I laugh to myself writing this at the idea that I might remotely be coping through the lockdown. But, unsurprisingly, as the days go forward, we continue to live and find new ways to cope. As Melbourne reaches well over 200 days of life inside, I have noticed more and more of my friends clinging to crutches (I am guilty of this too) and less so striving to do bigger and better things. I hear over and over: "now is not the time." To make good choices, get healthy, start exercising, put down alcohol, or other poor survival coping mechanisms. However, I can't help but think, if not now, then when? We have no idea when or if this whole thing will blow over or end. I am not at all here to shame or discredit what anyone is doing to keep themselves sane in this increasingly difficult situation. Life is hard enough as it is, don't feel guilty about what you're doing. Mama Evana is here to say you're doing great, sweetie, but maybe you could be there for yourself in a more meaningful way during this time.
So here's where I begin to talk about what I have been doing! The honest truth is that I haven't been doing much. There are days where I feel like I do nothing at all. However, I have managed to find new hobbies and revisit some old ones.
Walking At Least Once A Day
Walking was hard for me to get into the mindset of doing. Thankfully it helps that my partner has the energy of a border collie, and I wake up every morning with his face pressed up against mine, asking me for a walk at 7:30am. Some days it's definitely easier to roll over and close my eyes to pretend that I am still asleep or mildly deaf... but other days, I say yes. The beauty of going for a morning walk means that I get it out of the way and have an opportunity to get some fresh morning air (even with a mask on). Not to mention walking and exercise provide the body with a beautiful, blissful rush of dopamine. It's no secret that I am neurologically challenged in the happy department, so I will take as many neurotransmitters I can get when I can get them. Walking, it's good. Do it.
Making costumes was definitely not a hobby that I participated in much over the past year as I lost all my burlesque mojo from being so far from the stages for so long. However, Melbourne Lockdown 6.0 demanded rhinestones, apparently! I am not at all complaining. Rhinestoning, sewing, and designing costumes have provided me with all the mindfulness I have been craving. It's been a tricky time feeling trapped in my apartment, and even worse, trapped in my head. Playing shows like The Office and any crime podcast has been a good escape while I am mindlessly rhinestone my life away. I can't explain why gruesome murders really calm my brain, but if you're a young woman with an interest in the macabre, you probably get it. So I have been working on one (or two) costumes for the stage that will hopefully see the spotlight whenever live performances are allowed again. If you don't have a flair for the design and creation of garments, maybe try drawing, painting, pottery, or another artistic feat. I don't know, do what you want. I'm not your mum.
This is something I often feel really guilty about partaking in in my adult life. For no real rational reason other than, it's simply not productive enough for me (thanks Capricorn Mercury brain). However, I have loved playing as a lusty Argonian in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I have played the game before, however now I have reached the stage where I have played the game long enough to become a Sneak Archer (#achievementunlocked).
So, if I am not making it to the Cloud District, I spend my time in Willow Creek, thanks to Sims 4. There's nothing much to say about the Sims, other than it was nice to simulate going outside and doing everyday things as an escape tactic. Another great game that deserves mention is an online multiplayer game (oh my god, socialization?!), Dominion! Hopping on Discord with my friends and slaughtering them one by one with attack cards like Militia over and over gives my sadistic heart so much joy, and I hope they'll still want to play with me even after I publish this post.
Talking To Friends
You may or may not know a lot about me, but I am an extroverted introvert. This means I sound confident, and when put into a conversation, I can thrive; however, I need my "me" time to survive. I love being a recluse and disappearing from people for days on end. I suppose the bright side to lockdown is that it's given me more "me" time than I could possibly need or want! This means, for once, I am reaching out to my friends to socialize. Usually, people coming to me is more than enough socialization, but nowadays, I find myself more and more desperate for interaction.
Discord, Facetime, Video Chats, and Zoom have been my saviors. Being able to reach out to people in real-time, even though they don't feed my need for physical touch, has definitely helped me feel less lonely. Of course, it will never beat hanging out with a friend one-on-one, but I can't help but feel so grateful that this pandemic is happening during the connectivity era. The black plague must have been so dull.
As a performer losing the spark for creation during these increasingly challenging times, it's inspiring to see sexy individuals trooping along to continue entertaining us online. I want to shout out to Valerie Hex, an excellent Zoom Drag Queen for hire that hosted an epic game of Drag Bingo which I attended with a beautiful group of friends. Being able to see live performers adapt to these lockdowns is such a heartwarming feeling. Melbourne's performing arts and entertainment industries have been hit so hard from the ongoing lockdowns with little government support over the past two years. Tipping, donating, hiring, and supporting your local artists matters now more than ever.
Dance Classes Over Zoom
Not only am I hosting dance classes (shameless self-promo), I am also attending some! Shocking, I know. I started out hating online dance courses last year, and, indeed, they don't compare to in-person classes. But I have come to the conclusion that they're just different. The communication is through thumbs-ups and non-verbal gestures, your studio is your living room, and your experience is only as good as your internet connection.
I now love it. I love the link you get to the teachers, the weird banter of a dance teacher talking to themselves and indirectly to you. I love the safety of my own home and the ability to rewatch back recordings to perfect my technique.
There are so many great classes I have done and recommend from the following places:
A Short List Of Things I Am Struggling To Do
Clean my house
Do my washing
Check my emails
Not feel guilty for all of the things I "should" be doing
The bottom line is that no one is perfect; I absolutely do not claim to be in the slightest. The main reason I wrote this was to give you some ideas of what you could do and maybe acknowledge that maybe you've been doing more than you thought! I didn't realize I had done so much and so little at the same time. At the end of the day, I don't want to feel guilty for "wasting" my time - because I haven't. I have survived, will keep surviving, and that is enough.
Photography by Marcus Keily.