I've been asking people that question in the last couple of weeks, because it has now been three years since the lockdown happened in the UK.
The timelines are a little bit different in every country, but it was roughly around late March when things with the pandemic got serious all over the world.
Today I'll revisit some of my work from various points of the last three years to see how I made sense of things at the time.
There's so much to talk about here: Is this actually over now? Am I okay? Is anyone okay? Can I enjoy the privilege of the freedom I have right now without guilt? How can I possibly describe the effect the pandemic has had on me personally? Has it shaped the way I see the world? Can I separate that from all the other stuff has happened in my life? How much have I grown up? How similar is my experience to yours?
So, this is vast and confusing and overwhelming, but that makes me think it's worth trying to talk about.
Are you ready to travel back in time with me to 2020? Let's start with one of the early comics.
A Historic Moment
Is it too early yet to decide just how significant of an event the pandemic was and how it will be remembered? Will it be seen as a historic event of a similar magnitude as 9/11?
As Connor Roy so eloquently puts it:
Will "Where were you when Covid hit?" be the new "Where were you on 9/11"?
In case you're wondering where I was, I had just moved into the spare room in a flat owned by one of Sarah's friends. This friend suggested that our partners - her boyfriend and Sarah - should stay with us in the flat. Just for "a couple of weeks while this blows over". We laughed a lot about the phrase unprecedented circumstances. Nobody could have anticipated then just how long these circumstances lasted!
Yeah I want to make art
I made no art for about 2 months and just wallowed in misery and confusion, and then I thought that enough was enough. I decided I would draw one comic a day for 100 days. I wrote a bit more about how I got to that point, and also my overall history of keeping track of my life in drawings in a blog post here, if you're interested.
Anyway, this project turned out to have been a great idea, because I just made a bunch of stuff without thinking too much about it. Sometimes it made no sense. Sometimes it was just drawings of what I'd had for breakfast. Sometimes it was thoughts about the lockdown, observations, conversations. Often, of course, it was my feelings.
How do you feel?
I collected some of the comics from that time in a newspaper which you can buy in my shop if you're interested in reading them on paper. Or you could scroll back A LOT on my Instagram.
Throughout 2021 and 2022 I kept reflecting on what was happening at the time, though I had a vague sense that I probably couldn't see the full picture because I was still in it.
I wrote about change a lot, as you might already know: there's a huge chance that you are receiving this newsletter because you stumbled across my Instagram because of one of the many self-reflective pieces I wrote in the last year or so.
If you're interested in all these change related comics, you'd probably like this collection of comics I put together last year:
Inward and outward
I want to show you one more old comic from 2021.
I still see myself in this, even though everything has changed again since I wrote it. There's a feeling in this comic of me poking my head out and looking around and saying, "I think this is what happened to me". And that's how making sense of things begins. I am not done with that process, and I don't know if I ever will be. I'll keep you updated.
Thanks for reading!