Well it’s been a long time between drinks blogposts. You could be forgiven for thinking I’d fallen in love with Iceland on the trip, grabbed myself a hot mad-in-the-head Viking and stayed in the land of ice (and wind) forever.
Nope!!! Nothing as sexy and cool as that. This blog post is gonna be a PURGE of sorts, kind of me “walking around my mind with burning sage cleansing things”. Honestly 2020 is about to pluck my last nerve……it’s been 6 months that have included an amazing holiday, bushfire stress, financial worries, Covid-19 freakout and mental health strain. Basically ALL THE THINGS!!! I’m about to tell you the story of how I turned into a bitter old hermit woman haha…. my transformation is almost complete.
(I’m gonna need fifty-eleventy shots of something while I write this blog post)
After what was the most incredible, amazing, exhausting, unforgettable, ‘all the adjectives’ holiday – we came back to ALOT!!! As we walked off the plane on 21st December, before we even got inside the terminal we were coughing up a lung from smoke filled Canberra. I mean it was a teeny bit smokey when we went away in November but 5 weeks later it was getting insane. You poor suckers who were living through that, yuk.
Husband and I literally exchanged a look that screamed “what in the basket of buttholes is this shit”. Add to that the hot weather and we would’ve happily jumped back on a plane and ske-daddled (A. is that even a word and B. I’m 243% sure if it is, it’s spelled wrong).
Next up was coming back just before Christmas with jetlag out the sphincter, add in a mother-in-law who was a little tired of being in charge of our crotch fruit (and lordy who can blame her) and realising that you were so caught up with planning your fantabuloso holiday to really have put any thought into well……Christmas!!! I pride myself on never going near the shops close to the big day. I mean, people who leave things to the last minute are freakin assholes – me, I’m the asshole in this story. I had to race around with the enthusiasm of someone about to have a pap smear and buy presents with the money I no longer had because I was too busy buying Christmas decorations and beer in Europe. The lag of the jet hit hard this time around. Mustering up even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for Christmas was tough for husband and I, not gonna lie. Having just experienced picture postcard Christmasy gorgeousness, coming back to hot, smokey Canberra and having to function…..well we were reluctant adulting like pros let me tell ya! Returning from a massive 5 week holiday just before Christmas……0/10 DO NOT RECOMMEND!
So we crawl through Christmas and the universe decides to turn the ‘fark you’ volume up a notch by making the bushfire situ go out of control……and frightening close to home. Now it must be said I am a “go hard or go home” woman prone to hmmmm, well “extremes“. Extremes in my moods, my reactions to things, alcohol consumption, etc. etc. As soon as the fires started to come within what I felt was an unacceptable radius to my home I literally commando rolled into freak out mode. I think I was maybe having a bit of PTSD from the 2003 fires or something because I lost my mind, my mind was actually lost.
Cars were packed and I was a watchman in a tower, patrolling the scene aka glued to my phone reading Emergency Services updates yadda yadda.
I would lose whole days of my life just sitting on the couch trolling every facebook page I could for news, walking out my front door and watching the sky, concentrating on wind direction and texting husband A-LOT freaking out. (so is that behaviour normal or do you think, like, maybe see a doctor please LIsa?)
I do not do CALM folks and living on a fringe suburb of Canberra in the south made for some scary days.
I cannot begin to imagine how scared the folks down the coast must have been. Mother Nature literally set our whole country on fire!!!
After weeks of being on alert and not being able to be in the studio because smoke doesn’t make for fun photoshoots, I was so relieved that the fires were under control. Things had kind of started to return to normal…..dun dun dun dun.
So of course Mz. Coronavirus was like, you call bushfires a disaster, bitch hold my beer and hoop earrings. I’ll show you a DISASTER…….on a global scale!!!
All of a sudden the whole world was thrown into chaos. On a scale of standard shitstorm right up to a Category 5 shit-nado…..The Rona is hovering somewhere around “shitquake of the Century”. I mean us Aussies all started off watching China go down the Rona Rabbit Hole and I’m not sure we thought it would actually be something we would have to deal with. And just like that the Ruby Princess shitshow happened, the government just let people wander back into our country willy nilly and here we are living ISO LIFE!!! It’s been a ridonkulous *once in a lifetime* event hasn’t it guys.
The first part of Covid-19 that impacted my world was ‘toilet paper’. What the actual F. The first time I walked into my local Woollies and found empty shelves, I felt cold water run through my veins. I did not know that TP was so important to me until that moment.
