Lately, we’ve had to say goodbye to hugs and kisses on the cheek. Nonphysical intimacy and social distancing are necessary for preventing the recent spread of COVID-19. Beyond everyday fears of the disease, Black Americans and allies continue to fight racism and anti-Blackness with the current movement. The combination of the two has been creating social and political tension, putting barriers and obstacles to loving.
Through reading, I have found that loving is an act, as Bell Hooks tells in her book, “All About Love: New Visions.” She writes that love is an important “task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.” To Hooks, loving is an open and honest expression of “care, affection, responsibility, commitment and trust.” Her ideas have inspired me to find new ways of sending love to the people I care about most, especially in the current crisis. Here are a few tips to using the act of love to show the people close to you in life that you care about them, even from a distance.
Loving you: minimize screen time and get moving
Log off. Reading a book, drawing a picture, writing in a journal or creating something new that doesn’t require you to log on to social media will give you so much needed headspace. If you’re feeling restless, take a break to stretch and exercise in nature. Find a soft patch of grass or sand to warm up and stretch your body before heading on a run, or move your body in any way that feels good!
Loving friends and family: snail mail, Zoom or read together
Write a letter/postcard or send a care package of things to your family, friends and teachers to bring them joy. It’s incredible how much happiness a simple letter in the mail can bring to a loved one. If writing isn’t your thing, set up a Zoom date with friends to catch up on the latest happenings in their lives, so they know you’re paying attention.
Finally, if you want to feel connected, but have horrible Wi-Fi, set up a book club or listen to a podcast with loved ones. You can set up a time at the end of each week to call one another and bond over the shared content.
Romantic partners: virtual dates and playlists
Set up a virtual date night with your partner to feel more connected or to feel a hint of normalcy. Try a new recipe, make art together or create an action plan to support a local movement. Whatever you choose, you’ll both feel better just knowing you took the time to pay attention to each other.
If you simply can’t stand the world of virtual dating, create a playlist of songs with each other and explore new genres. Every time you listen, you’ll smile thinking of the other person, no matter how far apart you are.
These are just a few of the ways to send the act of love to people you care about. Don’t forget to send a kiss through the phone and take a break to feel the love spread.