On March 20, I got the first lengthy lowdown from Heather Hardy, the DUMBO, Brooklyn-based fighter who has a rep for resilience, on her perceptions of living in Brooklyn as COVID ramped up in NYC.
Hardy shared on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast what her life was looking like in this new world. The NY Governor Andrew Cuomo had on March 16 asked gyms and restaurants and bars to shutter their doors, you might recall.
Gimme three takeaways, I asked Hardy, on the day Governor Cuomo asked that ALL “non-essential” businesses close up shop, by March 22.
“We're super adaptive and resilent,” the 22-1 boxer said, of New Yorkers, who were still in WTF mode. One week before, no one in NYC thought they'd be washing their hands “78 times a day.”
Then, also, she quickly came to a better appreciation for stuff great, great grandma lived through, when famines, and harsh diseases without the anxiety relief of vaccines, were running harshly through populations.
“What we're living through is going to be taught in the great grand kids' textbooks, and we're living through it now,” the 38 year old fighter said. And third, she fixed onto the need to be grateful.
“We can make a list of all the things that will be improved,” she noted, “when all is said and done.” Yes, there will be economic hardship, but maybe it will help people to slow down, and also not be so inclined to scarf up so many things. Maybe, hopefully, we will come out on the other side of this with some revamped values, she said, showing an admirable ability to focus on posivity.
I went back and listened to some of that before I asked Hardy for an update after six months had passed. I also refreshed myself what she said when she did a column on COVID life that dropped on March 31.
“I’m in NYC, the world’s epicenter for this pandemic,” Hardy wrote. “People are afraid to go outside, and THANK GOD for that! We are the worlds' BIG RED DOT. If our kids get sick they’ll be hospitalized ALONE. If your wife has a baby, she’ll be hospitalized alone. If your parents or grandparents catch this they can die, and there will be no funeral. I miss my life, I miss punching stuff, I miss my friends, I miss being around people. My kid is driving me fucking insane and as her parent it’s my job to be cool and calm and understanding, because this is fucked as shit for her too, so I cry everyday in the mailroom where she can’t see me.” She admitted that at times, her resolve to treat her body like a temple lagged. “Today I want to stop. I want to say no more whiskey in bed. No more pizza for no reason. No more skipping workouts, or crying about what IS. From today on, though, I want to be thankful for the health of my family and pray for this to be over as soon as possible with as little damage as possible. But I don’t know if I’m ready. So one minute at a time, we’ll get through this TOGETHER (but not really together). Be safe, wash your hands and your ass. Drink water. Mind your business. Stay inside unless you’re going out for something SPECIFIC. And forgive yourself for not knowing WTF to do.”
And then, it's not that we fell out of touch, but contact dipped. I think it's fair to say that Hardy, and me, and a shit ton of other people, just sort of put the head down, put one foot in front of the other, trudged on. As it became apparent that ineffective (at best), and even malignant leadership would continue to be dispensed, in super spreader fashion, by the monster holding the highest office, some of our resolve dimmed.
Circuits jammed, at times cut out.
Could “they” care any less?
Trump just said “it is what it is” when Axios spoke about the death toll, to that point.
And my neighbor, and hell, my father, is going to vote for him again, that's what many of us are thinking as we drift off, mentally sail away, to bad places. Are THEY who I thought they were? Do they condone rape?
Do they condone removing babies from their mommy's at the border? Some of us felt sad, then angry, often adrift, because here was man's inhumanity to man and woman on stark display. And the displays were being applauded by people we thought we knew, and respected. But we kept a lot of that ourselves, because announcing all that might tend to make relationships with some of those neighbors and family members too sticky to continue. So that secret disgust found in some of us stayed inside our body, and it roiled and we had a hard time making it go away. Some tried whiskey, I tried ice cream, it would only work for a spell.
These last few days, I've been walking more, stretching muscles and moving my expanded waistline out and about more. And Hardy has been on an upswing, too.
I caught her on the upswing, and she offered a summation of the last few months, and told us how she's viewing her career right now, while the President continues to buddy up to white power scumbags (see below), and neighbors and relatives stand by him, sullying their own character and standing in the universe as a result.
“Well, when they decided to do a virtual ball drop at Times Square, I realized we were in this for the rest of the year,” Hardy told NYF. “After the first few months of the pandemic I managed to pick myself up, found out how to work and earn, got food on the table and pulled my family together…. it was kind of like a gut punch hearing that.”
She spoke on one of the elements that makes COVID different for some of us. “Single moms are exhausted. We are wearing every hat imaginable and there’s no end in sight. I’m the breadwinner, the teacher, the therapist, the maid, the chef, the best friend, and the super all in one. This corona/COVID stress, as my daughter would say, ‘hits different.”'
I'm with her; different people have different challenge levels to contend with but yes, having kids is a game changer always, and especially in this environment.
“Boxing is offering shit money for fights right now so I dove into my personal training business and luckily, workouts are like drugs lately. People are itching for boxing out in the park and on the streets, so I basically just run around with a set of pads all day! I'll stay hustling and keep my head up!”