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    Donna’s Chronicles, “Learning to Love Oneself…”

    By Donna Sachet–

    Learning to love oneself or at least take proper care of oneself is one of the hardest lessons in life for many of us. Whether because of a childhood where one felt less than valued or simply because of a strong awareness of the many genuine needs around us, we sometimes undervalue our own needs, therefore reducing our quality of life and ultimately our ability to be of service to others.  In this age of the pandemic, perhaps this is a lesson to be learned.

    For those who are feeling cabin fever or becoming stir-crazy, the urge to get out of the house and to return to social activities has lured many into unhealthy gatherings, unsafe exposure, and careless disregard for the sage advice of science. This is not the time to throw caution to the wind, endangering our own health and the health of those around us; it is a time to explore activities and pursuits that will enrich our own lives while keeping within the parameters of social distancing.

    Never in the history of humanity has communication and access to information been so easy. Nearly everyone has a computer console at their fingertips, thereby enabling them to jump on social media to touch base with others or to explore the world of information. Yes, social media can be a vacuum into which we are too easily sucked, but it can also be a valuable tool to connect with others and restore virtual contact with loved ones.

    When this “shelter-in-place” order first started, we remember several friends and even casual acquaintances who began to check in regularly to see if we were alright. Those check-ins have become less frequent. Why not do a quick check-in online with people you miss? This simple activity can be both beneficial to the one you contact and to you when you sense the social connection you have been missing.  It may be important for you to limit the time you spend online, whether in chat rooms or other locations, so that you don’t look up from your computer screen to a waning sun; if so, set some realistic limits, but use the computer instead of risking more direct and potentially unsafe situations.

    For those of you, like us, who greatly miss attending performances and artistic exhibits, search the internet. Powerful performances, outstanding showcases, and life-changing entertainment all wait for the tapping of your fingertips to bring them into your home. Spend an evening in casual clothes in your most comfortable spot with a good glass of wine and immerse yourself in artistic expression. No one needs to know that you favor Led Zeppelin over Die Meistersinger or Chopin over The Carpenters.  And if it is drag you miss, a quick search on the internet will take you to a variety of shows from local queens and legendary superstars. Go with your personal mood and treat yourself to your favorites.

    As a voracious reader, we are often shocked at the declining literacy all around us, but with more time than ever on our hands at home, why not rediscover the wonders of literature. Pick up a trashy little piece of fiction by a currently popular writer or delve into one of the timeless classics. We find biographies and autobiographies particularly engaging and highly recommend Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris. Reading can take you out of your apartment, your home, even your world without any dangers of exposure to any virus. Keep it local and read something written by a neighborhood personality. David Perry’s Upon This Rock (see page 24 of this issue), Tim SeeligTale of Two Tims: Big Ol’ Baptist, Big Ol’ Gay, and Tom Ammiano’s Kiss My Gay Ass: My Trip Down the Yellow Brick Road through Activism, Stand-Up and Politics all offer local talent on the written page.

    We find it amusing how many are taking up cooking or baking. For those of you with a bent towards culinary activities, have at it!  Get that sourdough starter kit, pull out that family recipe, or simply locate your kitchen and stir up a cloud of flour! You may find immense satisfaction in the creation of edibles for yourself and perhaps to share.

    And don’t underestimate the value of the outdoors without risking unhealthy social contact. Walk around your neighborhood.  Take MUNI to a nearby park. Make a day of it and seek out a beach or national park. We live in San Francisco, after all, and are surrounded by some of the most scenic views, ideal parks, and pleasant weather anywhere. Simply take caution: don’t repeat the mistake of so many who are gathering in large groups without masks or other protection, thereby extending the length and severity of this pandemic for all of us. Physical exercise and fresh air can do a world of good.

    Most importantly, never forget that time spent alone doing exactly what you want to do is not time wasted. On the contrary, you know yourself better than anyone and if you benefit from watching an old black and white movie on Netflix in the middle of the day, then do so. If you enjoy a couple of hours playing a favorite video game that others might consider silly, overly violent, or simply tedious, then play that game. And if you feel the urge to draw the curtains, dim the lights, and cuddle with your pet for an afternoon nap, then have sweet dreams. Too many times, we shy away from pursing an activity for which we fear others might judge us lazy or childish. Life is too short to stew in such self-recrimination!

    So, relish your personal time at home! Pick up a book, turn on your laptop, warm up that TV, or find your kitchen! You’ll discover that a relaxed day spent pursuing your own personal pastime will refresh you and re-energize you for the days ahead.  You’ll be more valuable to others when you have treated yourself right, even if for only a day. That’s why we often say: Stay Home, Stay Safe, and Stay Calm!

    Donna Sachet is a celebrated performer, fundraiser, activist and philanthropist who has dedicated over two decades to the LGBTQ Community in San Francisco. Contact her at empsachet@gmail.com


    Calendar a/la Sachet

    Monday, August 17
    San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Crescendo
    Virtual Gala @ 7 pm
    Appearances by Billy Porter, Ariadne Getty, Alex Newell, Shea Diamond, Kristin Chenoweth, Wilson Cruz, Inaya Day, and more.
    Registration is free!
    www.sfgmc.org/crescendo

    Thursday, August 20
    OUTWORDS Webinar
    6 pm
    Alex Rivera-DeLeon leads panel discussion of Music in Queer Healing
    Free
    www.theoutwordsarchive.org

    Published on August 13, 2020