Living in Fear


I wrote about COVID last week and immediately got an email to the effect of, “Aren’t you sick of believing all the lies? Aren’t you tired of living in fear?”

And you know what? I am tired of living in fear. I’m completely exhausted by it, in fact. But when there is something to legitimately fear, it doesn’t stop being scary or worthy of your attention just because you’re tired of dealing with it or thinking about it.

I actually got in an argument with a friend of a friend on Facebook because he was defending, publicly, the fact that he is unvaccinated, works in retail, and lies to his customers about his vaccination status when asked. Now that’s scary.

If you don’t want to get vaccinated, OK, I guess, even though I think it’s an irresponsible decision in terms of public health. But lying about it? So if my dog bit him, I could lie about whether my dog is current on his rabies shots? (My dog is a baby who would never bite anyone, and of course he is current on all of his shots; it was just an example.) He told me it’s people like me who force him to lie because we’re all being too mean and judgmental and ostracizing the unvaccinated and anti-maskers.

But I’m kind of done being nice. I am typically a nice person. I have a very hard time saying no. Sometimes when my husband hears me hemming and hawing on the phone, clearly getting myself into something I don’t necessarily want to volunteer for, he will write the word “NO” in Sharpie on a piece of paper and wave it at me.

I’m finally out of patience, though, and I’m not sure how much longer I can be nice. I have a 9-year-old too young to be vaccinated, a 76-year-old mother-in-law who has several autoimmune issues and has been told she CAN’T get vaccinated, and an 83-year-old father who is vaccinated but vulnerable to breakthrough infections. I work at a high school and have seen the mental health effects of this on way too many kids I love, not least my own children. This level of ignorance and selfishness is just too much for me after 16 months of this!

If you can get vaccinated, please get vaccinated. If you can’t get vaccinated or don’t want to get vaccinated, please wear a mask and test often. Our hospitals are getting overwhelmed. Our health care workers are completely depleted, mentally and physically. Our children are facing the almost certainty of another disrupted school year. This isn’t a hoax.

I wanted to be buying my 9-year-old fun school supplies this year. Instead I bought two new packs of cloth masks and a kid-size pack of KN95s and showed her how to layer the two. I can’t wait until a vaccine for younger kids is approved.

I am sure someone here is angry about what I’ve written. But I’m – as the kids probably don’t really say anymore – SORRY NOT SORRY.

I don’t need my husband to hold up a piece up paper telling me to say NO. I’m saying it, loud and clear: If you’re not vaccinated, I’m not hanging out with you inside without both of us being masked at all times. If you’re not requiring vaccination proof or negative tests for entry to your establishment and you’re a business that allows people to be maskless while eating or drinking, I’m not going to give you my money. If you’re a COVID denier who won’t take basic health precautions, we can’t be friends anymore, not even on social media.

Yes, I’m tired of living in fear. I’m so VERY tired of it.

You can be a part of the solution. You can help us end this.

This is not something for which I want Louisiana to be No. 1.




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