It’s been a year since the start of the pandemic, and with this in mind we’re looking back on the past twelve months and reflecting on what we’ve learned. This is the second part of Katie’s SadGirl 2020 – you can catch up on part 1 here.
Summer of Love
Summer was around the corner and with the days lasting longer and lockdown restrictions getting looser there was a new sense of hope in the air. I had been working now for 3 months and happily passed the probation period at my new job. I was loving what I was doing and being given more responsibilities and varied briefs.
I did still feel like I didn’t really know anyone but that wasn’t through lack of them trying. Bless them, they had really tried every step in the book to try and get people to integrate but with everyone working from home that wasn’t an easy task. A few people had also been newly employed after me, to various teams. They were both really nice and the one who stayed on was really social. He could just chat away and make jokes and as you do when you’re an insecure, socially inept mess I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. I kinda ended up putting a lot of pressure on the social side of things at work. Pressure which naturally would make me start to overthink a lot of the interactions I had with colleagues.
To distract myself from this anxiety I really delved into dating apps. Who doesn’t love validation in the form of cringey one-liners from strangers on the internet? This girl! This girl is a big fan. Anyways, I started talking to a boy in April and he was cute and we were kinda hitting it off. I remember we got talking and I suddenly realised his distance said something wild… like near on 3,796 miles wild. I messaged him about it and turns out he was at uni in London, where he matched with me, but originally he’s from Virginia, USA. He was visiting home at the same time lockdown began in England, which left him stranded there. As he was in America we obviously couldn’t meet up so we ended up talking on Hinge for near on 3 months before we actually got to go on a date.
It was the beginning of July and he had been home a couple weeks or so when we finally got to meet up. With covid still in full swing but the rules for summer being less restrictive, our options for a date were limited. We ended up going for the ever-romantic park date in Clapham Common. I remember it was a very weird feeling being in London. Due to lockdown and living with my parents, my contact with other people had really been limited. To go from that to getting a train into London to meet a stranger my nerves were all over the place.
Anyways we ended up having a great date, chatted for hours and ended up finding a socially distanced Spoons to chat in once our alcohol purchases had ran out in the park. We talked about everything and he was pretty cute, I won’t lie. We ended up having a cheeky kiss at the entrance of the tube station, probably to the disgust of the other masked train users. And that’s the last of the date I remember. As about two seconds after that kiss I drunkenly black out. Somehow luckily my drunk brain managed to get myself onto a train home which honestly is impressive and I am still going to give myself props for.
After that we went on dates about once a week and there was a spark; we really got on. 4th date loomed and I was finally staying the night at his. I had managed to wangle out some messy lie to my parents about where I was that night as the thought of telling them “BTW I’ve been dating this guy and it’s the forth date so I should probably have sex with him now” didn’t really seem like a good option. We went to a few bars before heading back to his where he showed me around his flat. We sat down on his bed where he proceeded to pick a police drug dealer action movie. It’s safe to say I didn’t really watch a lot of the movie and not for the reason you are probably thinking, keep your dirty minds out of the gutter!
The movie wasn’t particularly romantic. Not a movie that allows for a smooth transition into naughty adult cuddle times, if you know what I mean. The blood and guts and gangs and guns weren’t really doing it for me and I spent the majority of the movie confused as to why he had picked it and how he was going to go about starting the more intimate chapter of the date as we lay like pencils side by side. Eventually he did manage to make a move and we had a good time…. some might say a great time!
With the warmth also came the ability to see friends in their gardens. This was such a blessing as I think a lot of my friends like myself were isolated with parents and it was so nice to finally see some people face to face and actually talk and catch up. I also booked a little weekend away with one of my oldest friends in a cottage. Being 24 and definitely not boomers we had the fullest expectations of getting drunk and having a giggly girly night… Although turns out the Harry Potter Battle for Hogwarts board game is actually very addicting and our initial plans were scratched for a night of strategic game playing followed by slightly too clay-y face masks, the movie “Made of Honour” and an early night. Living the high life at 24, don’t get too jealous!
Christmas time, no mistletoe and a lot of wine.
I was still dating the boy and we were getting pretty close, I was starting to really like him. We went on some cute dates to the Horniman Museum and to Kew Gardens and I had met his friends and everything was going well. Unfortunately for us the fun was cut short with Lockdown 2.0. Everything was shut again and I was back to being a shut-in in my parents house and the boy went back to the US to wait out the British lockdown with his family.
Suddenly my beautiful distraction was gone and I was back to my thoughts and myself. Safe to say the winter months of lockdown weren’t the best for my mental health as I’m sure many others can agree. The first lockdown had this weird sense of excitement attached to it. Everyone wanted to do zoom quizzes and socially distanced park drinks but this time round the enthusiasm had definitely dried out. Gone were the days of zoom calls being a fun way to catch up, now they felt like a chore and the logistics of anything outside seemed like way too much planning to be fun. Anyways thats enough moaning about winter there were some highlights…. I’m sure…. Can’t quite put my finger on them right now, but I’m sure there was definitely something.
I’m just kidding, Christmas was fun at least and I realised that I should definitely go back to therapy. LOOOOL
I think what I’ve learnt from this whirlwind of a year is how to be myself again. Through uni and school I’ve always kept my self preoccupied and been busy but being able to find solace in myself has been comforting but also awoken me to areas in my mental health I need to work on. Not only that but with the lack of activities it has really allowed Nikitah and myself to push forward with Afternoon Delight. I can’t express how much having a creative outlet like this has helped me in the past year. It gave me something to focus on and be proud of when I felt like I had nothing going on. So thank you readers for giving me someone to write too. I hope you’re as excited as we are for what’s to come and the future of Afternoon Delight. xxx