Full disclosure….I’m a pee-er. I pee a-lot! It’s kind of not normal the amount of times I pee in a day. And I have now realised that I was spinning that toilet paper roll like I was spinning the Wheel of Fortune wheel. What an absolute asshole I was. No fucques were given to my toilet paper usage. All of a sudden I was ready to stab a bitch in the aisle for 1 measly roll. Well not really stab someone but perhaps give them a pretty mean side eye. The flow on effect then grew out of control. Once I began seeing empty meat, pasta, rice, tinned veg, etc shelves my anxiety went literally through the roof and orbited the moon.
I had no idea so much of my identity and how I felt about myself was tied up into “feeding my family”. I was like a lioness who needed to hunt and gather. People panic buying and literally going OUTSIDE of their minds essentially made me then want to panic buy and go OUTSIDE of my mind. I’m not going to disclose how much food I bought because it’s embarrassing to look back on now. I overreacted to other people panic buying and I’m ashamed. But honestly, once I reached a point where I felt I had enough food to last for a while, I felt less frenzied. A calm came over me so I won’t apologise. I did what I needed to do to not feel panicked.
And then, all of a sudden people are wearing masks in public, hand sanitiser and hand soap were no longer available and I felt my panic rising. The world was changing for realz. I really wanted the government to shut the country down somehow because it seemed the only way to stop Ms. Rona. It seemed to take ages but eventually restrictions started trickling into place. I was mostly relieved about this but it came at a cost. In March I had to close my photography business down because it was no longer safe to be cuddling little babies and being crazy photo lady running around with little kids. Not to mention that pesky 1.5m distancing rule. I could never have imagined the impact this would have on me. Financially I literally stopped earning an income. That was a bit scary to be honest. My income is important. But the unexpected fallout was me struggling with no longer “having a career”. Being in Canberra, so many people work in the public service. So many of my girlfriends are high achieving exec types, kicking ass in meetings all day and winning the world. Their work lives didn’t stop but mine did. So to all of a sudden find myself not working, not earning, not anything…..it shook me. And I’m a sucky bitch saying this because my girlfriends are incredible amazons who would’ve lifted me up and surrounded me with love but I just couldn’t reach out. I needed to just go inward and hug myself through it…..and for the most part they were understanding and great about me doing me. I know they all have their own challenges that the outside world can’t see. We all have our cross to bear don’t we.
The big question was…..Who am I if I’m not a photographer?
Here was I always assuming I wanted husband to earn more money so I could be the 1950’s housewife I’d always wanted to be. I’d always joked that I would happily wrap this photography biz up in a heartbeat if we had more money and just be a lady of leisure. Once that was kind of a reality it just didn’t fit as well. Strangely I felt “less than” which is such bullshit because being a “stay at home mum” is the hardest job in the world. But when your kids are grown (well almost) all of a sudden who you are and your role in the world isn’t so clear. All of those things you said you would do when you had more time……well honey you ain’t doing shit. You ain’t writing that novel you always wanted to write, you ain’t repainting the house, gardening in the beautiful sunshine, baking your own bread (tell that to the 12kg bag of flour I bought).
You are eating your body weight in cheese, drinking your body weight in champagne and binge watching Real Housewives of Wherever. I found myself no longer wanting to socialise and once socialising became all about Zoom and Facetime I totally zoned out. I hate technology at the best of times but “in your face” camera with nowhere to hide stuff and having to be “on” the whole time does not appeal. So I curled myself up into a ball and settled into ISO LIFE. Truth be told husband and I are homebodies so weekends are great. We’ve done lots of cooking and binge watching TV shows together – it’s been great bonding time.
But during the week was more challenging for sure.
Now friends, can we talk about homeschooling? I saw so many mums of younger children on social media stressing out about “how will I teach my little darling basic math? how will I set up a complete art studio in 3 hours? how will my 5 year old learn her ABCs?” I wanted to throat punch them. Which isn’t fair. They were scared AF. But I wanted to shake them and say “guys, if you just sit your little angel in front of Disney channel for 3 months and feed them nuggies and donuts, they will be fine”. When kids are younger a small blip in their schooling won’t have a big impact.
