Perhaps it is foolish to be thinking ahead to a post-quarantine time as we don’t really know when the pandemic will decrease to the point that we can resume a sense of normalcy and safety. After all, the number of shelter-in-place orders increased this week, for us here at Contemporary Spinster, the novelty of staying home, all the time, has officially completely worn off (it it was ever there to begin with). Without an end in sight, we are coping here at Contemporary Spinster, but we are also looking forward to what we will be able to do once it is safe to go outside and be with people again.
First, our newest writer Monetta introduces herself and bring us up to speed on how the novel coronavirus is impacting her life and community.
Monetta: I am 36 years old. I live in St Lucia; a small island nation in the Caribbean. I suffer from multiple chronic illnesses including asthma. On March 13th, we recorded our first case. After the second case was recorded on March 15th, I decided to go into self isolation. This meant a loss of all income as I only teach in-person yoga classes. On March 19th, non-essential services were shut down and an 11pm to 5am curfew was enacted. On March 23rd airports were closed to incoming traffic. On March 29th the first case of community spread was confirmed; at that time, all liquor licences were suspended and the curfew was extended to 8pm to 5am. On March 31st, after several violations of the new measures, a 24/7 curfew was announced. The government has also provided groceries for the elderly and vulnerable. So far we have no deaths.
Personally I am doing okay in general. Mostly up, but I have my moments of worry and anxiety. I have my medications and food. I have run out of fresh vegetables, which is frustrating because I don’t eat canned food as it sometimes leads to an allergic reaction. I have also run out of supplements (I have clinical deficiencies). Some of the supplements are on the island, but the shipping company is closed. I have been going live twice weekly on Instagram and Facebook with 30 minutes of yoga and meditation. I have been posting regularly on my YouTube channel. I finished editing my short poetry book and it is now available on Amazon. I am trying to walk 1 mile back and forth in the street in front of the yard. For me the most important thing right now is to take time to just be. Staying home is not new to me but the added fear of covid-19 is. I am breaking up big tasks into small ones and trying to stay focused on my overall goal of healing ancestral trauma and standing up for myself. I look forward to taking long walks when this is all over and spending time with my friends.
Rose: Right now outside feels like the Truman Show. It’s “off” but exists. Since I gave up buffet for Lent if my downtown Indian buffet survives I will be back there. I will go to church and worship in community. I will be back with my running and tri teams. And hopefully get to race again.
Ellen: I’m into my third week now, and I’ve turned a bit of a corner; I’m leaning into it rather than allow myself to be riddled with fear and uncertainty. Limiting my news intake to briefings from my governor has allowed me to cope much better, and of course, Spring couldn’t be arriving at a better time; there’s something comforting being witness to the earth waking up from a long winter. The first thing I plan to do when this is over is grab my husband, pack my bags and go away for a long weekend.
Laura: I’m doing okay, I think because I am quarantined with some of my family. If I was alone, I think this would be a very different experience for me, so I feel really grateful that I have a place (as a full-time van-lifer) to shelter until this is over. I love being outdoors (it’d hard to be a vanlifer and ultra runner if one doesn’t), but I have found myself wanting to spend every waking hour outside. I dream about running the trails, and the first thing I am going to do after the quarantine is listed is get outside and run trails farther than my local community.
Jaymee: Last week was rough for me. So this week, Michelle found an app called HouseParty, and we used it daily once we set it up. Basically, it is like FaceTime, but it comes with games so you can play with friends or just chat about whatever. Even though some days we only did it for a few minutes it was so nice to laugh and connect with people again. The games were such a good distraction as they always made us laugh and got our mind off of real life for a bit.
Michelle: Yes Houseparty has been fun and reminds me of the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It really has helped to laugh to combat the anxiety and keep up the hopeful positive feelings. I also came across an article addressing this anxious feeling most of us seem to have right now. It said that our minds are constantly in fight or flight mode, especially with news and fear spreading going on. So to combat this, when you start to feel that anxiety or fear, stop and concentrate on gratitude. Speak out loud something you are grateful for and in that moment, the wiring in your brain switches and takes you out of fight or flight mode. If you are having a particular down moment and don’t have anything to be grateful for, thank the medical workers and reseacrhers on the front lines, looking for a cure, that helps to put things in perspective.
Also, I made my first delivery for the Mutual Aid Covid Volunteer group, a single other in my area needed groceries delivered, as was almost out of food. I communicated with her and she only asked for milk, bread, eggs and cereal. The very simplistic need forced me to reflect on all the crap I still buy for myself. I fulfilled her order and threw in some fresh fruit and produce and some treats for the kids. When I delivered, the woman’s teenage son was sitting outside and helped me carry the bgs to the door. He was very sweet and thanked me multiple times. It felt good to help.
How are you coping? What are you looking forward to after the quarantine is over?