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Once unsettling, now hopeful, Melbourne lockdown was a long journey

May reading this make you feel less alone


I think the magnitude of the pandemic really hit me when an onslaught of emails and texts came through of cancellations of shows I planned to watch, friends I was going to see, events I was going to attend. People around me were losing their jobs, and I was only hoping that it wouldn't happen to me too. I was fortunate in that regard, and my online work remained intact. While this shift was happening, the shortages of groceries, the hoarding of toilet paper, and the devastation of many lives across the world due to COVID became a continuing reality. My brain was preparing itself for all sorts of scenarios. I checked my resources diligently. I gathered all the cans of food in my pantry and checked if I would be asked to leave the country -- all of it seemed to be happening all at once. What was wild, though, when I calmed down and looked up from all this, I realised only five days had passed. Little did I know almost two years would go by where the passage of time would feel increasingly weird.
I know it seems strange, but I think time went by but still felt so stagnant. It was hard to live in sometimes. I'm writing this 240+ days into lockdown -- Melbourne now being the longest locked-down city in the world. After my first five days of a frenzy feeling like it would never end (and it hasn't yet), but it did end.
After the first five days, there was something nice about being stuck at home all the time. I was baking, cleaning, organising. It started to set in a bit, though, when I began to notice how our apartment was feeling smaller and smaller. My partner and I have lived there for nearly three years now. Our collective lives were too much for this small, poorly ventilated, fully indoor warehouse apartment. We eventually moved between the small break that we had between lockdown one and two to a new house with another housemate. It had a backyard, and we were stoked, imagining all the barbecues and parties we could have. My birthday was coming up on the 9th of July and I was excited! The excitement didn't last though. Like most things in the year 2020-- it didn't work out. We were back in lockdown by midnight on the 9th of July.


The news was burgeoning with reports of how the disease moved. Every sneeze, cough or sniffle made me panic since the cases were climbing. My reflex every morning, when I woke up, was to look at the case/death numbers on Twitter. There really was no end in sight.
I remember my body and mind eventually feeling like static surrounded it to distort the experience of what was actually happening - and what was happening was nothing. Other than trying not to get sick and staying sane. In the moments of this static, there was some respite. Especially when we were transitioning into spring.