By Law Matheson
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional; This is not medical advice or scientific fact; the following article is simply my personal findings on studying Covid-19 via the Internet. The following article is not intended for anything more than a personal opinion piece.)
To those that do not know me-
My name is Law Matheson.
I am a resigned academic high school teacher gone, rogue amateur historian.
I say ‘resigned’ because I was placed into an impossible decision. Keep doing what I loved (teaching), but I had to pass off erroneous, and downright harmful school curriculum- or I could do the hardest thing that I have had to decide- to walk away from my passion consciously.
I camped out on the prairies of North Dakota from November 2016- February 2017 protesting DAPL and their evil practices- until I was arrested for “Obstruction Of Government Function.”
In January of the same year, before getting arrested, other protestors and I traveled from North Dakota to Washington D.C., where we protested Trump’s ‘Inauguration.’ Occupy Inauguration, after we were done with the security gates, we had a (huge) round dance just blocks from the Capitol. Traffic stopped be damned.
I would do everything I did- again.
2019 and I had settled down in my home state of Maine once again. I found a job in a new career that I quickly fell for. I had found my dream job.
Upper-Management quickly dashed those dreams.
My Former Employers were not properly educating or preparing my former Students- so I started a Creative Collective – Renaissance Rising – where my former students, new students, individuals across the globe, and myself can all learn and grow together!
RenRising is a growing Collective- Consider Collaborating Your Skills And Passions With Ours?
I start all my blog posts with a Lesson Outline (as if this was class)- I decided to leave it here for y’all to experience.
I am incredibly grateful to Pooja for the opportunity to reach more like-minded individuals. IF you like this blog post please ‘Like’ this page and Subscribe to Pooja’s page (if you haven’t already- it’s amazing the diversity of guest bloggers on this blog!)- but also please stop on over at Renaissance Rising today to experience a Creative Collective like no other!
I am going to start this blog post rather abruptly. Originally for Easter weekend, I had a comparative and contrasting blog series planned to re-examine the spring equinox holiday.
However, a friend of mine died yesterday. Unrelated to the coronavirus- as of what is coming out right now. Little is reported at this time.
Rather than continuing as planned- the class will be adjusted.
is already causing mass panic and global economic downfall, but now I have to figure out how I am going to manage through not being able to bury my friend because of extreme social distancing regulations and strict laws with harsh consequences.
No Funeral service.
I have buried a few friends, more than I care to count. I have even had a few friends that I was unable to attend the burial- which is almost harder than the funeral service- at least then you are around mutually grieving individuals. Alone you are so- isolated.
Grieving alone blows.
And not in a good way.
Call me crude, call me crass, we all mourn differently.
Burying a friend never gets easier.
But it shouldn’t.
Consider the alternative- you get used to burying friends?!
I have buried over 10 close friends and family; I have mourned over 20 loved ones and relatives all said and done; I have attended a handful or more funerals, memorials, or celebrations of life beyond that.
The sad truth is, once your first friend dies- it never stops after that.
It doesn’t get easier.
I am thankful for that.
Life and death go hand in hand.
For death can only happen to one who has lived- this it does so indiscriminately.
To live is to know that it ends in death, yet that’s not a limit, but the goal- be the best, love the hardest, and do the most you can before that day.
This is real success.
This is where happiness is found-
In the pursuit.
Simply showing up for the day is more than half the battle.
How often do we put something off-
only to finally do it, and then realize it wasn’t as hard as previously assumed.
If you have children, younger siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, grandparents, or the neighbor’s child- and you are their primary source of essential day to day needs- then you understand this.
Shit gets hard.
The world is fucking brutal.
You call it quits, and it kicks you in the nuts and then kills your dog just to make a point.
The very first day that you don’t show up for your loved ones like you always had makes the second, then the third, and eventually the fourteenth day of not showing up that much easier.
Soon you are thinking of suicide.
Let me be blunt here- suicide is a selfish answer.
Is that the politically correct answer?
Do I stand by it?
You know why?
I contemplated suicide myself more than once when I was a teenager, did not follow through, but have survived countless other friends that have.
It was a struggle for a long time.
Growing up gay in a small community with predominately Christian beliefs made being different and standing out a social death wish.
Sure, you would be alive on the outside, but you were dead on the inside.
Yet, I could never go through with the act of committing suicide.
When I was only ten years old, I became an uncle.
The honorific of ‘Uncle’ did not mean much to me at the time- but what did matter was my niece’s affection towards me.
She was innocent.
She was as close to ‘holy’ as I could conceive of as a ten-year-old.
If something so sacred could love me- maybe I was worth love.
Shortly after I was blessed with another niece, and another, and a nephew, and another nephew, then another niece! I am thrilled to say that it hasn’t stopped there- I now have 10 nieces and nephews- not all family is blood.
Being an Uncle has gotten me through the hardest things I have ever had to face-
Being molested by a respected male in the community who was sexually assaulted by his father before him.
Left with no choice but to call off the wedding with my best friend because she is a woman and I love men.
Even Standing Rock.
My fellow protesters
and I were called ‘Snowflakes’ for our efforts.
To this day, I do not understand that.
I was sprayed across the face with complex bear mace, I endured sound cannons, bean bag guns, water cannons in 14-degree weather. When the winter set in and weekend warriors were nowhere to be seen, I starved for the cause; I went days with dehydration: I sacrificed everything for what I believed.
No ‘snowflake’ endures and survives that.
