Yesterday I was thrilled to get out of the house to go work at Alex's empty school, which incidentally was originally built as a munitions bunker, perfect for a zombie apocalypse, and is actually a really cool place to hang out. The kids were happy to have a day alone without their parents looming about, and it felt really good to jump in the car and escape the same four walls for a while. This may be our new Wednesday routine. We also thought to stop by the wood shop to retrieve masks since my sewing machine had just gone kaput (we're happy to drop off one to anybody nearby who needs one!), and we may have even popped into Kane's for a little donut love.
Something else that's been weighing on my mind, which may be helpful to share, is this:
In sex-positive circles you hear people talk a lot about their risk profile. Fundamentally I believe it's an agreement you have around how you will engage with others that includes a high level of personal responsibility and awareness, understanding intention vs. impact (and how they often have different consequences), while also trying to mitigate outcomes with regard to any and all risks and people involved. This seems like good and essential individual and collective care.
It seems very relevant to this moment we are all in of interacting with one another during the time of corona virus, so it has been helpful to have these best practices to mull over and draw from. While we aren't talking about an STI, we are definitely talking about a socially transmitted virus (an STV?), and positive vs. negative outcomes with regard to how you are going to operate as a family unit seem imperative to consider as one person's individual interaction can have far-reaching, even devastating impact on the others.
Where it's always most tricky is when risk profiles of people in your immediate circle don't match up, as everyones risk profile is highly personalized and subjective. It's based on any number of contributing factors medically, emotionally, physiologically, philosophically... you get the picture.
When we first started out in quarantine, Alex and I began to have the conversation to sync up our risk profiles - How often would we goto the grocery store? Who would go and when? Would the kids be allowed to go? Would we order take-out of any kind? Where would we go for our walks? And so on.
Right away we started to see that we both had different nuances of personal comfort/anxiety around different kinds of engagement (for different reasons) when it came to potential exposure to the virus. Alex didn't feel to-go meals were as safe as a market run. I was dealing with the racial impacts of how and where I felt safe moving through the world. We really needed to talk through different factors and make compromises based on each other's lowest risk tolerance to help keep our entire family as safe as possible while also maintaining the highest quality of life. This is the goal at least, and as information and context have been changing on a daily basis we are constantly needing to reassess.
It is important to note that your risk profile is a living agreement, and there is no one correct way to operate. On any given day, for any number of reasons, your tolerance for certain kinds of risk may change based on the circumstance of the moment and who you are engaging with.
Mostly, it just feels like a really important time for families and close social circles who are coming into contact with one another to be having these pre-emptive conversations in order to align and lower risk together, and to consider all perspectives. And from my own experience, I know these conversations might be difficult and complex, but they also seem like a matter of actual life or death (she said as non-dramatically as possible).
This is what I'm thinking about this morning while the skies are gray and promising more rain... what's the best way to operate from love and care when things also feel a bit complicated and hard? I don't have the answers yet, but I'm pretty clear about my own risk profile and I've talked to Alex about his. So I'm trying to figure out how to help take care of my people and love them both up close in the ways I can, and also from afar.