Thoughts, feelings and emotions from a cancerian in lockdown

Writing on my blog I always feel as though I should set the scene, give a little background or some depth to what it is I’m writing about before I write it. Much like the very unnecessary diary entries, I used to write, speaking to my diary as though it was a person promising ‘I’ll write soon!’ Or ‘I’ll be back in a minute I’m just having my dinner’ (yes I still cringe at those diary entries to this day) though in saying that there’s probably not a single page I don’t cringe at when reading it back. 

 Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it feels like I should explain the situation in the world right now before going into this post but unless you’ve been living under a rock or like Jared Leto you took a hiatus when this began you’ll know that we are living in the midst of a pandemic, and honestly, there’s no easy way to go about saying that, it’s certainly not a sentence I thought I’d ever have to write out for my blog but here we are. 

 Firstly to whom who may be reading I hope you’re okay and staying safe out there or shall I say (inside) make sure you’re looking after and being mindful to yourself and others. 

 I started writing this post around 3 weeks ago now when we were fresh into lockdown here in the UK with the intention of it being a sort of helpful guide on how to spend your time in quarantine. Last year when I found myself desperately searching for a job I had a lot of time to myself inside the house feeling separated from the world and all its order but to write about how I spent my time and how I managed to keep my myself positive just didn’t feel like the right answer right now, it's in no way the same on any level. I didn’t think it would be right to tell people what to do, think or say during a time like this, much like anything in life we all have our ways of coping differently. 

Truthfully it’s taken me so long to write this post for that exact reason, finding the right things to say during a time like this isn’t easy, not to mention I find myself struggling at the best of times nowadays to write let alone during a pandemic. However, I wanted to write a post in some ways to document this time, to speak openly about my thoughts, my feelings and any emotions that have come up during this time. It's important to know that we are all in this together (not to go all high school musical on you) but we are and if anyone reading this feels like they need someone to talk to, at anytime my messages are always open. 

I’m now a full month into staying home and staying safe something that in some ways still feels like a dream. I remember the night of the prime minister announcing a lockdown I left a rather sombre and down beaten work closing early to walk into Tesco and ringing my mum to ask if we needed anything, telling her it's probably best we pick up a few essential things we may need. It feels like a lifetime ago now, oh my haven't the weeks been going fast?? That night like most, I knew it was just a matter of time before we were asked to stay home rather than carrying on with our lives as normal. I still think back now having conversations at work prior to all this happening and me saying 'Nah I don't think it'll come to that' how naive I was. Still, it's happened and so it began life in quarantine.

I found myself one-day scrolling through numerous articles titled ‘how your star sign is surviving lockdown’ mostly through aimlessly scrolling the kind where one thing leads to another and before you know it you're so far from the app you opened in the first place, that is all before you've flicked tirelessly between Twitter, then Instagram then back to Twitter again closing down the app to reopen it again and ended straight back onto Instagram, that is if you're anything like me.
Since following the topic 'astrology' and 'horoscopes' on Twitter my fascination for them has instantly heightened - if you can’t tell by now I love to bang on about my star sign when given the chance, no I don’t know why I’m like it either. Most of the time stumbling across those articles I immediately find myself irritated at the depiction of a Cancer (whilst also low-key agreeing).

We do other things than cry, okay??

The first article 'This is what your star sign is probably doing during lockdown' fortunately wasn’t met with ‘crying at a nature documentary with a box of tissues in front of the tv’ instead, it stated that Cancer's are probably the least affected sign by the lockdown. Something that has circled back to me a few times since this all began. As stupid and as trivial as it may sound, in some ways being a crab sign I feel like I'm always ready to retreat back to my home, to my sanctuary to rebalance and recenter. We pop our heads out of our shell for a little bit and retreat back in when we feel like we need it. So in some ways, I feel like I've always been ready for something like this (to an extent)

Since this all began I've been asked ‘how’re you, how have you been coping, what have you being doing’ which in all honesty is the only thing we can all ask right now. I even asked Jay 'wuu2?' the other day mostly because I've asked it so much just recently it felt necessary to call upon the old MSN days. For the most part, my reply has been 'you know I think I’m actually doing okay’ something that I know I'm overwhelmingly grateful for but again a quality in which my sign posses and that is the need and enjoyment of time spent alone, for some, not for all but for me especially I cope well on my own, scarily well sometimes.
The thoughts and the emotions we Cancerians build up so much in our minds is essential to practice for those much needed alone times, much because we'll otherwise explode our emotions over others like a volcanic eruption. I know I said we do other things than cry (we do) just not all the time okay??

"Time spent alone throughout my life has allowed me to harness this ability to keep busy, a coping mechanism that comes from my love of being creative and my damn right craziness. Since this all began I've been constantly thinking about the next thing, the next thing I can write, the next thing I can watch, read or create"

Time spent alone throughout my life has allowed me to harness this ability to keep busy, a coping mechanism that comes from my love of being creative and my damn right craziness. Since this all began I've been constantly thinking about the next thing, the next thing I can write, the next thing I can watch, read or create there hasn’t been a minute I’ve found myself bored, which I'm very thankful for. It also keeps my mind from wandering off to missing Jay, to the world outside and the constant fluctuation in news.

