I'm Right Where I am Supposed to Be

This is about social media bullying, toxic people in real life, and about Covid 19. 

 1. You know me, and you know that I am obsessed with Carmel Valley. I moved here on purpose, and one of its main attractions was its remoteness and its wild nature. If you took offense to my use of the word “provincial”, let me offer an apology by elaborating: 

    CV is a small village in the country. It is, by definition, provincial and I love it for it, community, quaintness, and all. The connotation here wasn’t that I think it low-brow, but rather being objective about the reality here. For me, the upsides of living far from the city outweigh the downsides (the views! the air quality! the quiet!), yet there are indeed downsides: just like we have wildfires and other challenges associated with country life, I also acknowledge that things are slower and resources are limited. 

    And sometimes this can be frustrating, especially when you are trying to get things done during the holidays. 

2. I am aware that, since moving here, I’ve made a name for myself for stirring things up. I am vocal and it’s no secret that I have an agenda: to organize and radicalize the local community on the subject of social justice. 

    This has made me a sort of a target... I am always open to discourse, and I’m prepared to take criticism and work with it, because I don’t harbor the illusion that I don’t need to learn. 

    This being said, when I use my own social media as a tool for self-expression about my own personal experiences, please don’t come for me with rude comments and messages. 

    I try to do no harm but I also don’t take shit. 

    If you don’t like me or what I have to say, and if you can’t be civil and respectful in your feedback, the resolution is obvious: unfollow

    My brand of sarcastic humor and self-depreciation isn’t to everyone’s taste, and that’s fine. But if you can’t listen to occasional criticism I may have for this village and its people, and still be confident that it comes from a place of love and care, stop lurking in my stories, and move on. 

    Nobody has time for more negativity than we already have. 

3. I considered whether I should dignity this, but in the end I simply can’t let it stand. 

    I was told to “go back to where I came from”, and this is problematic on so many levels. 

    First of all, this is exactly the narrative white supremacist and racists use to attack and harass Black and Brown people, and immigrants, and I don’t care for it. The lost irony of the fact that only Indigenous Peoples are truly local aside, and that everyone else is at best third or forth generation immigrant, it is a bitter and vile thing to say. Don’t do that. 

    Furthermore, just theoretically, if I am to go back where I came from, where exactly is that?! The Bay Area? England? Bulgaria? Help me figure out the logistics here... 

    Unfortunately, as an American citizen myself, going back to Europe wouldn’t be an option as they don’t allow Americans to travel there due to the pandemic. 

    Also, what about my family? Do you suggest I leave my children here? How about my husband. He was born in CV — can he stay? 

    I believe you see the absurdity of my predicament; the question is do you care? 

    The worst part of this is that if someone is comfortable enough to say such a thing to me, they are certainly comfortable saying it to Black and People of color, and they’ve most likely said it before, because this is how they think. And that’s no way to live. 

4. Lastly, let me clarify my observations about the pandemic and my dealings with trying to get tested in this area during Thanksgiving week. 

    Not that I need to remind you, but this is as serious as it gets. The unknowns are what makes this scary. 

    You don’t know if you’d get it if you get exposed, and if you do get it, you don’t know how it would manifest. You could be asymptomatic and not even know you are sick, potentially spreading it. You could also show symptoms, but you don’t know whether you’d get a mild case of fatigue and loss of taste and smell, or you’d develop a severe respiratory infection, brain damage, and organ failure, and die on a respirator while saying goodbye to your family via FaceTime. 

    If this doesn’t concern you, you are not understanding it. 

    It does concern me, and while I feel well so far, I’m also not out of the woods yet. I have to wait to see if I develop symptoms, and try to get tested in the meantime. It is not just about me, either—my husband is taking care of the kids while I self-isolate, and lots depends on finding out what will happen as he has to work, and the kids need to go back to school. And in order to find out, I have to navigate the local health care system, which has proven challenging. 

    There are limited number of labs and testing sites in the area to begin with, and they — rightly so — give priority to testing healthcare and essential workers, and symptomatic patients. 

    Uniquely, during this time of year, people also flock to get tested as many travel for the holiday (no comment on that) and this overwhelms the system further. Not only the testing sites are overbooked, wait times are now longer. 

    Not to mention that what a test indicates is simply if a person has detectable viral load AT THE TIME OF TESTING. This beats the entire purpose of getting tested in the first place, as by the time one gets their results they might already have symptoms... 

    So, it is frustrating. I am frustrated. I have to sit alone at home and wait, and I can’t see my kids. 

    I expressed my frustration on IG, and I will continue to do so, because that’s how I cope. And if you don’t get this, or object to it, then by all means find entertainment elsewhere. 

~ Sincerely, 

Your Friendly Local Stay-at-Home Astronaut. 


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