As I write this, we have just reached 100 days since the world changed forever, and I needn’t tell you this. There has been a palpable sense of fear and anxiety as we all struggle to process changes unheard of in many generations. There is no blueprint for a pandemic and as a country we were woefully underprepared, mentally, emotionally and practically. Let’s not forget how many leaders from around the globe denounced the potential impact of the virus in the early stages. Some still do. I won’t repeat their words and I don’t need to. They are written on the bodies of those who are no longer with us. It is in our darkest hours that humanity reveals its most dangerous extremes, and it is in these times that we search for the light and find the brightest of souls burning relentlessly.
Lockdown has been a fearful and uncertain time, and continues to be so. The pandemic has taken away so much for so many. None more than those amongst us who have lost loved ones. My heart aches for you and there are no words to express such profound loss. I hope you are okay. As okay as you can be right now. If you’re not okay, I hope you have people around you who can share the weight you carry. Please reach out if you need help. Please know that we are all holding you in our hearts and you are never alone.
This worldwide situation has made one thing extraordinarily clear to us all; as a species we are interdependent, in a very real and tangible sense. We need each other to survive and we need each other to thrive. The shrinking of our physical worlds and the new-found time that lockdown has enforced upon so many has provoked much loneliness. However, I have been heartened to see so many people step up and extend a helping hand to those in need; strangers, neighbours and friends alike. Thank you, deeply, to those who have shared their strength with those who are depleted. Thank you to our key workers and the incredible staff at the NHS, so many of whom have risked their lives on a daily basis to keep the rest of us safe. We are forever in your debt and you deserve to be paid so much more. If anyone comes across any campaigns to make this happen, please email me and I will sign, share, promote, shout and scream about it.
Writing this I am reminded of chiaroscuro, the name for the artistic approach of contrasting light and dark in painting and film. Alongside the profound darkness we are now facing, the light has shone brighter than ever before and has delivered unexpected gifts. The joy of silence on our roads. The return of nature to urban spaces. The kindness of strangers and the generosity of friends. We have found much needed space and time from the busyness of our normal lives. But this is no holiday, and if you haven’t found the energy to learn an instrument or write that novel, you are not alone. Some days getting into the shower and eating a square meal is the mark of success. We must (now more than ever) celebrate all of our achievements, however small, they are never insignificant.
This is the first time I have written anything since lockdown began and I am not ashamed to say that I have been struggling. Everytime someone asked about my situation it would make me cry just having to explain it all again. As you probably know, I have spent almost fifteen years running gigs, both my own under the name of SoapBox, and working as a professional artist liaison and stage manager for major UK Festivals. My career, identity and social life was completely tied to the live events industry. All of my work for 2020 was cancelled and/or postponed. In one month I lost all my income, my purpose and my sense of who I am. It took a fair while for me to be able to place and process my emotions, and I need to thank Amanda Palmer for giving shape to what I could not: This is a form of grief, and it's okay to feel sad and angry and lost. And I have felt all of those things, so many times, and I'm sure I will feel them all again. There is something extremely powerful about the process of recognition and I am starting to harness that energy. I am grateful that I have managed to move into a mental space that is allowing me to (tentatively) begin to look to the future.
Caterpillars dissolve their entire bodies in their cocoons before emerging as butterflies and we should learn from them. Change can be positively transformative, whether we choose to undergo it or have it forced upon us. For now, I will be focusing on fundraising and I am here to ask for your support (if you are in a position to give any). On Friday 10th July I will be launching an online shop, selling a bunch of beautiful handmade SoapBox artwork, bunting and jellyfish. I am hoping to raise some money to pay my bills and to purchase some (essential) tools to enable me to continue with SoapBox, particularly a (paid) Zoom account to host online gigs. Thank you in advance for anything you can do to support this. >>>SOAPBOX SHOP<<<
I know there is so much more to say, but, this feels like the right place to say goodbye (for now). I promise I will not leave it so long before the next time. Please know I miss you all so much. More than I can ever express. The community around SoapBox is so powerful and you have all made it what it is today. I am forever grateful. I really dearly hope you are all well and safe. Stay in touch and...
Above all else
All my love, Amy SoapBox xxx