Locking Down Harder

This morning The Herald reported that Port Elizabeth’s hospitals are at breaking point. For the past couple of days I’ve been feeling very weary about this as an inevitability, but seeing it in black and white still kicked a bit.

Here’s the thing:

So may folks keep shouting about how there’s a 99.9% survival rate. Granted I don’t know the exact figure, folks just like using that one. The odds are good though. Most folks survive.

And this stat is being used as a stick to beat us all with. Oh the government is overreacting. Oh we are all sheep and we’re overreacting. Stupid peasants ruining the economy with fear tactics.

But those stats are from people who got help. People who got to hospital and were given oxygen and helped. We’re not going to get help if the infections go up. We’re going to make all of our health care providers too sick to work, for one, and for another we’re going to max out the hospitals. Which is already happening.

So. Full hospitals.

Too few medical staff.

Now what?

Well now our covid riddled bodies can’t get help.

What happens to the stats then?

Do they stay at a 99.9% survival rate?

I hardly think so.

Nevermind that a hospital full of covid patients cannot take on any other patients. So. Don’t have a heart attack. Don’t have a stroke. Don’t have wonky blood pressure or blood sugar or break your arm or leg or cut yourself or get an infection or have a kidney problem or or or or….

It’s not a 99.9% survival rate. There’s a knock-on effect just waiting to snowball out of control.

It’s scary as fuck.

Wear your damn mask. Wash your hands. Stay home as much as possible.

We have to keep creating a whole new normal for now.

There Are No Peaceful Protests

We have this special thing in South Africa where protests are most often carried out by people singing and dancing in the streets. It is beautiful. And it is something my disconnected white self has stood in awe of ever since I was a little girl. Still to this day every time I witness it I get this warm feeling of upliftment in my stomach. How do they do that? The question rolls over and over in my mind. Sometimes I even wonder about it out of the blue.

It’s always the same: Someone will take the lead, and a mass of voices will answer. It is exquisite poetry.

I have seen other forms of protest from other countries. Though honestly I imagine the pictures I have in my head may very well be a combination of actual news footage and fiction.

There are ideas I love though.

Those protests where people are silent with taped mouths. Somehow this speaks volumes.

Or when folks stand still with candles. More volumes.

Or when they kneel during the national anthem at a sporting event.

Peaceful.

Or so we call it. (more…)

I’m forking scared, man…

Can you tell I’ve been binging The Good Place? I have been. My attempts at using shirt, fork, and bench as my new curse words of choice aren’t going quite as well as I’d hoped. But, you know. Habits take a while to cultivate.

Here we are in Level 4 Lockdown and that sense of relief that I keep expecting to come is just nowhere to be found. Forking Scared is a bit of an overstatement, I admit. I’m not too afraid. Like not that kind of afraid that gathers in your bowel like cold lead at least. Just: concerned.

Molteno has had it’s first confirmed corona case. And there are 8 pending cases. I don’t know much of the details. Actually I don’t know any of the details. Apparently there’s been some drama surrounding all of it but that flew under my radar (thankfully) and all I know is that someone is definitely sick.

So yes, I’m forking concerned that I might fall ill. And it sucks.

A lot of us us are going to get ill. It’s an unavoidable inevitability at this point. We can only do our absolute best to keep those numbers as low as possible. But they will grow.

And for that I am afraid.

I am afraid of the impending loss of life. I am afraid of the future that I cannot picture.

I am afraid that the asthma issue I have will cause my death.

The worst part is that it’s not my usual kind of scared. Anxiety has been my constant companion throughout my entire life. I’m quite used to her. I can control her. I can put her in a box over there and say “you’re making me feel like shirt but you’re not true”.

This is true though. And it feels so surreal. Otherworldly. Fantastical.

And yet it is real.

It forking sucks.

How’s your anxiety treating you?

Mine’s a bit of a bitch at the moment if I’m being honest. I really need to stop qualifying the things I say with “honestly” and “if I’m being honest”. I’m always being honest. It’s too much trouble to be anything else.

Where was I? Oh yes…

Anxiety is a bitch.

My home is peaceful. Since lockdown my husband and I have had only one almost-fight which is pretty good for us because we’re both assholes and we tend to yell a lot. The kids are getting along better than usual. We’ve settled into a routine that I actually find quite comforting.

