the love and kindness you all showed. One comment in particular really hit home:
"170. I think that’s what it said. 170 people pulling for you. Sending their love and strength. A community you’ve cultivated who care about you."
A community I've cultivated? Never thought of it that way before.
Over the last 15 years of being a professional photographer, I've met SO many incredible families, event industry colleagues, photography educators, and international tourism professionals. We've shared some of the most important times of our lives together.
While you don't all know each other, you know me. And I know you. And we are a Community!
(Ooh, that sounded way too much like a "Barney" song - Sorry!)
We NEED More Kindness
We NEED More Compassion
We NEED Each Other
We ALL have communities that we can lean on in difficult times. We just need to reach out and LEARN TO LET PEOPLE IN. It took a catastrophic event for stubborn me to get it. But community along with kindness and compassion is what keeps us sane during tough times.
We need each other now more than ever!
What Can I Do?
Since my "corona scare", I've been thinking a lot about how we can provide value to each other, and for me, it has nothing to do with taking your picture. It's all about creating connection.
Starting this week, I've been calling people in my community just to say hi and see how you they're doing. Many of you did this for me, and it meant more than you know. Most importantly, it meant none of us have to go through this alone.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, if you need help, or if you're just F'ing DONE with all of this, maybe it's time for some "CoronaTherapy" a.k.a. reaching out! Chances are whoever you reach out to will be needing connection just as much as you, and will be SO grateful that you took the time to do it.
So THANK YOU for being my community!
Leave a comment even if it's just to say "Hi"!
I miss you all and look forward to the time we can all be together again.
And here's a little quirky CoronaTherapy Humor c/o my parents... Thanks Mom and Dad!
Keywords: cheryl bigman photography, community, coronavirus, covid19, covid19 test results, Real Life - Personal Stories, san francisco bay area photographer, staying connected
Thanks so much Julie. It is amazing how much each of our life experiences shapes us in the most unexpected ways. Such a great topic! I'm so glad you were able to find the positives after witnessing something as traumatic as 9/11. Hopefully all of us will be able to use our experience living through this pandemic as a catalyst for positive change in our own perspectives. I appreciate you Julie. Cheryl
It’s amazing how much an experience can affect you and how you perceive the world. I was in NYC FOR 9/11 and witnessed the twin towers collapse in front of my eyes. I will never be the same. But that experience shaped me and changed me in unexpected ways. My inner feelings became easier to share. And my appreciation of community grew by leaps and bounds. So glad you are healthy and that you are willing to put yourself out there for others. With love, Julie
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