I’ve not written anything for over a month. When COVID-19 kicked off and lockdown first started, I found writing to be therapeutic. Despite the less than ideal circumstances, lockdown was novel. I’d been given the gift of time and I could finally do all the things that I’d been struggling to do. I slowed down and started enjoying a slower pace of life. I was writing regularly, ploughing through college work, tidying the house, de-cluttering, and gardening. I started printing again and re-opened my Etsy shop, I made a cushion for my sewing shop, I started doing Zentangle and I was enjoying reading all the books I’d been collecting for months. I spent weeks feeling content. Life was good.
But then after a month or so, I started to realise how fucked up the whole situation was. As much as I was enjoying doing all the things listed above, being in lockdown limited things for me to write about. I told myself I was going to write for 15-minutes each day, but I always managed to find something else to do instead. I just couldn’t find the head-space to write anything. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster as my moods and anxiety swung between high and low every few days, and the sleepless nights I’d managed to get under control, started up again.
I missed the walking trips up the Lake District, the countryside, and the fresh air, but I was also starting to settle into a life in lockdown. No schedule, no work commitments, not seeing anyone – I was okay with it all. It was nice. Peaceful even. It felt uncluttered and simple. Before lockdown, Ian and I were being pulled in so many directions, we were at breaking point. But until lockdown, I didn’t realise how badly we needed someone to put the brakes on. If we managed to eat 2 meals a week together and spend one day together at the weekend, it was considered a good week. The stress of everything before lockdown was too much, and the thought of things returning to normal sends my anxiety through the roof. Our morning walk or run has become my favourite part of the day, and I only hope that can continue.
Black Lives Matter
But there’s not just the lockdown and COVID-19 to deal with. There’s so much uncertainty right now and the world feels completely fucked. The Black Lives Matter movement and protests are real and need to be addressed. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert about something I’m not, but I also can’t ignore what’s going on right now either. All I can do is write what I feel, and I feel like the world is going backwards instead of forwards. I know that racism exists. It shouldn’t, but it does and it’s time for change. I’m listening, I’m learning, I’m reading, I’m educating myself and I stand with many others who are doing the same.
There are several books that can help white people understand more about privilege, racial injustice and what we can do to help the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve just purchased Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad.
Jane Elliott is an American school teacher, anti-racism activist and educator. I encourage you to watch this video where she talks about why we hate.
Lockdown restrictions are starting to lift as the phased reopening of businesses begins, and the number of people we can now see has increased – following social distancing guidelines of course. But to be honest, I feel like it’s too much too soon. I see photos and video footage on the internet, of crowds gathering on beaches and I have to wonder if they’re insane. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but I have no intention of visiting a local park anytime soon. We ran along the Guild Wheel on Saturday morning, and even at 7.20am, I wasn’t prepared for how busy it would be along certain stretches. But at least we were running past people, rather than gathering in small groups for prolonged periods of time.
Saturday was also my birthday. Normally we’d have headed up to the Lakes to do some walking, but due to the current restrictions, we had to make other plans. Instead, we visited family and my best friend – following social distancing guidelines of course. It was nice to see everyone, but also disappointing not being able to do our usual Lake District visit.
Since going vegan 5-years ago, I’ve been craving birthday cake with fondant icing, so I made myself a vegan rainbow cake. For my first attempt, I think it turned out okay. My cake decorating skills might need a little work, but it tasted amazing!
For the time being, I see my blog as more of a journal. I can only write about what I know and how I feel. I have a small blog, in a tiny corner of the blogosphere, and although I don’t want this space to become Coronavirus specific, I’m seeing too many bloggers acting like everything is normal. I see influencers waiting impatiently for travel restrictions to be lifted, excited to jump on a plane out of here. But to be honest, with the reduction we’ve seen in pollution levels and the increase in air quality, I find their approach frustrating. Perhaps exploring closer to home, supporting more sustainable travel might be more appropriate over the coming years.
While I’m beginning to dislike the phrase, we need a new normal, it’s true. COVID-19 has taught us so much and normal wasn’t working. I don’t think we can go back to how things were. But that’s another blog post, for another time.
I hope you’re all staying safe and well.