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  • Writer's pictureLeana and Andrew

'Tis the season to be jolly? Guitar update!

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

As my flight to South Africa has been cancelled yet again, how can I be jolly? And as I’m sitting here typing, my heart wants this blog to end on a happy uplifting note, but I wonder if it will? The therapist in me is reminding me that things don’t always end on a happy note. To sit with the feelings and believe me, I am. I’ve become quite the pro at sitting with the feeling of disappointment.

I’m used to not seeing my family. I’ve never lived down the road from my mum and dad. Since living in the UK my entire adult life, I’ve never been able to drop in for a brew or ask them to pick up the kids for me from school as I’m running late. I’ve gotten used to it because this has always been my normal. We would spend all year saving and have a mega-trip to South Africa planned – making the most of our time with my family, making memories and the like. We were able to get excited about the trip, connecting online with my old school mates, getting silly in reminiscing, and planning epic catch ups. The build up was almost as good as seeing Table Mountain from the plane. I’ve never gone more than a year seeing my family. This is my limit.

It’s now been 3 years and 3 cancelled trips. We were meant to board next week. PCRs booked, cattery sorted. I was allowing myself to finally get excited again. Then Omicron landed.

Here we go, again.

Both my parents have Long Covid and my dad subsequently had blood clots in the leg and lungs. He's since had a heart attack. I have this fear rising in me that I don’t want to acknowledge. I can’t. I can’t allow myself to think…. I’ll stop here.

Boy, it’s been a tough, tough year, for clients and therapists alike. We are in this alongside you, with you and feeling it ourselves.

I really didn’t want to put up the Christmas tree this year. I wasn’t supposed to. I was supposed to be in the heat of the African sun! I did, however. I did it for my kids and doing it made me feel a little better. I like keeping my hands busy. It helps me process. I started thinking about the fact that I have kids who help to distract from my own feeling of loss about not seeing my parents. What a blessing for me. I started thinking of how blessed I am that my parents are still alive, that I am not alone this Christmas. I started thinking about my fellow South Africans that had to give up their chance to go see family. Again, I’m not so alone. I thought about those single travellers who will now be isolating in a sterile hotel over Christmas.

Boy, I’m blessed.

I started thinking about all those families who have lost loved ones this time last year and how they must be feeling. I started thinking about how many people in this world are really and deeply struggling. People with cancer whose treatment and diagnosis has been impacted by Covid (my lovely sister being one of them) and the mental impact this has for each person and their families.

Feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment, anxiety, depression are rife. Being a human is really hard at the moment. Can you see what happened just now? I started to perk myself up, then I dipped into the reality of our world again. Round and around I go. I have no doubt that thousands of people are caught in this emotional and draining mental loop. We lift ourselves up and the next moment, we drop again. It’s exhausting.

So how do we soothe ourselves while we are going through this trying time you ask? I for one pulled out my adult swear words colouring-in book! I creatively prettify the rude words with sparkly bright neons! I connect with the swear word, then giggle at what I’m doing. It’s silly and small, but in that moment, it helps. I bake with my kids. I’ve changed my Audible book choices to comedy rather than my usual suspense. I’ve had enough of suspense! I stop reading the news. I sew, I play Roblox with my boy and teach my daughter how to spot the electric guitar in a tune so I can vicariously live my desire to play guitar through her! Hang on… maybe I need to pick up the guitar myself! Perfect time for it! See what happens when we sit down and freely write whatever comes to our mind – we have a light-bulb moment. We allow all the fleeting thoughts to root themselves on paper and we stumble across something helpful. I urge you to try it. Set yourself a challenge.

This is my vow – I will update this blog after the school holidays with a picture of me on the guitar! Scout's honour.

Wish me luck!

I was hoping I'd be playing some Metallica at this point, but alas! Here I am mastering Jingle Bell Rock!

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