Early June, 2020
When the rain washes you clean
Fleetwood Mac, ‘Dreams’.
— Have you considered writing a preface?
— Not really… Do I need one?
— Well, it would be good to explain what the point of the book is.
And that’s how it all started.
Dad was right. I needed a preface to explain what made me keep a confinement diary for 56 days and make it a book. It made sense and I was on a roll. Everything ready. Illustrations on point. I only had to write the preface. I was so ready to publish within a week. In my head it was pretty doable. What could go wrong?
Well… It seems my head had a different plan drafted.
It took me a month to finally understand why the preface couldn’t and wouldn’t come out. A month of many tears. They would usually come out after long walks at the Heath or in the shower. A month of whys and why nots. A month of grief and integration. Of burning, dying and rising from the ashes. But also a month of deep self-care, self-love and an insane amount of treating myself with kindness. A month of intense meditation, journaling, gong baths, chakra cleansing and many talks to my loved ones.
A month of trying everything that used to work back when I was writing The Diaries.
Intense frustration. Nothing worked.
I just couldn’t understand why I was so blocked. My words had been flowing so easily for such a long time and then… that was it. I couldn’t get anything out of my head. I felt paralysed. Everything sounded terrible. When everything was almost ready to publish, I freaked out. I was scared to the bone: I felt I lost my creative mojo.
And then, one rainy day in July, it just happened: The Epiphany.
To those of you who are not familiar with tarot, there is this card from the Major Arcana called Judgement. And it looks a bit creepy because there are all these corpses standing in their tombs, welcoming with open arms a massive angel who’s playing a trumpet in the sky.
Yeah, I know. Creepy. Although I always wonder what tune the angel would play… I’m torn between Kenny G or Miles Davis. It depends on the mood of the day.
Anyway, the meaning behind it is basically that ‘aaaaaahhhhh’ moment. When the sky opens, the sun is up and everything makes sense. The apple falling. A proper epiphany.
I didn’t have the sun with me that evening because the weather was absolute crap (dear London summer… I thought we had learnt the weather lesson – clearly not), but I really felt like one of those corpses in the midst of resurrection.
I finally knew.
And after a month of struggle, I understood why I couldn’t connect with my words to write the preface: how could I look for something in a place that didn’t exist anymore?
I was looking in the wrong direction – because I wasn’t the same person I was back in March. Over these months of intense introspection, I had outgrown myself.
Baby, what a big surprise.
And then, it all made sense. All the struggle, the inner battle with my old self. The tears and the grief. The disorientation. I was burying the cocoon that kept me protected for the whole confinement and learning to fly with my new wings. I had become the butterfly and was trying to behave like the larva I used to be. It was a clear mismatch. So I finally understood the mental constipation: I needed to write the preface with my new wings.
It felt weird and liberating at the same time… but I guess that’s what change feels like.
Oh crap. I don’t know what’s scarier. Flying with new wings in no man’s land is terrifying but hey, I’ve always been into adventure so there was no other way but moving forward. Keep on flying and avoid looking down. We’ve got this, Marta. We always do. I’m wired this way: seeing the adventure even in the most challenging situations.
And this mindset is what made me start writing The Diaries. A little adventure to keep me busy during the uncertainty of spending confinement by myself, in a room with a balcony. I saw it as the opportunity to go deep and expand my knowledge of myself.
To truly grow.
Although I didn’t have a book in mind when I started writing The Diaries on my personal blog. No one knew what would happen back on March 19, 2020. All I knew was that toilet paper was gone, I was recovering from a kidney infection and I was going to remain in my North London safe haven. The plan was taking one day at a time, focusing on the details that made the difference to avoid going mad in my room. I journal regularly, so a diary seemed the best idea to force myself to go forward and not give into desperation. The priority was keeping myself sane.
I had a website which I pay for but hadn’t used in a long time. (2019 didn’t let me.) A daily post was the best excuse to get back to it and feel I wasn’t wasting my money. It seemed like a good plan. I wouldn’t put any pressure on myself – something I tend to do very often. I would just write. Plain and simple. Vomit feelings everyday, for as long as I felt it was necessary. And publish them. Every single day.
Turns out, I kept it up for 56 consecutive days. I wouldn’t have believed that in March.
Besides my ‘adventure time’ moment, the second biggest motivator to keep going with The Diaries was to connect with all of you who might be going through a similar situation or feeling similar things and maybe thinking you were alone.
Because despite the endless video calls with friends and family, my high spirits and wild imagination, at times I felt pretty isolated from everything and everyone. And I guess some of you might have felt that way over the last few months… so I decided the best way I could help was to open up to the world and show my vulnerability as a way of saying, “Yeah. I feel you. You’re not alone in the darkness.”
So… yeah. That’s pretty much it. The Quarantine Diaries is my personal experience of two months in a strict lockdown regime. Open and completely vulnerable. Welcome to my wild inner world.
So dear reader, I might not know you, but if you’re drawn to this book for whatever reason, let me tell you that we’ve got this together. Let me give you a hand and let’s run together in the shadows. I’m certain we’ll see the light.