As I write, two anniversaries approach. International Women’s Day, March 8, is a day to celebrate women’s many achievements and to advocate for women’s rights. March 5 marks one year since the first presumptive COVID-19 case was identified here in Alberta. How are these connected? The pandemic is disproportionally costing women mentally, financially, and emotionally. This inequality extends to people with disabilities, Indigenous populations, lower-income households, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, the elderly, and more.
It’s been a challenging year. Where I live, we continue to stay close to home, wear masks, and limit our exposure to public places and people. We use Zoom, Skype, and Instagram to stay connected, but the connection is so much LESS. I miss going to book launches and readings. I miss sharing meals with family and friends. And I worry about so many people around me. Pandemic life feels unnatural. It wears me down daily. It’s a strange way for communal creatures to co-exist.
One bright light during this pandemic year has been working with Jane Cawthorne on Impact, our new book about women writing about their lives after concussion. Because Jane and I live on opposite sides of the country, the pandemic hasn’t changed the way we work all that much. But the book has kept us connected at a time when we can’t visit. And having both had concussions, we’ve also noticed some similarities between post-concussion life and pandemic life. The brain fog, the requirement for isolation. How will we reconnect when this is over? What's on the other side? Maybe this book is a bridge.
This International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the ways we work together as women. Let's reforge our connections.