Saturday, 28 March 2020

social closeness...

I’m sick. I know, I know,  this is hardly the way to start a post in a blog that claims not to ever put out anything negative but, it’s true, I am sick and I thought I just say it and get it out of the way.

Now, I live in a country where testing for Covid-19 is... well... let’s say scarce. Looking at the list of symptoms this damn virus causes, from WHO, I would say that things don’t look exactly fabulous for me. However,  and this is the most important thing, my symptoms are mild! I’m not in danger. I have been, of course, in absolute isolation for almost ten days now (not that I was really out and about the weeks before that), I’m not coming into contact  with anyone, I’m staying in bed watching “The Blacklist” (yes, Red is my new crush... duh...), drinking a lot of fluids and monitoring my fever which thankfully stays low.

And as I live through this, certain that this too will pass, I’m thinking hard to find something positive to write about, in this whole... well... pile of excrement the world has ended into... and it’s hard, you know, it’s hard to find something positive in a time of a pandemic, social distancing, isolation, fear, sickness and death... even I, the pathological optimist, find it hard...

And then, my phone chimes! That’s it! I realise that in the last two weeks my phone has been on fire! WhatsApp has never been used so much, mostly sharing of hilarious videos with my friends because, surely, we can joke about everything (and we should, especially at a time like this) but also for my amazing friends to check up on me every few hours! Isn't this wonderful? Isn’t this “better than shoes”? You bet it is! It seems to me that the social distancing has brought us closer together! I’m on the phone with my loved ones 4-5 times a day, texting does literally not stop, I have contacted and been contacted by people I haven’t spoken with in a long time and, goodness, what a blessing this is! We are all housebound but we are not alone! We are all in this together! And we will stay together, while maintaining our physical distance, and we will come out on the other side! As long as we stay kind and we care about each other and for everyone, this stupid bug cannot win!

So, stay calm, stay kind, think of others (especially the ones living on their own), send a text (or ten...), keep in touch! This is it, people! It’s now that we are showing who we are! Let’s be proud of what we showed now when we look back at this time, later this summer, seated on a nice terrace, sipping a G&T with our buddies 😉

Monday, 16 March 2020

being kind...

This post is being written at a time when The Netherlands, my host country for almost two decades, is in lockdown due to the Coronavirus. It is written at a time when #staythefuckhome is trending everywhere in social media and has popped in front if my eyes at least 11 times this weekend... and, I did not like it. And it got me thinking. So, here goes.

Just to be clear, I’m all in favour of staying home. It’s absolutely imperative! It’s Monday and I’ve been home since Friday evening, when I came back from work with my laptop and files, ready to start working from home. Officially, I was not sent home. I was advised to work from home. And I’m doing it because it’s a damn good advise, although I have no desk or proper chair and I will be struggling with tiny screen on my kitchen table for the days to come. But it must be done and I’m doing it. And I will not be going to the supermarket, I’ll make do with what I have at home, a couple of weeks without fresh veggies will not kill me. And I will not be seeing my friends. I will be “seeing” my sofa and my companion will be Netflix.

But while I do all that, I’ll keep being kind! I will not be ordering anyone to f@cking do anything because it is exactly at times like this that we must maintain our civility to each other, advise and explain rather than succumb into fear mongering, contain our aggression which stems only from our anxiety and not allow our fear to turn us into rabid animals in our cages that fight each other via Facebook! The only thing we have to fear is fear itself and as intelligent beings we should start using our intelligence!

Yes, many of us will get sick. And some tragically will die but, for goodness sake, try to imagine yourselves in the 97% which will survive instead of the 3% which will die... you are not that special anyway and neither am I! Get some perspective! Some optimism never hurt anyone! And while you are being cautious and prudent and optimistic, strongly recommended given the circumstances, also try to be kind! Try to be compassionate and carrying and nice and helpful. Most of us, by far the most, will survive the virus... and we would like to go out for a drink with some friends to celebrate it! Let’s make sure we have friends left 😉

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

safety...

Yesterday was a day of revelation... As I’m slowly getting back to my work routine, after having spent the last three months recovering from a rather severe burnout and trying to reprogram my brain to set healthy boundaries (who am I kidding... we are talking a full reboot!), and also after having had a long conversation with a friend last week about matters of the heart, yesterday it actually came to me: the most important thing in a personal relationship, whether friendly or amorous, is feeling safe! Safe to be ourselves, safe to express what we feel and what we think without being afraid that that will lead to abandonment! Personal relationships should provide a safe space!

I have very often in my life felt unsafe in a relationship... in fact, since I was a kid, the thing I craved the most was safety... ironically, it is the one thing I have not found in my personal life with the exception (and it’s a big one!) of my wonderful friends! Who do indeed provide a safe space for me to be myself, to not sensor my thoughts, my actions, my words... because they know that it all comes from a good place, from love, from care, from honesty... Although... lately I have reconsidered a friendship precisely because it pushed me to the position of having to filter what I say, to avoid talking about things that worry me, that concern me, things that are part of my life... and it has not been easy because it is the first time that I have actually focused on how I feel in a relationship rather than how the other person would feel...

And this was instrumental in me reaching the conclusion that it is safety that is the most important thing in a relationship... often, especially in romantic relationships, because we feel so many other things (love, lust, longing, pleasure, fear...) we forget to ask ourselves the most important question: does this person make me feel safe? Because, what is the point in being in a relationship that makes us feel unsafe? One that does not come naturally, one that we have to constantly fight for, one we have to chase after and that we have to hide our true self? Isn’t it doomed to fail? I think it is! So, ask yourselves whether you feel safe in your relationships... the answer might surprise you but, me thinks, it is important! Feeling safe in a relationship is truly better than shoes!

Ps. Obvs, I’m talking about emotional safety... if you actually feel physically unsafe, run!!