When I was a little girl, I loved coloring books and could spend hours with my crayons, meticulously coloring between the lines. It didn´t require much thinking. The assignment was clear and I got the job done. If I simply stayed within those lines, all turned out well. Lately however, life is not as simple as coloring within the lines.

At this point, I can firmly say that I am done with COVID. But that shouldn’t be news to you, right?

EVERYONE. IS. DONE. WITH. COVID.

I think I can safely assume that we all agree on this one.

Currently in the Netherlands, 86.2% of the population is vaccinated.

A large group declines from taking the vaccine. It is a diverse group of people that have different reasons for not taking the vaccine. Tensions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated are growing. Now that flu season has kicked off numbers are spiking again and the government has issued a series of new measures to try and control the virus. The most important measures: keeping 1,5 meters  distance (6 ft ); face masks in public buildings, schools and stores; the government strongly advises us to work from home and non-essential stores, gyms, theaters etc. close at 17.00 (5 pm). There has been growing unrest as some take their grievances to the streets and clash with the police in violent encounters.

Enough is enough!

Oddly, it is not the virus that makes me weary.

It is the people that I’m fed up with.

I don’t think I have ever experienced this much negativity and madness in my life. I have never seen more distrust. And I certainly know that I am privileged to be able to say so. I’m done with seeing how we treat one another. I don’t think I have ever seen my country this divided.

So here is what I am going to do to get through this crisis.

I’m going to respect other opinions. Even if I don’t agree with them. Even if their choices make me angry and I inwardly need to restrain myself from slapping that person in the face. I‘m going to respect them and assume the best. I will presume that we all are trying our very best to survive in the best way we think we can.

I’m going to assume that we are the same. That we’re trying to live by our beliefs and make the best possible choices for ourselves and our families. I’m going to believe that we still have much in common. I am not going to lose friends over this. I will keep my eye on the bigger picture. When this is all behind us, I want to be able to talk about what we went through with my neighbors and  friends. We should be able to grieve and celebrate in unity.

I wasn’t going to write about this.

I was going to write about coloring books.

About how I used to love picking up a good box of crayons and coloring between the lines and how everything was clear and  structured that way. Lately it feels like I am back in kindergarten, sitting nicely at a table with my coloring book and box of crayons and all the other kids are going NUTS. The teacher left the room and some of them started scratching across the coloring pages, others are scribbling on the table or doodling on the walls and some are just running around in circles stabbing each other with their pencils.

I just want to yell at them to CALM THE HECK DOWN.

But I realize that we are all different and we all deal with crisis in our own way. And that people need to do whatever it is that they need to do before the teacher shows up again.

In whatever way, they are coping.

When this is all over, I just want to be able to sit with my friends, at the same table, with our boxes of crayons.

Tell me, how are you (still) coping with COVID? How do you deal with vastly different opinions?

This is an original post to World Moms Network by our contributor in The Netherlands, Mirjam. The image used in this post, “Crayon Heart” by mjcollins photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 and is used by permission from Creative Commons.

Mirjam

Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera. Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.

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