Let me first, and most importantly, start out by saying, I hope everyone is doing well, staying safe, and being kind to one another. I haven’t written in a while, though honestly, I have a lot to write about. However, I was a recipient of some not so nice comments in response to a story that I posted in the AT Class of 2020 FaceBook group page. One of the comments that were made was, “wah, wah, wah, so you can’t hike, do you know that people are dying.” It stopped me in my tracks when I read it. It frankly stopped a lot of things, it changed me in a way that I started second-guessing “MY” story. Was I selfish to continue to write about a dream during these trying times? Was I wrong to speak about my feelings of something other than what was happening during this pandemic? Was I being an inconsiderate asshole and a big baby…?
Now, mind you that comments were made in a specific closed group. A group that only has one focus, one specific task, one dream, to some, of many years, which is Thru-hiking the AT in 2020. Of course, most of us in this group know that not being able to follow this dream this year doesn’t even compare to the real-world tragedy that is Covid-19. However, this is a closed group, a safe place for us to talk about our setbacks and allow us space to “yes” wallow. To express ourselves in a way that is not disrespectful to those who lost their lives, lost their jobs, and those risking their lives every day so that we can do our part and stay home. So was it wrong for me to have remorse for a dream that I had been chasing?
To make this part short, I tried to reach out to these folks, as I wanted to actually call them to discuss my post, but the moderator of the group removed the comments and barred these people from the group. But honestly, it was too late already, the damage to my heart was done. Words really do hurt, especially words without understanding. My dream to thru-hike and to search for hope and peace for a kinder world was shattered into a million pieces, stomped into the ground and spit on by people who don’t even know me. Or, even wanted to take the time to get to know me. Maybe it was just me, maybe I shouldn’t let a comment bring me down. But it did, and I lost hope. My upcoming thru-hike was to do just the opposite, it was a way for me to restore hope, compassion, and to rediscover and grow my faith in humankind. I get it, “yes” people are dying, but I also feel that it’s “ok” for us to all have an outlet to the events lost that we all hold dear to our lives. A safe place to be able to grieve over personal events, while knowing that “yes” these are first world problems.
Thank you to all of the heroes seen and not seen in this fight against COVID-19. My heart truly hurts for those who lost loved ones, friends, coworkers, as one life lost is too many. To those who have lost their jobs, struggling to pay bills, pay for food, and to make ends meet but please believe in America strong. We still have each other to lean on and we still have the support of our neighbors and our communities during these trying times. There is no shame in asking for help, no shame in taking it if you need it, no judgment, no questions. It’s “ok” because when this is all over, we all know that you’ll give back to the world with gratitude, love, and compassion to humankind.
So, going forward I will write and it’s your choice to read it or not. Just please understand that my heart in regards to our current world situation hurts just as deep as yours does…But it’s “ok” to discuss the suck and to also dream again. Because if we can’t do this in a safe place free of judgment, we will not grow and we’ll never Be_again. With all my love ~ Purpose