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  • AutorenbildNadia Qaud

Keep on spinning

friedenstauben im himmel auf der berliner mauer
Berlin Wall graffity — East Side Gallery. Photo: Nadia Qaud

The sky was spinning slowly

In my mind, I hear Philipp Poisel singing: "I danced as if there was no tomorrow. And the sky was spinning slowly. And the sky was spinning slowly." The earth keeps spinning. Just slower. A worldwide slowdown. All governments around the world have pulled the emergency brake because of the spread of the Coronavirus.

It's impossible for me to tell if the sky is spinning and the earth is standing still or if the sky is standing still and I'm rotating. I have not been dancing for a long time. I am in a complete standstill. Public life no longer exists. Stagnation. Human life is regulated — reduced to family and home communities. For singles, this is a slippery slide into untouchable loneliness. Only virtual contacts are allowed now. Groups with more than a few people are considered a potential danger, a playground for the virus resulting in exponential growth. During lockdown we are locked away: from the world, school, work, life.

Stay with yourself!

Undisinfected contact is prohibited. The distance for non-family members is legally defined. To insulate ourselves from the virus, it is expected or mandatory that we stay at home. The slogan #stayhome #staysafe is circulating around the world. I remain well-behaved within my home, which offers me protection. There I am: suddenly confronted only with myself. Without mercy. Unable to run away. Me. My inner self. My outside. I can’t numb myself from my ups and downs. No immersing myself in work. No running to the gym. No shopping sprees. No eating out with friends. Just me, thrown back at myself. Now I have to listen to the feelings in my body rather than ignoring them. Instead of changing my life, I have let the feelings fade away and conserved them inside me. But instead of saying goodbye in silence, they have manifested in the form of body aches inside me.

I'm standing right here in front of myself. My mistakes. My weaknesses. My pain. What's the point of getting dressed up if nobody can see me in the privacy of my own home anyway? Oh, no need for a shower. I'm saving water today. Makeup? What for? I eat breakfast alone, standing over the counter. Without dirtying my plates. I am pushing myself into the corner of unworthiness. Becoming an invisible person in my own life.

Hey mirror, is that me?

In the mirror of consciousness, my self-esteem crumbles like old cement. I have absolutely no desire to face this merciless glance into this mirror. I just can't take it anymore. The sky is starting to turn again. My glass is full and so am I. Right over the edge. No. I don't want to feel it. I don't want to feel it. I don't want to feel him. No! No! No. The glass is bathed in velvet red. Every sip that runs down my throat dulls my senses. My clear view of life's events dissolves into soft cotton contours. My sneering unhappiness seems infinitely large. And the sky has started to spin again — faster with every sip.

Prisoners without bars

We're prisoners. Trapped in our home and the only opening windows to the outside world are telephone calls or — the modern variant — video calls. The conference calls made from the home office are the last remaining connection between the team members of a company department. They substitute for meetings or even travel around the globe. Nevertheless, the feeling of being part of the entire system is crumbling. We transform ourselves into muted heads in front of the laptop. On second thought, it's pretty much the same as in an open-plan office, except that there are still shared coffee breaks, gossiping, and a canteen in an open-plan. Now, prison without bars is the new normal for everyone. In every country in the world. As a prisoner, I dip the fear of loneliness like Cantuccini in Vin Santo, to soften it and make it bearable.

Necessary to survive?

Berlin Wall — East Side Gallery. Photo: Nadia Qaud.

In the country where I live, the first thing to be sold out after the announcement of the lockdown were pastas and toilet paper. You stockpile whatever you think is most important for survival. A clean backside and a full stomach. Thanks to Italian pasta. Basta. Well, that should do it. I am very grateful that the lockdown clearly revealed the greatest value for me in times of crisis. Before my isolation, I was not as aware of how much I miss the friendly hugs and kisses that are part of normal life. Otherwise, I would have stockpiled touches and body contact before the lockdown. Would have stored them properly stacked in the cupboard and used them carefully when needed. Kind and loving interaction with other persons is a huge treasure. With big and small people. "When do you come us?" my little niece wanted to know. She lives in another country and is so young that she is unable to understand what state borders are. That these borders have suddenly become unbridgeable walls that no one could have ever imagined before.

Wealth and glitter in our lives

My treasure box is my heart. And the treasures I keep inside are the people who accompany me in life. Family, close friends, distant friends, colleagues. Everyone. All of them. It is a great gift to experience your words, your kindness, your awareness, over and over again. The encounters and celebrations with you are something I really want to enjoy. Being alive is what I want, without any narcotics. To encounter everyone from heart to heart — even if this interaction is a discussion or an argument.

Once the annoying lockdown is over, every time I look up, the glittering, diamond sparkling stars in the sky will remind me of the real wealth and richness of my life. Let me always remember it, even if my busy everyday life is swallowing me up with to-do lists and deadlines. Then I will sprinkle sparkle and glitter over all my responsibilities — little stars and a smile, sky and music, and I will sing, dance and think of you.

Heaven, when do you come us? Heaven, keep on spinning. And take us away with you into life.

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