Saturday Share

Hello! Grace here.

I hope you’re enjoying the weekend, whatever it looks like.

I’ve wanted to share this with you all week (because I think it’s important to) but haven’t known how to explain it until today…

On Monday I had an appointment in Manhattan (the first since March)… so Mark (bless him) drove me into the city after he finished work. This was the first time I’ve been into this particularly ‘nuts’ area of the city (34th street & 7th avenue) and outside in Manhattan for more than 30 seconds. Up until now it’s been jumping out of the car to pop directly into a shop to grab something. And rarely in Manhattan. We’ve created a little bubble in Brooklyn.

Anyway, he dropped me off a few blocks south so that I wouldn’t be late (with all the one way systems) and I walked the last 5 or 6 blocks uptown, past Madison Square Gardens, Penn station etc. No big deal! I was the one who suggested it.

Now, within seconds I was in the middle of the hustle & bustle of the city. Mask on, obviously. And I got the shock of my life! In an area where I used to THRIVE, I was suddenly terrified. And not because of COVID or the masks or anything like that! My hands clammed up, my breathing became erratic, my eyes must’ve been popping out of my head above my mask. Pure panic, out of what felt like nowhere! I was so distrusting of the strangers around me. Every homeless person seemed suddenly dangerous. Every nutter seemed more dangerous than before. Every rushing NY’er seemed more intense than ever. And every car whizzing by seemed to be going faster. It all just felt unsafe. I was shook. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t get my bearings, or figure out which building my appointment was in… I couldn’t think straight.

So I eventually rushed into the appointment, came out, got back in the car and went home. But the whole evening I couldn’t stop thinking about this panic that I had felt in the middle of my favourite city in the world.

I’ll be real with you, I’m not really a panicky person. Not when it comes to New York City or strangers. Those two things?! I’m in my element normally! So, I felt very unhappy with how difficult that had felt. Because it’s not who I am.

I’m proud to say that I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to shy away from my new found fears.
So, on Tuesday afternoon I left my apartment with purpose (& my mask). I got on the subway for the first time since March, and was relieved to discover how NORMAL it was. Cleaner than I’ve ever seen it. And not a single person without a mask on. I immediately relaxed about something that had seemed like an absolute no-no for months.

I took that subway right back to where I’d had an almost-panic-attack the afternoon before. And I walked.
And I walked. And I walked. I popped into two of my old favourite stores and treated myself to a couple of goodies. I chatted to the staff in those stores that remembered me, and I remembered them, and we caught up and talked positively about how life has changed.
Mark even offered to come pick me up. I politely declined and walked some more… through union square, another ‘intense’ area of the city, before jumping back on the subway home. It was beautiful out.

And I tell you… by the time I walked through my apartment door back in Brooklyn, you’d think I’d have won a Nobel Peace Prize. I was very proud of myself.

You see, I’d realized that sitting in the safety of my home for 6+ months because of COVID had this adverse effect on me, that I had never imagined I (of all people!) would suffer from. I had built up this innate fear of PEOPLE. Strangers. The world I suppose. I was so distrusting. And that’s not who I am. I smile at strangers. I strike up conversation with the homeless. I’m about as trusting as they come, without being a fool. I’ve been that way since I was a little girl, and it’s certainly not going to change now.

But I realized that even I could be scared into thinking the world is a much worse place than it actually is. And when I forced myself to venture back into the world with purpose, I got to see what is REALLY there. The humanity. The strength. The resilience. The success. And you know what? It was fine. It was more than fine! It was amazing actually. And it gave me so much hope for the future.

It got me thinking about how quickly that fear became part of me. 6 months. How fast that inside switch was flicked. And people wonder why so many live in fear around the world? The elderly, people living in the middle of nowhere or the suburbs, or even people like us… who haven’t been out much in 6 months. It is SO easy to sit at home and watch the news, and let the internet feed you. And before you know it, your perception of the world or a particular place has changed. And it’s not real.

Monday was the result of all of that. And Tuesday was the result of pushing myself through it to find the ACTUAL REAL. And now? I can’t wait to have a reason to go into the city again. Zero fear.

Just thought I’d share this very personal story, in the hopes that it helps someone who perhaps is going through the same thing. Or is scared of moving forward from here.

Don’t let this change who you are.

(Disclaimer: A mask was worn the entire time, and plenty of hand sanitizer was used… and it was still fun! 😉 )


I’ve picked a handful of your cards shared online, that I thought fit into the theme of this blog perfectly…

Sue Bellingall
Dee Paramour
Clare Robson
Sheila Bradley
Shelagh Metselaar
Liz Legg

Lotsa love, Grace xo

Clarity – The Home of Art, Craft and Well-being.

14 thoughts on “Saturday Share

  • 19th September 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Sorry to hear about your experience Grace but glad you were able to ‘get back on the horse’ . I had a similar feeling about 2 months ago when I went into Oxford to have my hair cut. Hubby dropped me off, I had to walk a bit to get to hairdressers (not my usual one( which was fine, I said I was going to walk home (about 45 mins) and no need to pic me up. I had my route out of town planned in my head but when I came to turn right out of the hairdressers the street was full of builders/workmen and I went into panic mode (not to your extent) in as far as I couldn’t face walking through them so I turned left instead and knew where I was etc. but then felt I didn’t, it was going to be a different route and I couldn’t get my head around it so had to call hubby to come and get me. There really weren’t any crowds, apart from the builders, and I’d never seen Oxford so empty, even first thing in the morning, so it was just in my head and I wasn’t prepared. Any other time I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It was a weird experience, worse than doing the weekly shop that I was doing then. Haven’t gone back into town and don’t need to but think I’d be ok next time.

