This article is one in a series of stories featuring real experiences, thoughts and feelings from young people living in Cardiff during lockdown. To see the other stories, please click here. This article was written for the campaign by Abby Allen, a 20-year old Cardiff University student.
At the beginning of this pandemic, I very much adopted the ‘stay alive’ approach: instead of using it to kickstart a clichéd fitness journey, I spent a large part of lockdown eating, talking to Uni friends on Zoom and binge-watching Netflix to immoderate excess.
As a passionate English Literature student feeling physically and mentally grounded, I had slightly lost myself creatively and so resolved to come up with a new way to feel productive. I decided to try my hand at painting – a weirdly random and unorthodox venture for me since I’d barely touched a paintbrush since primary school. It transpired that ordering some cheap paints from the internet was one of the best decisions I could have made.
Although I lacked the imagination to come up with anything truly original (I’m definitely no da Vinci), I found that a couple of scrolls on Pinterest got my creative juices flowing and made the hours pass like minutes.
After physically creating something new in a world that seemed so bleak, I resolved to spread the positivity of my latest hobby by sending them to my friends. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see them for a long time, the thought of them opening something that could brighten their day fuelled me in my newfound venture.
I think a resounding theme to come out of this pandemic is the need to help and reach out to each other. For me, a couple of hours painting and writing to my friends seemed to revive the romantic in me. In a state of isolation, sending a painted card to a friend became my own kind of love letter.
Whilst I have now started to think creatively again since the commencement of University, the box of paint above my wardrobe serves as a constant reminder of the positive impact of physical creation. Big or small, creating something – whether it was terrible or amazing – really was my form of therapy, and one I intend to continue to share in these strange times.