Soul food: It’s always OK to ask for help
We are all in the same storm but not in the same boat.
As we busily readied ourselves for the arrival of cyclone Seroja, I think very few of us were prepared for what was to come.
Some assumed it would go around us as always, some were fearful and many were simply unsure. But what happened next was really something I don’t think any of us had prepared for — we were lucky.
Even though our beautiful city was ravaged and broken — we were lucky. We were lucky because our neighbours were hit far worse, lucky because our damage was largely limited to fallen trees and powerlines, patchy phone and internet and defrosting freezers.
But here’s the thing — we were still hit. It seemed to me that many hold this belief that because we weren’t hit as bad as our neighbours we didn’t have a right to be stressed or overwhelmed or seek assistance, as though needing support would take away from those who needed it more, however I don’t believe that to be true.
Last year during COVID it was common to see the statement “we are all in the same boat but we are not all in the same storm”.
But in this case it’s the other way around. We are all in the same storm but we are not all in the same boat. There are families (probably more than we know) who live week to week and the loss of four days income and a few hundred dollars worth of food is enough to put them behind for months.
There are families for whom insurance is a luxury they cannot afford.
Families for whom simply having to stock up on candles and torches would have stretched the budget. There are community members who live with crippling anxiety for whom living in such uncertainty for the week would have compounded an already insurmountable problem.
I know that personally I found going to a darkened supermarket really challenging as it took me right back to this time last year when COVID had turned our whole world upside down.
We all cope differently. And then there are community members who are resilient and strong and financially stable, who could have lost a roof and felt equally as impacted as someone who lost nothing.
My point is to be gentle. Be gentle with yourselves and with others. If you’re struggling, acknowledge it instead of beating yourself up. If you see someone else struggling, support them in any way you can rather than tearing them down. We have such a wonderful community here and it’s times like these that bring out the best and worst in people — so let it be your best and let’s make our city proud.
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