2019 and 2020 could not have been more different as far as I was concerned. In 2019 I was throwing myself into work around the clock but paying out colossal bills. I was fed up with my personal life, tearing my hair out and feeling desperate for some me-time. That doesn’t mean to say it was a terrible year. There were many good things that happened and I met some great people, filmed and directed some great shoots and laughed more than I cried. Still I was trapped in the Matrix. I felt as if I was trying to walk a tightrope, with heavy rocks on my shoulders, whilst someone pelted me with stones and tugged at the wire below my feet as a hurricane blew in my face, pushing me backwards. Eventually, something had to give, so I made some major life changes and 2020 slid into view. In the first few months I became even more independent than ever and completed household jobs that I’d never gotten involved with before – mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs, using a toolkit for minor DIY and climbing into the attic for long forgotten treasures. Finally! I had some time to myself, to write, to think, to breathe. It was fantastic having friends and fellow dommes over to work and being able to enjoy a glass of wine together, or popping out for a meal and a drink as this was something I wasn’t able to agree to before.
I enjoyed two and a half months as an independent female, entertaining myself, cooking, reading, seeing girly friends or whatever the hell I wanted to, even if it was dancing around the lounge with mashed up honey and oats on my face singing along to Duran Duran! Then Lockdown began. I don’t think any of us realised the full severity of what to expect. I remember watching Boris’ speech that first evening and thinking, “Ok, perhaps I should try and appreciate a week off work!” Well I certainly did. That first week I started a new novel, I got jobs done around the house and I started to chat more with friends and family on Facetime and Whatsapp. As week two skidded in on its knees with a snigger of contempt, I realised I would have to find ways to adapt to the big changes that were aloft! So, I started filming custom movies for slaves and offering video calls and sexting, with a kinky twist! Between this and all the editing, I was pretty busy and caught up in my own little bubble. When I watched the news I was dismayed as the death toll rose! The penny dropped and I started to suspect things were not going to return to normal as quickly as many of us had hoped!
By week 3 I was still doing well. I was discussing the merits of ‘staying positive’ and ‘being thankful that my loved ones and I had our health’. I had started to clean a little manically however and had to exercise everyday or became quite irritable.
Week four sprinted in without even breaking a sweat! One day I remember doing four workout videos in the summer heat until I was totally exhausted. I felt pretty good afterwards….until the next day, because I still felt like I hadn’t achieved enough. I felt tired, but when I rested I felt guilty. I had flashbacks of all the critical voices I had never felt good enough for, and realised that I had a lot of internal work to do and could not just distract myself with external activities and ‘keeping busy,’ so, I started meditation. This was a great way to clear my mind and I started to implement more yoga which helped me feel a lot calmer. Then we rolled into month two and now I was trying to ensure everyday I did cleaning, played with the cats, exercised, worked out, meditated, did yoga, read, wrote, shot custom videos, chatted with family and webcammed. Realistically, I would have needed about 300 hours in the day to do this! So some days I’d miss cam or workouts or reading or writing and I was learning to try and be ok with this. A couple of times the only way I could tackle my obsessive attempts to try and be perfect was to crack open a bottle of wine, cuddle the cats and play some music. It worked, although once the hangover kicked in, the temporary release from reality was a distant memory!
I carried on like we all did, self isolating and just doing my best to adjust to the new reality. I tried to be hyper organised with essential shopping visits and planned for the week ahead, ensuring I wore a mask, gloves and kept my distance from other humans. It was at times like these I really felt the impact of the pandemic as I could no longer have a little chat and a laugh with the checkout staff in my local shop, and it became a very inhuman experience.
Friends would text and say, “how are you coping?” and I’d say, “good,” because considering everything, I was doing flipping good! It’s only when I look back at the big picture I can see my sense of reality was starting to unravel, and my attempts to try and do everything all at once was simply me trying to grasp onto what I had considered normality. In other words, I had created a lot of coping mechanisms that saw me through what was a pretty tricky time. I felt a great sympathy for others who were on their own during this pandemic. I had my weird ways which helped me to adapt and survive, but many people were completely lost having been widowed or stranded in foreign countries. Even though I can be very social, at heart I’m an introvert and can go a long time without human interaction. I am also very lucky to have my four cats who had me in stitches with their crazy antics and gave me many wonderful cuddles. My heart goes out to those who have begun to suffer mental health issues due to lack of human stimulation and it’s a great relief that the government have now adopted the idea of social bubbles to help support those living alone.
In all it took me about 9 weeks to start getting bored of my own company. I was concerned about my family, and concerned about running out of funds and not being able to pay my bills. Eventually I decided to return to the family home where I could lend some support, and if I’m being honest, release a little of the pressure off my shoulders too. There was no way I could indefinitely pay my inflated rent and bills in a lockdown.
I spent two weeks packing up a 2 bedroom house in the scorching heat wave. By day two, I had practically wilted and lay like a limp daffodil on the floor at the end of the day. I would have preferred the sofa but it was covered in packing boxes as there was nowhere else to put them.
Still, I obtained a great sense of achievement from this and was determined to be a strong, independent woman and do it alone. By the time I was packed up, I was burned out, my hands were bright red, the skin peeling off my palms in layers, and covered in callouses and sores. I covered them in thick layers of cream, gloves and carried on as normal. We’ve all suffered in one way or another during this pandemic and I consider myself one of the extremely lucky ones. I’m lucky because I have my health, because I have family and friends that checked in on me, because I have been through far worse than a pandemic. I’m lucky because I spent most of the pandemic alone, instead of being cooped up with people who could have seriously compromised my sanity. Incidences of domestic violence have dramatically increased in the UK during lockdown and there have been rising numbers of suicides also. Some people are in far worse circumstances than you or I and society has failed them. Perhaps lockdown has taught some of the populace to be a little bit kinder to our fellow humans. Maybe instead of judging, we’ll wonder what’s happened in someone’s life, offer some help, a kind word or a shoulder to cry on. I’m definitely a glass half-full kind of character, so I refuse to believe that we will simply return to being the cold, hard-hearted and callous homo sapiens many of our species were before the virus found a great host in the human race.
Life has changed for nearly everyone, and it’s in the little acts of altruism and generosity that we find the meaning of our existence. To live alone or to live with those who make you feel alone is simply surviving. To feel truly alive we connect with others and we give and take, and exchange energy. Perhaps we had forgotten who we were and why we came here. Maybe as a species we were lost. Sometimes in great adversity we can find great meaning, and our purpose. When we reach the end of the tunnel we have a choice. We can go back to the rat race, trapped in a cycle of consuming, excess capitalism and being caught up in our own bubble of reality tv, cheap fashion slave labour clothing and food chains that destroy the rainforest, or we can start to make little changes and think about what we can achieve if we all work together as the human race to make our planet wonderful.
Will you pick the red pill? Or the blue pill?
If you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of isolation, suicidal thoughts or any kind of mental health concern, there are many people that can help. Here are a few numbers:
Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/ Free phone: 116 123
Saneline for all mental health worries: 03003047000
Refuge: Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for women and children 0808 2000 247 Mankind: Male Victims of Domestic Abuse – For Confidential Help, Please Call 01823 334244