I am not a weirdo.
Hi, my name is Chris and I have been in quarantine for almost a year now.
Why am I feeling like Stuart Smalley (SNL) and need to affirm that I’m good enough?
I was emailing back and forth with someone in the industry when the National Indian Gaming Association recently announced their trade show was back on for July. My wheels started turning and I told him, “Wow, I can’t even imagine being inside of a room with a crowd at this point!” and explained how, for almost a year, my husband and I had gone out to dinner just once and sat outside, and other than camping over the last summer, we were being pretty conservative.
His answer was, “That’s no way to live.”
I felt like a “weirdo” after that exchange. Have I developed “Howard Hughes-type” tendencies or is all this normal from what we’ve been through?
Way back when I was a kid, being called a weirdo was like getting a permanent brand from the mean girls and it would stick with you until you either moved schools or reinvented yourself.
So, I had to justify myself and vomited all over him with:
“We lost a good friend at the beginning of the pandemic; I have an autoimmune disease and I’m scared what COVID would do to me permanently; I work from home now and my husband is still out in the world in his construction job. I see friends and family, but only outside and with our masks on.”
Don’t think that changed his perspective at all.
I was reading that after the devastation of World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic there was a “manic flight” to sociability: the Roaring Twenties.
Not there yet by any means, but all of my being misses outdoor concerts, dancing at our favorite club and our regular card games with our “old people.”
So, why do I feel defensive stating that I’m not going to go to a big tradeshow until I get vaccinated (and even then I’m not sure how free I’ll feel)?
For the umpteenth time in the last year, I checked in with Stephanie Somanchi, MBA Ph.D. Executive Coach and Raving Partner to get a reading on my insecurities.
Heya Stephanie … why am I feeling so insecure with my position?
While we have had a collective societal trauma in regards to COVID, individual experiences have been vastly different. Those of us that have lost family and friends or feel particularly vulnerable because of our health are going to feel differently than those that haven’t had those experiences and are more focused on the trauma of the toll taken on their lifestyles. No one’s perspective is wrong. We just need to honor that we’ve had vastly different experiences. We can do that by honoring our own experience first. There is no room for shaming others and that includes ourselves.
Stephanie, my read on the situation is that as the country opens back up, there’s going to be folks who have experienced the last year like they were living on two different planets, right?
Absolutely! The working from home, homeschooling parent is having a vastly different experience than the isolated elderly or the frontline worker or those that missed rites of passage. What we have in common is that no one was spared in having life changed, in some cases irrevocably.
How can we support our team members through this transition?
Sadly, this pandemic has divided us into factions. Work teams may be one of the areas that we can begin to heal as a society. Through leadership that is inclusive of the myriad of experiences, we begin to see ourselves as unified. By truly validating each person’s experience we model the behavior that is acceptable in the team. Work is one place that has the power to create the unity that we desperately need in our society.
How can we keep ourselves positive and forward-thinking, rather than fearful?
The present moment is the only one that gives us a sense of control. What can I do today, right now, to make this day work or be the best? Thinking about how it used to be or how it will be in the future is a sure way to cultivate anxiety. Bring your mind to what can be created today and what can be done right now to better the next day. This puts us in a state of active control and eases fear.
Stephanie always has a way of making me take a deep breath. Thanks, lady!
So, my dear Ravers, I will work on having more compassion for myself and for others moving forward. Last night I was thinking how protected I have been and how so many of you have been on the frontlines, in your casinos and hotels, making your guests happy and providing entertainment and customer love throughout this pandemic. I appreciate you!
I truly look forward to seeing you soon and can’t wait to get out on the dance floor with you my friends.
All the best,
Executive Editor, Tribal Gaming & Hospitality Magazine
VP Marketing, Raving