Jul 262020

For Christmas, I was given a Q&A a day diary, that asks you one question every day for the whole year and has space for a one sentence reply.

On the 22nd of March, it said, “Jot down a news story from today,”
I wrote, “Those at risk are to be sent a letter asking them to stay inside. Death toll rises, survival rate no longer 99%.”

On the 23rd of March, it asked “Are you country or rock n roll?”
I wrote “I don’t know what I am.”

I’ll admit, my first few weeks of lockdown were really rough, as I’m sure they were for everyone. But I did, eventually, come to peace with the fact that I’d just have to relax, and spend some time with myself.

On the 6th of April, my diary asked me, “What was the last take-out meal you ordered?”
I wrote, “Domino’s pizza, before the world ended, on a lazy hungover morning. When we got it, things were tense, but after we ate our spirits were high again.”

It took me a while to accept that I would have to spend the majority of this year inside. I’ve just finished my first year of university, which has boosted my confidence and love for life in so many ways.

As a bisexual girl that’s dating a boy, I often felt like I wasn’t included in LGBTQ spaces. And I understand and acknowledge that I have more privilege than most. I can quite easily pass as straight. But I spent a long while feeling inadequate, like I couldn’t really call myself a part of the community. All that changed because of university. At university, I made a solid friend group. None of us are entirely straight, one of us is a lesbian. But we don’t talk about it as much as I thought we would. It wasn’t the stereotypical gay friend group I had come to expect. And that was ok. We all belonged. Everything felt right. Now that I’m back home, that sense of belonging has gone away, and it took me so long to acclimatise to being back in my childhood space. It felt like I’d finally taken a step forward, and coronavirus forced me to take 2 steps back.

On the 12th of May, I was asked, “What are you exploring?”
I responded with, “My confidence, especially in my voice.”

My first year was simultaneously the worst and best of my life. Emotions were high, and I found out that extreme happiness and extreme sadness aren’t really all that far apart. But I knew one thing. I could never go back to the quiet, scared, dull girl that I was before. The quarantine was a huge blow, I’ll admit that. I also admit that I spent an unhealthy amount of time crying over the fact that I couldn’t hug my boyfriend. And then, very gradually, I got over it. I cried less. I started working my creativity as hard as I could. I want to be an author one day, and this is the perfect time to be writing, ruminating on ideas, creating. Over the last month and a half, I’ve explored sewing, baking, and gardening, and I intend to keep up with all of them. I’ve realised that life is too short to spend it worrying over things I can’t change. Whatever happens will happen. (Of course, I am still immensely angry at the government and am ready to bust out the guillotine whenever everyone else is).

So, on the 5th of July, when asked “What is your motto?”
I felt no shame in answering truthfully, “If you can see an amount of ants, there’s always at least double that amount that you can’t see,”
I came up with this gem when I was about ten years old, and it has literally never failed me. I see one ant? No big deal, only a couple ants nearby. But if I see three ants? Well that means there’s six nearby and nine in total. Time to think about moving. If you see ten ants? You’d better run.

Frivolities aside, due to the quarantine my mental health right now is the best it’s been since before I started A levels. I feel like I’ve been through a metamorphosis that never would have happened otherwise. Obviously, if I had one wish, it would be to instantly eradicate coronavirus, as it has been since February. But I am grateful that I have managed to survive the quarantine and come out happier. And if there is a second wave? I will survive.

On the 23rd of July, my diary is going to ask me, “What is the last thing you baked or cooked?”
I will be honoured to inform it of the 10pm baking spree I had last week. Life is just one damn thing after another right now. But hopefully, at the end of all of this, we will have things to be thankful for.

Rosie Bowers

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