The Calm and The Storm

I’m a worrier, by nature. I tend to say ‘What if’ a lot. But I also tend to over-compensate for this by cracking jokes and making people laugh. So, welcome to my blog where I swing wildly from one emotion to the other and attempt to make some sort of sense out of the last few weeks, peoples’ reactions to it and how I’m coping/not coping.

Firstly, I never thought it was possible, but social media has managed to turn quarantining into a competition! Some people seem to be really thriving at this complete and utter ARMAGEDDON that has literally come out of nowhere and they are sharing this wonderfulness, to cheer everyone else up. People are baking, hiking, taking up new hobbies, fucking sky-diving (well, maybe not that last bit, but I wouldn’t be surprised). So now I feel like I’m failing at quarantining. I’ve not had any instagrammable moments, or read all my books on the shelf. I haven’t made buns or joined an online yoga class. My paints and brushes lie idle and the only gardening I’ve managed to do is to stand under the laurel tree listening to the blackbird (which I should have recorded for Insta – dammit!!) In our weird online world, everything has to be the best experience EVER, even this shitbox of a time can’t be wasted. You have to be doing something with it. Being positive about it.

I reacted like many people do; privately freaking out while at the same time, sharing what I hoped were soothing artworks and poems. Then I finally accepted that, actually, no – I wasn’t over-reacting and the world is in total turmoil (zoinks!) What’s the picture for that? The Scream?! No-one wants to see that. So I took to the bed, as we say in Ireland, and had a good cry for myself whilst listening to some sad AF music. Honestly, that was the most positive thing I’ve done so far and would highly recommend it.

If I had a dog I’d be putting up cute dog pics, but as it is, I live alone and have to make my own entertainment (steady). So really, I should be perfectly placed to deal with this. I know how to work from home, how to be unsociable and shop online. But it’s the unknown I can’t deal with. How can you prepare for something when the rules keep changing every day? Nobody really knows what to do and I guess that’s why one minute we’re being over-enthusiastic about how well we can handle it and the next, completely overwhelmed.

As for me, I did the only thing that made sense to me – I made masks! Yep, I did wonder if I was being a bit OTT, but guess what, everyone’s at it! All around the world.  Even the governor of New York sent out a call for people to start making them for hospitals. There are lots of tutorials online, so even if you are a rubbish seamstress like me, you can probably cobble one together. They do not guarantee 100% protection from the virus, but they’re better than nothing I guess and I wanted to give my parents (who are in their seventies) something as a precaution if they have to go somewhere.

All the official advice here is that you don’t need a mask, and I can see why. There are no masks available to buy anyway and whatever protective gear they do have in stock needs to be kept for medical staff.  But there’s no harm in making your own. You don’t even need a sewing machine. Obviously, the best option is to just stay at home and stay safe, but I wonder if more people wore these, would it make a difference? I don’t know, I’m not a virologist, but they’re washable and reusable and making them gave me something proactive to do and took away that yucky feeling of helplessness.

So if you want to give it a go, check out #millionmaskchallenge on Twitter, try this tutorial on Instructables  or have a read of this article on Forbes.  At the very least, they will stop you touching your face! And I made mine using material with miniature dachshunds on the front, so, I mean, what’s not to love about that?! Anyway, that’s what I’m doing. Apart from worrying, binge-watching The Crown, eating stuff and wondering if what I think is a toothache is actually the beginnings of a stroke! That’s how I roll folks.

I really hope you are all minding each other and doing whatever you need to to feel okay (or just be okay with not feeling okay). I hope we treat ourselves and our planet with a little more care when we get to the other side of this. Life isn’t a race to the finish line – a game of Monopoly where you simply produce and consume. It’s an experience and we can all help to make it a good one for the majority of people, rather than just the few.  People can be so kind and community-minded – it’s amazing how it takes something like this to see it. I hope we will view things differently, through a lens of common good rather than self-interest. Also, where would we be without our arts & culture?! Through this time I relied heavily on actors, artists, musicians and of course, writers. We need their work to comfort us, to help us escape, to offer hope.

Speaking of, look at what this artist Mathieu Persan made – a gorgeous poster with a simple message. Free to use as you please. We’re in this together. x


by Mathieu Persan

7 thoughts on “The Calm and The Storm

  1. I hope you don’t mind me laughing, Evie, but you dropped a few clangers here! I especially love “failing at quarantining” and “even this shitbox of a time can’t be wasted”, phrases that will only ever be understood by those who have lived through it! I don’t feel at all competitive, but I find that keeping busy takes my mind off things. I would also love to contribute to “the cause”, but don’t really know how. I saw lots of parents talking about how they would keep their kids entertained while they were off school and how they might homeschool them (out of the blue, with no experience and no curriculum), and thought I could help by creating a video recording of my book that kids could listen to, chapter by chapter, reading along if they wanted. I hate having my photo taken, never mind being on video, so it took every ounce of energy to click “post” on that first chapter! But I thought it was worth it. That is, until bloody Amashon decided to give away kids audiobooks for free! Shure, I can’t be competing with that! Anyway, I’ve started so I’ll finish! Stay safe and strong, Evie – we’re all in this together. x

    1. Oh I’m glad I made somebody laugh!! I just can’t be doing with all this ‘Hey, now is a great time to learn a new language!’ Oh piss off! But you’re right – keeping busy is a great distraction and I know I’m being unfair to people who are coming up with brilliant ways to fill the time, but I guess my timeline was just overloaded with it. Normally I’m the first one to suggest things, but crikey, this isn’t normal. Anyway, your idea was fantastic (until Amazon stole it!!). What a lovely thing to do – I can’t imagine what this is like for children or their parents for that matter. Suddenly faced with the prospect of home-schooling must be … ‘challenging’! Maybe if they did some yoga?? Or baking??? 😀 Anyway, good to hear from you, we’ll get through it, together xx

  2. It is surreal … this constant shifting from misplaced euphoria, almost, to vast existential despair. You are funny about the competitive aspect of all this creative quarantining, and cutesy Italian songs across the apartment battlements and all that. One is hoping people are getting the message and sure aren’t we great, isolating away … and then you see the queues of lemmings … I mean, people … on our beaches yesterday. What the … !!!

    1. I know! I cannot fathom the thought processes behind that. The more they ignore the very clear guidelines, the longer this will go on, the more lives at risk. And it makes me so angry that the behaviour of a few will result in less freedom for all of us. Oh anyway, I still hope that the result of the actions taken by the majority of us will result in flattening the curve. Hope you’re all keeping okay and not taking up too many new hobbies 😀

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