But the air of fear stays. I’ve mostly had it under control in my real life lately, but international pandemics don’t lend themselves to feelings of control, so what you gonna do? (more…)

From Active to Passive

I’ve been getting increasingly upset with myself for not particularly coping with this lockdown. When two extra weeks were announced on Thursday my whole body just sank. Two more weeks. Of this eerie feeling. Because I’m not struggling with being at home. At all. It’s actually quite peaceful here. Everyone is getting along. My pets are adorable. My husband is bloody wonderful. It’s just the eerie feeling. I can’t stand it!

Really I should be fine. My life barely looks different! I’m a homebody who has pretty much lived her life online since way before the cool kids were doing it. Twenty years. I’ve been here for twenty years. And I’ve always been comfortable with it. Far more comfortable than with “real” life, at least.

Here I am with the whole world living the way I do and I couldn’t be more unsettled. And it’s annoying me!

I noticed something this weekend: I’m pulling away from online. Something I have barely done in literally twenty years. I’m avoiding all those spaces where “my people” are and I’m not quite sure why.

So I wonder if it isn’t a subconscious call to action on my part. I act when I retreat into my home. I act when I use my phone or my computer as a protective barrier between myself and the real world. I act when I choose to step out of my world into the real one.

And I am no longer acting. I am being acted upon. And while it feels like comparatively it shouldn’t be that big a deal in my particular life, maybe it is. So perhaps my subconscious retreat from online life is an attempt at action. Close here. Retreat. Pull back. Keep safe.

I am struggling. More than my extroverted husband. More than my children. I am struggling.

But despite the antsiness I know we will be ok. I know this is just a phase and we have gotten through hard phases before. Maybe not quite like this one, but troubles are surmountable. And our president is doing such a fantastic job that I do feel we are in a fortunate position.

I just need to maybe try to actively retreat from social media less. For one I need it to ensure the survival of my business. But it has always been my safe place, despite its propensity for trolls.

We can do this, folks. We might just have to cry a bit while we do….

I’ll See You on the Other Side

Last night I couldn’t picture the other side of this. I found myself standing in the kitchen thinking I can’t imagine… 

My son and I share a trait where we need to know what is happening. We need to understand. Where are we going. When will we get there. What will happen there. It’s about angst and the need for control, I suppose. It’s about being able to picture what is ahead and prepare for it emotionally.

I spend so much time fantasising about later…

But I suddenly realised what is later this time? Are we going to beat this? Is it going to take longer than we imagine or will we be done in 21 days?

The other side of this is such a mystery!

For weeks I’ve been saying can’t we just shut the world down for a few weeks and reset.

Now the reset is here and I find myself unsettled by the uncertainty of it. It’s not fear, I don’t think. Not yet anyway. It’s something else. It’s this cloud of questions with no answers. And I suppose because there are no concrete answers the worst and best case scenarios are fighting each other in my head for Top Billing.

In three weeks everything will go back to normal.

In three weeks nothing will ever be the same again.

Which one will it be?

21 Days of Lockdown Reading

If I take out the part where I actually make money, my business can still kind of carry on as usual during our lockdown, so my plan is to simply work really hard in the hopes that by the end of all of this I might be able to make up the shortfall. Only time will tell that, I suppose.

For now though, on day one, I think I’m going to give myself a long weekend. A long weekend in which to read my heart out and hang with my kid and my doggles and kittles. I’m going to skip any further attempts at a “theme” and just dive in wherever my fancies take me.

Because I can and I should.

How are you planning to spend your first couple of quarantine days?

Take This Time

I’m a champion at isolation. A combination of introversion and struggling with regular bouts of depression will do that to you, I guess. Add in some sensory processing challenges and home becomes more than a sanctuary. It becomes a necessity of survival.

But even I am feeling challenged as I sit here, content to isolate, but knowing that the frustration is on the horizon. It’s about consent, I suppose. The removal of choice has a powerful impact on emotional wellbeing.

We are in this alone together though. And it is so essential that we do it.

So yes, I know that it’s hard, but let’s do that thing where we turn lemons into lemonade if we can…

I am technically able to continue working for the time being, and my life doesn’t look too different to what it was before. But there are going to be income issues. There are already income issues. So even though I’m “working” it might be said that I can step back and make no impact to the already dwindling cash flow.

