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  • Cynthia Fortlage

Feeling the Feels . . .

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

I know, what an odd title, but its a very real thing though.


When you live a life of acceptance without understanding™ it doesn't mean that you are fine and good with everything that goes on. Let me share a quick example.


Many are aware that I am a member of the LGBT+ community, I know there are some folks who struggle with my life's journey and even my existence. The process of acceptance teaches them that the understanding of the journey is not their concern, am I a human being in their eyes?


When they agree I am a human being it opens the door in a positive tone to dialogue about our differences. In other words, they accept so we can dialogue about our differences so they can gain understanding.


When they don't agree that I am a human being, we have nothing to talk about. I can find a lot of negative in my life without inviting them in. That hurts that someone in your life isn't a part of your life because they don't accept you. Their need to understand trumps your existence as a human being.


This sense of loss is a feeling that we have, and it's ok to feel that feeling when you have to cross that chasm of leaving someone behind.


COVID-19


So what about acceptance without understanding™ in an age of COVID-19?


I have been experiencing the virus outbreak from Colombia, South America so I will discuss it from that perspective, but you can substitute any local experience you have had into that same model.


Let's understand the current situation I am in and then reflect on how that impacts the feels I introduced.


Currently, in Medellin, Colombia here's the situation. I clarify the city I am in as the rules are a little different in each city and/or territory otherwise known as departments.


In Medellin we have a few layers of rules in a simplified summary here they are;go

  • The curfew applies from 8 pm nightly to 6 am daily.

  • There is a mandatory stay at home order across the whole country until April 26th currently, we expect it will get extended up to another 3 months.

  • There are a limited set of conditions where you can break the above rules, medical is the most common

  • Outside of curfew hours, there is a limited set of rules why you can go out

  • Grocery shopping is one of those exceptions; pet walking, medical, pharmacy are some of the others. Exercise or going for a walk is NOT an exception.

  • Social distancing rules apply in all cases

  • One person per family allowed out at a time

  • Each day of the week is assigned digits 0-9 and your id's last digit must match that day of the week, so everyone gets a chance 2 days a week to go out IF required, otherwise stay at home in force.

  • Mandatory requirement to wear a mask when you do go out, not gloves though.


I know your asking, what about the feels?


Let's look at some of the feels in response to some of the rules and how acceptance without understanding™ plays into this current environment we are all experiencing.


  • The curfew applies from 8 pm nightly to 6 am daily.

No socializing with friends in person


While we have Zoom and I do my fair share of zoom calls, it doesn't replace the real-life human interaction. It may even impact others who are very touch dependent as most of the Latin American culture is. I am struggling with the change in human relationships due to this. I accept that best practise is social distance and this is a by-product of that, I don't need to understand the virus behaviours in order to accept this.

  • There is a mandatory stay at home order across the whole country until April 26th currently, we expect it will get extended up to another 3 months.

Mental Health is a concern due to isolation


I personally can not imagine existing solely within the space of my apartment for the past two months, let alone another 3 months. I do have roommates and that really helps, but I find I get more irritated easily. In those cases, I accept that the irritated feeling is mine and I need to own it. I retreat from the common spaces in our apartment to my room and I have to meditate, usually for a few hours to process my feelings and adjust them for shared living conditions in a closed space. If I was alone I would be irritating myself and without a lack of human interaction, the previous case would also apply even more so.

  • Each day of the week is assigned digits 0-9 and your id's last digit must match that day of the week, so everyone gets a chance 2 days a week to go out IF required, otherwise stay at home in force.

What about the anxiety if you don't have an ID


Imagine you are an immigrant from another location due to political unrest or destabilization. That could apply to lots of places in South America. Colombia is more stable than many and makes it a good place to seek refuge. If you are not part of the system or a visitor with a passport then you may in fact have no ID, that effectively restricts you to stay at home. In many cases, you most likely made your money from questionable schemes or tourism, with stay at home orders you also have no income. I accept that the government is doing it's best for all and following best practices and alignment with other parts of Colombia, but I know that there are people suffering because of these rules. I can only hope that others near them see them as human beings and offer some kindness and assistance as I have seen numerous times. I am so glad to see acts of kindness being a common trying more and more these days.

I intentionally choose some simple ideas for you to consider, life is neither simple nor is the current situation.


The picture for today shows you the area where I live with the green lush views surrounding by multiple multi-family apartment units.


This other picture is of a suburb here in Medellin known more infamously as Comuna 13, imagine these examples if faced with the density of living in these very high-density areas.


Medellin is a city of 2.4 Million people and most do not live in areas like where I am.


It breaks my heart thinking about these people, I feel sad, upset, stressed, my anxiety flares. I get caught in my own self-pity of being so restricted. I worry about the many violations of human rights across this planet all in the name of staying safe. Yet I wake every day and give gratitude for 3 things before I get out of bed. I know this will be over one day. I hope for a changed society but worry that nothing will change we will just revert back to same destructive ways. Through all of this and much more I live with acceptance without understanding ™ , I accept my own faults which at times are many. I have learnt how to own my feelings, I also own respecting and addressing them.


I can not change the world, I can only change myself. I do that through Acceptance without Understanding™.


How do you change yourself in times where you struggle to understand without accepting?


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