Lockdown Letters: Jaylen Simons

This week, King's student, Jaylen, shares their experience of living with Lockdown.

Dear Lockdown, 

Hola! Its strange to be greeting you since you and I have become well acquainted over the last few months, as I am sure many others have too. Nonetheless, hello. It’s good to talk to you. 

For many, Lockdown has been a time of closeness, aloneness and certainly a time of sameness – so many ness words but its an apt suffix for our current situation. I’ve been called back to the family home abroad and have spent the time pestering my sister and parents.  My time has changed altogether, being in a different time zone too. When I wake up my friends from school and university are having lunch. When it’s time for the weekly Zoom Pub Quiz, I’ve not even had dinner. Time I would have been spending studying for final exams is now free and unending. I’m sure that for a lot of us, time is moving very differently, for better or for worse. Ah well, I find it’s now time to make the most of this time. 

I am in a country that is starting to get back to ‘normal’ or the ‘new normal’ where everyone I see has on a facemask of some kind. I’ve been using my time to sew facemasks for family and friends so every time I go out, I see facemasks of all kinds and they inspire me to try new designs and styles. I think that these masks, which at first really terrified me as I found it hard to breathe, talk and communicate, have now become something of a universal indicator and means for expression. My own facemask has pink flowers on it with the swirly sky-blue background, though I have seen some which advertise favourite sports teams, flags, and the all-important message of Black Lives Matter. 

These masks remind us and will continue to remind us of how intimate this time has been at home and how isolating the outside world has become. In the house, we are all trying to cook or watch tv or study or read on top of each other, and it’s been good to get to live and be with other people after living alone in university accommodation. I can hug my sister and give my mom a kiss, which if I saw in the street, I would think back to the rule breaking and shame our governments have been spewing at us online and on TV. We keep our lips sealed in public and open our mouths (to eat, to drink et cetera) in private, or with the necessary safety measures. 

Lockdown, you have given us all a chance to question the status quo and time to show how desperately things much change. People who are protesting are showing how overdue this world is for change as they go out, though the spread of Covid-19 is very real. The idea of returning to a ‘normal’ state sends shivers down my spine as it has now become abundantly clear that the old ways are not working. Soon (hopefully!) we will move past this time of Lockdown and open our world, our governments, and our policy-makers to change. All while covering up.

Yours, 

Jaylen  

Classics and English, King’s College London.