Not Waving Hello. Drowning!

Posted by Nicole Duranton Sigl on

Hey Folks,

How are things out there with you? It feels like I haven’t a clue anymore what life “on the outside” even looks or feels like. Lockdown continues, which means no market trading and, I won’t lie, it’s taking its toll on my positive outlook. I confess, it’s been tough going here in NDS Jewellery headquarters. In fact, this is my third attempt at producing a text that isn’t too depressing to publish and share with you. Since I last wrote, the often evoked “corona coaster” has dragged me down quite rapidly and the horribly wet, stormy weather has not helped either. On the contrary, it has dampened not only my spirits but also my projects. How? You can take this literally. My workshop renovations have come to an abrupt halt, just as I thought I was nearly done. Apparently, there happens to be a new leak, and with the dreadful weather we’ve been having, I found out very quickly. The huge new puddles have been ruining all of the work I already did and, of course, now I have to start afresh by fixing the leak (fingers crossed) and getting everything dry again. This means ripping up my newly laid floor, too, and I could cry just thinking about it. You can imagine that it’s all go here, trying to control and fix the damage everywhere. At this stage, professional help is needed and I am anxious to have it all sorted before matters get worse. 

As I am writing this, it is a beautiful, sunny morning/day, the first in several weeks, actually. There’s real warmth in the sun already and everything looks just so incredibly endearing, bathed in that wonderful golden light. In contrast, I feel quite deflated and, in my mind, I can’t come to terms with how beautiful everything looks to the eye, yet how many problems there are to fix. It breaks my heart to think of all the high hopes and plans I had. What I thought I would have accomplished by now. Instead, I am back at square one, feeling low in spirits. Even the dog looks like he’s somewhat lost his usual bounce. He’s incredibly cute though, basking in the sun. You see, how am I meant to cope with all these extremely conflicting emotions all at once? Processing this huge setback while taking in all the beauty of a sunny morning. It feels wrong to be so sad when the sun is finally shining again but I just can’t help it.

Well, for now, all I can do is trying to fix what’s currently happening. Part of me feels guilty for feeling so crushed when I’m still lucky enough but I am nevertheless disappointed. All this, combined with trying to keep family life afloat, has inevitably taken its toll. If I have managed to pull myself together thus far, I am now a bit shook. Suffice it to say, my creativity and yoga alone, although helping me to destress somewhat, are not enough anymore to fix me, never mind my workshop. All this time, I have been talking and writing about downtime, self-care and staying hopeful. Now it dawns on me that while I have cared for everyone else and have taken time off work, I still have not actually taken good enough care of myself. I have been carrying a heavy mental load for longer than the actual pandemic and now, well now, I have come to the point where more than the ceiling is crashing down on me.

Sorry for sounding a bit doom and gloomy but it is what it is. Yes, in the grand scheme of things this is merely a setback, a trifle compared to what many others have to go through. Yes, I am well aware. Does that comfort me? Nope. Not in the least. So there you have it. In view of not being allowed to market trade for easily another nine weeks (at the time of writing this, anyway), I have come to the decision that I must now take a few [read: MANY!!!] steps back and consider my options as well as reconsider my plans for this year. The idea was to widen my art practice, and to work on more specific jewellery projects and I still have not given up hope entirely for this to happen. It just might take me sooooooo much longer than I had hoped for. I try to neither despair nor give up entirely but I admit it’s very hard right now to see any point. And you know just how impatient I am…

Good thing that I am a stubborn creature by nature and was born determined. If nothing else, that will prevent me from going under entirely. Or at least that is what I am hoping for. Even putting this into writing feels like I may already be jinxing it. [Yes, I am slightly superstitious, too.] All I actually want to do is pull a blanket over my head or, even better, do like the dog and spend the day basking on various couches, oblivious to anything other than warm, sunny spots, occasional snacks, and cuddles. In yet another stark contrast, right now I am simultaneously typing this text while homeschooling my children and having lunch preparations on the go. [on a side note: how will my children cope with being back in school where they can’t demand a minimum of four breakfasts, countless snacks, and a two course lunch, while rolling their eyes and saying either “I know I know I know” or “This is boring” or “What’s for dinner?”?]

So yeah… this is the current state of affairs, not very upbeat or inspirational, I’m afraid. Can you relate a little though or maybe even sympathise? At this stage, it is fair to say that I struggle with my usual composure and my pragmatism hasn’t fully kicked in yet. I try to not give in to this gloomy train of thoughts though and, instead, roll up my sleeves and start afresh. It’s what I normally would do, yet it’s a little less easy for me this time around. I could do with some real alone time, sea swimming, and travelling but, for now, that’s not meant to be. In fact, it’s hard to accurately describe just how much I miss my freedom to physically get away from “it all” for a while to regain perspective. “Lockdown fatigue” does not entirely seem to cover it. So I merely keep staring at the same hole in the ceiling, willing it to not grow any bigger or beyond reasonable repair. What was supposed to be split into two separate, tidy, and dedicated workspaces is now two separate, messier than ever construction sites where the chaos has ceased to be creative. The only thing it inspires me to do is close the door.

And yet, the show must go on, as they say. Except that, for now, it will go on without me until further notice. As I said, I need to take a few necessary steps back in my journey. Daring to do and acknowledge that is already making me feel a little better. It helps putting this into words and it makes me accountable to boot. Now I mustn’t let myself down and actually look after myself properly (rather than merely writing about it). To rephrase everyone’s darling Adriene, I must "find what feels good" for NDS Jewellery and the person behind it. I can only carry on from a place of strength, if I want to continue with my adventure.

The current reality is, I simply don’t know when I can work properly again, but if you keep an eye out on my social media and join my email clan, you’ll be the first to know, for sure. In the meantime, thank you for reading this far. It means a lot to be able to share the occasional rant of frustration with you. As you know, I’m all for keeping it real and not faking anything or omitting my struggles along the way. Rest assured, I will fall back on my feet again eventually. I’m certain there’s a life lesson in all of this for later on, even though right now I don’t care for it much. On the contrary, I rather look forward to the point in time where it’s all sorted, pandemic and lockdown are a thing of the past, and we’re all free again. For the time being though, please let’s all hang in there, we must. It’s bound to get better again, and I’ll try rallying my spirits for the next time I write. 

Until then, don’t despair. It’s not over unless it is over, and I for one am nowhere near my wit’s end just yet. There’s still some fighting spirit left in me and, consequently, in NDS Jewellery. We just need to be a bit more patient with and kind to ourselves…

With every warm wish for your own wellbeing and plenty of big hugs,

Nicole x