By Rebecca Widdowson, Second Year, Sociology
The Croft Magazine // While the isolated existence this academic year has been a struggle for the entire student population, for LGBTQ+ students, there may be additional challenges to this loss of community. Rebecca Widdowson shares some creative outlets for this difficult time.
This lockdown has not been fun (the other lockdowns weren’t exactly parties, but at least I was in Bristol with my friends). Now that I’m stuck at home, I feel a million miles away from anyone and everyone else. In the past, when I was feeling overwhelmed by my workload, I was able to walk along the corridor and knock on my friends’ doors. Now? I’d be lucky to see someone I know in the queue for Tesco.
To help me cope with these feelings of isolation (and to keep me from hiding under my bed and only communicating via demonic screeching), I’ve tried using social media to reach out to people.
I started with friends and family, arranging afternoons or evenings when we could catch up in an attempt to reassemble my support network in cyberspace. But since uni started again, the times when we are all free has dwindled to almost nothing. I haven’t spoken to one of my best friends, who is studying to be a doctor, since January.
I tried making new friends, using apps like Bumble to meet likeminded people in my local area. This backfired ever so slightly when a friend of a friend of a friend tried to get me to be a brand ambassador for their LGBTQ+ clothing company. Think t-shirts with witty slogans like ‘my girlfriend thinks I’m gay’. It only took me a week to realise this person was not trying to be my friend but was trying to get me to invest money into their company. But hey, at least now I can cross ‘joining a pyramid scheme’ off my bucket list.
This product pandering to my community was so NOT what I’d signed up for, so I started looking inwards instead. I decided to find something to occupy myself with that had nothing to do with social media. Keeping my hands busy, I thought, would help me channel my nervous energy into something productive.
You’re already cooped up indoors all the time, so don’t put your emotions under lockdown as well
This is why I now own a gravitationally challenged stuffed sock dragon, made of rainbow socks, naturally. But making this sock creature was easier said than done and my attempts at sewing gave me both physical and emotional damage (it’s REALLY hard to thread needles!). I eventually turned to writing, in a last-ditch attempt to placate my inner demons. And… it has kind of worked.
Writing short stories helped me focus all that stress and worry into something physical, something that I could see growing before my very eyes. They also offered up a solid platform for me to explore and confront some of the things I’ve been feeling. So, for an hour or so each day this month I’ve been doing just that: confronting myself.
My previous lockdown experiences have taught me that there’s nothing good in repressing your feelings. You’re already cooped up indoors all the time (now more than ever as it’s so cold outside), so don’t put your emotions under lockdown as well. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and got the witty t-shirt.
Featured image: Epigram / Rebecca Widdowson