Well, is it Tuesday or is 2023.
Truth be told, I’ve lost all sense of time, place, rhythm, and almost sanity, since this surreal sense of separation started.
And I’m also disorientated but my strange new world of shift work, so…I’m really not sure if I’m coming, going, or completely lost in Jumanji Level 4.
To paraphrase Tupac, I didn’t choose the lonely Lockdown life, the lonely Lockdown life choose me…and the struggle is resilience-testing real.
Yeah, yeah, like I’ve stressed before, I do strictly get the Social Distance stuff, I Stay at Home happily, and I really rate us all doing exactly what we are told to do…for once.
But, I’m not going to lie to you, I am so struggling with the severe loss of social connection
It’s hit me like a sharp smack in the face that, no matter how ‘Cool a Cat’ I think I am, I’m actually totally tactile, have zilch spatial awareness, love a big, juicy bear hug.
And yearn for those those day to day cheeky kisses, cute cwtches, slight touches of the arm, or even purely professional handshakes.
So thank you to all those fabulous friends, who saw I was missing my mojo last weekend and reached out, (yeah, I know it’s a wishy-washy Millennial phase but it’s absolutely appropriate here), to keep my flagging spirits up.
Finding me on FaceTime, Facebook, all the other plethora of social media platforms, or just through good-old fashioned phone calls, to try to keep me connected to the wild and wonderful word I feel I have woefully lost.
I adore you all for virtually holding my, now not so manicured, hands through these totally tough times.
And if I’ve never told you before, I love the bones of you. I’m am telling you now, and will always tell you in future…promise.
Many thanks to my wider social media squad too who though their mad memes, quirky quotes, lively links, cheeky challenges, and back in the day trips down memory lane, have played a lockdown blues blinder.
Saturday’s slump was made so much sweeter by the shock sharing of our Bryn Hafren sports squads piccies circa 1983.
I’m the cute one with wonky teeth, pre big Girls brace, and very bizarre hair style dyed brunette (!) proudly picked for both the Badminton and Hockey Teams.
In the first I’m wearing a fabulously sharp Fred Perry, in the second a banging pair on Bumper Boots so it wasn’t all horrendous haircuts, and crap clothes. I wish I still had them now truth be told.
Reckon we should have called the Fashion Police though over the curious colour choice of uniform – absolutely criminal to make teenage girls wear bottle green.
Take a pew too though, if you think I’m being frivolous, and/or flippant, over the Corona Virus Crisis.
Those devastated with the death of loved ones, those whose nearest and dearest are fighting for their lives as I type, and those who have to cope with their much-loved family or friends being buried without them there.
Please don’t also assume that I don’t, sympathise, and emphasise, with those struggling financially, or put into even more into poverty by the Covid 19 consequences.
And I also have utmost admiration and awe for the key workers, myself and colleagues included actually, keeping our country running. I salute you.
I’m just making the point that there could be a very heavy price to pay for the social distancing strategy that, in my view, hasn’t been fully factored in.
Some experts even believe that a long, indefinite period of lockdown could cause more harm than the virus itself – soaring unemployment, domestic violence, food poverty, and mental illness.
This point of view resonates most with me at the moment, as many of us find ourselves socially isolated for the first time ever.
There are loads, like a very dear mate of mine, who is anxious, upset, and properly petrified that her lovely little family will fall foul of the virus.
I have fitness loving friends stuck at home, whose complete coping mechanisms have crumbled – be it training for a Triathlon, a good old Zumba dance with the Girls, or a kick about with the Boys.
My fellow Arts lovers are struggling too as we always found our soul’s solace, in live music, movies, theatre, and other adventures.
And what about the fragile minds of those suffering physical, and or emotional abuse – plus those kids whose safest sanctuary is sadly outside the home.
For me, it’s a societal mental health perfect storm just waiting to break.
We may be in the new normal, taking time to slow down, reflect and take stock. And sure we can appreciate more cwtches with kids, time spent training indoors, or streaming stuff to watch.
But I am convinced when we come out the other side, knowing the true value of human connection, we will still so want to be social.
Because, truth be told, it’s not just about the actual sports, shops, arts, adventures, pubs or other places is it.
So for me, who lovingly longs to getting my lush little life back, we should start thinking of this tough time, as physical distancing with strong social connecting.
Can we please concentrate on that closeness through our virtual visions, happy House Party Apps, or just standing at the gate as we shout to Mum on the step.
Let’s look long and hard at how our new daily habits can help us to still stay close as we can emotionally even though we know that physically we must step well away.
I also do realise I am so blessed to have such a strong, long-standing support system, to see me through the odd Lockdown wobble.
And I am more mildy melancholy, with the odd very mini meltdown, rather than overly anxious or dangerously depressed.
But I do get that, in these these strange, and quite frankly scary times, as always, it’s definitely #OkNotToBeOk.
Special shout out too, to the many community groups, like Barry COVID-19 Community Group, who can offer advice, assistance and support.
We WILL get through this – with personal responsibility, community cohesion, national solidarity.
The kindness of strangers – and a little help from our friends.
You know where I am if you need me.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.