Wow.. what a year. I’m going to fast track to Christmas, 2022. I spent A LOT of money and time trying to put on a good Christmas for my step-daughters and to my dismay, they were very ungrateful for it. The mess they left and the presents that were completely destroyed that weren’t even 24hrs old was really disheartening. I broke down at some point and cried for a while before packing up their stuff and telling my husband that they can have their stuff back when they learn to take care of their belongings better. My step-daughters have gone back to their mothers for a week and I’ve spent the entire week trying to clean. Come New Year’s Eve night, I woke up at about 3:30am. We have all had this same feeling in our guts, churning and the feeling of acid moving up through our bodies. We wake so fast, our feet hit the ground even faster yet so quietly trying not to wake our significant other, and we make our way to the bathroom where what feels like a weeks worth of food has just exploded out of our bodies. I feel as if I haven’t had a rest. In the middle of the night when I was unwell, after a bad week, there was my best friend in the whole world right by my side. My dog, nearly 2 years old, got out of bed when I got up and came and laid and slept on the lounge with me, comforting me when I needed it most. I stayed there for all of New Year’s Day. Sick on the lounge, reflecting on a rough two weeks and now starting to think about the year ahead and what I want to achieve. My New Years resolution is to look after myself better. I don’t mean lose weight and eat better because who ever actually does, right? I mean going and getting a remedial massage, going to the chiropractor to get rid of my constant headache that I’ve had for about a month now and to actually have some well deserved me time so I don’t become completely insane. So here I am, laying in my bed at 1:10am on the 2nd of January 2023, unwell after an exhausting two weeks hoping that in the future when someone reads this, that they can relate to some of it or can sympathise in some way. If nothing else, please put yourselves first so you can be the best person for yourself and for others around you. What a great start to 2023!
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So it finally happened - Miss Rona, the spicy cough got me. I tested positive on Monday and this wasn’t a surprise. I’d had: Malatang with my bf and a colleague and her bf on Wednesday; Korean fried chicken with Mum on Thursday; A metal gig with a friend on Friday; An unfruitful search for gothic style fake nails on Saturday; and, The new Park Chan-wook movie at the cool vintage cinema, and a g&t, on Sunday. I’ve decimated tissues and toilet paper with my nose, which has rattled with snot, and the drip down into my throat makes me cough. I’ve coughed so much that my throat feels like raw beef. There’s a little blood in the tissues sometimes, would rather not think too hard about its origin. I feel weak and fuzzy. I miss doing things like walking outside. Seriously. Even going to the office. Buying coffee and gingerbread. Shopping. Sadly I infected my partner and his version is the intense headache version. I feel so bad. He joked that we’re stuck in bed like the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory grandparents. I sort of hoped this day wouldn’t come and yeah. It’s all I hoped it wouldn’t be.
