Who else out there is having a really tough time round about now?
It’s not just me, is it?
Are you also battling the harsh reality and effects of perceived and real lack of freedom, huge loss of income, battling to stay inspired and hopeful about future work and travel, grieving the loss of your loved ones, or desperate from the lack of personal touch and being able to hug even family and friends? I am personally finding it much, much harder now, a year since the first lockdown (and contracting Covid in march 2020). I also have friends and clients all over the world, especially with working and traveling globally #LocationFree for the last 5 years, and so I get to hear firsthand about the different countries in different levels of lockdown. And some countries just seem to be skipping to the next level of new normality and relative freedom – I found it a lot easier when we were ALL in the first lockdown together! Even though it was always a case of “same storm different boat”, I welcomed the same storm scenario in some weird way. That total peace and quiet we experienced externally as the earth was breathing from lack of people moving, airplanes dashing across the sky, cars commuting, and hectic life from us consumer-type humans. But this time feels different.
Every time I speak to my peeps in South Africa, or as far afield as Costa Rica – it’s all about parties, gatherings, lunches, beaches and life pretty much as usual (perhaps with masks on), even if they can’t sometimes buy booze on the weekends. It’s the social component I am longing for! Or other countries where the lockdown is allowing social gatherings or restaurants re-opening once again.
I find myself feeling a little envious.
A lot envious!
It even feels awful admitting it to myself.
You made your bed, now lie in it, Kate.
Yes, yes, I know I am in the country I am in and shouldn’t be looking longingly at anyone else – but I am!
There, I said it.
I miss my usual 4 times a year ‘fix’ of seeing my close friends down south, reconnecting and replenishing at so many levels and visiting my favourite hairdresser and dentist. Lack of freedom and life with this virus has clipped my gallivanting #LocationFree wings. I realise just how much of my nomadic life is about connecting in coffee shops with total strangers when we smile and say hello (or bonjour, buenos dias or kalimera) or how a short chat at the deli counter fills my soul with love. Petting cats and dogs is also a great stress reliever for me – and one of the reasons I have often housesit animals on my travels to get that welcome dose of four-paw love. But I even feel like people don’t want you to stroke their animals out of fear at the moment. And I don’t do fear.
So I am doing grief instead.
Layers of grief.
Are you grieving too?
I’m just laying a bit low for now – and that’s ok.
Is that what you need to do too?
To let yourself off the hook a while, stop comparing yourself to everyone else that “appears” to have it all together, running 20 different masterclasses, or launching two new businesses, acing their ab workouts or or or…..
I’m resting and hibernating a bit from the world of clients and too much social media and trying my level best not to let my emotions and modd fester.
I describe so much of how I love to connect into new communities in my book “10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree” but I am prevented from those sweet interactions for the time being. That loss of connection had hit hard and dtruck deep. We have also just taken our Italian Writing Retreat off the radar for this year and moved it to 2022. Eugh. I am so acutely aware that I am greatly soothed and inspired by having things to look forward to, as it actually helps me live more in the present somehow. But this endless stream of – “not sure what and when” is taking its toll on my mental health.
So as ridiculous as it sounds, I admit I have “lockdown-level-envy” while trying to hold it all together where I am. I don’t have it all sorted at the moment, and am muddling my way through messy life. How about you? I’m on the one day at a time, scale. In fact, it’s one hour at a time – one day is sometimes too long. Without trying to drop into the world of self-pity, victimhood or be caught up in the continuous web of despair, I also just know I have to admit I have been having a darn tough time. Getting into bouts of depression, lack of hope and feeling isolated is not entirely new to me – but this one seems to be lingering longer and deeper than I can usually handle. Freedom and connection are two of my highest values, so I feel that is the one hitting me the hardest – I strive to find the freedom within, as opposed to outside of myself.
I have recently been waiting for a work contract to start, and spent a couple of weeks on my own in London in a friend’s flat. Totally spoiled to have that gorgeous space overlooking the river and it made my nomadic heart super happy! I spent about four hours every day walking the length and breadth of the Thames – spectacular and inspirational. But … I was also lonely and missing real connection. I reached out to many people, but isolation and covid restrictions are still very strict here in the UK. It’s just the factual reality. I finally met safely with one willing client /friend last week, the first person in the flesh for weeks, and she said she was amazed to learn that I was having a tough time …. so I am glad I shared. The next day I got to support another dear friend finalising the sale of his mom’s house after her recent passing – and that shared time as he said goodbye to her home and that chapter filled my heart.
We so often look at others and think that they are doing ok. Even if we aren’t, we assume they are. Aren’t we wired weirdly that way, as it’s simply not true. Everyone is challenged and fighting a battle of some kind, small or large – it’s also called life.
I also think that Social Media comes into play here – where all that we usually see posted is the good stuff, the fab stuff, fun and light stuff that we want and need to escape into, the inspirational stuff …. not the real, shitty, hard stuff we are all facing too. Until something massive strikes again, like the tragic murder of Sarah Everad that gives people a voice and energy again to speak up about things that matter, about the reality of what is going on for people. How we are scared, don’t feel safe. so much injustice and loss. I have learned to lean on my friends and my mum even more recently – to say I am NOT ok and need some TLC from them. I stay connected where need be and literally get through day by day. I don’t have huge bursts of inspiration or massive ideas for the future right now. Sure – I have a vision of what’s next and what is very important to me and the live I want to create up north …. but it feels far far away.
I’m just breathing in the never-ending “kak-ness” of it.
For those of you outside of South Africa, KAK is a great word, pronounced ‘kuk” not “kack” and it means “shitty and bleh” all in one. I also love it’s fellow word friend “GATVOL,” which means “fed-up or literally full-hole”.
I’ve been feeling both kak and gatvol!
So, I just want to remind you all – if you are reading this – that you are 100% enough TODAY, right now, no matter what. Even when you feel like absolute shite. My go-to-reminder the past few long weeks and months has been, “this too shall pass.” It gives me breathing space and hope. I have also been using the simple technique where you cross your hands over the front of your body and pat both of your own shoulders- it’s super calming and self-soothing if you are on your own out there! I haven’t even had the energy to do my usually beloved journalling – until I felt inspired to write this today!
And yes, here is the irony I battle with – as “kick-ass Kate” and the “Quick Shift Deva” I guess I theoretically “should” have all the coaching, mind-shifting, woop-woop techniques in the world to call on – but being honest, laying low and coping bit by bit, is what feels possible, real and authentic right now. It will shift, and my bubble of energy and inspiration WILL rise again, just as yours will.
It is a universal law.
I don’t need lots of hype and positivity right now- I’m just trying to stay out of the self-pity wallow while staying present and in touch with myself. It feels better and do-able that way.
My go-to mantra reminders and questions are currently:
This too shall pass
Everything IS going to be ok
What one thing can I do today? Even if that means ONE wee glass of water (hydration hydration) before I have a BIG glass of wine. Or paint my nails. Or rest again. Or stare at the river view for another hour.
Tomorrow is always another day and another fresh start.
Please drop me a line if you want to reach out – just a quick message to connect and say hi.
If you want some extra support we can book that too and I’ll show up honestly for you, ready to hear where you are at. Sometimes you need an ear with someone who isn’t pretending to have all their KAK together. But I will be able to help you see your KAK a bit clearer.
In the meantime – be kind to yourself and those you meet along your path today, mask or no mask. And for those of you enjoying relative freedom – know I am just a little darn envious right now 🙂
Pics from March 2021 below share some of the quiet weirdness that is London in lockdown – not many folk about on usually bustling streets, empty tubes, stores all closed up – most with Christmas decorations still left in the window.