Dear Lovies: Happy 2021!
If you are reading this, you have thus far survived COVID-19, a failed coup of our democracy and we have a new president of the United States with the first Black/Asian woman vice president in our history. So much happened last year, that I have many questions to answer and will try to tackle at least two in this article for you. May 2021 give you your heart’s desire, but one thing we did learn was to never make plans for tomorrow when we can appreciate today.
I cannot tell a lie, I am afraid to take the COVID-19 vaccine, even though I have underlying conditions and fit the profile for the people that are being asked to take it right now. I am an African American woman with all the angst that comes with not trusting the medical profession — being misdiagnosed, and feeling unheard whenever I visit the doctors. When you add to that the conspiracy theories that are floating around, I have no idea what to do! Help!
Signed, confused and concerned.
Dear confused and concerned:
I wish I could tell you that you were the only one feeling this way, but the truth of the matter is this; it is a conversation that is happening with Black folks everywhere in the United States right now. Some have taken the “bull by the horns” like Dr. Ala Stanford, founder of The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, who became the poster child for taking the vaccine in recent weeks. And because she is trusted, it has helped many people including myself to make the decision to take the vaccine when it was available.
That being said, even Dr. Ala had her own concerns and she was open about it which only served to increase her trust quotient in the Black and Brown communities. The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium group, according to Dr. Ala, has been vaccinating approximately 1,000 people per day but there are limited supplies of the vaccines.
If you have concerns about taking the two doses, you truly have a little bit of time to make your final decision as they are still vaccinating people who are over the age of 65 with underlying conditions, and frontline essential workers which are in the millions.
I do not have to remind you of the number of people who have been infected by this virus, which are in the millions, and the almost half a million people who have since succumbed to it.
What I can say to you is this, continue to take every precaution by washing your hands, always wearing your mask, and social distancing. It is also very important to not gather with people who do not live in your home with you. I understand that makes it difficult because we are missing family members that we were accustomed to hugging and sharing meals with on a fairly regular basis.
I strongly suspect however, that we are quickly approaching a time where we may continue to be restricted beyond our levels of comfort until we get this virus under control, especially with new virulent strains popping up in the United Kingdom and in South Africa.
Take a deep breath, follow the science being disseminated by trusted experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director at the National Institute of Health and where you have questions, seek a medical professional that understands what all of this means. I wish you well and hope that you make the best decision for you and yours.
I have been hurt so much in the last 10 to 15 years by people who I thought were my friends, I just cannot seem to move past it, and I hold grudges as a direct result. I say I have forgiven, but when I see them, every alarm bell goes off in my head and I want absolutely nothing to do with them. How do I move past this level of unforgiveness that I seem to have within? I feel like it is holding me back on some level while I pretend that everything is okay.
Signed, holding grudges
Dear holding grudges:
Being hurt by people you trusted with your very life sometimes can be the most devastating thing, and it is often hard to recover from it when we can’t get past that hurt, for whatever the reason. I have always said this to my friends and family — feel the pain, cry, and then do some introspection. That simply means write out what happened, how you responded, and what your role was in this.
Yes, wherever we are in life, things do not just always happen to us — there are signs that we have ignored, things that we were complicit in, and things that we just allowed to happen despite knowing the truth, that landed us in the places where we were feeling hurt and disappointed.
While it is natural to feel the disappointment, it is unnatural to sit and stew in it for decades, because then it is no longer about the person who hurt you, but your unwillingness to move past the hurt.
So then the challenge becomes this, what do you gain from holding on to the grudges and hurt? If you feel that you have moved past this and yet you cannot see the person or even speak to them, then there’s still some work to do. Remember this, none of us are perfect people and we are all prone to mistakes in life.
When we practice grace knowing that we are all going to have missteps in life, then it becomes easier to forgive and move on without holding a grudge. The other way you can do this, always find the lessons through the pain that you’re feeling by asking two questions; what did this come to teach me, and what did I learn from it?
There are times when people mirror to us what we dislike about ourselves and if we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we attract to us who we are in that moment, then we will find a lesson in everything that happens around us.
Relationships that we thought would last forever often do not, when one chooses to consistently challenge their patterns of behaviors and adjust, while others stay mired. Choose growth, you will be better for it over time.
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational/entertainment purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. This column, its author, the newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.