I was just minding my own business, slowly crossing the path, when . . . THUD, THUD, THUD! Could it be an earthquake? No, just people. They are everywhere, absolutely everywhere! Walking their dogs, riding their bikes wearing strange coverings on their faces. I can’t work out why, don’t they usually have somewhere else to be? Suddenly, a huge, trembling hand plucked me off the ground and lifted me into a container that felt smooth and slippery. What was happening? I quickly retracted into my shell. When I dared to peek out, staring at me wide-eyed was a friendly human face. She looked really excited. ‘I’ve been begging mum to get a pet in lockdown and she keeps saying no. No dog, no cat, no rabbit, no guinea pig, no bird, no turtle no lizard, no fish. But she reluctantly said ok to you. So, Shelly welcome to our home and I promise I’ll look after you!” she said smiling. Shelly?! Was she referring to me? The next morning the nice girl appeared with someone else smaller than her. “Meet Shelly!”. The little sister looked cute and friendly too. That afternoon they transferred me into an enclosure much nicer than the plastic container I had spent the night in. I had dirt, leaves, rocks, dish with water and fresh lettuce leaves. I had never tasted anything so sweet and delicious, what a treat! They moved me to a few places around the house but finally settled on the sideboard. It’s a lovely spot, next to pot plants and near the glass doors so I can see what the weather is like. I’ve always wondered what the giant people do behind those big doors on the street. Now is my chance. The curtains are opened in the morning and sunlight floods in. They eat at the table then the big girl and dad sit in front of a computer to do school work. This is usually calm and quiet but occasionally they raise their voices at each other. The mum leaves and sometimes doesn’t come back till the sun goes down. The little girl plays by herself a lot, and I often hear her call out “I need to go to the toilet!”. They all disappear in the afternoon for a while after lunch and the house goes quiet. The girls come back excited and need a drink after riding their bikes or going to the park. In the evening the curtains get pulled closed then after dinner the strangest thing happens. The grandparents’ faces appear on the phone and they talk to them about being separated in lockdown. I wonder if I could speak to my family that way too? I do miss my old life in the garden on the nature strip and I wonder if I am in lockdown too. But I’ve been well looked after here, all the crispy vegetables, no possums to hide from and welcoming family. I quite like my new place!
How can I describe this poignant moment in my life? Whilst the world is seemingly ending either by a pandemic, climate change, with women being assaulted on the streets or the wars the men keep starting...my family is just beginning. It feels selfish in hindsight to bring two children into this world and yet here we are. My first son, born just 6 months before the pandemic and weeks before the horrific 2019 bushfires. He knew only of orange skies and masked faces around him. My second son, born during Sydney's longest lockdown in 2021... born to an empty theatre with no one to greet him but his mum and dad. for 14 weeks of his life, he would meet no one except the local french baristas. I hope that one day, they don't resent us for bringing them into this broken world. But maybe, just maybe they can be the generation who fix it all? My son wears tutu's and pink gumboots and no one gives it a second thought. My best friends who happen to be of the same gender will marry each other next year and no one gives this a second thought. The women who surround me have made waves in the industries they work in and almost no one gives this a second thought... No longer hindered by a pressure to settle down and have children if they don't desire one. My hope is that the orange skies part and the blue skies shine.
Ever changing Covid rules have been hard on frontliners. Living and working in an LGA of concern, which in an instant, is no longer concerning, I am donning a thicker mask plus goggles now as an Aged Care employee, even after a supposed freedom has been declared. Thank you for the 'choice' of a mandatory vaccine. This is not freedom. I remember freedom. Freedom of movement. Freedom to gather. Freedom to worship. Freedom of speech. Freedom of association. All current freedoms are dictated and controlled. Compliance. Codes. Passports. This is not the Australia I yearn to see again.
Our Time in Hibernation What has lockdown meant for me? Separation from my partner, the love of my life, and an essential worker in Sydney. A memorable and special time with my lovely Mum on the Central Coast, united in grief for the passing of my wonderful father. Enjoying our time - working together to bring life back to her garden, reminiscing, laughing, reading newspapers and magazines out on the balcony. Walks around this beautiful bay under blue skies and endless sunshine, the sound of birds - cheeky rainbow lorikeets, king parrots, cockatoos, butcher birds, magpies, kookaburras, the scent of jasmine, & wattle trees fill the air. Trees as far as the eye can see! Cocooned, comforted and safe in our beautiful surroundings.
I just went upstairs to return some items to their place as is the perennial problem of living in a double storey dwelling - things taken downstairs have to be taken upstairs. I placed the journal on the bedside table and saw my son's pillow, toy cats - one grey, one pink, the giraffe comforter, and little blue blankie on the bed, where they were left this morning. He has been at home with me for the past 4-months, him playing and resting by my side as I worked, my morning tea break spent making snacks and playing Lego, my lunch break putting him down for his afternoon nap. Without a 2-hour commute each day there was time for walks, I could stay up later to catch up on work and study, there was no need to rush. We found a rhythm. He went back to daycare on Monday. He cried, and so did I—when I sat back in the car, though, not in front of him. I go back to work next week. I will be glad to, in a way, because I will have some distraction from the ache of my broken heart.
