The 2021 Version of The Scarlett Letter
Aug 29, 2021
We all know the story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850 about Hester Prynne, a young girl who becomes pregnant with a daughter out of wedlock and is publicly shamed and made to wear the scarlet "A" letter for the rest of her life. It is a story of shaming, social stigmatism and fear of exposure. It is a compelling story of human nature, secrets and ultimately truths.
It seems that in our own time we are experiencing some similar feelings. The fear of being made feel guilty, or seen differently has many of us hide at home when we test positive for an illness. Recently I tested positive for covid despite taking all the precautions, and for a moment I felt guilty, like I did something wrong. I thought about just not saying anything, staying home and taking care of myself. But then I realized, that is not the truth and transparency that I demand from myself. I also realized that by sharing my experiences I can actually help others with similar symptoms who don't know how to deal with this illness and are not sure what is happening to their bodies. By sharing my ups and downs, many have reached out to me privately to thank me for not making them feel alone and afraid.
These are tough times for everyone and we need to stick together. We need to be more open and willing to help each other. The human spirit is meant to nurture each other and work together towards better outcome for all. Knowing that people cared about me and were praying for me has given me strength when my body was fighting the illness. The messages of well wishes, dinners prepared, little small gifts to make me smile, home delivery of my favorite coffee have all made me feel special and loved. There is no shame in being sick, but there is victory in knowing that we are not alone.