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Lockdown brain

Yes, we’re locked down again. Like dogs put on a leash tied to a tree. This far and not any further oh no don’t you dare. I get it, it’s the safest thing to do. But I also get how a lot of people suffer in these times. It’s mentally hard to live life between four walls, by yourself or with housemates you don’t have anything in common with or, if you’re lucky: with people you love. Sharing is a big one here. Sharing in the hours of productivity, sharing in the dullness, in the larger questions in life, in the bleh, in the high that an extended unexpected holiday can bring.

Holiday as far as a holiday can go. To the supermarket and back. I know we are super privileged to have had a year and a half of normal mask-free lives here in New Zealand. And right now, I’m in the most comfortable lockdown position possible. With my love, a warm house, a filled pantry, a beach as our front yard. Both buzzing with projects we’ve been longing to work on, but life always had other more social plans or time consuming responsibilities such as a full-time job.

And all of a sudden there is this absolute abundance of time! Hanno and I got quite excited when a potential lockdown was in the air. Three days turned into seven days and they already merged into a blur for me. The excitement and energy of the first day, of allll the things I wanted to do, has turned upside down a couple of times already. That’s just me though. Days filled with productivity and creativity, nonstop energy, have to eventually be balanced out with a day (or two) where I feel imprisoned between the walls of our house and my mind which hardly ever gives me a break. So I get under a blankie and watch documentaries all afternoon. Go to bed early sleep in late.

It’s okay to be overwhelmed with this abundance of time on one hand, and space constraint on the other. I know I’m talking to myself here, trying to calm my hyperactive brain. For others it can feel like a blessing to have all this free time to do the things you’ve been wanting to do for so long. The quietness of a country locked up inside. I try to see it that way, but I get stuck in the longing for the temporarily impossible. The touching, hugging, holding. Talking with friends face to face. Walking past someone without having to cross the street. Going home whenever I want to. Going out. Catching a flight to Belgium, easily and without needing vaccines. What I’m missing is everything like it used to be.

(Illustration by Stina De Roeck for our book Poison Ivy)

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