A Guide to Being Soft During the Apocalypse

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

Written by Zadie McCracken & artwork by Althea Alano

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be softer. Less tough. Less repressive and rough and rude. Kinder, gentler, more open, more relaxed. Softer. I would cry whenever I felt like it. I would be vulnerable, tender; the ability to feel without embarrassment or regret would be my superpower.


When this pandemic and lockdown began, the challenge became greater. We have all had to be more adaptable and hardy than I hoped to be. We have all had to be keen and caring and strong. I initially resisted this need to push through – but one cannot spend every day curled under duvets, staring at the internet and quietly sobbing.


So. What to do? How to be? What does it mean to be soft during a pandemic, a lockdown, a quarantine, a social-distancing, self-isolating, these-are-all-new-terms extravaganza?


I wrote a list. Mainly for myself, but also for you. I hope you’re doing okay. I hope you know you can cry at movies. Here is my guide to being soft during the apocalypse:


Dispatch #006: The First Big Quarantine Fight and a Face Dive on Howard St – This article should make you weep and feel warm inside, at the same time. Leandra is a whip-smart writer, and here she spins an anecdote into a narrative into a moral. Also, this comment by BuffyAnneSummers97 made me feel marshmallowy af:


BuffyAnneSummers97 14 hours ago I think love is that interlocking-fingers-under-foot boost you give scrappy childhood friends when you’re scrambling over garden walls to do naughty shit. Safe in the knowledge they’re about to scrape an elbow pulling you up. There is no argument last week, no question of in-group out-group lunchtime dynamics in this moment. There is only the wall to be conquered.