It has bothered me since the beginning of the pandemic to hear people say “stay safe,” as if a virus will jump out of the shadows and gobble me up. But it goes deeper than that — I was never gripped with fear, no matter how much media I consumed or how many fearful people’s words I listened to. I was all for masks at the beginning and shutting down businesses, but then I saw things go too far. People were so afraid to die that they wouldn’t allow themselves to live.
We were always living under some level of risk, but according to this crazy society, nothing was ever threatening until 2020. The definition of “living” changed. Apparently, “living” now means sitting inside your locked-up home waiting for someone to save you, being too scared of unsafety to budge. It means staying safe until life is permitted again.
Are you okay with that?
I’m not. The best parts of being alive always include risks. I could die any day, literally. The universe will determine my time to go. But I, for one, am not okay with staying home for ten years — unable to go to museums, travel to new places, or attend street festivals — until someone in charge of the situation deems it “safe” to do fun things again.
Walking outside is okay. Going to a playground is okay. Visiting a friend is okay.
Staying safe is not okay.
No one has ever learned anything new from staying safe. No one has ever grown, gained strength, or transformed into something useful to the community by staying safe. I am insulted when someone tells me to stay safe. When exactly did this expression become a thing?
I would accept “stay healthy” or “stay in the light,” but staying safe is never my goal. Staying safe makes me want to barf. Casting off all of the things I am attached to and emerging as something totally new, risking failure, and being uneasy about outcomes are the only times I have ever truly felt alive.
The other day I drove past a mural at the University of Maryland that said their motto: Stay Fearless. Yes. That is what we need to start saying. There is too much fear in this world.
What do you think?