opinion

'I asked 14 Melburnians how they're doing right now. The answers brought me to tears.'

Dear readers, where to even start?

As Melbourne entered week seven of this "seven-day lockdown", it really has felt like the end of days.

Riot scenes flashing across our screens, COVID numbers at new heights and the earth - the one solid foundation we thought we could depend upon during this ever-crumbling reality - shook from its core, in its wake shaking us all to our own cores.

Watch: Things you never say in 2021. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

This city has been through the wringer. And to throw an earthquake on top of anarchy in the streets and crowning us the most locked-down city of all time seemed like a plot twist from a Hollywood movie, not real life.

But unlike a Hollywood movie, there is no script or known ending to this never-ending saga and I don’t have the words anymore. And in lieu of being able to hire a big-time screenwriter to twist a tale of the time lost and hypothesize the natural disasters to come, as I have done multiple times in this nightmare of a week/month/year, I reached out to my community for help and they provided the words. 

This city is filled with an overwhelming majority of everyday heroes who despite all odds, make the quiet, continued, and quite frankly exhausting decision to be human. Yes, we are tired. Yes, we are rattled (recently in more ways than one). Yes, we are fed up, frustrated and beyond fatigued. But we are not the lack of humanity you see splashed across news headlines. 

The latest villains of our tale, loud as they may be, are a small minority and will get no more storylines in this script. Instead, we zoom in on the John Wick level bravery that comes in the daily choices millions of people are making to not let the darkness that surrounds them creep in, and to instead choose to fight for humanity. 

The everyday heroes that see beauty despite the bleakness, and find hope in tomorrow in the face of the constant bombardment of new stressors. 

This my dear readers is the Melbourne I know. The Melbourne that makes me love this city despite the fragility of both the emotions cascading inside of me and the ground beneath my feet. The Melbourne that has been stuck in this monotonous Groundhog Day loop, but is hopeful for a different future, anyway. The Melbourne where every single person could find a reason to be out in the streets, kicking and screaming about all the ways things aren’t fair, but instead takes a deep breath and digs down deep to find the motive not to indulge in such tantrums. 

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I got misty-eyed reading the myriad of emotions being experienced by my group of weary, but wonderful warriors and am proud that even in the most trying of times, their words were still overwhelming laced with joy, trickled in hope, and wrapped in beauty. There is an undeniable longing for easier days, grief for all that has been lost and a myriad of different ways of saying "I’m tired", but even when the universe literally rocks their world, the Melbourne I know finds a way to get back up and dust itself off. 

Out of the rubble (literally on Chapel Street and figuratively everywhere else), good news did still rise and there were still moments to celebrate. 

Dear readers this story sure has had its twist and turns, and although we would much rather have signed up for a morally rich and pleasant Pixar movie, the heroes of this city continue to endure the battles ahead, overcome epic feats and find the silver linings along the way to get to their happy ending. One picnic or earthquake at a time.

Matt: Content Creator.

How are you feeling right now: I feel like I'm just waiting for the Yarra to turn red and for the locust plague.

What are you missing: My family and friends. I live alone and miss just general conversion face to face or the smile of a stranger. 

What do you do to get through tough days: Currently it's either meditation or prancing in the shower, listening to the best of the 70s playlist!  

What gives you hope: The sun. It keeps rising every day, so we should too, I think. All things pass, so just be kind to yourself and others. 

Good news from your world in the last week: My mum finished painting her fence - she was pretty chuffed! And I ran my first five kilometres! 

Favourite spot for take-out: Sonny's fried chicken. I can't count how many treat yourself nights I’ve had this lockdown, but every one of them was delicious! 

Anonymous: Public Service.

How are you feeling right now: Defeated, but somehow hopeful at the same time.

What are you missing: Going to my mum's house and sitting on the couch, having a glass of wine. Also, just being able to go to a shop that isn’t a supermarket or Chemist Warehouse! 

What do you do to get through tough days: If I’m not working - put my phone on silent and hide it under the bed for the day. Switching off is life-changing! 

What gives you hope: The sun shining and people having picnics. 

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Good news from your world in the last week: I saw the Yarra seal. And am lucky enough to be fully vaccinated and have been able to see some of my family who are fully vaccinated for picnics!

Favourite spot for take-out: Lulies Tavern or Belles Hot Chicken!

Gill: Performer.

How are you feeling right now: A bit drunk and today: "okay". 

What are you missing: My job. 

What do you do to get through tough days: Exercise and crying. And baths. 

What gives you hope: I’m trying not to have any hope - it’s just better without. 

Good news from your world in the last week: Is it weird that my first impulse is the earthquake? Everybody I know and love is at least first dose vaccinated. 

Favourite spot for take-out: Mukka’s Butter Chicken. 

Rose: Project Manager.

How are you feeling right now: Exhausted.

What are you missing: Getting my nails done and going to the movies with friends.

What do you do to get through tough days: Order takeaway from Lune and hugs from my boyfriend.

What gives you hope: Christmas time, sunny days and the thought of finally being able to travel again! 

Good news from your world in the last week: I FaceTimed with my family in the States for their Sunday night dinner and met my cousin’s new baby boy! 

Favourite spot for take-out: Juline’s noodle house (currently eating). 

Matt: Innovation Director.

How are you feeling right now: Bored, frustrated, understanding.

What are you missing: Mucking around with mates. Futsal, pub trivia, dinner parties. 

What do you do to get through tough days: Go for a run, a bike ride or a walk with a friend. 

What gives you hope: I don’t believe vaccine hesitancy is as high as the media/idiot protestors make it seem. 

