I wanted to try and articulate how I’ve been feeling lately as it’s been really tough to try and get to the bottom of. With unprecedented times come unprecedented emotions (anyone else shudder when they read that word?), and although distractions are important, I also feel like it’s healthy to keep revisiting negative emotions so that we can try and understand why they arrived in the first place…
Throughout the first few weeks of lockdown, I found myself desperately pining for ‘the way things were’ and was worried I wouldn’t be able to cope with what the next few months had in store. Like a lot of people, I was worried sick about what this pandemic would mean for my work, my friends and family, and my ongoing mental health struggles. There were a lot of days where I could feel my thoughts spiralling out of control, and I found it hard to concentrate on even the smallest of tasks.
Fast forward a few weeks and lockdown measures seem to be easing – we have been given a very rough plan of what the next few months might look like, and many people are going back to work, or finding new ways to work around the restrictions still in place. Whilst the concept of ‘moving forwards’ has always felt like a relatively positive one, it’s also a reminder that there’s so much uncertain space in front of us. Many of us will have created safe little rituals from the comfort of our homes, and for a lot of us, the idea of ‘going back to the way things were’ suddenly feels quite terrifying.
One thing I’ve thought a lot about throughout this pandemic has been just how exposing it’s been in terms of the way many of us were living. We have quite literally been forced to stop in our tracks and analyse the the lifestyles and accompanying habits we have come to accept as normal. Why do many of us glamourise being busy? Is it perhaps that when we slow down, our thoughts also slow down, and there lies the uncomfortable space that so many of us try our best to avoid?
I think that’s the very reason I’ve found the past few months so testing. We have been living in this uncomfortable stretch of space and faced with a lot of the difficult confrontations regarding the world we live in. The working, the spending and the socialising often prevent us from dealing with trauma and the realisation that perhaps life is best lived much slower.
Whilst I miss all the things that make life richer – the travelling, the adventures, the embracing of other humans…
I also feel a new fragility about the state of the world and where things are heading post Coronavirus. I feel worried about climate change and whether we have the capacity to take it as seriously as it needs to be taken, I worry all the wrong people have the last say, and I worry that the bad things in the world are starting to outweigh the good. This is the sort of place my pessimism takes me to whenever a news article flashes up on my phone or I watch another excruciating government update.
I guess I worry that the things I love and that have made me happy up until this point in my life are no longer enough. As someone who often feels the weight of the world, I really need to feel as though things are getting better outwardly, in order for my thoughts to become more peaceful. Of course, we can’t always worry about the world or we wouldn’t end up making the most of our time on earth, but I have found myself feeling utterly disorientated throughout this time in lockdown. At times, I’ve felt so disconnected from the world and have found myself caught up in this blurry dark matter that just makes me feel a sense of numbness. Why can’t things be more simple? It feels like a childlike question to ask but it’s one that I’ve found myself muttering often. I wish things were more simple, and I wish we as humans didn’t have a unique ability to overcomplicate things so much.
I have to believe that things will improve in a post virus world – we have to have hope to hold onto and I want to be a positive force for those around me and those reading this blog. The pessimist in me fears that things will go back to how they were eventually and the lessons learnt from the uncomfortable time will soon be cast aside. The optimist in me believes that people are now more awake than ever and won’t stand for life as we once knew it. That we won’t glamourise being busy and having the wool pulled over our eyes – we won’t stand for poor in-compassionate leadership, and we will fight harder than ever to create a world that feels safer and more inclusive for everyone that calls it home.
I think that experiencing waves of positivity and negativity is important throughout this time (and for life in general) – it keeps us on our toes and encourages us to question things rather than becoming complacent. No matter how fearful I feel about the world, ultimately, I always try and choose the optimistic route. I figure that if we can’t hope for better amongst the darkness then how can we ever achieve better? How can we not continue the fight for those that were brave enough to want a better world before we were even born? There is true strength in wanting better and true power in not always just accepting what we are told.
I’ve stared out my window a lot over the past few weeks – trying to find the words, trying make sense of the incomprehensible, going back and forth with my thoughts and generally just arriving at the same destination. Life will eventually move forward. I have to learn to be comfortable with the fact that I have no control over that. I have to lean into the work that needs to be done, the conversations that need to be had, and the eventual revolution if need be. It feels like something is on it’s way, we feel it lifting up the floorboards and dismantling the furniture. We have to move with the current or face getting left behind. A better world awaits.
Photographs taken on a Contax T2 film camera
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