In saying that I think it's so important to stay grounded and in the real world as much as it feels safe in which to do so at the moment. For me this time has allowed me to connect in a different way to others. During our everyday routine, we often forget to check in with people, not purposely or through any fault but quite simply just because life got in the way. Reconnecting with connections has been immensely healing right now even though I'm still not 100% sold on video chats. One day this week I found myself in a conference-style call for photographers, a question and answer with industry experts not even 5 seconds into the call I realised everybody was sat facing their cameras ready to chat face to face with ~strangers~ my mic and camera stayed in total stillness and I left the chat quicker than you could say 'Corona'. Too soon, (sorry).

No shortages of gratitude right now either that's for sure, whether it's being grateful to have health, an incredible healthcare system, a roof over your head or flour in the cupboard (trust me that flour was hard to come by, us Cancerians are bakers too you know) this time has really made me stop and look at what I have, what I'm grateful and thankful for. Those late-night calls, the tiger king memes (queue Carole Baskin, killed her husband wacked him stuck in your head for the rest of this post, you're welcome), the warmth and fresh show of sunshine, that book, that film or that cup of coffee you get to enjoy in the morning without feeling the need to chuck it down your throat before work.

 I've been super grateful to have my mum with me at the moment too, whether I'm tired from work, she's tired from work, or we don't cross paths during the day or at the weekends usually, right now it's allowed us to spend some time together, and god do me and my mum enjoy a cup of tea and a natter. I've also been getting her into a few films and TV series including a marvel marathon and I've even got her to watch one episode of Game of Thrones, though I have a feeling that one episode is going to stay that way. The one thing we've been enjoying the most (I say enjoying she would say more enduring) is workout sessions I've put together to keep us both active and focused. You all know how much I love working out (mad I know) so getting to share that with someone else has been super supportive as well as hugely motivating. One of the reasons I first started working out in the first place came from a need to keep myself active during the time I was out of a job and continuing to do so now has been a great help to get me going in the morning.

I'd say it's definitely been needed too as late, despite being short on flour for a good while, both I and my mum have managed to pull through with the goods over the past few weeks on the baking side of things making cookies, chocolate topped cupcakes, rice crispy cakes, jam and lemon curd tarts and fresh out the oven just now has came brownies. (told you us cancers love to bake)

"No shortages of gratitude right now either that's for sure, whether it's being grateful to have health, an incredible healthcare system, a roof over your head or flour in the cupboard, this time has really made me stop and look at what I have, what I'm grateful and thankful for".

I've been learning to speak Spanish again these past few weeks too (I know) something I used to love doing when I was at school, it still bugs me to this day I didn't keep it up. I could have been fluent by now (yeah right) something that persuaded me to do so after getting hooked and invested in both Elite and Money Heist on Netflix the past few weeks I've been darting backwards and forwards between them and loving every second. There's something I love about watching things in another language something that feeds my brain and engages me in all the right ways. Let's be honest here there was no way I was planning on watching the dubbed versions, somehow it manages to strip the entire essence and aesthetic of the shows away. Having a show completely subtitled based also helps in switching off, from any distractions, it helps force me into fully submitting myself to watching and reading- I'm not quite at that level of fluency in Spanish. 

Speaking of reading I've been doing a lot of that too, for the first time in my life I've committed to consistently reading, not forced reading 'for the hell of it' kind of reading, but reading because I truly enjoy it. It's been helping me sleep so much better. I find it a calming and grounding experience to just switch off and get lost in a book, the added positive of the sunshine has been a blessing this past week too. I'm currently getting lost in 'Cherry by Nico Walker'. 
 Hopefully, now my writing will improve as a plus also, something I've been saying that reading will help me with most years but we aren't forcing it, we'll see where it takes us. 

Which is the thing I've been hugely vocal in voicing at the moment. For me, keeping busy and investing my time in learning new skills or picking up new and old hobbies has been a huge help in getting through this, allowing myself moments of rest when I need it. This time isn't about mastering that Dalgona coffee literally everyone is making on Instagram (though I'm a huge fan myself), or baking banana loaf. It's about doing what makes you happy, and if those do, do them but there's no obligation in which to do so.
This time is temporary right now but take from it what you can, a piece of calm a moment of slow, a new skill, a new language, a new TikTok dance or simply the ability to get out of bed and get dressed in the morning (or afternoon- is time even a thing any more?) It can be all of those things or none of those things and if it's none of those things and that means progress is slow and time is taken to process and figure out exactly where you are right now and how to move forward at this time, that is okay, in fact, that is more than okay we are only human. This time isn't about bettering yourself is about coping, it's about staying sane and staying safe. 

What's your opinion?

@paige rhianne_