By Xizi Zhang

Day one: It is the very first day of my self isolation.

Yesterday, I did my last piano practice in my conservatoire and I left at the last minute just before the building shut its doors for the next few months.

Today, I spent my most of time in bed, trying to find a way to face my overwhelming emotions.

The building became emptier and emptier from early March, as many students left as soon as the situation turned worse. My heart sunk the moment I left the conservatoire building, not knowing when I will walk into the practice room again, the next time I will see my teachers face-to-face, the next time I will have lunch with my friend in the first floor of the café.

My flatmate has gone back home. I am sitting in the empty flat, as if the silence in the air is quietly eating me.

Everything has stopped.

Day two:

"Do I have time for morning yoga?"

"I woke up late again!"

"I need to book the practice room…"


All these thoughts run through my head the moment I wake up just like every other morning. Then, I realise I don’t need to think these thoughts anymore. I have the whole day and I won’t be going anywhere.

But things won’t get better if I don’t get out of the bed and do something.

I walk to the window and check my flowers. For them, nothing has changed. Though, the street outside of the window, looks different, as if for the first time I know how that street truly looks.

My friend from another city calls me, who is also in self-isolation alone in her flat. We talk, laugh, and agree to see the situation in a more positive way.

I spend a lot of time trying to calm my overly anxious mum. I tell her that I am staying inside, and I promise not to go anywhere. She is in China, and being far away from me makes her even more anxious. She reads news about the virus in the UK, the rise in confirmed cases makes her believe that I am not safe here.

The night feels extremely long, and the flat seems infinitely big. It comes as a shock to realise how much my daily life has turned into this automatic mode with mindless routines, and how much my inner self relies on an illusion of stability.

Day three: A couple of days ago, I discussed my frustrations about the situation with my teacher. He told me it will end, we can be sure about that. He asked me to put my energy into things I can control, and use the time well.

It took me a while to really listen to these words. After days of emotional messiness, for the first time, I feel I am getting better.

I did a long yoga session. After that, I started looking into things I could do during this unusual time, music I should learn, books I want to read, new things I could learn. I also spend time thinking about ways I could earn some money through online teaching, to recover the financial loss I have to face due to the quarantine.

Quite spontaneously, I booked a online language class that starts tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it.

In the evening, the UK government announced a strict lockdown across the country. Restaurants and bars shut down a couple of days ago.

I guess I will take one day at a time, and to truly feel the time I have from today.

Despite a heavy heart, a sense of hope comes back to me. I know I will be better, I know I am growing, I know this time will end, I know I will get back to my normal study and I can’t wait for the reunion with all the familiar faces... until then.


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Life in lockdown. Womankind approached its community to write about life in lockdown around the globe, notably a three-day diary of everyday life under the threat of COVID-19. Womankind is publishing these stories freely to show how the pandemic is affecting women from all over the globe - from New York, to Barcelona to Glastonbury.


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