This morning I sketched the art and photos, all perfectly arranged on the main wall of the beautifully decorated flat where I am currently staying. The owner of the flat is an older friend of Flo’s who I haven’t met, so it is interesting to guess what kind of person she is by studying the objects and art that she has collected throughout her life. To her, this flat is full of things that will jog memories, spark ambitions and conjure emotions. To me, I am only forming memories in a space and time that I will never forget.
While hashtags trend online, encouraging people to #stayathome, the last few weeks here have made me think what a home really is and how, now more than ever, they represent much more than just physical spaces. Homes should be safe havens where we can go to escape the bleak reality of the world outside, with our friends and family who make us feel comfortable and happy. They should give our imaginations the freedom to run wild as we think up a hundred new ways to entertain ourselves and keep our spirits high. However, the fact is that home doesn’t mean this for everyone right now. Lots of people will be stuck away from families and partners in transitory, temporary places that they would never call home, unable to get to them because of distance or a fear of carrying an unseen virus. Others will be in a space that could never be their sanctuary because of difficult personal circumstances due to which they don’t feel safe. For those who wish they were elsewhere, the idea of a home couldn’t be any more distant.
It is a myth to think that this virus is affecting all of us equally. The resulting mental health implications for vulnerable people in tough situations will pervade for years to come. For those of us who have a place to ride out this storm where we feel at home, should count every blessing and remember those less fortunate.