On being essential, and being “other”

To be essential means to be absolutely necessary and extremely important. Before COVID-19, a list of “essential” people today might not have included grocery store cashiers, sanitation workers, or truck drivers; yet now, many are realizing the vital role they play in keeping us healthy, fed, and safe. I’ve been thinking about this idea of “essentialism,” how it is evolving, and why. The nature of the roles I described above hasn’t changed. The only shift that has occurred is within our own awareness.