    Beautiful cards as usual, it’s been great seeing the hip hip Hurray cards for your Oma. Glad to read she was on her way home today too. X

  • 19th September 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Hello Grace,
    I think what you felt is felt by so many people, especially those who have been shielding for medical reasons. We just have to remember we cannot live like that, shut indoors seeing no-one or very few, for ever. It is unhealthy and can lead to severe mental health problems.
    In my opinion you have done the right thing by making yourself go out. You could so easily have stayed at home. We have to act as normally as possible in the current situation.
    By the way, I don’t listen to the news as I find it sensationalised and not always accurate.

  • 19th September 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Well done, Grace. Facing our fears is hard but not impossible to overcome. Thank you for sharing this, I am sure it will help many people to go forward in these difficult times.
    Beautiful artwork as usual, so many talented people in our community.
    We ventured out today to a different supermarket to get a few items not available in our local one. Up at 6am, out by 6.30, very few people around, almost empty car park, more staff than customers in the shop, absolutely delightful shopping experience, no pushing and shoving or blocking the aisles, everyone very polite. Why can’t it always be this way?
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
    Hugs 🍒

  • 19th September 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Grace

    I know exactly what you mean. You find yourself moving out of someone’s way as if they have the plague and others do the same to you – it doesn’t feel good. I normally smile at people a lot and I still do, but no-one can see it behind the mask. We all have to fight not to be made fearful of others by this virus so well done for feeling the fear and doing it anyway; I hope your post will encourage others to do the same. I also agree with the lady who said don’t watch the news – I have this week and it’s just fed my fears so I am turning back to Hochanda where it is all safe and cosy!
    As Barbara keeps saying “Stay home and craft” – works for me.
    Take care

  • 19th September 2020 at 7:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing – encouraging and inspiring xxxx

  • 19th September 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Well done you Grace x

    Lovely cards, I particularly liked Sue’s dragonfly jewel design x

    • 20th September 2020 at 7:04 am

      Thank you for sharing your story Grace. A lot of people will relate to this and realise that they are not alone. We are living in challenging times.
      These cards are all lovely, but I particularly love the jewelled dragonfly from Sue. I have gem envy! Yesterday, I spent the whole afternoon trying to do gems, with little success. I hate to admit defeat, but this really does have the better of me!
      Enjoy your weekend. XX

  • 19th September 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Wow, Grace, that was some journey you were on this week but definitely a positive one. Good for you. I don’t fear people but I suppose I see almost everyone as potentially infected with Covid and that is also far from real. I hope your appointment went well despite the state you head was in when you got there! Love your choice of cards again this week. What a talented bunch of people we have around us. Hope you are having a nice relaxing weekend – no Ikea!! See you next week. Hxx

  • 19th September 2020 at 8:20 pm

    I am sure a lot of us will agree with your experience of going into what was a normal everyday thing 6 months ago but feels so different now. Good that everyone was wearing a mask – still a few here that don’t. I stop to think of where I am going – certain areas are not so good at keeping to the rules but sometimes it is unavoidable but I am always glad to get home. The checklist before going out has grown to not just house keys & money but to house keys, money, mask & hand sanitiser plus a spare mask just in case !!
    Good to hear your Oma was on her way home this morning – I am sure your Grandad will be pleased to see her.
    Have a good week

  • 19th September 2020 at 9:06 pm

    I think a lot of people have felt that, Grace. Your body has automatic responses to threat and it sounds like it was very busy. I spent a week in London feeling fine and then went to a local town which was crowded and only my party was wearing masks and following rules, which felt quite different. It is a tough balance when one person managed to create a huge spike of infection in Bolton by not isolating as needed after a holiday. People are a threat and may not know so as they have no symptoms. I’m glad you made a second trip for perspective but stay safe.

    I am so pleased to hear your Oma is home.

  • 19th September 2020 at 9:09 pm

    I can quite understand your fear the other day but so glad you conquered it next day. It is so hard when you are a really sociable person and love to communicate with others. We don’t watch the news anymore it gets you all worked up and confused. Even when I was a little girl I used to say hello to everyone I passed, until I was coming back from the shops one day on an errand for my Mum, and realised that a car I had passed parked down the road had gone ahead and parked ahead of me twice. The man was so say reading a paper. Luckily I was near a friend of my Mum’s house so knocked her door and she let me in. It really scared me. She did call the police but whoever’s he was he had gone by the time the police came. It’s the same sort of thing though you get scared being near people. Hubby is scared for me in the supermarket and gets cross if anyone doesn’t social distance, it isn’t a pleasure to go out

  • 19th September 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Wow what a week for you Grace, I felt your fear, just goes to show what a strong person you are to not let it defeat you by going back the next day! I for one felt a bit like that when I went out for the first time and my husband doesn’t understand how worried I am for the rest of my family, including my mum of 86 who I don’t want to give the virus too so I’m trying to protect everyone. I think we are going to have to live with this virus for many months to come and have to somehow find our own way through it.
    Lovely cards again Grace and very apt, try to enjoy the rest of your weekend and thank you for sharing I’m sure it will help many people xx

  • 20th September 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Good for you for having the courage to face your fears. Lately I find myself wanting to hide away. The world is a scary place right now, not just because of the corona virus.

    I had avoided going to NYC for decades because I get very uncomfortable in crowds. When I finally went a few years ago, I was stunned to find how much I liked the city. It was the most alive place I had ever been, if that makes any sense. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I was filled with positive energy. I had a wonderful time and hope to go again one of these days.

  • 20th September 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Oh Grace how scary for you. But good on you for overcoming your fear and diving straight back in there. A brave act xx
    Beautiful cards you have chosen 🙂


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