As an educator in the mental health field, a lot of my professional dialog ends up being about feelings. Big feelings, little feelings, hidden feelings, reactionary feelings. We feel them, we handle them, we empower students to understand them. The hardest feelings to navigate are the ones that bombard us and feel unfair to us, like they have been dumped onto us, especially ones triggered by an event that we have no control over… like a global pandemic. Loneliness, grief, insecurity, stress, restlessness, and fear (just to name a few) have found homes within us the last few months. All of these feelings are valid, and given the circumstances, entirely understandable. Each time it felt like there was an end to this flood of emotions, another wave would knock us down again.
One of those waves was the announcement of Baltimore’s Pride Festival being cancelled. To some, Pride may be just a party with rainbows. But to many, it’s the chance to re-charge one’s battery, when living in a predominantly heteronormative world. Pride allows us a weekend to break free of the margins in which we live, and we should take a moment to acknowledge and grieve the loss of this moment.
The thing is, we are already learning new ways to manage this new normal, every day. We are no strangers to masks and living in small spaces. It doesn’t make it any less difficult, but we are navigating this new path, and we are surviving. Like the trauma the LGBTQ community has endured for centuries, we will get through this.
There is little that can compete with the spirit of Baltimore Pride, and not even a global pandemic can take that from us. So, to remind us of the power of this feeling, here’s a familiar tale with a little flare. Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for the inspiration for this story.
We’re all in this together. Let’s keep looking out for one another and ourselves. And don’t forget: it’s okay to ask for help.
Alyssa Fenix is the transition coordinator for Sheppard Pratt’s the Forbush School at Glyndon and Hannah More Center. She also serves as the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) advisor and the Chair of the first LGBTQ staff task force for the schools within that system. She lives in Baltimore with her partner and children.