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community | to vaccinate or not-to-vaccinate. . .

Something that I'm thinking about a lot lately... Not because I like thinking about it but because I'm being confronted with it over and over. I'm puzzled by it while at the same time understanding that there are so many sides to this one thing. It's not simple, there are so many layers, so many things to consider. And at the same time it's also really simple and humans have managed to over-complicate it (as per ushe).

The thing that I've been mulling over is the relationship between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. It seems that this is the topic of the year and the division of one decision over the other has created a crater between sides that seems to be ever-widening.

What I'm observing makes me feel nervous to even write this post because the topic has become so polarizing. It's illuminating peoples *true colours* in a way. The same way that so many advice-givers have said you should travel with your partner before committing to a life together. This feels like that. Soon we'll be saying if we can survive a pandemic together, we can get through anything! So which friends/family/colleagues will remain after we've passed through the eye of this particular storm, coloured with the decision to choose what is right for us and have that be in contrast with those we are close to?

There are so many big and small reasons to choose to get vaccinated or to choose not to get vaccinated. Too many to list and too many to know. We are all so individual in our life experiences, tied to unique families and communities and ways of believing, and we all think so differently. We were put on this planet to be these unique diverse peoples and in most instances this is considered a huge strength. Thank goodness we are not all the same! And yet, here we are turning on one another at a time when we need one another more than ever.

The experiences that have been shared with me are not my stories to tell. What I can say is that there is a lot of emotional distress being experienced as a result of the insensitivity of those vaccinated towards those who are not.

The way that people are acting makes it seems as if we've gotten the choice of whether or not to get vaccinated confused with being a measure of intelligence or strength or basic goodness. People are being reduced to this one decision; categorized and in a lot of ways, ostracized, for their reluctance to proceed.

And it goes both ways.

One side is saying that those who choose to get vaccinated are brainwashed by the government. The other side says that those who choose not to get vaccinated are selfish and delusional.

I guess it's worth saying that I made the very conscious and intentional choice to get vaccinated. This is a choice that made sense for me for many personal reasons. Key word being 'personal'. That said, I can relate to and empathize with the reluctance that many are feeling. In my perspective, the distrust that some people are feeling is at least in part a trauma-response to the consistent lack of transparency and manipulation by authority figures throughout time. The Pandora Papers leak is only the latest in a long line of corruption among the world's wealthiest and most powerful.

The choice to get vaccinated or not is just that: it's a choice. It's not a measure of our worth. Choices have consequences and right now that means restricted freedom for those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated. This means no theatres, restaurants or sporting events among other things. It also could mean fewer invitations to social gatherings with close friends or family. This is tough and perhaps more sensitive but we're living in a tough time and we've got to learn how to have these difficult conversations while maintaining our ability to see the vulnerability in one another.

More recently, the decision was made to allow only fully vaccinated people to travel by plane in Canada. I understand the justification in this. At the same time, it's also concerning. I am weary of any decision that ostracizes large groups of people in such a way. I hope this is a temporary measure, a difficult choice that authorities have had to make to contain a virus that continues to sweep the globe. Some may say I'm being naive and that this is the beginning of segregation and control. I don't know. I sure hope not. In any case, I choose love over fear.

In the mean time, let's remember our humanity. Let's lift one another up. Because if not us, then who?

a photo of my sister Sunkosi in the doorway of her home,

a person who embodies community care

taken yesterday,

Oct 19, 2021

on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Territory

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