A few days ago, I went out to eat. Last year I chose not to go out much, especially by myself. I’m not sure how many people understood my reasons, but it felt safer to self-isolate than to risk being in public alone. It felt unnecessarily vulnerable and risky.

As I was sitting down to eat the other day, I overheard a man behind me talking about the “Kung flu” and how it took everything from him.

It made me immediately uneasy. He was upset, and rightfully so if he lost so much due to the Coronavirus. I know I lost quite a lot last year myself. It wasn’t an easy year. It wasn’t easy for most people.

As I heard him speaking, I didn’t say anything to anyone. I just kept quiet and tried not to be noticed. I shrank into my seat a bit, feeling more aware of my features than normal, which is an everyday awareness here in Arkansas.

A few minutes passed, and the woman with him accidentally scooted backward, slightly knocking into my chair. She turned and started to apologize but stopped when she saw my face.

I smiled and said, “It’s not a problem.”

She got up and went to the restroom. When she came back, she sat beside the man she was with instead of where she had been seated.

I could feel them quietly staring at me. They left pretty quickly after she returned.

No, nothing tangible happened here, but I can’t help to feel sad. Deeply, utterly saddened… it just hurts.

I wish the world understood.

Words matter.

We hear you. We see you. I’ve seen some horrible comments over the past several months. And they aren’t easily forgotten.

Words matter. We matter. All of us, everyone.


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