Write about a time you felt isolated, and how it compares to this era…

A time when I found myself alone is when my grandfather passed away last year. For whatever reason, despite the fact all my loved ones were experiencing the same rupture in their lives, I felt as though no one understood my confusion, my pain, my sense of isolation. I guess it’s comparable to this situation in that we are all experiencing the same thing but dealing with it in different ways – some have it worse than others. Some have a garden where they can sew their thoughts into, some are confined to a room in a tower block. Some get time off work, some have to brave a face. Some ritualised the art of cooking, some bathe their bodies excessively in luxurious bubble baths. Some cry, some sing, some scrub and clean every inch of their house until the paint starts to chip. You long for something that you cannot have, for something that was often never there to begin with. You start re-imagining what your life was like before the rupture. You imagine conversations you never had, places you never visited, emotions you never felt. You start to regret the things you could have done or said when you had the time and freedom. You know that life will never be the same, that you are entering into a new world that looks the same and, on some days, feels the same, but you know it’s really not. This rupture will leave an ever-lasting imprint on your world and you’re trying your best to navigate this new reality.

 

Write about the positives of this era…

I have found myself finding myself in these strange times. These days, despite the chaos on the news, the charts, the diagrams, the finger pointing, the worry, I have found myself standing still. Sitting. Breathing. Thinking. I suddenly have the time and freedom to meditate and go deep within myself. Think about who I am or who I want to be – something that I would neglect and make a million excuses for. I would blame it on the long commute, the tiring day at work, the things I ought to be doing with my time. Meditation is now my home. Breathing in the dusty air of my room and breathing the negativity, anxiety, the round-a-bout thoughts. I feel a newfound energy at the pit of my stomach, vibrating, raging, roaring…. Or was that just the bad milk I drank earlier? It was still in date, I swear I checked the label. It smelt a bit funny, but the thought of going outside to buy some more made me feel worse than any upset stomach ever would. We’re trying to be careful, you see. Ration out the food. My sister makes a chart on our fridge every time we do a big shop – she writes down every single item she bought. Eggs; milk; bread; cheese; hummus; cucumber; tomatoes; quorn; chickpeas; kidney beans; lentils; chillies; okra; pizza; potatoes; lemons… The list is too big. But she writes it all out neatly and writes how long each item will last and when it will go out of date. She comes up with combinations of dishes to make every day to assure each item never reaches its sell-by date. It’s very mathematical, it’s very calculated. It’s very nerve racking.