As I write this, I am in the later stages of dealing with a cold/virus.
The blinds are drawn on every window in my apartment and I am onto my third day of binge-watching Elementary (how good). My face hurts and there is a tissue permanently wedged in my nostril. I haven’t showered today and every time I try to work on my novel, Imposter Syndrome starts kicking in. Thumbs. Up.
And then I remember we’re still going through a pandemic.
Thousands upon thousands of people have lost their lives, are struggling with sickness and coming to terms with unemployment. Families are in mourning, others are besides themselves with the unknown. Aussies in Melbourne are STILL in Stage 4 lockdown, undoubtedly having moments of absolute despair, anguish, stress and delirium. Overseas, the virus has ravaged communities, the worldwide economy is basically FUCKED and the not-knowing of when things might go back to “normal” is causing everybody a hell of a lot of grief.
It’s been stressful and like many of you, I’ve been consuming a lot of media with all this extra time at my disposal.
The news is the same – filled with stories and headlines designed to shock, anger and scare. I rarely watch it unless it’s by way of Have You Been Paying Attention – and that’s always a good time. I do however consume social media, which in 2020, is the best and worst thing to have simultaneously. I’ve seen memes and videos that have brought tears of joy, giving me moments filled with pure gratitude for the internet.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve witnessed threads of discussion regarding COVID-19 being a hoax and “sovereign citizens” thinking they’re somehow “more woke” cos they’re choosing not to wear masks and abide by laws for the greater community. Those moments generally bring tears of frustration and colourful language on my part.
Oh yes indeed, I’ve felt frustrated.
Some days are good and some days certainly are not. Outside of COVID-related stuff, there have been other things happening that have dampened my spirits. As I’m sure is the same with many of you. Life continues to happen, even when things are already tough. It’s in these sort of moments I realise that as much as I want to be able to return to planning overseas trips, see my nephews and to not view my fellow human beings as walking disease spreaders, sitting around moping isn’t going to help.
That’s not to say we can’t all mope – cos bloody oath we can. We’re all going through this mess in our own way, whilst simultaneously dealing with our everyday concerns and stresses. Relationships, careers, children, family. Everything’s different and the same.
Whilst I encourage a healthy whinge with the people you trust, I also encourage you to have no shame with your guilty pleasures.
Now is the time to lean into them. I’ve found BS reality TV shows, documentaries, predictable romance novels and snippets of the soon-to-be-released After We Collided movie have become important things in my life. No matter how superficial or ‘stupid’ they may seem to another, they are the things that bring me joy during my darker moments. Maybe it’s the predictability or the love or the wonder I see in them that bring me comfort. Maybe it’s just because I’m obsessed with the likes of cliché romances, the works of K.A. Tucker and the soothing voice of David Attenborough.
Whatever it might be, I’ve decided not to read into the why at the moment. I’m simply consuming anything and everything that makes me feel good (and doesn’t cause myself or others harm).
I implore whoever is reading this to find your equivalent of cliché romances.
Whether it be one too many puzzles, knitting, crochet, baking, tending to plants or ant farms, creating music, reading trashy novels or watching corny movies.
Whether it’s watching YouTube videos of twerking kittens, people falling over or troops returning home after serving overseas. Whether it’s interpretive dance, singing your favourite songs at the top of your lungs in your lounge, scrapbooking, colouring-in, learning a new instrument or learning Tik-Tok dances.
Everything’s different and the same.
Do whatever the fuck you gotta do to get through to the other side, even if polite society sometimes says it’s not the best use of your time. Right now, survival is key and you’ve got to find whatever brings that warmth into your life.
Hang in there folks x
P.S. Can confirm I survived the COVID swab and received a negative result. If you’re unwell, please get tested, no matter how mild your symptoms. The test is honestly not that bad – if you’ve ever had a pap smear the swab is a fucking walk in the park.