Statue of Liberty under blue sky

covid-19. A new yorker’s perspective

Contribution from Odine Bonthrone, Manhattan, NYC, USA

It’s been a challenging time. The panic pinched a nerve in our collective backbone. It revealed hidden resentments, acknowledged deep racism, ignited political disasters and caused pain in ways we have not experienced before. Every dystopian nightmare was becoming a reality and no one had answers, so we just locked away, drank, ate and watched. Even the humour well ran dry and turned into anger – regardless of which ‘side’ you were on. 

As women do in times of crisis, we are the mortar, the bricks, the roof and the warm blanket that keeps our brood safe and sane. Always the last to take care of ourselves. I’ve tucked ‘me’ away for the past four months and focused on children, husband, parents and friends. I’ve finally come up for air, barely recognising myself. Kind of numb and unsure, out of answers or potential solutions. 

I’ve finally come up for air, barely recognising myself.’

Every time I sat down to write about me and my experience I was blank … maybe afraid to contend with the reality and content with continuing to just fix it up for everyone else. Diffusing the focus so I didn’t have to deal with the reality. It’s not much different now … still no answers, no definitives. Living loosely, day to day, can’t even begin to think beyond a few days, possibly a week. It doesn’t help that all this chaos was perfectly timed with my career crisis. Or maybe it just made it that much clearer that something had to change. 

Obsessively clinging to news morphed into relying on my posse of contemporaries – women all in their 50s, all fantastically interesting, successful and vocal, but just as confused and numb as me. Women across the globe, facing the same challenges of being female – not necessarily always as a mother, but always taking care of others. All grasping for a reality check, some answers and definitely some humour to lighten the load. I found myself bonding with these women, some I barely knew – but we had that common question … what now? And it wasn’t just regarding careers, it was about families, homes, education, health, partners, everything came into question in just a few months.

‘Everything came into question in just a few months’

The past few days have been so incredible – everyday I am smiling and proud. #womensupportingwomen has been so inspirational .. just seeing these amazing women (many of whom I call friends) showing themselves in their purest form, at their best, the way they are meant to be – barely any makeup, sometime not even clothed … battle scars and all. Yes, it’s a sisterhood, but it is so much more. Seeing the hope, the smiles, the grey hair, the beautiful, strong and knowing smiles – seeing it all has revived me (flaws, a few extra pounds and all).

We have and will continue to traverse the unknown of this pandemic, the health one and the cultural one. But there is one thing that we can’t lose – this bond of women. It’s the unity that we provide for each other that works magic – like no serum, drink or accolade can do as well. It may stall at times, it may come as a gentle nudge or a rude awakening, but we should never take it for granted, promote and rely on it. Teach our daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues that this strength, this bond, is an incredible gift – not to be taken for granted and to nurture genuinely. 

Thank you for inspiring us all with LydiaLoves50 – it took me a while to write this, but I showed up.

Odine Bonthrone. Entrepreneur, Inspiration, New Yorker

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