The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the surface many of our deep-seated fears around the “Other”. In this time we have found many of us cocooning and longing for closeness and connectedness in a safe and secure space, while we have looked outward at other communities, nations, peoples—even our neighbours. Are they respecting restrictions? Are they maskers or anti-maskers? Vaxxers or anti-vaxxers. Did their government get it right? Do they get to go out, or are they in lockdown, too? Or mockdown, or “free”. It has been a time of the personal decision that must take into account what our civic duty is—or must it? Do my civil liberties outweigh your individual rights to health and safety? Am I risking your life because I assert my rights? Are you risking mine as you assert yours? Upon whose rights are we truly infringing if I do or I don’t? Do we sacrifice a few to save the many? Or are we actually sacrificing the many because we were so convinced we couldn’t save the few.

Whose life has mattered and to whom? Who has paid the price when it didn’t? What did we as individuals decide was okay, acceptable, par for the course, and were necessary casualties in this war within our own worlds? And who, because of circumstance, financial, political, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, or marginalization experienced society’s “lesser than”, “the other”, “not-in-my-backyard” approach to their rights for healthcare, accessibility, choice, and to live.

Throughout the past year I have explored issues, ideas, and concerns around the loneliness, isolation, desperation, fear, and anxiety that have permeated 2020/2021. I have been delving into thoughts around vulnerability, introspection, acceptance, denial, and resilience. The challenges and mysteries hidden in our shadows have created foreboding playmates to the misconceptions and creative “truths” lurking around the corner or farther along our paths to becoming newly unearthed experts in epidemiology and virology. We have become the new playtoy to our own unconscious while repeatedly looking to others as the culprits.