The Corona Diaries Week 9: Turmoil

What a week it’s been! I’ve been swamped with work from both my full-time and part-time job so it’s been very busy – but great to be writing so much! I always said this blog was to get my thoughts out on paper (or – web?), and I value honesty and integrity. I contemplated not posting this story but I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t, so here I am. It’s a bit of a long one this week – so you might want to grab a glass of wine for the ride!

I might as well get to it. The theme of this week’s post is rule-breaking because this week I broke a lockdown rule. For over two months I have adhered to every single rule, by the book. I’ve watched gangs of people walk past my house, arms around each other touching etc. but continued to stay at home and go out for one walk a day. I’ve watched people visiting my neighbours and swarms of people gathering in gangs in my local nature reserve, leaving behind their mess of rubbish, beer bottles and believe it or not – used tissues. And still, I’ve continued to play by the rules.

But this weekend I broke the rules.

For some people that won’t even be a big deal. For people like me who have been vehemently following rules, you may be aghast. But with the recent announcement about being able to meet with somebody from another household, I became excited by the prospect of finally seeing my Mum again. I can no longer walk my dog in my usual place due to the crowds, so I figured that now we can drive to do exercise, we’d go further and I’d get to see my Mum too. Win-win! I interpreted the rule as one person from a household could meet another person from another household, but James and my Dad stated that one household could meet one person from another household (what is the difference between meeting one person or the entire household?). My family are all in one household, and I decided to meet with them without James – just in case it was only one person. In hindsight, it didn’t really matter anyway, as we met in my family’s large garden. Here’s why.

All I ever hear is that we need to apply common sense to Bozza’s instructions if they’re not clear. The reason you can’t meet in a garden is that ‘lots of people don’t have gardens’ (which doesn’t even make sense) and that ‘you often have to go through the house to get to the garden’, so given that my parents’ garden can be accessed via a side gate, and is bigger than my entire house and garden combined, I used my common sense to decide it would be OK to meet there (keeping distance and not touching obviously). For the aforementioned reason of public places being jam-packed full of people right now, it would be easier to keep social distancing rules in my garden than walking in a public place with swarms of people. It’s a no-brainer, really, to me at least.

So why, then, did I waste a ridiculous amount of time panicking, feeling guilty and honestly acting like I’d murdered someone? I was plagued with panic and drove myself to despair. I’ve felt like the worst human on the planet this weekend and the levels of anxiety I’ve experienced have been off the charts. But then I look on social media and see that people are blatantly breaking rules, some people have never even followed them. Does that make it OK that I broke a rule? No, of course it doesn’t. But does it take the edge off me feeling like the single worst human being on the planet, absolutely. If Bozza turned around tomorrow and said ‘you can go and visit your family’, I’d be there like a shot. What’s the difference between today and tomorrow? Nothing, other than being told clearly that I’m allowed to. I realised that I am so hellbent on following rules, that I honestly think it’s borderline unhealthy.

As I write this, I laugh at how much I’ve worked myself up this weekend about this. You might be reading this and think I’m an awful person, or you might read it and think ‘is she really banging on this much about going to a garden?’. What I know for sure is that I’ve put myself under so much pressure about this, and I’ve learned a lot from the experience. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and do something to break the rules and become one of those people, but there is a fine line between these so-called rules, and common sense. Many people are finding themselves intentionally or unintentionally breaking rules and badly beating themselves up for doing so, and it just isn’t right. We’re turning ourselves into victims, and becoming nervous wrecks. And I’m done with it.

Obviously, I’m not condoning rule-breaking in any way. If you’re reading this and judging me, that’s OK. Trust me, I’ve judged myself ten times harder than you ever can. I’ll tell you what though – when I see the likes of Dominic Cummings – a government official – who at the time of having Coronavirus symptoms left his home to travel 260 miles to his parents’ home, as well as footballers hosting sex parties, oh – and Bugzy Malone who crashed a fucking quad bike and ended up in hospital just as the NHS was facing the most pressure it’s experienced in its entire history, breaking the rules in such dramatic fashion, I absolutely point-blank refuse to punish myself anymore. 

So there’s my week 9 lockdown confession! And whilst we’re here, I wanted to share this. Seeing my family has done something for my mind that I can’t even begin to explain to you. En route to the motorway home, I drove past my nan and grandad’s house, and I stopped to stand at the end of their path to see them from a distance, as I know other people have been doing. My aunty and uncle happened to be on their daily dog walk, so I unexpectedly got to see them too. I was physically further from all of my family members than I have been to people on my walks or in the supermarket, but being able to see them and interact face-to-face and just to see my family healthy and in person, regardless of the fact we couldn’t get close or touch, has brought me the most overwhelming sense of peace and contentment. I wish I could portray what I’m feeling right now into words, but I just don’t have them in my repertoire. I feel as though I have had an influx of energy and happiness that has completely filled a space that I didn’t realise was so empty. It will be a very special day when we can touch again, but I have had enough replenishment to last me until that day. 

So lockdown week 9 has been a strange one. But as always, a lesson has been learnt, and this week, deep contentment has been felt. However, I clearly have an issue with rule-breaking that needs working on moving forwards!

I hope you are all OK and I’ll see you next week!