‘No’, you cry, feeling weary of the daily posts, news, government information, whats app messages, online groups, online classes, House party, zoom, and home schooling…just what we need,another bloody blog post to add to it! This is not what we need, during this time of confinement, yet another bombardment of instructions, challenges, or musings on what is actually happening, or what it might all mean on a social, spiritual or universal level, while we’re stuck at home trying to make sense of it all, in our own ways. Well don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to do anything and I don’t have any great insights. Below has been the general state of mind for eighty percent of the time.
I have however, joined quite a few online groups, chats and have started new things that perhaps I wouldn’t have, and have re-connected with old friends and spoken more to people on the actual Telephone than I have in years. I’ve embraced the daily exercise, but then I have always needed to get out and run for my mental health, but I’m experimenting with slower forms and dare I say it…have actually even meditated (be patient with me, I’m still spending most of it thinking about what’s in the freezer for tea). For anyone that knows me well, this is not easy for me as I get distracted by the slightest thing.
I’m in awe of some friends who have offered free classes online, especially one who has asked for donations to Macmillan rather than take payment, a truly wonderful thing, and inspiring person, and I’m seeing great offers of kindness during this challenging time from all walks of life and in different forms. I also decided that I would try to take things day to day and not set my goals too high. This is an unusual situation, And none of us should behave in a certain ‘way’.
What I have started today however, is a writing challenge, as I know that it will serve to give me some structure when I’m feeling frustrated, or that the road ahead is empty and confined like this forever.
So here was the first exercise. Dear Loo.
So when you open this it will be the first of May. What has changed since this dark challenging period began? Are we still in quarantine or have we now been allowed more freedom to move around? Are there still queues into the shops, masks over our mouths, the two metres between us rule? Are we all still regularly zooming and house partying people and finding new ways (or avoiding) ways of communicating and still connecting with our loved ones? Are we closer to our families we live with, treasuring every moment, or has this period of self- isolation made us yearn in the future for more adventures outside of the family unit. Have our defects been exposed or our true strengths revealed?
So what would I wish to have happened by the first of May ?
Of course the biggest wish is that not too many people have died from Covid19, but I fear this is unlikely. Today on April the first, 2020 the death toll stands at 1789 in the UK and 25,150 cases testing positive. I wish for those who are suffering to not be in too much pain, though again from evidence, it seems like such a horrible disease for those who it becomes more critical for.
I can’t really wish for the Theatres to be open again by May, or the cinemas, as I know this is sadly highly unlikely, but deep down that is my secret wish. I miss it so much. So many theatre’s are showing generosity by sharing their filmed productions online, and it is a great opportunity to watch plays that you missed or couldn’t afford to attend, but there is nothing like the anticipation and shared experience of a live performance.
By the first of May, I wish and hope to see people,( not all), to see them physically, hold them tight and look at them in the flesh, as that is the thing I have missed the most in all this. We are so lucky to have the technology to still reach out to each other, but nothing really replaces being in the same space as someone, the atmosphere and energy of that moment.
People (well a large proportion) are really struggling at the moment in this uncertainty and none of us know if there will be work, a home, and an income at the end of this. I hope and wish that people can survive economically through it, literally survive it without the other concerns of whether they are being productive or interesting enough.
I had a great year last year and obviously wish for more of that success, recognition and praise but all of these things mean nothing without human connection – without being able to share any of them. I wish at the beginning of May to at least have secured some prospect of future collaborations, be that my acting or writing.
I wish for the news in May, that my play that was due to be on in July will still be going into production, as this would be something to look forward to. Again, it is unlikely, but that hopeful part of me that paints a little light in the darkness, the not quite snuffed out candle waits patiently to hear the news. So many of us that work in Theatre (and other jobs of course) will have to face huge disappointments in these months as one cancellation after another lands in our laps. Today it was announced that The Edinburgh festival is cancelled, a huge loss for so many that have worked hard towards it. I wish for all those people that they get to only delay their plans and not forget about them.
I wish by May that I haven’t lost any of my family or friends to this virus either. That is the one thing I haven’t yet delved into in the darker corners of my mind, the reality that people I know could die from this.
I would hope that by May my children have at least found some routine, and haven’t just fallen every day into the virtual world of gaming as that is the easier escape and way out. I hope they are not filled with fear about going out into the late summer light, that awaits, and enter it with open arms and a sense of adventure, not dampened by all this seclusion time indoors.
I wish by May that we are looking at a downward movement in cases, a testing device for every family, that all those working in healthcare have had even a little respite from the hard work they are putting in.
I wish by the first of May, not to have created a masterpiece, but to have simply managed this time as best I can.
And that’s it. One day, you might create something worthwhile, and another you might just play swing ball, or stare out the window.
I wish you all well. Go easy on yourselves.