By Phoebe . . . For starters, just know that I am a real person with real emotions. I work really hard to keep a positive attitude, despite my circumstances. However, I need to say this. I am sick and tired of whiners during this COVID-19 pandemic. “Oh, I am stuck at home. Oh, I can’t go to work. Oh, I can’t go to the movies. Oh, I can’t go to school. Oh, I can’t go to church. The park. The gym.” The list goes on. “This is like being in prison.”
And my reply? “Boo-hoo.” I am sick to death of hearing it. Come on, peeps. Life IS hard due to the virus. But you know what else is hard? Living ON or WITH someone on the registry. People are now getting a small taste of what it is like to live by the laws of the registry.
This little pandemic, not to disregard the severity of it, will pass. It will. The effects of the registry will not pass. Let’s compare – maybe you lost a job due to the virus outbreak. Many people on the registry are continually denied jobs, and not for lack of trying but simply because of their label. Maybe you say you have to watch church on Facebook because you can’t attend right now. Well, registrants can’t use Facebook. Nor can they attend church in many states. Your park is closed and you can’t run your trail? Guess what? Neither can registrants. Your library is closed? Registrants can’t go anyway, and yes – they can read. <Insert the sarcasm. I am feeling snarky today.>
I honestly have self-diagnosed myself with PTSD after living through the effects this registry puts on families. Every step we take is calculated. It is much more than “Should I wear a mask to the store and use my hand sanitizer?” Again, these things are critically important right now, but so is my life and my well-being. So is the life of my family. So is the life of every other registrant out there trying to stay sane despite laws that work extremely hard to tear you apart. Life on the registry is a 30 year or longer “quarantine sentence.” So pardon me if I don’t take kindly to the whining that Walmart closed early or you have to order your toilet paper from Amazon. Your life will soon be back to some kind of normal. Mine, not so much.
And you know what else? People seem scared to interact with a registrant, as if they will catch “the virus.” Yes, registrants are ostracized from the rest of the world, and it is the very laws that set it up to be this way. This is why we need voices. We know that squeaky wheels get the oil. Why aren’t registrants and family and friends of registrants being squeaky right now? IT. IS. TIME.
We are in a day and age where the talks of equality are bubbling to the surface. I hope we all remember that humans are real people with flaws. No matter their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or registry status, we are all humans. Please don’t make this turmoil we are experiencing be about you. Don’t sing the “oh woe is me” song. Take this opportunity to value people. All people, including those who are reformed registrants. Give second chances. Show compassion. Experience forgiveness. Resist making assumptions that all people are guilty.
I know, I know. I am not feeling quite so positive right now. This is actually why I write these blogs – to heal my wounds. I am whining now, but I’ll be over this soon. I am the very thing I am annoyed by – a whiner. Okay, whining is officially over.
It is time to be inspired for change. It is time to voice your concerns over the registry. It is time we work together. NARSOL is hosting a VIRTUAL webcast this weekend to replace the annual conference, and we need you. Everything is different this year. We’ve never had a virtual webcast like this, and we still need people to register. Sit in the comfort and privacy of your home and listen to influential people with great knowledge educate us on how to be change agents against these laws. I challenge you. It will be the best $35 you’ve ever spent.