Please Don’t Shut Down My Safe Space (Again)


Published: 10/6/2021

By Connie Phillips

The Summer of ’21 was one of the best I’ve had in years.

Mainly because of the freedom after over a year of isolation and watching the world burn.

Freedom included being able to hug friends, some for 3-5 minutes at a time. Socializing with friends became a regular occurrence. It meant I could return to Latin dancing every other day. I got to enjoy being inside my gym again. It also meant doing yoga in a studio with more than one other person.

I even lost ten pounds of isolation weight.

Then the delta variant struck.

For a little while, it seemed like we would need to go back into lockdown again. The freedom we had fought so hard for would be ripped away. Again.

No more socializing time. No more hugs. No more dancing. No more gym time. No more in person classes. Back to my 3 lb free weights, short walks outside, and online yoga classes.

The cloud bearing bad news started to creep in. My anxiety was through the roof thinking that my space, my corner, of freedom on this Earth was being threatened again of closing it’s doors due to the global pandemic.

I wanted to scream, cry, bargain with God, hide under my bed and run away as fast as I can to another country. An island. Anywhere that wasn’t here. And I know I wasn’t alone.

Many of us resented that we couldn’t workout in a gym during the lockdown.

For all of the resilience and strength I had accumulated in the last year; one small setback upset me. I couldn’t stand the idea of spending another month without other people. To lose my hard earned muscles for another month on the couch.

No one could judge me for watching Netflix, eating cookies, and drinking vodka at 11am. Because what else could I do?

In 2019 it may have seemed silly to cry over the idea of not being able to walk into a gym; in 2021 became a very real situation.

So when I was ready, I took a deep breath and confronted my fear. And we talked. While my fear was screaming about how isolation and lock down is exhausting and terrifying, I reminded them that this organism called “me” knew how to survive a lockdown.

Dancing, yoga, and the gym were both huge points of social engagement and structure to my day. But I could form another friend pod of vaccinated people for social time. I could set a monthly goal for workouts and ask a friend to hold me accountable. Yoga classes are still available online.

The gym, yoga, and dancing would still be there after lockdown.

My friends will still be there.

And gradually, my fear quieted. Not completely, of course. Fear still likes to remind me of the possibilities whenever they get the chance. So I remind my fear and myself to use what tools are available to me. I am stronger and more resilient than I was; and I know how to survive a lockdown.

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