So I think maybe I should take the time…

  • Take the time to work on my blog
  • Take the time to properly organize this house
  • Take the time to watch a movie or two or three with my kid
  • Take the time to colour in the beautiful colouring books that I have
  • Take the time to read more of the books that are so patiently waiting for me
  • Take the time to go through my craft cupboard and create something

I want to take the time…

What would you like to do?

There’s Something I Haven’t Told You

I’m a little ill today. My body is rapidly burning out I think. It’s ok though. I’m catching it. Resting. Taking my supplements. Liquids. Probably I should go and make some tea…

OK I’m back. I totally made coffee though. And some toast. And MedLemon because honestly cherry MedLemon is the best thing about being sick I really like that stuff. Probably I should consider this addiction of mine something akin to drinking too much? Probably let’s rather not think about that now.

Anyway: back to the thing I haven’t told you yet…

I’m moving.

And I’m moving really far away. Far away to a place I believed I would never return to.

I’m moving home.

Every time I try to talk about this in conversation it ends up a being very long and probably boring story about how we came to the decision to do this. But what it really boils down to is that I want something different for my kids. And even myself and my husband. But mostly my kids.

So we’re moving to Molteno. Thanks to my mother and father-in-law, we’ve gotten ourselves the loveliest home to move in to. I love it so much I can barely comprehend it. And funny enough it’s a home I spent a lot of time in as a child. I loved it back then already. The fact that it is almost “ours” still blows my spoilt little brat mind. I can’t get over it.

But we’re moving. And it’s exciting and scary and sad and happy and a whole bunch of other contradictory things. But mostly it’s just time. Time for a change. Time to be with my sister and brother-in-law who I adore while I patiently wait for them to give me nephews and nieces. Time for my teens to experience a quieter life. Time for my son to be with his best friend in the world (seriously: it is possible to make a decision to move somewhere just because you really like your friend’s kid and you think he’s good for your own child) and time for my husband to experience the small town life that he has been begging me to consider for years.

I haven’t processed the part where moving somewhere means leaving here yet. And to be honest I am afraid. Because I do love it here so very much. I can only have faith that someone will catch me once the reality of it all hits. For now I am distracted by plans and packing though. And by writing blog posts while ill because if I don’t do “something” I will think too much.

We’re moving. What a beautiful and horrible thing.

Bypassing the Open Windows

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months. Ever since I got back from Thailand, really. I just haven’t had the words. Or the heart. Passing the Open Windows has been a kind of mantra in my life for so long now. Silly, perhaps, to latch onto something that you read in a book once and make it your life.

It has been my life though. Keep passing the open windows. Basically it means don’t commit suicide. Not really something that’s socially acceptable to talk about. But that’s what it was for me. A place to record and celebrate all the reasons to keep passing the open windows. And sometimes a place to rage against the things that send you in the wrong direction.

Of course, last year, on the advice of someone who believes in niche blogging, I split my blog into two spaces. Here, a place where I can awkwardly tell you about my “real” life, and There, a place where I shared the travel life.

But the thing is this: It’s all my real life. And my life has no niche. It’s all just a glorious and beautiful and hideous messed up jumble.

And so I have decided to let Passing the Open Windows go. This is a small bit sad for few reasons. One is that I did really liked the idea of being “a travel blogger” and living a glorious life of travel “one day”. Another is because the windows have been part of my identity for so long. A few plans ands ideas are being let go as well. That’s ok though. It happens.

Stephen Fry said something very interesting once that has stuck with me ever since. If you will forgive my paraphrasing (I don’t know how to Google this and find the correct wording) he said don’t label yourself as any one thing. If you call yourself a “writer” then that is all you will be. Rather be “a person who writes” because then you can do many other things as well. Mr. Fry has been and done many things. And I like to think that idea fits with me.

I am a person who travels.

I am a person who loves motherhood.

I am a person who writes.

I am a person who takes photographs.

I am a person who owns a bookshop.

I am Nadine Rose Larter.

So, the Open Windows will still be found here even though there are no travel plans in our near future. I knew as soon as I booked our Thailand tickets this year that they would be the last plane tickets in my life for probably a very long time and I have made my reluctant peace with it. Travel will always be in my heart and hopefully always accessible to me in one way or another. I might not be able to afford to fly for now but I can still walk. Exploration is accessible.

A few other adventures await.

I’ll just be telling you about all of them here from now on.