28/06/2020 Not long ago the announcement of a further release of lockdown on the 4th July was announced in the UK, I thought it’d be worthwhile noting the responses I’ve seen amongst friends, family and fellow students..
Personally, I feel split on this topic. On the one hand getting back to ‘normal’ seems positive and I wish positivity was all I felt towards it. However I often feel very anxious about the releasing of lockdown measures. I feel uncomfortable in shops, in public and even meeting family from a large distance, I find myself wanting and waiting to go home each time I venture out. I feel intense guilt for meeting friends, despite being at a distance of 2m and above, despite being in accordance to all the guidelines. I understand a large chunk of these thoughts are most probably irrational, especially considering that the outside world seems to have already gotten back to normal and, to an extent, left me behind. I think the split I feel is the same as the split in the general population; some are anxious, some are leaping at the opportunities now available after so long. The truth is, I think I and lots like me, adapted quite well to a life in lockdown, home has become a beacon of safety and I am just one of many constantly torn between needing to go out and fighting the urge to stay in.
All over social media, this same split is visible. Some are still preaching about lockdown rules, warning a second wave, whilst others post photos and videos together, no distancing, no precautions, just like we were back to normal.
Both I think are separate ends of the Coronavirus discourse that has been ongoing since March.
Mostly, I am anxious to start work. I’ve recently finished my degree and have a graduate scheme waiting for me towards the end of the year (this is due to delays because of the virus). However, I’m unsure how to act now, I have no doubts that the real working world is normally a bit of a sharp shock to the system after years of education and part-time throw-away weekend jobs, but with the addition of lockdown and the significant lack of real-life situations that would normally make you feel a little more comfortable in greeting new people and communicating in social situations, I feel entirely unprepared to face society. Alongside this, I think most graduates like me will feel set back, that their natural career paths and progressive steps are thus stunted by not only the delays put in place by the lockdown and the lack of job availabilities that follow, but with a significant lack of social skills when lucky enough to secure a graduate career.
Like a lot of things at this time, most of it is up the air, and I think it will be extremely interesting to see how we all adjust to life again once lockdown procedures are released even further from the 4th July and beyond.
In this moment in America, it feels like things are in many ways, worse than ever. The president has turned masks and other safe practices into politics, and it feels like many people are pretending like covid is over. I can only imagine how better we would be if we had a national unity around protecting each other and being safe.
Our cases our rising, and it makes me worried for people like my dad who has to work, and while he wears a mask, many if the people around him don’t. I don’t even know we would do if he got sick. I’m worried for myself because the president thinks treating transgender people should be optional.
I’m able to learn online thankfully, and I’ve exchanged walks in parks to exercising in VR, that I love. I do still go out sometimes, but I really only feel comfortable in outdoor places where it’s mandatory to wear a mask. Everyone living in the house is hoping for a vaccine by the end of the year, but I think that’s just them trying to keep spirits up. It’s been a few months into the pandemic, and I guess I could use some of that hope too. Hope things are just better in the future.
I am working from home and am simultaneously extremely grateful to still have a job, whilst also stressed and anxious by working full time whilst it seems the world is literally falling apart. I feel I should be doing something- about COVID, about BLM, about Me Too but am sat at home all day working as normal. The only difference is not being in an office to do the work. It is frustrating that for me, work continues whilst everything else has ground to halt- I am no longer allowed to do any activities I enjoy. Even though I have a job where I actually do have a visible impact on people’s lives, and often receive thanks from people I have helped, it still just seems a bit pointless in the grand scheme of things. I have also had some pangs of jealousy- My furloughed friends and families have been taking the time to learn, better themselves, protest and have days sunbathing in the park, whilst I hunch over my laptop in the corner of a darkened room. My boyfriend’s employer is making up the final 20% of the furlough scheme so he has been on full pay, whilst not doing any work for 3 months now. He has loved the freedom and break from the grind, and has been taking the time to relax and do things he enjoys but which ordinarily he might not have time for. I work for the same place, and am having to work full time in order to receive my full pay. I feel bad for not being completely and utterly happy and grateful to still have my job.
