Bench Press: Forging Ahead

Woman hammering a white hot piece of steel
Right before lockdown I was able to spend a day with my husband learning the basics of blacksmith – a birthday gift for him to me, spent at Fireborn Forge

Control. It’s such a big thing. The ability to be in-charge of your decisions, your person and your destiny. Every sense of agency draws from the ability to make your own decisions and determine your own direction in the world. With Covid-19 we all lost that in one fell swoop, or at least we did if we saw it as our duty or understood that the law compelled it.

I struggled in lockdown.

We found ourselves kept indoors ahead of the official lockdown date on March 23, as the twins had developed a sniffle. Nothing came of it but we took the action which was needed and did our part.

The hardest thing about it all, for someone like me, was this loss of control. There were no whims to be satisfied, no sensation of freedom and no places to run to. I fell into a funk, which left me on the lowest level of functioning. Crafstory.com had to wait, I was clinging on to the daily rituals of feeding my family, doing the processes of care (even the frustrating process of homeschool) and maintenance of family but little more. My own studies fell at the wayside and I dropped into a helpless funk, eating all the bad things and abandoned efforts to reduce my cholesterol, even though I wouldn’t be able to take the statins I now need to bring a genetic condition under control. I don’t know if I would have even done as well as I did without the unfailing support of my husband and the love of my frankly brilliant, if loud and messy, children.

Rainbow pictures
Rainbow pictures I made with the twins to reach out into our community while we were self isolating.

Everything felt too much and I let things slide. Everything seemed meaningless and out of any possibility of me being able to make change.

A wise man I know talks a lot about controlling the little things to start a take-back of control – starting with making your bed ( I believe he loosely paraphrases an amazing speech by Naval Admiral William H McRaven to the University of Texas at Austin in 2014). In short – to start to tackle the big things you need to take control of the little things.  At the beginning I found that all a bit too much, but fate and circumstance gave it all back.

Community called out to me – in self-isolation I won myself an admin role in a local community support group. Starting with simple tasks of emails and volunteer contacts, the role evolved into a leadership role and I was able to turn around an inability to put make-up on into helping the most capable in our area to wrap arms around the most vulnerable in our community. As we came out of self-isolation I busied myself with food box drops (thank you to the amazing support of charity SOFEA), prescription deliveries, newsletter writing and small acts of befriending. Building on each small activity each day pulled me out of my emotional quagmire and reconnected me with the world.

boxes with a SOFEA label on
Some of the food boxes I delivered to people in need

From there I was able to build back up in being able to do more with the children, to do more with my study, to do little pieces of creativity and sowing seed for vegetable in the garden. Small acts started to empower me and bring me back to the world and to be able to see my possibilities within it.

Now I feel I’m able to bring myself back to this wonderful CrafStory project again. I want to keep telling the amazing stories of people in our world, especially in ways that recycle, reimagine and step outside a mass produced future for the world.

Little baby steps – but I hope you’ll take them with me.

Ruby

There is a lot going on in the world right now, some of which I am and some of which I am not qualified to comment upon and perhaps to some this may seem like something unnecessary and frivolous. My route through this is to support, signal boost and make efforts to improve how things are right around me, in as much as I can.

I don’t want to appropriate but I do want to amplify the message of equality. If you feel CrafStory.com can in any way support efforts in making the world a better place by telling your CrafStory please, get in touch via our contact page. I would be honoured.

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