Now jump to being a mother of a boy in year 12 who doesn’t really love school but the structure of it helps drag him along. A boy who only cares about AFL footy and what a huge year this year was going to be for him. A boy who couldn’t wait to turn 18 in April so he can party in Civic “legally for a change”. Now imagine all of that is taken away??? Good times right. It was hell and honestly boys that age don’t understand social distancing and not being able to hang out with their friends. Every.single.day was a battle. Then there was our 21 yr old diva daughter who’s whole world stopped when the beloved bar she worked for had to close down. She had moved out into a share house in February and was so excited to be starting her independent life. My kids stories aren’t unique by any means. I’ve heard so so many heartbreaking stories of older kids who’s dreams were crushed in the blink of an eye because of Coronavirus. Overseas exchanges and travels cancelled, jobs lost, having to move home from uni studies etc. It’s so heartbreaking. These young adults already have alot to deal with trying to find there way. I can’t imagine how scary it is essentially having the world stop for them.
But it all doesn’t even rate one jot when you think about the lives being lost here in Australia, and around the world. Husband has forbidden me from constantly checking tallies and watching the news because it just chips away at me and I can feel myself slowly curling up with sadness at how horrific it all is. Some countries ~cough cough the US cough cough~ haven’t handled the pandemic well and the loss of life is frightening. I think Australia has ultimately done a good job (if I don’t mention the Ruby Princess, like WTF). But still…..Businesses have been lost, families can’t support themselves, domestic violence numbers are through the roof, precious lives are being lost. It’s all so bloody yuk-tastic, I don’t even have the words.
Canberra is kinda going great guns though Covid numbers wise. At this stage we are waiting for the second wave to hit and restrictions are loosening up. So much so I am back in the studio next week for a maternity shoot. Can I get an amen up in here!!! Work, money, freedom be mine!!! Life, I guess, is kind of returning to the NEW normal. I say new because I think we have all learned things throughout this scary experience that will forever change us and how we move forward.
Here’s some things I have learned:-
- I will forever keep a 24 pack of toilet paper hidden in the house never to be touched
- I can’t live without pasta
- People clearly don’t wash their hands enough – not me, just the rest of you assholes
- I really am not a cleaner of household things, people need to be hired and paid for that shite
- I can drink and eat my feelings (for long periods of time)
- I can only spend limited time with my teenage son hahaha (I know he agrees with me on this 2000%)
- It’s easy to spend a day doing absolutely nothing constructive
- Pajamas can be worn for more days than you think
- Leaving the house once a week can still be scary
- People are disgusting petrie dishes
- Bras are overrated
- Money – I said, money changes everything (I know you just sang that like Cyndi Lauper)
- I love being a photographer
- Homeschooling is not for me….or anyone!
- It takes a village and a goddamn winery to raise a child (tattoo that shit on your chest)
- Ultimately I am a very blessed young lady (yes I’m young, fight me)
Okay well I have no idea if anyone will read this blog post. I’m not even sure I want someone to read it. I normally write this blog to tell stories and make people laugh and to share pretty pics. Today I wrote to unload and share my thoughts and feels over the past 6 months. It’s probably an overshare and I may delete this tomorrow. I’m not even sure if anyone would be interested in all of this crap. I imagine everyone is thinking “Lisa Kelly, pity party of 1, your table is ready”. But it feels good to get it out and it’s made me wonder how everyone else has been travelling throughout Covid-19. Have you all been feeling crappy this year like me? If you have been challenged somehow or are struggling, I’d love to hear your story. Sharing with others makes it all feel less “isolating” I’ve decided after writing this. If you have something to share I’d really love to hear about it.
JAYSUS, it’s been a year hasn’t it friends hahaha. I’m finally starting to shed my cocoon and become a butterfly – actually that’s a lie, I’m more like a bear coming out of hibernation (a bear who had a years supply of chips and bubbles to keep her company). I’ve worn PJ’s more than I’ve worn clothes. To the overachievers of the world – guess what, I rolled out of bed most days and ate my feelings so suck on that. I know I’m talking like Mz. Rona has left the building and lord knows that bitch isn’t going to leave a party early, but I’ve finally, 6 months later, looked at the photos from our trip and feel ready to write about all we saw and did. Until now I haven’t been able to feel the joy of the trip which is so sad. We are incredibly blessed to have spent 5 incredible weeks traipsing around Europe. With the state of the world who knows when people will be able to travel again so freely. Covid-19 will have changed how we holiday and move about the world for a very long time. I honestly am so grateful for this last trip and all of our trips now. So I’m excited to finally feel like I can share this adventure with you. Gosh we saw some amazing things and there was alot of crazy moments I can’t wait to tell you about now.
So, I’m sending 2020 to it’s room and telling it to think about what it’s done……and I’m getting ready to share our 5 weeks of Christmasy wintery wonderfulness.
And in the famous words of some loose woman of the world……..hold onto your flaps, I’m back!!!
Love ya’s xxx