Hey, this is me, your locked-down conscience. Do you feel tired, bored, exhausted, terrified, overwhelmed, numb, or just anything between and beyond these? Do you also want to give in to the niche knitting of scarves, bake another sourdough or just manage to complete a Chloe Ting workout? This is your locked-down conscience asking you to STOP.
Don’t get me wrong; I am ALL for sanity. If I can binge through the entirety of my pre-watched movies to feel something, I assure you, your pursuits towards productivity are headed in the right direction. So, why am I telling you to put your knitting needles / rolling pin / study notes down? Well, for one, you know this is ‘unprecedented.’ A lockdown is not a staycation, because you are continually browsing for threats in your surroundings, your mind is the furthest from a stress-free holiday it possibly could be.
Secondly, someone’s gotta pay the corporations that survive on your lust. Yes I am talking about online fashion stores, the “20% off on ~essentials~”, the new feta cheese and cherry tomato pasta, the new house plants—whatever—pick your capitalist poison. These will momentarily make you feel better, and you deserve that! We stan you. But, not only is it bad for your poor wallet, it is fuelling your urge to slam a weak band-aid of materialist dopamine over your deep-seated void of covid existential crisis. In reality, my friend, you know it is pretty fucked that no cute delivery package could fix you overnight.
And lastly, most importantly, this is not the normal world we quite live in. Between being terrified of the rising community cases and simping over Daddy Ashley, remember that you are not supposed to be functioning normally. In survival mode, it is okay to turn to your nichest escapes and forget that the world is one big collapse of the dominoes. Yet, you are permitted to be sad, irritable, angry, bored, scared and just hopeless. Repeat after me, you do not have to be productive or normal during lockdown. And repeat it until you believe it.
“Hey so what should we do? Just wallow in our void?” Well, no and yes. I do not ask you to confront your hopelessness every night. In fact, I hope you do not have to do that. But here is the thing, you need to swallow the bitter pill of this lockdown: nothing will make it better. Yes. Nothing. No lecture you catch up on will make yourself feel productive. If there is anything that will make you feel better, it is acceptance. Because productivity in itself is a capitalist illusion designed to make you feel shit. Now you might deem me crazy with this realisation, but how the fuck can you expect yourself to be productive right now? This is a nationwide shutdown to save lives. We are locked in our houses and inside our minds. If you still think this is an opportunity for getting ahead? I hate to break it that this is remotely not a hobby-development camp to monetise on. The sooner you realise that you were not meant to work all the time for self-salvation, the better. And then maybe we will talk about our need to spend money on those knitting yarns that will gather dust when we again become robots.
“Do nothing? What about uni?!” I wish this rallies into the ears of those in-charge, but truthfully no one expects you to submit that essay by 11:59 pm. If nothing, absolutely nothing, in your life is normal right now, should assignments and workload be? If you can still work, I am proud of you. If you cannot, I am sorry and I am proud of you. However, expecting you to be on top of everything is the most miserable thing one can do. There are students who are trying, with shitty laptops, shitty internet, shitty environments and a shitty mind space. You think every day that you or your loved one could be the next community case. You wait for the 1pm briefings every day in hope that this is over soon. You worry about your sick loved ones and those you cannot meet. It is just you, locked in with a sea of worries and piles of work. If amongst all this, you reckon you can still work normally, well, fuck that. Something’s gotta change.
So, do nothing. Do something for yourself. Figure out what you *need* to survive this awful time. Miss the homies? Video call them right now. Tell your loved ones you miss them. Because the world will live another day without experiencing another home workout TikTok. So, repeat after me, you do not have to be okay. You do not have to be productive. Your lectures can wait but your well-being cannot. If you’re behind, it is okay, and thousands of us are with you. Hey, I wish I could send this directly to the VC but this counts for something. Go give yourself a hug for carrying on. I am proud of you, even if you don’t got this. We got you. And don’t spend all your money on online shopping, okay?