I am writing to you from my cottage in Somerset in the UK.
We have all watched the catastrophic events around the globe over the past few weeks. As I look through my photo library, it feels like every memory and incident before this, is from a different life. It’s hard to reflect to the days before our world changed in ways none of us could have imagined.
We have all studied tragic events in history and have also lived through life changing events, but there is something overwhelming and unbelievable about this global event because it affects every aspect of our security. Not one country or human has been unaffected by this. There is nowhere to run and hide. In some ways, it feels like it has united us all.
We are already seeing some desperately needed positive effects environmentally. There has been much discussion that perhaps this reset of life, practically, environmentally and emotionally had to happen. There is little comfort knowing there is such grave collateral damage paying the price. We are seeing both greed and generosity in our united plight to survive.
I am half American and half British and my children live in both countries. My Shabby Chic® family of co-workers reside in California. As well as my daughters’ dog who I love.
With that being said, I was torn with the decision of where I should isolate. As this quickly unfolded, I was in the UK and it became clear the most important thing we can all do is stay put in the hopes we don’t get sick and put a further burden on the health system.
No doubt I knew I was safer tucked away In the English countryside, with only farm animals to talk to. I was advised not to fly, especially for my age.
Those of you that follow my world know my daughter Lily has been healing from Lyme Disease which carries with it an array of treatments to combat her compromised immune system. So, it was a hard decision not to go back to California to be with her and my co-workers as we navigate having to close our doors. The reality was I would have had to isolate there anyway had I taken the long flight home, so, for now, I have decided to stay in the UK.
Maybe on some levels, people saw this coming, but the magnitude of it all blindsided most of us. We have a moment to moment updates of the travesty this has had on our health through our tv screens and social media. While the Governments are trying to stabilize the financial world so we can pick up the pieces of our lives once we all get through this.
This is a hard journey to be in isolation. I used to yearn for a time when I could escape from my everyday life to work on projects that I needed time alone to do. I have moments where I can access my creativity but when the fears and uncertainties creep in, it’s hard.
Families are all of a sudden hunkered down for the unforeseeable future. While those are special moments for many, I can only imagine the anxiety of the unknown rests heavily on parents as they try to protect their children from the outside world.
Then I think about all the people on the front line, putting themselves in harm’s way to save people and keep us safe.
When this all started to unfold, I found myself wanting to tidy every inch of my little cottage. I folded all my clothes perfectly, tidied my sock drawer, and sorted out my papers. Somehow doing all this made me feel in control and orderly.
As the days have gone by, I think all of us are reflecting on our lives as a whole. The relationships with ourselves and others, our careers and businesses, what we prioritize in our lives, the things that we found intolerable that we now would be more tolerant of, or perhaps we would let go of to make room for what we now see as a priority. It’s as though having our health and financial security at stake is putting a spotlight on our lives and showing us, we need to simplify, focus and slow down.
Once this is over, we owe it to ourselves and the planet to embrace all that is good but not to just go back to our old ways and behaviors that don’t serve us well.
We have no idea of the timeline or how long this will go on for. Unfortunately, Shabby Chic® had to close our doors a few days ago and it wasn’t the first time. They were closed for the earthquake in the '90s and again in the financial crisis in 2008 and we got through it.
All of our treasures sit there quietly and patiently. Fortunately for us, there is no shelf life to our treasures. We don’t go in and out of style. We are heirlooms that pass-through generations.
One thing that is important as we go on this journey together is to find community even in our isolation, The Shabby Chic® family is a strong and loyal community. It has kept this brand alive with soul for three decades. Our employees and our customers are all part of that community. I have received heartwarming communications from you all.
Telling me how your bedrooms and livings rooms are your sanctuary’s, because of the Shabby Chic® products you have bought or my books that have inspired you and given you a road map to creating your shabby nests.
I have always put great value on how our homes are our beautiful and safe place. So, anyone reading this probably holds that same value. Even though our store has been closed, many of you have continued shopping on our website, specifically for bedding, which I hope brings you peaceful sleep and helps you feel safe.
I wanted to end this by thanking you all for being on this shabby journey and supporting me and my business, especially during these times. There is no certainty for when and what the pieces we will be picking up but I do know our community and our cozy homes will help calm our minds so that we can be resourceful and strong during this time and for when we come out the other side.
Please be safe. Continue writing to me, I read every comment as I care to know how you are and it helps me too to feel connected.
Illustrations done by Charlie Mackesy @charliemackesy