This picture was shot in January 2020.

Last year was a difficult one for me, coping with illness in the family. I shut down my life in that period, telling myself it was also a sabbatical of a sort. I hadn’t felt happy writing in a few years & that’s a massive life crisis for a writer. 40 was looming high, then it came & passed in a blur of medical reports, nasty friends & swimming to cope. I started 2020 feeling the way one might after passing through a waterfall that takes away everything you carry. Renewed, hopeful.

This was the first writing event I had gone to in months. It was a new crowd, one that always calms me because it’s the stifling pressures of the familiar that weigh me down. I hoped to swim through the newness of what life felt like, among people who didn’t know me & had no expectations.

As I entered the silent office building on a Sunday, my womanly senses spiked. The full length mirror in the deserted lobby was an unmissable chance for a picture. I remember thinking I should learn to do the mirror selfie thing, then I’d be independent of other people’s schedules, whims & photography skills. Simultaneously, I was clocking the exits, planning safety routes because being a woman, especially one who enjoys solitude, exploration & solo jaunts is to constantly court danger. A chance to find new stories & renew my relationship with storytelling was worth it, I decided. It always has been. Writers block up ahead.

I did overcome it. The pandemic taught me just how much I needed to heal & learn. It showed me the unhappiness I carry because I’ve been seeking outside me things that are best served by my own self. It hasn’t been easy but it has not been boring for a minute. I’ve been grappling with mounting irrelevance & trying to embrace the fact that I will always have a place in the world. It can’t be shown to me by someone else. The space I occupy is mine to find, to settle into, to own. Every day is a new adventure.

I had no idea in January that the months ahead would look like this. But I’m grateful the path led me to the answers I needed to examine. Still learning.

🎢: KORONA SOLITUDE #1-Studnitzky

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