Lockdown may have got to me. I have started to ramble at people, no longer satisfied with just polite conversations, I now orate epic monologues.
Unsuspecting shoppers in Tescos fall prey to my need to connect. “Do you think I should buy this banana? It seems very green, I don’t know when I might want to eat it, you can see my dilemma, buying it might mean not having an edible banana when needed…”
They stare, waiting for me to catch my breath so they can buy the yellow banana and move away, but I am a yogi who does Pranayama – I don’t need to draw breath.
To be fair, I am loquacious at the best of times, ‘chatter box’ was written in every school report. However, even I am shocked at the volume of unpunctuated words lockdown seems to urge me to share with random strangers. It feels as though there is a hole, something missing deep inside and every encounter is spent trying to fill this hole. Freud would have a field day reading that sentence, but I am not the only person who has said they are off kilter at the moment.
Phone a friend
The NHS website gives 10 tips on being well whilst staying at home during lockdown. Third on the list is ‘stay connected with others’.
I phone my mum every day. We have nothing new to say to each other, but still talk for an hour. Yesterday’s big news, “Mummy, I found the other half of my dog-poo-bag-holder’. We discussed this in detail. Had I told her I had lost it? (Yes.) Did I keep the other half? (Yes.) Did I lose the poo bags themselves? (Yes.) I then phoned my other half to tell him I had had a 27 minute conversation with my mum about my recently lost and found bottom half of my poo-bag-holder. His silence was proof he was very pleased for me.
Every day I also phone a selection of friends, although oddly they’ve not been free to take my call. Instead, I leave a 4-5 minute voice message. Also sometimes in the form of a song or a ditty.
For example: these words are sung to the Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.
“Oh-oh Jo, Jo.
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII love you so.”
Genius isn’t it? Jo will forget her worries with a corker like that. Pop songs sung in an operatic voice works wonders too. Think Maria Callas singing Rolling Stones ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ on your voice mail.
Losing your creative mojo
But of late, I’ve lost my creative mojo. I wanted to wish a friend good luck for her exam and all I could do was write was ‘good luck’. Another friend’s birthday, they got ‘happy birthday’. The height of my imagination was ‘You’ve got this’ to someone who lost their grandad. Only after 2 days did I realise that perhaps a traditional ‘my deepest sympathy’ would have been more appropriate than trying to sing ‘You’ve got this’ to the tune for the advert of Body Form (Hey body form, body form for youuuuuuuuuuuu). Any fool knows that is never going to scan properly. All of this erratic behaviour sent alarms bells – something is amiss.
A brain dump
Enter ‘the morning pages’. The idea is as soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, you write. You are not meant to filter, compose or judge your morning writing, just write whatever comes to mind. You don’t reread them or show them to anyone. Morning pages are a brain dump. I think officially you are meant to write 1 page of A4, but I’ve decided on 3 pages of A4. My hope was to get out all the nonsense from deep within, so that when I do speak to real live humans, it is a coherent and normal conversation of appropriate length and topic.
Often I am still half asleep when doing my morning pages and my writing trails off onto the sheets. In a bygone era, known as ‘pre lockdown’, I had some epic revelations in my morning pages. How I viewed life, which relationships I should move away from, whether it is better to put the sugar in with the tea bag or wait until after. Now my scribblings are so banal, I even sense the paper’s disappointment at being stained with all my drivel.
Talking to the void
The problem is there is so little new input in lockdown. The same 4 walls, the same people and now talking to the void has become normal. When teaching my online yoga class, once I tell everyone I am muting them, the silence is deafening. My jokes have become bawdier and bawdier as the months march on, because I need to see a physical response. Once upon a time, a twitch in the side of the mouth would have been ample response to a joke. Now I need to see someone double over, holding their side in hysterics, to feel as though it landed. Though if that were to happen, I’d panic they were having a heart attack because I kept them in Utkatasana for too long.
Numbers have started falling in my classes and people are saying they just can’t do online anymore. Needless to say, I took it all very personally and thought it was my fault. I decided to watch a free webinar. ‘Tips on getting more people to your yoga class’. In essence this lady explained that there are so many yoga teachers out there that we can no longer just rock up to class and sequence a warrior 1, a warrior 2, and a reverse warrior. NO. Instead we need to be original. We need to be great. We need to be awesome…
This notion of sent me into a panic. I love warrior 1, warrior 2 and reverse warrior. Straight after that webinar, I had to teach a class. I had no idea what to teach. Bumbling my way through the class, I had the words ‘be great, be original’ ringing in my ears. I asked my students to ‘move freely expressing their inner angst through movement’ and they just stared at me. I began to demo a physicalization of my own inner demons. It wasn’t pretty. They just stared at me. Until eventually someone started doing a warrior 1, warrior 2 and reverse warrior and I quickly got back on board and taught my normal class.
Things I learnt this month
Green bananas take 5 days to ripen to an edible consistency.
We are great, we are original, we are awesome just the way we are.