Bet you thought I’d gone, right? Well, you’d be partially correct. Everyone has been putting on a brave face around the Covid stuff but for me it’s been personally very hard.
See, as you might have guessed from the content of this blog, I’m not quite the average Joe. I have a number of entertaining mental health issues; nothing big enough to have me carted off to a nice, quiet, padded cell to dribble away the hours, but enough to make every waking moment during this health crisis a living nightmare.
I didn’t like the world much before, to be honest. Too loud, too in your face, nowhere to find a little bit of peace. And then Covid came along and the Government ordered me to do what I’ve always wanted to do – avoid people, stay in my little shell away from the world.
But there’s a problem with that. I moan about the world, I moan about people and I planned for a rainy day when I could just take a deep breath and forget the outside. And when that rainy day came? It was hell.
Pictured – not hell. Hell Bunny. Lovely 1950s chiffon housedress and an over-pleased housewifey Sarah.
Now this is partly (mostly, but don’t tell her) down to dear old Sarah. I last got a chance to swish around in petticoats and clouds of Chanel No.5 in December 2019, then missed a session in Feb; I was shaven, in the hotel, bag full for frocks, heart a flutter, and I woke up with the worst viral conjunctivitis, temperature, and a cough that last eight weeks. Sound familiar?
So my Sarah urges were flaring right at the start of the lockdown – I went into fourteen days voluntary self-isolation and as that ended the Government lockdown came into place.
My gender issues combined with a lot of emotional baggage mean I’m always on the edge of anxiety anyway, and the lockdown, instead of being a relaxing ‘don’t see anybody’ time became a period where the days were all the same; I’d wake up in fear, not knowing why I was terrified, then the realisation of the situation would fall in on me. I’d spend all day doing the same things, obeying the exercise rules strictly (in April I cycled 400 miles and ruined my knees), working from home; but every day started to blend into each other.
Pictured – my dream would be to work from home like this. Instead it was all pyjama bottoms and T-shirts. And hats when I got to six months without a haircut. It was dreadful, darlings, dreadful.
On top of that I was convinced I’d never get a chance to be Sarah again. I was seeing too many businesses folding, one of the lovely places I get my retro frocks from, Lindy Bop, went under. My drab hairdresser who I have been going to for twenty years went out of business. Everything seemed suddenly too real and too scary.
I watched as the Government reacted slowly, then stupidly fast, then slowly, the obvious lack of anything close to an intelligent response becoming clearer by the day. It’s not their fault – I worked in Government for most of my career, and it’s not a well oiled machine by any stretch of the imagination.
April, May, June were a dark period. For everyone. Never before in this country, the UK, has a ruling body told people to stay in their homes for a long period of time. Shopping was horrid, people either disregarding the rules on social distancing or sending daggers at you if you dared to stand closer than ten feet away. All the restaurants were closed, and those that opened for takeout were great but the whole exercise of ordering, waiting in line and the rest was anxiety-inducing, at least for me.
Pictured – not anxiety-inducing, gorgeously cute 1940s dress from Collectif.
Then my knees and my back curtailed my exercise, and I took to eating way too much and drinking every night just to sleep. And nothing I ate satisfied me; I’d have a craving for food, cook it, eat it, and be immediately hungry, or at least craving, straight after.
This is what stress and anxiety does to you, and we’ve all been under this for too long to be healthy.
And then the restrictions started to be lifted. The sun came out, which was a bad thing as I hate the heat but what the hey. And I had a chance to get some quick Sarah time in before the inevitable second wave arrives.
And it was glorious. I literally had to bite the inside of my cheek as I saw Sarah, still there, a little overweight but given the copious amounts of alcohol and hot food I’ve been shovelling down my gullet, it was a miracle I didn’t have to be wheeled in on a pallet.
Pictured – losing weight the 1950s housewife way, smoking and drinking (and looking sophisticated and stylish in a gorgeous Lux Fix 1950s frock that flatters my beer-figure)
And it struck me how lucky I’ve been. Pretty sure I had Covid; I now eat very hot spicy food and can barely taste it. And I had a chance to indulge my inner girl for the first time in eight months.
We are tottering on slipping back into lockdown, be it locally or country-wide, but I now know that this will pass. The anxiety is much better; still there when I go out shopping, like I did this morning looking like a reject from Mortal Kombat, but it’s bearable because I know this will pass.
And I know that Sarah hasn’t gone away.
The biggest problem we all have and had during the lockdown, other than avoiding a horrible virus, is that we suddenly had too much time to think. I realised a couple of critical things – firstly, Sarah is me and always will be a part of me. I came close to the standard tranny-trope of purging, closer than I’ve been in a long time, and it was only because I was terribly stressed and the situation was so wrong, but still, being able to come through that and realise that even in her absence I could feel her was a solace.
Pictured – I don’t play Golf, but Sarah seems to think she does, or at least loves the Pink golfer outfit I bought her….
Secondly I realised that I work to be Sarah, period. Work is no fun when there’s no way to spend my earnings on her. That was troubling; I found it very hard to get excited and motivated about working 40 hours a week when there was no Sarah time to alleviate the drabness.
Thirdly I realised that the rainy day I planned for was a fallacy. I put aside a tonne of things just for the eventuality that I’d be stuck at home, and when I was stuck at home I had no urge to do any of them. In fact I felt guilty looking at the piles of activity stuff because I wasn’t doing it. That was an eye-opener as well.
It may all sound like first world problems but as I said we have had way too much time to think. Modern society is designed for us to be dragged along through our days by stimulus, the phone, the bright lights, the loud music, the constant stream of voices telling us to spend and do. An when you can’t spend or do the system falls apart, and everyone ends up sat at home feeling hollow, scared and lost.
Right now I’m riding a wave of Sarah but I made myself one promise during the darkest part of my personal lockdown. From now on I will grab every opportunity for pleasure that I get. No more dithering on whether to go somewhere, whether that £300 pound dress is a good buy or not, and whether I am Sarah or not. Life is literally too short for that rubbish.
So some good has come out of this silliness for me personally. Now if the virus would just die off or some bright spark can create a vaccine so I can go back to being bored with my life that would be swell.
Stay beautiful, stay sane and remember that too much spare time to think doesn’t mean your thoughts are correct. Over analysis is a horrible way to punish yourself. Take a deep breath, open a beverage of choice, and think of the near future because it will be yours, I promise.
Pictured – 2020 has been such a rotten year so far it was nice to time travel back to the 1950s in what is now my favourite dress, an ‘I Love Lucy’ full skirted house dress. Yeah, I spent a long time flouncing in this and staring at the retro woman in the mirror. And I may have had to hold in some tears of joy as well.