outbreak

It all happened so fast, and it’s hard to say where it all began. It is evident now though that there is a dividing line between before and after. A ribbon tying up our lives as they were, and then an infinite section of time, in which no one knows if life will ever be the same again. We feared and anticipated so many things for this year; a global pandemic was not one of them. Everything is so unimaginably different, and yet simultansouly so mind-numbingly the same. There is no routine, and yet every day is a repetition of the day before. There is nowhere to go except the bubble we’ve created inside these four walls.

Unable to go out unless exercise and essentials deem it neccesary. Unable to meet, hug, touch each other. Look around, and everything is shut down. Shops are closed, schools are shut, exams are cancelled. It’s like the whole world ground to a halt, and we slowed down with it. We’re still carrying on and living our lives from one day to the next, but it feels like we don’t really know who we are or what our purpose is anymore. It’s an effort just to pick up a pen and write. In a world where even our own survival is thrown into question, there is little room for inspiration or creativity. The world is in turmoil around us. People are dying, and we cannot discredit the gravity of the situation.

Now we have what seems like a undefinable amount of time ahead of us, the pressure is on for us to pursue the things we don’t normally have time for. All around us on social media and in our conversations is the nagging sense that we must improve ourselves, do something useful with our time, make a difference to the world. In an ideal world, we would. We’d become perfect versions of ourselves, make the world that we will return to after this somewhere we really want to be in. But this is not a perfect world; if this year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected, not to attach ourselves to a vision of how we want things to be.

The changes going on around us don’t mean we should destroy ourselves trying to be people we’re not or attempting to do things that are, realistically, unacheiveable. We cannot expect to thrive in this uncertain environment. We are surviving, stronger with every day we wake up, and that is all that matters. Perhaps we should use this time, not to recreate ourselves, but to really see ourselves for who were are. We are enough. In the middle of the chaos, breathe, and remember we are miracles, simply because we exist.

Poem: Tonight

Tonight the sky is rose-tinged

in the shade that soothes our tears

painting smiles to cover fears,

serene and soft as darkness falls.

Now deepening to purple,

violet at horizon’s reach

shrouds unknown steeps

in mystery as the shadows call.

Beyond what is above

a woven silk of stars

adorned in silver, waiting to be ours –

once we endure the unremitting night

we’ll free the dawn in incandescent light