Normally, I can barely muster a pot noodle when I’m feeling down. These are not normal times. I feel like a weird stepford wife in a strange disaster movie. I have just baked a lovely white loaf of bread and broccoli and stilton soup – all from scratch… for lunch …whilst looking like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards. I have mascara streaks down my cheeks from crying earlier because I saw a post on Instagram that really resonated – full of anxiety – cancelled plans; scary news; concern that their dad was still going out to the shops. I reflected on all the things I was anxious about, not least, my 82 year old dad fetching his morning paper. I felt overwhelmed. I guess the most surprising thing is I actually put mascara on in the first place this morning! I consider mascara as essential as brushing my teeth. When I stop doing either I am in trouble but at this rate I might have to rethink my stance on mascara!.
I read a heartbreaking post on fb. An old school friend’s wife is in intensive care in an induced coma while she fights this killer virus. He has a daily update from a designated liaison officer. A nurse brushes his wife’s teeth every day. There is humanity and hope.
I first learned to make bread in another strange episode of my life … when I moved to America. Like now, I was isolated from my friends and family. It was the first time in 20 years that I had time on my hands. I didn’t work. I had high hopes and huge plans to do art, to learn new skills, to study. I didn’t! I baked bread and I wondered what the fuck had happened to me and life as I knew it. I’m still wondering now! I blogged about it at the time.
People in lockdown are finding themselves with time and a pressure to do something meaningful. Twats like me post pictures of lovely homebaked bread. People share their new ‘artistic journeys’ or the amazing impact of their new keep fit regimes. My own post is illustration enough that posts on social media are not real. Sure I baked some bread but I am utterly lost and bewildered by what is happening in the wider world and in my home. Summer holiday plans in ruins, GCSE’s for my son, my daughters art course, cancelled concerts, postoperative physio therapy cancelled, broken washing machine…All overwhelm! That’s just short term… long term thoughts threaten to engulf me. At the same time I am truly thankful that we are safe, that I don’t have the daily risks that others have… but this also adds guilt to the mix.
So, just like 10 years ago, I bake bread, I post glossy pics on social media. I apply mascara and try to make sense of the strange times I find myself in!