The importance of support, especially during these uncertain times

Someone sent me mangoes! Though they’re in the food industry, the first time I worked with them had nothing to do with food. This was back when I was a music journalist. I was a co-researcher on a book project for them. It was lots of fun!

We lost touch but found each other again when I interviewed them for a society magazine. They recognized me as that researcher from long ago and we’ve kept in touch since, especially since we later realized that we intersected in the same industry.

It was sweet of them to send me mangoes from their farm. I treat my feed like a journal, and I’m thrilled to see it filling up with people’s thoughtfulness.

I’ve said before that I don’t expect to be on anyone’s top of mind, so it’s always a lovely surprise when I receive a gesture that indicates that someone remembered me.

It doesn’t have to be a physical gift. It just so happens that those are the ones that can be photographed. But in between these posts are gestures of un-photographable love and support given by friends and acquaintances despite the rules of social distancing. They come in the form of typed out words of encouragement, phone calls, and video chats, and they’ve all helped sustain me during this very weird time.

I hope that you have your support system as well. People that send you both the tangible and intangible, people that help your body and spirit survive.

This season has been very strange for everyone, and everyone wishes that it never happened. One thing that’s surprised everyone is that during a time of global uncertainty, people aren’t acting like pop culture said they would. It hasn’t become an every-human-for-themselves world. In fact, quite the opposite has happened: people are banding together to help as many people as they can see the crisis through.

That’s why I post about the things I’ve received during this time: because they remind me that whether I feel it or not, people care. I know I’m going to have a bad day in the future and I’m going to go back to my negative thoughts about how I’m all alone, so I want to be able to look back at proof that proves me wrong: that during a time of crisis, during a time when everyone was in a state of uncertainty, people cared. This will never cease to blow my mind, but it will also never cease to make me grateful.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.