Astrid & Irene: How are you doing?

small changes

Do you know this feeling? Sometimes when someone asks you how you’re doing you don’t really know the answer. The past few months especially, because as well as being restricted, strange and worrying, this time has been very confusing.

Suddenly many of our usual touchstones have disappeared. Things we once did without thinking twice have become problematic. We’ve almost had to reinvent ourselves a little bit. And it’s been confrontational.

We felt less cool about it than we would like. We have felt very anxious, and that’s not much use at all. But sometimes we also enjoyed the silence more than we dared to admit. In addition to all the suffering and pain, the corona crisis also means that we have to find new ways to live life: close-by, clear, and simple.

We hope you are doing well. That you and your loved ones have been kept out of the wind a little lately. We have had a lot of contact with you online in the past weeks. We organized mindfulness mornings and insta live sessions. We’ve also gained beautiful new insights: that you can’t eliminate fear, but that you can learn how to not make it bigger in your head. That we can also find and help each other through online channels. That we are not alone. And that it’s always good to admit it when things aren’t working out for a while.

Because that’s the other side of this situation… However unreal it has become, it is heartening how sincere and real the conversations that we suddenly had with each other are. Via Zoom, on social media, or at a distance of six feet: everyone dropped all pretense. It suddenly seems perfectly normal to share that you are afraid, haven’t slept, are worried.

Mails from almost strangers start with the sentence: I hope you are hanging in there. Messages end with: be safe. Filterless posts, and sharing you how you are really doing…we kind of like it. We hope it stays that way in the coming weeks. It’ll probably help us through this weird time. And also we hope that we’ll continue to do this when everything has become a bit more normal again.

  • Unwind with our beautiful new issue. With lots of extra stories for this new time.

Text Irene Smit & Astrid van der Hulst Photography Danique van Kesteren