How should I put this... Lockdown has been a turbulent wave. Full of its ups and downs, moments of fresh air and moments when you're drowning. Trying to swim to the other side has certainly been one learning experience. It took me too long to realise that to survive clicking on and off Google classroom all day, I needed to re-arrange my whole room. I needed a desk in front of a window. A water station, and English breakfast tea. It took me too long to realise that motivation comes in bursts, and can't be switched on and off like a lamp. That sometimes, if I don't cut my friends off or ignore messages to go complete a task, that task may lay unfinished for weeks. I remember this one rare small gathering with a few of my friends. It was after restrictions had eased a little, and we were allowed to go visit parks in small groups. Nothing could describe how excited I was for the week leading up to it. Can you imagine? Being able to have proper social interaction? We had joked that our "social skills have gone out the window" and how "my sense of humour is dead", and in the moment, we all laughed it off and treated it like the joke it was meant to be. But coming home, I realised just how disconnected I felt from the rest of them. Thinking over every interaction we had, everything that was said, and it all felt so... tiring. By the time I was clicking onto a tutoring zoom lesson, I couldn't keep my eyes open, nor stop yawning. Every day I've wished to see my friends again, to laugh in a group, and to hear their real voices without the robotic distortion from glitchy wifi. Yet I failed to consider how jarring it would all be. We're going back to school in a week, and I don't even know how it's possible to feel so ecstatic yet dread it at the same time. I'm reaching the land past the waves, yet there's something so foreign about it, I just want to float and drift away... I guess I shall see you on the other side. <3
When the world stopped Covid made the world stand still. It felt like it was a time to actually breathe, to take advantage of a time to be quiet, and a time for reflection. The natural world could recover just a little bit. Connections became important in a different way. My hope is that we will remember what it was like, to be less busy, to have concern for others, and realise that community is important.
I am an adult woman with ADHD. I have grown up with an alcoholic, bipolar abusive mother; and a wonderful dad who has taught me all he can and continues to. I am the carer for my 16yr old sister, who also grew up with my mother, and has a different father worse than our mother. Covid-19 hasn't proven exceptionally stressful for me.. if anything, it has taken away many of the pressures of society on a neuro diverse mind. I can happily spend my days away from the majority of society, in my garden, or shed, perhaps renovating our home. I consider myself a hedge-witch of sorts and am happy to reside in a world of nature and nurture, being a custodian for the land and all her creatures. My fiance J. and I are very fortunate where we are now. We both grew up on the coast, in the Illawarra. He from Dapto in the southern suburbs, and me from Wombarra up north way. We moved in a desperate state four years ago, in debt, stressed, depressed and at our wits ends.. alot has happened up and down since, but we've been able to purchase our own home because we moved to the Wiradjuri Country in the west of NSW(out past Wagga) and there are many places desperate for workers with low rents etc. but now the pandemic has hit, we are also safer than our friends and family back on the coast. Lower population density means it's harder to spread the disease - unfortunately though, we also have far fewer hospitals etc far further between.. Wilcannia being the ultimate example - that poor mob :( outsiders infected them, the government failed then blamed them, and until a youtuber made a stand nobody even reported the truth of how bad it was for that mob up there and still the government are only just now providing em with the beginnings of services.. no rush on the vaccines to replace those taken away before the outbreak there. It's bad days in many ways.. but the politics make everything worse. The good news is the wet season we've had this year. People don't like floods, but the land needs fire and flood to thrive. 2019 was a brutal fire season heralding the end of the drought far and wide, since we've had floods of all variety, full billabongs, water in Kati Thanda(Lake Eyre), I've even seen clear waters in the bidgee! All things come in a cycle and before we know our pandemic too will be history - as will these words.