Lockdown: Why it’s getting harder and how I’m trying to rethink it

My to do list was pretty epic last week. But, you know what wasn’t on that to do list? Having a full on emotional meltdown on Instagram stories to start the week off with a bang. Yup, I let it rip. In all honesty, the scrunched up face for fifteen seconds on the gram didn’t hold a candle to what that emotional breakdown looked like in real life. It wasn’t pretty, people.

This is getting harder. That’s the long and the short of it. We’ve essentially been in our third full lockdown now for around seven weeks and there’s no clear light at the end of this tunnel for when that’s going to ease or even start to look like normal. And when I say normal, I don’t mean 2019 normal. I mean summer 2020 normal. I’d settle for that right now. I’d settle for simply being able to sit in a garden with other people, even in the freezing cold. There have been days, no word of a lie, where I have locked myself in the bathroom and just sat atop the toilet seat sobbing into a towel and begging a higher power to intervene. My eyes hurt. They ache. And I don’t think I’ve ever felt more useless in my life, just sitting out here in the country writing about outfit ideas and shopping online like a woman with a serious addiction problem.

What I’ve just described is the bottom of an emotional rollercoaster. This is the low and it comes every few days at present. I can feel it coming. Something stupid will set it off and I see the doom and gloom coming from across the room with said “set off”. Watching television and something triggers homesick; a message from a friend in London I haven’t seen for going on a year; or shoving a second piece of cake in my mouth and feeling guilty about the comfort calories (which I know I shouldn’t feel guilty about at all…but you know). It could be anything. I’m not trained for this. None of us are.

We aren’t people that are accustomed to never leaving our houses. We aren’t people who are supposed to live without human contact. What I would give to hug someone right now. A long embrace where I can smell the familiar scent of a friend and remember that they exist in this physical world, not just on a computer screen. I’d love to feel the fear in flying, the big belly drops in times of turbulence (Yes, it’s totally crazy that I have a slight fear of flying as I basically lived on a plane before all this). I want to eat in a restaurant, sipping wine with friends and gossiping about things that seemed so damn important at the time, life changing in fact. If only we knew what was to come. I want to be surrounded by shoppers on Oxford Street. I want to sit in a Starbucks and write endlessly on my computer as I people-watch and drink latte after latte with one too many Splendas. Hell, I’d settle for being shoved in a smelly armpit on the tube right now sans mask. I want it all back, every last inch of it, even the parts I thought I hated.

So that’s the low. That’s the thinking when it’s -2 outside and I’m inside with swollen eyes and a bruised heart.

And here’s how I turn it around. And I always do. And this is going to make me sound like a women that has seriously been flung off her rocker for being able to pull a 180 like this over night, but I swear it’s how I’m surviving this, rather than endlessly existing under a duvet with Domino’s and Ben & Jerry as bedfellows.

I believe we will never get another chance like this again. Now, I know that’s naive. We all know what living through a pandemic feels like now and we know it’s very possible that it could happen again. But, I’m naively, and for my own state of mind, forcing myself to think this is a once in a lifetime experience.

With that, and please keep in mind that this is what I’m using for my own perspective on my situation. This may or may not be applicable to you. But if it can help at all, I’m taking the chance, putting myself out there and sharing this.

I said to Steve this morning, “I’m starting to think there is goodness in this. We’re being given an opportunity like nothing we’ve ever had before and may never have again.” What I meant by that was this…

At the moment, we can’t go anywhere, we can’t see anyone. Our personal situation is that we are both freelance creatives and we have no children (and my goodness, ladies and gents, I feel for those of you that are homeschooling right now). Our calendars are empty, except for the occasional launch over Zoom or meeting to talk work with clients. Other than that, the world is our oyster. We can focus on creative endeavours we’ve never had time to contemplate before.

For me, this time has been about trying to turn my own business from travel and fashion writing to, well, just fashion mainly, with a slight focus on my new obsession with cooking. While I’m sharing the odd flashback to days of globetrotting, my creative spirit is officially with styling, simply because I can do it from home. I can do it in the spare bedroom. I can create videos, blogposts, instagram stories and more as I explore things I’ve never had time to do before. And I know once the world opens up again I might not be able to devote anywhere near as much time as I have done to such creative ideas.

I’m choosing to look at this as a period in time where I actually have “time”. I can’t remember the last opportunity I had to say such a thing.

Somehow it does make things easier knowing that there will inevitably be bad days with the good. What we thought would be a blip in our lives has most certainly turned into something much more. But, I’m trying my hardest to look at this whole situation as an opportunity. It’s the only way I’m going to stay sane. The minute I start going down the path of, “what if, “when,” and “but if I only had known…” I get myself into serious trouble. Never before have I understood more why everyone went on so much about “being present.” As of February 2o21, “the present” is all we have here. We literally have no idea what comes next, when we’ll be able to do something as simple as have a cup of coffee with friends.

This is all just to say that if you too are experiencing this rollercoaster ride of emotions, you are certainly not alone. I do believe there isn’t a person on earth that hasn’t been touched by this global pandemic. Some certainly have it worse than others, but all of us are suffering. I’ve seen an interesting quote going around on instagram and it goes a little something like this…. “We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat.” Truer words have never been spoken. Hang in there everybody. Just hang in there, whether you are riding this out in a yacht or a dingy. Just know you aren’t alone and you’re pain is just as real as the next person’s.

With love and hope,

Emily

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2 Comments

  1. 18th February / 12:48 pm

    Love. That’s all. This is a lot. And these past few weeks have seemed extraordinarily hard. And yet, as I have seen in my life, I can do hard things. And the person I have become in doing them, is stronger, more compassionate, and a bit wiser. Deep breaths.
    We’ve got this.
    xo
    Cheryl

    • Emily
      Author
      19th February / 9:01 am

      Agree! Agree! Agree! I think all of this has just shown so much of what we can do on our own and the importance of a close support network. It’s definitely led me to reshape my future!

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