We’re living with a lot of “firsts” these days. With the first pandemic of our lifetime our work lives have been disrupted, our children are being schooled at home, there are few trips out, and no physical contact outside the family. If you’re obeying the “stay at home” orders (and I hope you are!), for the first time life feels very restrictive.
I'm just speaking from my little corner of the world…a freelance designer, wife and mother of two. I’m not talking about the pain of those who are hospitalized and dying of COVID-19, or the millions of people who've lost their jobs. My heart goes out to them. Life is so uncertain, right now, we just don’t know what lies ahead.
Life Inside and Out of Work
Even though I'm healthy and staying at home, my career doesn’t look too rosy going forward. I read this morning that a new poll from LinkedIn says that “professionals in entertainment, media and communications, design and travel have the lowest confidence” that their work will get back to normal any time soon. Who wants to go hang out in a big crowd or share appetizers from a dish without knowing who is contagious? How can anyone plan a marketing strategy, let alone make it it look good right now. Yikes! Of course, as I say this Silicon Valley Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet seems to be on track to open June 5 at Willow Street Park in San Jose.
Concentrating on what I can’t do or don’t have won't help me keep a level head, so I am trying to stay positive. Producing graphics and art on a regular basis keeps me sane, hence this Sheltering in Place blog.
I have found a few physical things, though, that I’m happy to to relax–namely, my appearance. I’m still showering and brushing my teeth, but despite all the online meetings I’ve attended, their isn't a need to be anything but my most simple self. And I’m not a fancy person to begin with. Did I say I live in California?
I'm glad to see others relaxing their standards, too. No one is going to tell us how we should look or dress. The Guardian has written about this dressing down phenomenon, sometimes called “conference call dressing”, “dressing from the top up”, “telecommutercore” and “news anchor dressing”. Looking good from the waist up is all it takes to get through the work day.
For me, the first thing to go was the jewelry. Anyone who knows me knows that I wear earrings and necklaces nearly every day. I don’t know why, it’s a detail that makes me feel completely dressed, even dressed up. Now, I can't be bothered.
The second thing to go was makeup. Who do I have to impress? Makeup isn’t going to show up much on a pixelated screen so what’s the big loss? I work in theater and live events, and few of my colleagues wear makeup outside of a performance or opening night. My family sure doesn’t notice if I’ve applied eyeliner or blush.
The last thing, and the most freeing for me, has been losing the bra. Yes, I am a feminist, but rarely have I been willing to go without a bra, or as one big-chested friend called it, “restrictive, supportive undergarments.” Normally, going bra-less makes me feel too exposed, and I really don’t relish having people stare at my chest. However, not wearing a tight, restrictive piece of clothing makes me feel tons more comfortable. There’s nothing to tug at, or get sweaty, or adjust. It’s so freeing! And I’d bet most people are working in their PJs. No brassieres under those flannels, right ladies? So far, I’m not quite that far-gone—I do manage to get dressed everyday—pajamas are really just one step up from being butt-naked.
I hope you are finding positivity and continue to thrive while sheltering in place.