Corona stories: Mike

During this period, for how long we need to endure, we will be running the ‘Corona stories.’ These will be short personal reflections on covid-19’s intersection with our lived lives.

This first story is from Mike, one of our R-Cubed team.

Monday morning.

A bit bleary eyed I plop down in front of the screen and get ready for work. A day of planning ahead. A break from facilitating after a hectic month with determined and courageous people from Kensington-Factreton.

The Presidents words in my ears but really, I’ve grown bored by all the president words.

As I sat down, I was more worried about load shedding.

I didn’t see the black swans descending. I always thought I read my environment well.

Shewee did I get this wrong. I did read about corona but amidst our own chaos China seemed far away…Someone else’s problem. Jumana sent me a message from Sudan on Sunday about corona. I responded by saying I couldn’t focus on corona, too many other priorities.

The next few hours were hectic as we went into corona 19 shock. Suddenly everything started closing and postponing.

My own personal stock market crash as the next few months’ work and income became hazy and then disappeared completely by the end of the day. By Tuesday it was clear. I was struggling with new way of being and doing with my head spinning with the speed of the change and the difficulty of the loss of income. And then, suddenly being part of the high-risk group being 64! My physical vulnerability was centre stage.

Unemployed and at home as if I am on holiday. But not. No relaxing, the emotional brain pumping, responding as the world went from busy to slowing down. Gloves, masks and hand sanitizer started popping up. Unevenly, different shops doing different things. Adjusting to distances between people. Trying to decide how to move around. By taxi? Needing to shop up. All the time feeling a bit dazed.

The chat with Lane about how to respond as trauma disruptors to the crises. How we could offer support to our clients and partners helped.

Wednesday 18th. I think I’ll name you Resilience Day as my emotions started slowing and steadying as I saw other people adjusting. I could feel the creative part of me switch on. The plumber and the estate agent came to the house and went on as if normal. Sure, new forms of greeting and distancing. Weird for me. No touching skin? But normal and learning about new ways of being and connecting.

 I wasn’t the only one steadying.

The voice calls, messages changed content as our partners started re-planning for June. The pressure on my heart eased a bit. But only a bit… worried how to protect myself and Astrid as at-riskers? And Astrid’s 92-year-old mom…The economy was tanking. Eish but hey the lights were still on. Thanks Eskom. I suppose.

By Friday, after our staff meeting and connecting with everyone – via skype – I was starting to see our collective resilience as well as people trying to cope with corona amidst so many other issues. But it’s clear the worst is still to come and it’s getting weird. No real idea how we can cope with the new ways being in the unknown. I’ve been stripped down to my heart, my close people and my values. Locked mostly into my house. In 5 days, my world has transformed and narrowed. I’m learning this is how it was for my relatives who suffered the Nazis.