Updated: Jun 12
On May 16th, 2020, I had the incredible privilege to work with the amazing Angela Harper, Founder and CEO of Matters Of The Mind, the stealthy John Waire, the Founder of the WaireHouse, the masterful Lavonne Sauls, Founder and CEO of LitWebsies, and the incomparable Cynthia Schroeder, Executive Liaison for Matters of the Mind LLA dba VAULTAGE.
We were all together working on a vision that Mrs. Harper carried through the process of gestation, incubation, and was now giving birth to.
Historically, Maryland's stay at home order went into effect at 8PM on March 30, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Friday May 15th at 5PM part of the order was lifted allowing some businesses to open its doors. So for a little more than two months, families, individuals, couples, loved ones have been cooped up in the house without much human interaction and engagement. Covid-19 compliant, we wore our masks practiced social distancing; however, it felt good to be able to feed off of the energy in the room and off of each other.
We could not avoid the emotional charge that was present. That days' project had been emotional in itself - as we were privileged to hear about the therapy journey from some courageous and resilient individuals. Even though we were the staff helping people tell their stories, we couldn't help but feel the therapeutic presence ourselves.
As we recapped the days' events, part of our own stories began to seep through. We found ourselves sitting, talking, laughing, empathizing, releasing, listening, joking, then it became silent for a second. In that second of reflection, we realized how much we needed THIS - the time of just being together.
It was during this time that the words of John Waire, Founder and lead photographer at The WaireHouse and Shine Your Light Balitmore, resonated with me deeply. Listening to the transparency of life behind the camera, he shared his love and comfortability of being behind the camera. He went on to share that, at times, when the environment gets too emotionally charged or if something is said that resonates with him deeply, he will raise his camera to his original position to cover his face to resume picture taking. He said, "It's like my emotional blanket".
The room got silent and we just sat in the moment, in that statement....
An emotional blanket, a comfort object, a transitional object, or a security blanket is an item used to provide psychological comfort. It's most common with children however as John Waire so eloquently described, adults have emotional blankets.
We use various items as psychological comfort. We use our jobs. We use relationships. We use houses and cars. We use ideologies, concepts, and ideas. We use food.
The whole idea behind why we use emotional security blankets is to hide our true emotions. The blanket allows us short term relief from what has probably been a long term symptom.
Covering our emotions with the blanket allows us to not uncover the roots of our emotions. It would do good to ask ourselves...."Why am I crying?" or asking ourselves "Why am I eating?".
What is it that you are really feeling? Do you really believe and practice the ideology you preach? Or is it safer to hide your emotions behind the blanket of judgment?
Maybe this COVID-19 has enabled you to identify several emotional blankets. Maybe you're forced to face emotions that's been right under the surface (or right under the blanket) and now you can't cover them anymore.
We all, to some degree, wear a mask. It's a defense mechanism. It's a survival tool. It's for our own protection. However, I would admonish you to find a safe place, like a therapist, and uncover. Because you could continue to blanket your emotions......until something comes along like a global pandemic and you can't cover them anymore. Sidenote: John Waire, thank you for giving us permission to share your self reflection within this writing. You left a deposit with us this day.
Did Covid-19 force you to ask yourself some hard questions? Did it unearth some emotions?
Written by: Q. Edmonds