On Monday, I start work again. There’s is no need to explain why the work stopped and even though technically, we were still working from home and I still managed to edit my first manuscript (now under review) and draft the second one, the time from 16th March has not been pleasant (to say the least).
While my life is cozy and I have always had a great support (albeit virtually for the most part) system comprising of friends, family and my partner, who constantly keep a tab on my mental and physical health, this was my first brush with actual “hard times” in life. Everyone’s world changed radically due to government mandated lockdowns, and so did mine. I should have counted my blessings but I went the other way and started feeling disgusted with the life I have. I hated that I still had a job, salary, support, and insane quantities of love. I hated that no one at work critiqued my performance or called me inefficient and a worthless burden on the university, because, in absence of any references, I did feel unproductive. I also found that despite all the wonderful people telling me that I was worth being loved, respected and cared for, and that losing access to lab due to a global pandemic was not my fault, it was surprisingly easy to loathe myself.
While my self-loathing has not gone away and my self-worth is still precariously balanced on my work and productivity, I did find some ways to come to terms with situation. During this lockdown period, I found walking to be the most useful thing I could with myself. I did take it a bit overboard and started doing 10 km walks a day to just feel something close to “a sense of achievement”. However, over the last few weeks I have established a healthier relationship with myself and while I can’t save the world, I have decided to save myself from myself (I think the Finnish government has already ensured that I am safe from the virus).
What I realised during my walks was essentially, when you suffer from issues related to low self-esteem, appreciation is absolutely the last thing you want to hear but the most important thing you need to hear. Also, internalised self-hatred sticks to your heart and soul like hot glue. And if I didn’t have so many lovely people in my life telling me repeatedly that despite of what I think about myself, they consider me a worthy member of human civilisation, I would have probably never bothered leaving my house ever again.
Since Finland is such a beautiful country, I had taken a lot of pictures during my walks. Looking back at them I realised how similar yet strangely different they were and how much of what I found worth clicking depended on my own mood during the day. I guess the cliche that you need to look at things in a different light to get a new perspective holds true. So here are some of the pictures during the walks.