A true pandemic piece, I completed this assignment spring of 2020 at home as Covid-19 was just starting to close in person classes. On top of taking art classes, I was managing at a local food co-op at the time while also being the sole parent of my two children. My husband at the time, and our current local state representative, was working tirelessly at the capitol to secure financial protection for both businesses and frontline workers. Like so many women, I had a lot on my plate each day. A favorite vocalist of mine, Brandi Carlisle, has a song called "Redesigning Women" and I felt this piece deserved a title that explains its background although maybe only myself and those who read this would know it. Give it a listen & remember how much mothers already had on their plates when Covid-19 was added as nasty side dish.
Covid-19 changed a lot of things for women. Many who had strong careers or were trying to support their families or were just stepping out into the workplace had their worlds turned upside down when schools and daycare centers had to close and it became mostly the mothers who were sent home to care for the children.
Being considered a frontline worker and providing food being an "essential business" I was allowed to continue working. This was huge for managing my depression and meant that my youngest daughter could continue preschool with the other children whose parents were deemed essential workers. It was good for her too, albeit a stressful time for mothers when we knew every day we might contract the new disease that could possibly impact our family's lives forever.
I came home after a 10 hour shift one day and crashed onto my bed, finally in the safety of my home I could remove my mask and just stared at it. The frustration and annoyance were overwhelming. I had come up with policies requiring facemasks just weeks before the mandate hit and I was exhausted by the friction it caused amongst my coworkers and my customers. What had been a friendly place of community had turned into a daily place of anxiety for customers and staff alike. The world felt upside down as we all saw our friends and families act in ways we never thought they would or could. Relationships have changed across the board as the stress, annoyance, apathy, anger and plethora of emotions have brought us each to show our true colors.
"Covid Redesigning Women," although a self-portrait, is a tribute to my work during the pandemic and that of all the women whose lives have been impacted by Covid-19.