Things have been… easier? Lately. Easier feels like a bad word, life still isn’t easy. But I’ve adjusted. It took 3 months but I am more settled with homeworking now. The problem is everyone else I work with is getting to normal speed, and I feel like it took me until now just to not cry everyday. Everyone else is so much better than I am. I feel like everyone will finally know I’m a fraud. I’m scared I’m going to get into trouble or called a slacker, when I really really am trying, I am just not good enough.
I started going outside. Other than 5 minutes to the local shop. I did a “test walk” going twenty minutes away. Then I went 30 and met a friend. It changed everything. I didn’t realise how starved and lonely I’d been feeling. You think the online chats and calls make up for it, but just hearing an actual voice, seeing a physical person who actually cares about me and wanted to check I was OK and hang out, was so good. Since then I’ve seen some other friends – all in sensible socially distant ways. We’re all a bit of a nervy bunch, so it works!
It’s weird, to be glad that I can kinda see people, but also feel terrified that it’s all happening too soon. I don’t trust the government with people’s wellbeing.
I still can’t see my family in other parts of the UK. It’s difficult having not seen them for so long. I know everyone is in the same boat, but if I lived close to my family hy now I could pop down and sit in the garden. Can’t exactly pop 200 miles to my mother’s house.
I hope this project gets published in some way. I have found relief in reading these entries over the course of the lockdown- thank you for providing that.
I went back to work for the first time yesterday. I felt apprehensive at being in school again. My heart was racing as I approached the gates. Then I calmed. The day was fine, the kids happy to see me. It was all in my head. Then i returned home and the anxiety returned. I bathed straight away. washed several times. disinfected my hands multiple times before eating. The whole thing happened again today.
I was saying to a work colleague the other day that I was in two minds about the Covid panic. Part of me is done with the lock-down. I want it to be over, and for life to return to normality. To return to my daily routine of behaviour management and educating. To return to the normal. Another part of me knows I will miss this when it is all over. The last 3 months have given me some needed R&R and allowed me to pursue my other interests. I’ve read more books in the last few months than in years, (other than for academic purposes). I’ve completed video games, and watch films without guilt. I’ve rekindled old friendships over Skype, and started a new role-playing group with those old uni friends. I’ve become a more conscientious partner to my amazing fiance. All of this because of the lock-down. So part of me will miss these months when life returns to normal.
I realise my experience has been different to others. I’m in a protected profession, and thus have not to worry about paychecks. I live in a quite country village, so have not had to deal with crowds or busy public space. Early on I was categorised as a shielding case, but was then changed category some time later, when the Government moved around priorities, so I have been given a lot of help from my job, whilst being able to reap the benefits of not shielding.
I have felt some odd feelings in the last few weeks. I have seen the BLM movement change the discussion in our country, and have felt powerless to help because of my at risk nature. In my normal life I would be out their protesting, and educating my students on the issues of the day. I have been unable to do this in lock-down, and it has been the most painful aspect of the whole crisis for me.
I have been lucky to be isolated with some one who cares deeply for me, and I for her. I cannot wait to be out of this, and to see my family and friends in person again. But as I say, a small part of me will miss this when it is all over.
It’s been about two and a half months, I think, since I realized how big an issue this pandemic was. It’s not common for universities to shut down like this – even in terrible winter storms our campuses may remain open. And somehow, near the end of March, I woke up to learn that basically every major university had moved their courses online for the rest of the term; mine followed later that afternoon. Now the term is over and this is how I have graduated – online without ceremony in the middle of a global pandemic. I don’t know how I feel about anything right now. I feel like I am overreacting in one moment to not taking things seriously enough in the next. Now somehow we are in June. I keep forgetting about the pandemic now; I’m nervous about going outside at all, even though I still miss just being able to sit in a coffee shop or go get bubble tea with friends or exist in a library, but with the recent protests it’s so easy to forget that both these things are happening at once? I don’t know why. I know that doesn’t really make sense, and that major events can obviously happen concurrently, but reading or learning about this in regards to history is so different than actually living it.