Good news from your world in the last week: A friend had their TV show approved for production. 

Favourite spot for take-out: The Empress Parma. 

Gen: CEO.

How are you feeling right now: Tired, like I can’t recharge properly to 100 per cent.

What are you missing: Hairdressers. I had to box dye my hair and it wasn’t pretty! 

What do you do to get through tough days: Try and look for silver linings and focus on what I can enjoy right now, even within the circumstances. 

What gives you hope: Our vaccination rate is looking good! 

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Good news from your world in the last week: I just got engaged! 

Favourite spot for take-out: 48H Gnocchi on Malvern Road.

Collin: Project Manager.

How are you feeling right now: Stagnant. It's hard to feel like you're growing as a person when you're locked down. 

What are you missing: Music, people, a sense of excitement about the weekend or an upcoming event.

What do you do to get through tough days: Cook! I usually try to find new recipes that are fun for my partner and I to try. 

What gives you hope: I'm not really looking for hope or looking forward much at all, I just try to enjoy the day I'm in. 

Good news from your world in the past week: We got some new toys for our foster cat Sterling that we're hoping he'll like! 

Favourite spot for take-out: Nico's in Fitzroy. The meatball parm is delicious! 

Catherine: Draughtsperson.

How are you feeling right now: Amidst the seemingly endless list of disasters on our doorstep, I'm alive and I have a beautiful husband and son who love me unconditionally. I'm content.

What are you missing: Seeing friends in person for a meal or a simple conversation.

What do you do to get through tough days: Playing with my son. Literally everything is new and magical to him. It really puts everything else into perspective. 

What gives you hope: The knowledge that this is only temporary. It seems like a long time in the moment, but when I consider my entire life, 20/21 is only a fraction of time.

Good news from your world in the last week: Found out a friend was three months pregnant, another friend welcomed their first baby after a VERY difficult pregnancy, I saw a double rainbow on Monday… the list goes on because life and beautiful things don't stop happening even in a shit-storm.

Favourite spot for take-out: I don't think I really have one!

Lisa: Professional.

How are you feeling right now: Lockdown fatigue is very real.

What are you missing: Going out for a cheeky cocktail with girlfriends.

What do you do to get through tough days: Memes on Twitter, watch Real Housewives and exercise.

What gives you hope: Bennifer 2.0.

Good news from your world in the last week: Picnics.

Favourite spot for take-out: Juline’s Noodle House in Northcote. Best. Noddles. In. Town.

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. In this episode, we discuss how to be happy when everything is sh*t. Post continues after audio.

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Alexia: Performer.

How are you feeling right now: Tired but settled.

What are you missing: My job, SO many of my friends, my family, birthday parties, watching things that makes me laugh or cry NOT on a screen… pumping gym classes, busy happy hours, funny first date stories and boujee brunches. 

What do you do to get through tough days: I disappear in a really good audiobook and go for a long walk. 

What gives you hope: Overseas opening back up. Vaccine rates increasing. 

Good news from your world in the last week: I got a Christmas casual job! 

Favourite spot for take-out: Literally anywhere that sells pho.

Adele: Research Scientist.

How are you feeling right now: Flat. A patient of mine passed away in ICU from progressive cancer. It was sudden. My heart hurts for his family and I think of the doctors and nurses that face palliative end-of-life care on a daily basis. 

What are you missing: Social interaction; the simplicity of laughing with friends. 

What do you do to get through tough days: Watch a movie with the children, bake, and try to get some fresh air. I try to put a smile on my face for the children. Leave the mess in the house and build a fort. But it’s also ok for them to see me having a rough day too. We work on getting each other back into the green zone. All the parents of primary school-aged children know the zones of regulation.

What gives you hope: My children. 

Good news from your world in the last week: The excitement of watching the Demons play in the AFL grand final. Although my husband cannot be at the grand final, we have sent our memberships to some lovely people in WA who will carry the flag high and create some noise. I have decorated the house red and blue, ordered demons-themed cup cakes and donuts and my highlight will be the football-shaped pinata. 

Favourite spot for take-out: A little dumpling van is due to visit our estate. It’s the adult equivalent to the ice cream truck music. 

Emmet: Teacher.

How are you feeling right now: I’m feeling better than I have in months! The government’s latest inclusion of five-person broadcasts has given me the opportunity for performance, creativity and income!

What are you missing: I miss the pub and the dynamic of group conversations. And my family (interstate)!

What do you do to get through tough days: Call the fam, walk, meet a friend, run and play guitar. 

What gives you hope: Hot Vax Summer and creative events being announced. 

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Good news from your world in the last week: Met a nice lady. 

Favourite spot for take-out: Woolworths lol.

Annette: Retired.

How are you feeling right now: Hopeful for the future. Outraged by the selfish acts of a few.

What are you missing: People, sport, interaction.

What do you do to get through tough days: Take it one day at a time. Remember we still have many things to be grateful for.

What gives you hope: Seeing my grandson.

Good news from your world in the last week: Someone telling me that using my products was a happy part of her day!

Favorite spot for take out: Fried rice from 999 Noodle House.

Chad: Athlete.

How are you feeling right now: I’m feeling okay at the moment, trying to get into a routine each day.

What are you missing: My family who I haven’t seen in over 10 months.

What do you do to get through tough days: I walk my dog and try to socialise in dog parks as much as possible.

What gives you hope: Seeing family and friends before Christmas.

Good news from your world in the last week: I'm fully vaccinated.

Favorite spot for take-out: Any donut store.

If you're in lockdown right now, tell us how you're doing in the comments below.

Feature image: Supplied. 

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