My nieces and nephews showed me the other side- even when they did not know what they were doing.
After I was arrested, I was next to homeless in Oregon, and then unable to return to my former life in the suburbs of Las Vegas- a dear friend bought me a plane ticket from Nevada back to Maine.
By this time, I had not only struggled to survive through camping out in the winter on the planes of North Dakota for my beliefs, but I also strapped myself to the security fence surrounding Donald Trump’s “Inauguration” to prevent middle-aged white men from attending his parade. My friends and I risked arrest, police brutality, and at one point, almost having a cop cut my thumb off with a power saw.
Recovering from that was difficult.
I was not sure I was going to make it once or twice.
Yet my dear friend bought me a ticket home, and my nieces and nephews became the end goal. I was in no state to see them regularly. I was a hairy, bearded, mess; I was traumatized and paranoid; I was angry, scared, confused, and I felt isolated.
I did not feel worthy of my nieces and nephews’ innocence.
Rather than give up-
I fought to earn that right back.
They saved me again.
I was back in Maine for 4/20/2017.
I had just turned 27, and I had seen war for the first time.
Some will argue that point with me- they do not get to. They were not there.
I know others were younger when they first saw war- but it is never easy.
No amount of studying can prepare you for personal trauma.
It isn’t even the trauma itself that is the worst.
All trauma varies and is not equal- yet no matter what caused it- living through the aftermath is far worse.
That is my personal opinion only, but a single moment can be forgotten- day-to-day has to be struggled through.
Thankfully I had anchors to keep me tethered to this life (and it is only expanding!)- but not everyone has that.
I have lost at least five friends to suicide at a young age.
They had so much to live for- but it was cut short.
I will repeat my earlier statement- it was selfish.
That burns to read and is harder to swallow.
Suicide may “solve” one problem, but it creates a world more.
As a survivor of multiple friends’ suicides- please think of us (your friends); we will have to carry the burden after you are gone.
Reach out to us, Friend- if any decent human being knew their friend was seriously on the edge, they would drop everything and be there any way they could (safe social distancing or not)- allow us that chance.
We are isolated physically more than at any time in global history.
Yet we are the least ‘alone’ as we could be.
How can we with Big Brother on both sides of our phones, laptops, doorbells, and nanny cams?
Jokes aside, we have the internet.
The very thing you can credit for allowing access to my blog post.
Never before in history have we had access to knowledge at our fingertips, the ability to learn or connect from anyone, anywhere, or as many accommodating applications that allow us to talk with friends and family as we do now.
That is the reason you should not feel alone.
More and more people across the planet are reevaluating what is most meaningful to them- and seeking it out.
This is a cause for celebration.
Isolation got you down?
Unpack that hobby you have been putting off.
Get out a blank notebook page and start researching something that has always eaten away at you.
Get lost in the great stories written by brilliant minds you always told yourself you would.
Put your phone down and pick up your child.
Now is the time.
Do not waste it.
Do not wish it away.
Treat this as any lesson you ever had to learn in life- do that- learn from it.
I do not believe death is an end,
but a goal- live the most, be the most, learn the most before – that time.
That’s how you win this game.
I will be honest- when I am hurting, it is hard for me not to become aware of all the other hurt and sadness around me.
I am generally in control of this sense, but when I am hurt, I get weak; when I am weak, I stumble and fall. The end never seems far away.
Yet every time my foot scrapes the ground and threatens to take me down- I pick my foot up higher next time, I square my shoulders a little more. I learn what I can, and I move on. Soon I am not stumbling or falling- as much. To not stumble and fall is unnatural in this life.
Dracula may not seem like the story to turn to for inspirational words, yet this sentence has stuck with me as much as a curse from the undead-
“WE LEARN FROM FAILURE, NOT FROM SUCCESS.”
Let that sink in.
Failure is not an end- it is a lesson to take away from to succeed next time.
Death is not an end- energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed. What is your Soul but energy and matter? Therefore, I believe that when we die, our energy and matter are recycled back into Mother Earth.
The Sacred Cycle Of Life.
I have been more honest and raw in this post than I ever intended. I can thank my partner for this blessed post. I do not know how it will be received, but I know that mental illness has been stigmatized and looked down upon far too long- but no more!
Trauma affects everyone differently.
To assume or enforce a formula for such is evil.
Grief and mourning are natural.
There is no joy without sadness- no mountain peak without a valley floor.
Keep in mind, Students. I am not a doctor. I do not hold any medical or psychological degree. This is not advice on how to live your life or what to do in any given circumstance. This is simply a retelling of my life with personal (hindsight) comments.
Never forget you are not alone.
None of us are alone.
Should the power go out, the internet stop running, and darkness descends upon humans, animals and plants alike-
Even then, you would not be alone.
The human spirit is power; it is connectedness.
Just as bees and birds navigate life on instinct- humans could do the same if we were only to turn back to basics- nature.
This has been a heavy and unexpected post. I would rather be focusing on research and writing for Easter Weekend- but this was far more important, any other posts can wait.
STUDENTS– if you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts– reach out to someone. A trained medical professional is best– however, do not let long lines and phone trees keep you from connecting with another human. Reach out to whoever you have- give them the chance to help you– something I wish I could have done for my dead friends.
If you have no one else,
I am not a trained professional- but I am an ear that will listen.
Do not allow more tragedy to befall the world.
We are all in this together.
If we all do our own small part- soon, large parts are better.