Dear Constance,

Hi Constance, I know you’ve probably gotten a few of these messages but I need some advice on handling the pandemic. Between the news stories and the political stuff, my mental health has basically gone to hell in the last few months. I’ve been working from home, not really seeing friends (we aren’t zoom hang out people), and basically just not going anywhere and doing anything. It’s like the pandemic has just taken over my life. All my plans this summer were canceled and I’m just having a bad time adjusting to this new reality. What are you doing to stay sane?

Stress out in the time of COVID

Dear Stressed,

I completely understand where you are. Rouges Magazine is a distributed team so working from home is already familiar to me. On a personal level, I use my daily meditation practice and a good cup of tea to keep me centered. I also like to do yoga as well and I love to cook. However, I do miss meeting friends for drinks or brunch and I, too, am missing the social interactions. The most important thing in these days is to take some time away from the news. It’s ok to unplug from time to time. It is also important to find activities you can do that don’t involve people. National Forests and Parks are often open and can be enjoyed in a socially distant way. We may not be returning to normal life any time soon but we can certainly create a new COVID life that is still fulfilling. As for your friends, you might try out a zoom hang out, and if you lead the way others might follow.

A New Identity

Dear Constance,

Hi Constance, I have a new problem. My teenage daughter as recently announced that she’s non-binary. I had to look up what that was but I’ve done some research online and I feel like I’m more educated about people who don’t identify with either gender. My question is this, how can I be supportive of this new thing in her life and how do I know it’s not just another weird teenage phase. She’s 15 and always seemed interested in boys but I honestly don’t know now with this new development. I’m confused about all of this.

Confused in Tampa

Dear Confused,

It is never easy to figure out what is and is not a phase in the teenage years. Developmentally, teens are trying out new identities and new ways of being to figure out who they want to be in the world. The fact that your daughter likely saw something about being enby online and felt that she might be that way is an important part of the identity development that is happening at this stage. A non-binary person may be attracted to men or women or transmen and transwomen. It is up to them as to what they find attractive. Sexuality and gender identity are separate things. She could be non-binary herself and still attracted to boys. The best thing to do in this situation is embrace it and make sure that she feels safe, secure, and free to express this side of herself. It may reflect a new paradigm in her life or she may move on from it. The best thing to do is to make sure that she never feels shamed for expressing her gender identity.

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