I’ve stopped reading the news as much. Normally I’d like to keep track of what’s happening locally and elsewhere, but these days, I’m just too tired. I was already burned out from school, and now I’m sure I still am, but now I just feel… More unmotivated and apathetic? Lazy? I really don’t know how I feel other than just weird; it’s like I don’t have enough space in my brain to deal with everything that’s happening at once. It also feels a bit weird how I keep wondering what things will be like later. Once we get past this how will things have changed? Will things have changed? Whether they find a vaccine that works or whether we all have to learn to live with this somehow, what’s going to be different and how? I also find it weird, and therefore difficult to say to others, that I want to remember this? In that, I don’t want to forget how surreal and bizarre and deadly serious all of this is; I don’t want to look back one day (because I’m really hoping to survive this) and think, ‘Oh, it wasn’t that bad, people just overreacted,’ because it is that bad and people are not overreacting.
For now though, I’m just going to keep looking for a job and trying to figure out what, if any, career goals I have.
My experience as a shop worker throughout the lockdown period has been mixed. On the one hand, we’ve had a number of fantastic customers that have been courteous, empathetic and vigilant. Conversely, the looming threat of contracting COVID-19 has been a constant source of stress. It’s been a wholly tiring experience, when one event has consumed your day, everyday for nearly 3 months it becomes hard to find any distance from it.
Which I think has gone some way to making the recent relaxation of guidance so much harder, it feels like a complete juxtaposition of my new norm. Maybe a bit of context is important.
My town isn’t a big town, it relies heavily on saturday tourist trade. Obviously this has been impacted by the lockdown. And honestly, it’s been a breath of fresh-air, my hours have been more sociable and we’ve been interacting with fewer customers. Which has made social distancing significantly easier.
With this in mind, since the PM allowed for greater travel there has been a big uptick in the number of people travelling into town, both from within the local area and also from neighbouring towns. I have found this stressful, my town which was basically empty 2 weeks ago now looks like a seaside resort.
It’s also raised another issue, people are being less generous. By this I mean that some of the customers that we’re serving are ignoring social distancing guidelines- they’re leaning over the counter. They’re not giving their other customers adequate space, and from my own experience, they’re being much more dismissive of myself and my colleagues.
This is what I mean by veneer lifting, there was an atmosphere at the beginning of this crisis in which it seemed like everyone was in this together. Now it feels like this is business as usual. Obviously, I’ve not accounted for the individual experiences of the customers in question. They might be having a really bad day, but when it’s impacting my day, I think it deserves recognizing.
In this chat we discuss journalism and the Spanish Civil War, exploring the role of correspondents is writing the ‘first draft of history’ and some of the debate surrounding their wartime roles. We also discuss how these debates can affect our memory of war and conflict.
If you are interested in learning more about the Spanish Civil War I’d strongly recommend reading:
Stanley Payne, The Spanish Civil War. An interesting overview of the conflict. Payne has also written on some more specific and focused aspects of the Spanish Civil War.
Anthony Beevor, The Battle for Spain. If you just want to look at one book that covers a lot, then Beevor’s rather massive book (at over 600 pages) is worth reading. It is a very comprehensive and engaging account.
Hannah Graham, The Spanish Civil War: An introduction. A much shorter and quicker, but no less scholarly, overview of the war compared to Beevor.
Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty. An excellent discussion of the role of war reporters more broadly, but his chapter on the Spanish Civil War is full of rich examples of reporters as propagandists, myth makers, and truth-seekers.
David Deacon, ‘”Going to Spain with the Boys”: Women Correspondents and the Spanish Civil War’, in Michael Bailey (ed) Narrating Media History. A more focused, but very interesting discussion into the role of female war reporters and the challenges they faced.
Martha Gellhorn, The Face of War. An excellent collection of some of Gellhorn’s brilliant articles.
Special thanks to Ali, Robert and Rob for their help clarifying the figures!
History Fireside Chats are produced, recorded and researched by Dr Kristopher Lovell. The audio was recorded using the Samson G-Track Pro: https://amzn.to/2YU2cit
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