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  • Writer's pictureLacie Carpenter

Essentially Non-Essential

As we try to maneuver through this wild time, most of us are safe at home. We social distance—only going out when necessary. “Living through a pandemic” is new to me. This is a historic time, for the world. Like war, it has its casualties. COVID-19 takes down even the strongest. It isn’t survival of the fittest anymore. I’m not afraid. I don’t watch the news or read what’s out there on social media. I do read articles written by sources that I know to be trustworthy. I’m aware of this situation and I take precautions. My main goal during this time is to bring more beauty into the world.

I know people who have passed away and who are fighting for their lives. This isn’t a joke but it isn’t a time to start with conspiracy theories. I just want my friends and family...the whole world, to heal. Perhaps this is the first time everyone on earth is fighting against something we can’t see. What a great opportunity to stop and just be.

I’m a non-essential worker. I make music and write, I also teach and speak at workshops and conventions. It’s my chosen profession. I see posts on social media talking on how after this, more arts need to be put into schools. After all, what would the world do if it didn’t have books, movies, streaming services, and music during this time? Then I see other posts talking about how certain people aren’t necessary in this world—actors, musicians, athletes... this breaks my heart. Why would anyone say there are important people and those that aren’t? We all have a reason for being on earth. No matter if you are a doctor, nurse, artist (of all kinds), a chef, clerk, hairdresser, teacher, therapist, athlete; you work at the courthouse or a grocery store... (Just a short list of professions and definitely not all.) You are important. You are essential. Everyone is essential.

At this time in our lives, it’s crucial that we take a moment and realize we don’t love enough. We don’t connect enough. We certainly need to help others more—physically and mentally. I miss performing, teaching my students in person, traveling, and speaking. So far, everything through July for me, has been cancelled. It’s hard. I know people who have their schedule cancelled through December. What are we going to do? How are we going to make a living and pay bills? I don’t know. So many of us are feeling frustrated, angry, unloved, and non-essential.

So what are you going to do about it? I’ve always been the person to say; if you’re going to be a starving artist, make art in the process so you won’t starve later on. If you are feeling hungry in more ways than one, make art. Draw a stick figure, draw a rainbow out on the sidewalk with chalk, sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs, write a poem—or simply go outside and spin around like you used to when you were younger. It doesn’t matter if you are the best artist or you feel you have no creative bone in your body—try. We are all artists until someone tells us we aren’t. So go. Try. Make art. I promise you, you’ll feel better—even if it’s for five minutes. Those five minutes of feeling “full” will guide you into a better state of mind. Reset the mindset!

I hope that you know you are essential. It doesn’t matter your profession or how much money you make; you are important. If you are feeling unloved, show some love to someone else today. That person you text or call, might need you as much as you need them.

One day, we’ll be looking back on this time and we will remember only certain situations. I hope to remember how much art was created. How I spent valuable time with family and how difficult times can lead to happier moments. I won’t forget how the world fought together or how schools were closed. I’m sure I’ll forget little details—like people stocking up on toilet paper or meat. Ha! We, as a world, will not forget those lost. The ones that fought to stay alive and the virus took over. We will strive to remember what life was like before the pandemic and wonder if we really needed to go back to “normal”... What is normal?

Don’t be afraid; be knowledgeable. Know you are essential in this world. Make art. Reach out to people everyday. You need them and they need you.

I appreciate those that have reached out to me.

Always-Fiddle on my friends!


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