Learning from Survival


We've finally reached it―the time we all hoped would never arrive but scientists promised was coming. We've all been dealing with the pandemic for one solid year.


Yep.


Already, I've seen a ton of posts on my social media from actors talking about having hit one year since all our shows closed and the thing we love to do just...disappeared. The fact that live theatre is still not back in full and will never be what is was twelve months ago is heartbreaking. And every week that goes by with regional theatres remaining shuttered makes it less likely that those theatres will be able to reopen.


But that message has already been written. You don't need to hear it again from me.


So let's chat about something else. Let's talk about the one year anniversary of "young and healthy" becoming the phrase I hate most.


On the surface, "young and healthy" doesn't really mean that much. It's a designation just like "old and wise."


But one year ago, the phrase became a popular way to distinguish between who had to worry about COVID and who didn't.


"It's not that big a deal. It doesn't affect the 'young and healthy.'"

"But 'young and healthy' people don't need to worry about it."


First of all, anyone who was that flippant about the pandemic has learned a very hard lesson about being freakin' wrong. Even if you never got sick, COVID affected everyone. I hope those people hate their past selves for being cocky.


Second, let's unpack how ableist, cruel, and deadly that line of thinking is.


Using the "young and healthy" line places a large portion of any population on a lower tier where you clearly don't care as much about their safety as those you deem worthy of survival because of their "young and healthy" status. The disabled, the ill, the old matter. If you say, "Don't worry, it doesn't affect the 'young and healthy' (which is incorrect, BTW)," you're saying, in very clear terms, that those with health issues and the elderly are not your concern. They can die. Don't worry. No big loss.


Ah, but the ableist BS speakers think, "I would never say something like that in front of anyone who was at risk!"


More ableism. Have you ever heard of an invisible illness or disability?


By rolling with the thinking that you know everyone's health status, you are participating in blatant ableism. That makes you an asshole. Congratulations. You suck at humaning.


Those who bought into the "young and healthy" line not only showed their true colors as horrendous human beings. They also endangered the at risk population through cocky selfishness.


"I can hang out with my friends (spreading COVID). We're all 'young and healthy.'"

"I don't need a mask (to protect the people around me). I'm 'young and healthy.'"


Get it now? See how awful that phrase is and how damaging that line of thinking has been for the past year?


Not fitting into the "young and healthy" category while listening to people say not to worry about the pandemic is freakin' exhausting.


Yet here we are. Twelve months of fighting people who don't understand how horrible they're being. And still, people haven't learned.


And this is why my coffee addiction has gotten worse.


Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

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Megan O'Russell

Fantastic Worlds. Unlikely Heroes.

Megan O'Russell

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