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WELL I’LL BE DAMNED…

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Well, I’ll be damned! Today it’s exactly two full years since I was locked into the Rapunzel tower to be shielded from the covid virus. It’s almost like it was another time. Sure, we had seen scary reports from some virus-torn area in China, but we’d also heard our own mouthpieces say we had no reason to worry our pretty little heads with thoughts of a virus.

They can be such fools at times these people who, quite frankly, should know better.

In the Spoonieverse [1], we have something of a hive mind [2] when it comes to rumours of disease, and other misfortunes that may threaten public health. Not because we suffer from some collective Eeyoresque woe-is-us depression. No, nothing that. It’s because we’re painfully aware that whatever misery that can conceivably befall humanity will strike our citizens too. Only harder and at a much higher rate. And, historically, in the moments where our need for reliable help and support has been the direst, our governments and society at large have responded by turning their backs on us.

Perhaps it’s not entirely unreasonable, in that light, that our anxiety levels tend to rise in direct proportion to how persistently society’s pundits tell us we have nothing to fear. And this time was a textbook example of that.

In January 2020, England, and the rest of the world as far as I can see, looked at China and saw an internal problem that said more about China and the Chinese than about modern society’s ability to deal with a pandemic. There was talk of wet markets and the kind of people who would eat bats, but not much was said about what we would do if/when this virus began to spread among us “civilized” Europeans. But in the Spoonieverse, we were already prepping [3] and discussing at what point we’d have to batten down the hatches and go into isolation.

Yes, I’m laying it on (just a little), but this is what happened.

When the letter from our National Health Service (NHS) arrived in mid-March, I didn’t have to take any new safety precautions. Like many of my spoonie friends, I had already gone into isolation to avoid the coronavirus, so I was done. But for my family members (who lived with me at the time) the NHS letter brought about big changes. Inasmuch as I had readied myself for complete isolation, we hadn’t really considered enforcing total isolation on the whole house. We normally stick to rather stringent protocol to minimise the risk of infection, but now we were more or less given two options. 

Option #1 was, literally, total isolation for all of us. Option #2 was for all of us to follow a rigorous safety routine. Basically, we’d have to stay the hell away from each other. We’d have to work out how to share the bathroom, and put a system in place to disinfect all surfaces, change towels etc after each visit. We’d also have to set up a meticulous decontamination protocol for the kitchen to ensure that no surfaces, products, cups, dishes etc. could spread any germs. And we could only be in the same room for short periods of time, and only if we used protective gear and made sure the area was sufficiently ventilated.

There were a few more rules too, but you get the gist.

Now, I’m sure there are families who can live, or are forced to live, like this; but let me tell ya… Super stringent protocols aren’t exactly our family’s forte. With one exception, we’re a bunch of bohemians who take the day as it comes. The exception is my intensive care nurse son who keeps a keen eye on everything that relates to my health (and whatever else you may need to know in times like these). And he said it would be Option #1 that applied to us.

Or said and said. That’s not a fair characterisation of my youngest son. He’d never talk to me like that. He explains, carefully, what my options are and what the pros and cons of each alternative is. And he usually makes a point of telling me it’s my home and, therefore, my decision. But I’m not stupid (well, not in that respect anyway) so, obviously, I do as he says.

Option #1 it was.

Now, we’ve been isolating for two full years and only one outsider (a boiler engineer) has entered or left the house since then. Goods have been delivered to our door, or dropped off outside, by people in ppi. Initially, we had a hard time getting food, as a lot was sold out and many products suddenly were a lot more expensive than usual. It took a considerable amount of ingenuity, but we did get to eat (soup and sourdough bread) every day, and with one exception I got my medication delivered. And for a while, we were together, but the 12 weeks kept being extended.

Now, it’s just me and #3 left. He’s been outside the house three times and I’ve been outside twice for our COVID vaccinations. It’s been the weirdest two years of my life, yet in many ways, I’m better off than I could have hoped for. And I’m eternally grateful for that. I did hit the proverbial wall and “lost” a full year of whatever social interactions can be had with people you cannot see or touch. Truth be told, I’m still losing out as I, quite frankly, find it too painful to deal with most of it. But I haven’t given up all hope of a post-pandemic life.

I keep doing what I can to keep myself busy and to feel like I still have a purpose. I lend a hand to others where I can, and continue to work on getting The Resilience, my imaginary pirate ship ready for our maiden voyage. If you like patterns, you may have noticed that I wrote the previous posts in this countdown on the 15th of January and February. This, the third and final countdown post will be published on the 15th of March, and after that my dream is to be able to keep feeding this space with a slow trickle of content. 

If I can do that, then this may truly become the greenhouse for personal growth and professional development I was hoping I could create.

I’m something of a Norse völva at heart, and I do like number symbolism and other things that make life better or more interesting. Like New Year’s resolutions and kindness, for example. I think we should start our journey with a discussion about goal setting and kindness. 

What do you say? Shall we bet on a full year? For me to populate this space with enough articles to actually be able to call it a coaching blog? And in the meantime, we can keep hanging out here, covid style, with finger food, tea and talk? Sounds good?

Then let’s go for it!

I’ll keep on doing my thing and see what I can do about getting us ready for a greenhouse party a year from now. Big, warm hugs to you, my friend, and thank you very much for popping in to see me today! I really do appreciate it.

Much love,

//Evalena 😘

© Evalena Styf, 2022

PSSST!

      1. The Spoonieverse, is my name for the vast parallel universe of the unwell, where all of us who have been deemed useless are deported when we become too ill, or too incapacitated, to pass as normies. It was for all of us, and our allies, that I started the Spoonieverse blog (almost) ten years ago.
      2. Hive mind is another name for what psychologists and sociologists call a collective consciousness. In short, the hive mind explains how a group of people (like bees in a hive (hence the name)) can develop a kind of collective consciousness, sharing a set of opinions and values ​​that unite and keep the group together. From there, they can also grow a collective understanding of social norms and knowledge of things that can benefit or damage the hive. (Please note, this is a super-simplified explanation based on the theories of French sociologist Émile Durkheim and his book The Division of Labour in Society from 1893. If you want to get a better understanding, I recommend that you read more about yourself and take a closer look at the differences of opinion regarding what Durkheim “really” meant and intended. It is rather exciting and it was a central part of the reading both in my political education and in my teacher training.)
      3. Prepping is a cooler (?) way of saying ‘preparing.’ That is, everything you do to be ready, or prepared, in the event of a disaster and/or accident.
Evalena Styf
The Resilience

After 25 years of anonymous blogging on a number of free platforms, Evalena decided to go pro and put all of her writings on a private wall. In her personal blogs, she primarily writes about personal and professional development; living the dream; and how to go on living, and loving, when everything seems to be falling apart.

Using her knack for storytelling, Evalena dives into a sea of personal and professional experiences to bring a wide range of difficult and diverse topics to the surface. Get onboard and let’s talk about funkophobia, social exclusion, chafing societal norms, mental & physical health issues, racism, poverty, identity, creativity, nerdiness, lusting for life and longing for death. Then we’ll have a bite and proceed to the heavy stuff…

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