The New Normal

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, friends of Port reflect on lockdown. Here, actor Anna Brewster – from Versailles and The Last Days of American Crime – reflects on the importance of taking time

As I drove south towards London, I really was unsure if I’d ever see my father again. The words and hype around this virus made a new reality for me and everyone around me.

I couldn’t even hug him goodbye, a kick touch to the leg and that was it, what could have been goodbye forever.

My emotions were through the roof on that drive home to London.

I had broken up with my boyfriend earlier in the year and a week or two later a good friend had committed suicide. I was utterly heartbroken, and January to March had been a wash out already. Enter COVID.

My friend called me asking to co-isolate, and here we are 3 months later, and I haven’t been back to my flat in London for more than one night in that time.

The new norm was a mere tip of an iceberg and I was stuck in what was an emotional black hole.

I read a lot at the beginning trying to unpick my feelings, trying to manage what had happened and what was to come.

The comfort of knowing we were all in it was in all honesty what kept me sane.

Clapping once a week connected me to the world and what was actually happening beyond my own mind and although heart-warming the reality of the situation was very real and very scary. Locked away it was easier to detach bar the daily briefings.

There wasn’t an opportunity to run away from it, all my usual go-tos in times of distress were no longer an option. We had to sit in it.

The new norm meant I now had time, time to think, time to spend with my demons, time to reflect on everything, and I kept telling myself… time to grow.

It took time, it took a couple of months, some really sad times, some really happy times, but now I sit here with the opportunity to reflect. I got through it, my family got through it, and, as reality creeps back in, it’s a different reality to the one I left with what I hope is a different Anna to live in it.

The future looks bright for the first time in a long time and there is a clarity I’ve never felt. I take pleasure in such little things, and as I sit here with the sun on my face and crickets in the grass, I realise in so many ways I needed that time.

Lead image was photographed by Sebastian Barros, hair and make up Lou Teasdale, self styled