The way we couldn't wait to see the end of 2020! The year started with a bang.
There was so much to look forward to. I personally had just left one job and immediately started a new one. Projects were lined up, endorsements, campaigns, gigs, and so many dreamy things.
My first-born daughter had just gotten married and we had a beautiful, intimate ceremony in my backyard.
My friends and I were going to travel to Greece in July and we had even started paying for the trip. We were planning to chase Summer all of 2020. Things were really looking up.
Then one day, we woke up to find that 2020 had switched on us. In short, all the promises of 2020 turned into loss, grief, death, surviving, coping, adapting and managing to us as a nation and to millions of other people around the world. I don't think any of us anticipated how things would turn out.
Covid-19 has made the death of our loved ones so impersonal. We have suffered a couple of deaths in my family, and we were torn and heartbroken at how we couldn't grieve properly.
Rami Chuene. Image supplied by M-Sports Marketing Communications
Funeral arrangements were rushed, the pain of deciding who gets to attend, and the elders' confusion when being told that some things cannot be done the way they were used to. And of course, not being able to all be together and comfort one another. We have lost family, friends, colleagues, celebrities, icons, legends and leaders. What is hurtful with death during this time, more than anything, is the constant speed at which it arrives.
There is no time to be shocked, no time to process, no time to accept because another death happens within days. Nowadays, one gets into a mini-panic when the phone rings. We dread that call that might tell us that someone we loved dearly has passed on. Our emotional and mental state is being severely tested and we are running on empty.
The devastation of job losses has affected so many of us. What was stable and guaranteed income disappeared overnight, putting a lot of dreams and plans on hold?
You find yourself now negotiating with banks to give you time to restructure your life. You have to sit your family down to discuss what can be cut off or be put on hold just so you can stay afloat. I know friends and families that had to move houses. Some had to sell their cars and furniture, going way beyond downscaling to simply start from the beginning.
People were having to move in with family or friends and those who don't have close relatives, having to go into shelters.
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The loss of physical contact and gatherings has been one harsh reality to face, bearing in mind that we are such a partying nation. I am from a big family, my parents, siblings, and children, and I already take a big chunk of that fifty.
Not only that but with the people you're with, there can be no hand-shakes, no hugging and definitely no kissing. I struggled so much with that because I'm such a hugger, and for me, hugs are everything. When we hug, we give love, transfer good energy, comfort and reassure each other. Thankfully, social media has stepped in and bridged the gap to become a platform where we all go and 'mark the register' and check on each other.
Every morning I tweet "Good morning Beautifuls". For me, this has become more than a greeting. It is showing gratitude. It is an invisible and virtual hug to those that come across it to thank them for waking up.
Being a single mother of three girls, I had to make the conscious decision to be a safe space for them and myself. When they're unsure and in doubt, they know they can call me any time, and of course, when I pick up, I say, "Good morning, Beautiful" or "hello, my Beautiful."
What has encouraged me is seeing people around me- family, friends and colleagues- moving from the anxiety, panic and fear of COVID-19 and choosing to continue to embrace and live in these times of Corona. Really focusing on starting strong and mastering the class of 2021.
We have adapted to the changes, the restrictions and regulations to work and earn a living. We have accepted that this won't go away today or tomorrow, so we gradually find ways and means to manoeuvre through life.
Almost a year later, we will not be throwing the much-anticipated party to celebrate my daughter's first wedding anniversary, and I doubt my friends and I will be going to Greece this July. Some shows and campaigns are still on hold and it looks like it will be like this for a little while longer.
And yet, here we are- alive and hopeful, we smile through our tears and laugh through the madness that is now our 'new normal'.
We choose to be apart now so we can be together again soon. Our separation is for our own health and safety. Now we move on with the belief that with each passing day, life will be beautiful again. And that's a beautiful thing.
How will you be practicing self-care this year? Share your tips with us here.
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