Guest post by Cwayita from cwayitabizana.co.za
I am sitting here, reflecting on how strange this year has turned out to be. No one could’ve predicted that we would be living under strict regulations to stay indoors for such an extended period. 2020 – this was supposed to be our year and needless to say COVID-19 came and made us all question whether what we deem important should hold that much value in our lives.
In the middle of March, I remember feeling like I might have to choose between the fear of COVID-19 and my job – the nature of my work as a professional bra fitter requires being in close contact with clients. My anxiety began to peak as the infection rate started to escalate. Today I can sit here and say that I am fortunate enough not to have had to go to work but begin adapting to working virtually since the 26th of March 2020, which was when the national lockdown came into enforcement in South Africa.
I am grateful to be from South Africa during this period, and I cannot express the importance of how our government has chosen humanity over everything else – WE ARE LEAD.
My biggest insecurity and discomfort comes from the fact that the business I work for isn’t classified as an essential service. Therefore the security of income is no longer there – I am a victim of pay cuts because of COVID-19, and I have been forced to rearrange my finances and think honestly about the future. This, however, does not amount to the distress the less fortunate people in our country are undergoing.
On a daily basis, our TV screens are flooded with daily reminders of the inequalities in this country, we see the poor standing in lengthy queues for food parcels and watching that has exposed all sorts of economic disparities and now COVID-19 has heightened this. The difference in living circumstances in South Africa caused by inequalities has made this period very painful to live through. How this COVID-19 spreads and how it has begun manifesting itself in our communities daily is disheartening, people in rural areas and informal settlements have no clear understanding of the effects this invisible disease may have on their lives. And these are only a few of the realities this pandemic has made us come to terms with, in South Africa.
The fear of falling ill and dying alone doesn’t sit well with me or losing a loved one to this infectious disease is what has brought me a lot of emotional distress and anxiety. I recall week 6 and experiencing a burning sensation in my chest, sleeplessness and a deep sense of sadness – I can confirm that I have struggled a lot emotionally during this period. Sometimes it feels like we just woke up one day, and people were dying – yes, people die every day, but this feels different and unfair.
Our government has tried to put in place the necessary measures to safeguard the lives and dignity of people of our South Africa but the cracks are showing themselves now more than ever. My main goal during lockdown has been to try and support small businesses to help reduce the pressure these companies are under; some days I feel fortunate but at the same time I feel a lot of guilt because I am safe and sheltered while this disease is manifesting itself in communities where the most vulnerable are.
I think the measures that are in place are all still vital, this is a daily reminder that real people are losing their lives – it’s not just stats, and we need to continue abiding.
My lockdown hasn’t been seamless but it has been a time for reflection, and I keep asking myself who’s life am I living anyway, when things go back to normal I want my next move to be the most fulfilling journey. I have started planning the way forward with content creation, but the struggle has been real when it comes to juggling my feelings of anxiety, extreme motivation and fatigue.
There are days of feeling inadequate, that what I am doing is not enough, that there is no sense of direction at all—beating myself up for where I am. The reality is that life has changed drastically, and I need to remember that I am living through a global pandemic. Indeed nothing is perfect; all my emotions are valid. I have overcome the mourning of the Easter holiday trip to Zanzibar that was cancelled as a result of COVID-19 I have completely let it go. I try to positive self-talk daily, watch a lot of Netflix, cook and I make sure I take social media breaks, I am doing short courses to kill time too.
After multiple breakdowns, feeling trapped and almost helpless I can confidently say that I have it together now by trying to live more instead of just being alive.
About the author
Cwayita is a 25 year old Johannesburg based swimwear and bra expert, copywriter and blogger. She is the co-owner of a sustainable fashion brand called Vintage.Finds SA which sells up cycled and reworked garments. She’s obsessed with the reality TV and her continent of Africa. She blogs over at cwayitabizana.co.za. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter!
Quarantine Diaries is a blog series where bloggers from different countries share their quarantine stories to narrate their experiences and remind us that we all are in it together.
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