I woke with a sense of dread in my bones today. I was surprised. Yesterday I was productive, I had some recreational time, and I was feeling upbeat. This morning’s news headlines, I guess, combined with my daughter’s eczema flaring up and making her miserable, have taken me back to a point of feeling like… well, what is the point right now?
A major part of that feeling is the dawning realisation of how the rich world intends to keep managing this pandemic. I feel this issue acutely because I am from, and am currently stuck in, one of the richest countries in the world, but my chosen home is in the global south. The policy of the UK and many others seems to be to vaccinate all our ‘own people’, then shut our borders to anyone we deem to be a variant threat (and extort them for quarantine money if they do get through). Meaning we are allowed to return to normality, but as for what happens to the rest of the world, who cares, right? Beloved feels like a microcosm of this crisis. The majority of our retail customers are international visitors, and as a result of the pariah-isation of South Africa, those people aren’t around much right now.
I imagine India too is feeling pretty infuriated by the imperialistic and ignorant tone the UK government has. The British variant is running rampant, and here we are bragging about the medical equipment we are ‘donating’, and closing our borders to non-Brits coming from India. I fear that India is the first, and not the last, country to be devastated like this, and be left isolated by the rest of the world, looking on with a sense of pity and condescension. And while South Africa hasn’t been assaulted by the death rates that other countries have been (though it has been awful), the economic consequences of our continued isolation are proving to be massive. This is, apparently, the price we pay for having an open democracy where the scientific community can publish its findings without government interference. I wonder how many countries are watching what is happening to us, and keeping quiet about the variants they have found.
On a personal note, my inability to go home caused both by covid and the Department of Home Affairs, has meant that I was not present when my beloved dog and companion of thirteen years, Moneo, died last week. I missed the last year of his life. As covid-era losses go, I realise this is a minor one. But that prospect of eventually, somehow, getting home and being reunited with my joyful, loving dog, has been keeping me going, and now that is gone. Of course I still look forward to seeing my goddaughters, nieces and foster nieces, and all my dear friends and chosen family. But gosh.
These are not the musings expected of a jewellery designer, and I apologise if they come as a bit of a shock. I’ve written this, though, because I know I’m not alone in feeling desperation about this, and we need to speak out and make one another feel less alone. I feel an internal pressure to maintain a social media tone of ‘look at the pretty things we make, everything is wonderful’, when I know the people reading that are also often feeling bleak.
So today I’m sending all our Beloved friends, particularly those in India, much love and strength as we keep going, even when it feels pointless.