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Reflections on the Inception of the ‘New Normal’

Bracing myself for 2021


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Sheri Heller

3 years ago | 5 min read

Recalling where I was in NYC the day Biden won the presidency, pretty much sums up my frame of reference. I was making a difficult journey to a Manhattan art gallery from my home in Brooklyn to show support to an artist I met a few days prior.

As per usual I twiddled my thumbs for a half hour waiting for a train that never came.

Since there was no garbled overhead message alerting passengers to what was happening, my only recourse was to check out the MTA website in the hope of clarity. It was there I discovered that nebulous mechanical problems signified there was no F train service. Hence I coughed up the money for a car service.

When I arrived (late) at my destination, I encountered a strangely affected, simulated celebration occurring in the streets of the west village. Masked folks appeared drunk on hope, yet the energy felt desperate and staged.

I found myself barraged by nods of affirmation followed by perfunctory statements conveying that Trump was gone and a new day of possibility was upon us.

I smiled politely while thinking how blind folks were to what will be coming down the pike. As much as history shows us that the transfer of wealth and power did not begin with Trump, that ominous celebration affirmed how stuck in tunnel vision we truly are.

The whole day turned out to be an arduous and expensive waste of time. Although the drawings and sculptures were inspiring, the artist was rude.

The disinterested energy of the patrons seeking distraction and a free dose of complimentary chocolate and champagne characterized the ambiance.

That a collapsing economy resulting in massive unemployment suggested it wasn’t likely that anyone was eager or able to shell out $500 for a framed sketch, likely added to the malaise.

My husband who met me at the art event, shared my sentiments. We left early making our way through the crowds to head back to Brooklyn.

That day was the nail in the coffin. The city I once loved and had enriched my life was not the same. I felt it in every pore of my being.

Partaking in live theatre, music venues, dining out, and the modicum of safety and freedom that comes with civil liberties has become elusive. All that made New York City vibrant and unique has vanished.

The bankruptcy and closures of small and medium sized businesses has turned Manhattan into a ghost town.

Cutbacks in municipal services and soaring crime, due to Albany’s 2019 bail reform contributing to a 97% increase in shootings over 2019, is a deterrent to returning to the office. Indeed I recently closed the doors to my Times Square office space.

The stabbing death of a homeless man down the block and the obvious dealing of heroin across the street, on top of sustaining a commercial property in one of the most expensive third world cities, was the writing on the wall.

It’s as if the whole city is on life support. The general consensus in NYC is that the lunatics are running the asylum.

Yet even prior to the covid induced migration, folks were leaving. Exorbitant taxes, a broken infrastructure, rat infestation, insane costs of living, record numbers of homelessness comprised of seriously mentally ill folks due to a chronic underfunding of healthcare, as well as a dearth of supportive permanent housing, characterizes urban life in New York.

It’s been untenable for awhile. Now it’s simply inconceivable.

Photo by Tania Fernandez on Unsplash
Photo by Tania Fernandez on Unsplash

In an effort to shift to a more favorable view I consider looking beyond my own private Idaho to the future of humanity. Unfortunately this doesn’t improve my perspective.

My mind gravitates toward imminent scenarios of the populace melding with artificial intelligence, euphemistically referred to as Transhumanism.

Images of cyborgs and avatars comprising the work force and genetically modified foods being consumed by genetically modified post-humans complete this dystopian reverie.

Under the guise of radically enhancing God’s design by creating a more empathic race of people, social control can be assured. I personally prefer individual liberty, should that be a choice in the matter.

My thoughts then segue to Venezuela and US interventionist policies (aka imperialism). Naturally coup allegations are denied. Yet our assisting the nefarious military dictatorships of Juan Vicente Gomez (1908) and Marcos Perez Jimenez (1948) seems to sum up our true intentions.

Both Gomez and Jimenez served as willing accomplices of foreign economic control, thus satisfying U.S. objectives to exploit Venezuela’s tremendous petroleum resources. With Bush and Obama perpetuating this trend, U.S. backed death squads infiltrated Venezuela and continued well into the Trump administration.

No doubt these policies will go full steam ahead under Biden. Apparently U.S. humanitarian intervention was not thwarted by the unpopular U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. So it goes.

This track veers me on to U.S. policy with Iran and the infamous 2009 crafted ‘Nuclear Deal.’ In an instant I’m pondering the Green New Deal proposed by powerful financial interests (The Rockefeller Foundation, Soros Open Society Foundation, The Ford Foundation, etc.) who proclaim they are receptive to changing hydrocarbons, the world’s main source of energy, into renewable forms of energy.

Oligarchs putting aside corporate economic interests to protect the environment seems like a Trojan horse. I don’t buy it.

Down the rabbit hole I go pondering the engineered shut down of significant economic activity, the merger of Kissinger and Gates and their compulsory “mass protective vaccination” program, economic destabilization, pandemic starvation and the extinction of the middle class, and sundry other tidbits of horror related to the great reset.

This is not healthy.

Although I want to steer clear of latching onto the light so as to bypass the dark, I know I need to reframe my perspective to be inclusive of a modicum of faith and hope. Yet, as much as I want to find a proverbial silver lining, cynicism prevails.

This humbles me and gives me pause. It compels me to stop for a moment to consider that perhaps there is a bigger plan beyond my immediate human comprehension. A higher purpose or meaning that eludes me.This spark of possibility opens me up to new questions and considerations.

Ironically, taking cues from my therapy clients helps me direct my attention towards the healing properties of art, nature and meaningful engagement. From this posturing I drop into my center where safety resides.

It’s here that I tell myself that regardless of what happens, whether we withstand the apocalypse or return to the land and assist with the planets regeneration, it’s where I have agency that I need to live. It’s the only place where I can adequately sustain myself and continue to create a purposeful life.

As Dr. Carol S. Pearson wrote, “The hero’s achievement, in short, is to affirm life.”

Affirming life even amid looming vast uncertainty and darkness makes one an instrument of vision and courage. Irrespective of what happens I plan to tenaciously hold onto this edict in the days ahead.

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Sheri Heller

NYC Therapist & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen, traveler, lover of art and nature. I appreciate the absurd. Sheritherapist.com


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