Quarantine Diary

Santiago, Chile / 2020

- Quarantine diary – I play with my son, Ikal, under the sheets with a lamp. He has been my light, my mentor, my motivation, and my inspiration in this quarantine.

Thirty years ago, I laid on my mother's chest wrapped in her arms, like an everlasting swing. Today, after three decades, I have returned to the womb. The world today has given us a pause; a life without haste, without pressures, and without excuses. For more than hundred and forty days we were locked in a confined space.
Today, the world stands still. Life in this house has frozen into a hug. 

I have lived through two quarantines in the last year; both of them after the birth of my son, Ikal. For some reason, I still feel like I am a puerpera, a woman who has just given birth. I think this is because the context and the emotional register of my life remains so similar. During my first quarantine, postpartum, I was full of hope. But this quarantine has brought me great anxiety for the future, for my son, and for the planet.

Undoubtedly, confinement feels stronger and more overwhelming when someone imposes it on us. When we have freedom over our actions, but we decide to stay home, we still feel free. Not anymore. My days consist of breastfeeding, napping, changing diapers, playing, loving, and repeating. Deep down, I feel that quarantine is like motherhood: an endless spiral of loneliness, isolation, unanswered questions, anxiety, reflections, and hope. I see these emotions as a neutral feeling, neither negative nor positive. They are simply new. However, quarantined or not—inside or outside—freedom is not defined by confinement or by being outdoors. Freedom is a state of mind; a philosophy, a decision.

I spent this second quarantine with my mother. Together, we did the daily exercise of accompanying, guiding, and caring for ourselves.  She is the beginning of my own motherhood and so it is an endless circle. We shared experiences that we would have never experienced together if it wasn’t for the COVID-19 pandemic. This timeless period has allowed me to portray the symbiosis between my son, my mother, and myself while living under one roof in total lockdown, with limited exposure to the outdoors. 

Exploring the connection between mother, child, and nature, my project highlights the importance of the environment in our collective well-being. From the confinement of my home to the limited time spent outdoors, I outlined the vital importance of nature in our lives. As this project includes my child, it also illustrates the importance of protecting our planet from further destruction to leave a better world for future generations. Today, we are the ones who must inhabit the world in a different way.

- Quarantine Diary - 14 days have passed. 14 days of confinement, 14 days of social isolation, 14 days that mean that we do not carry the virus in our bodies. After fourteen days, I let my mother hug tight and take a shower with my son. And there, I understood that hugging, touching, and holding are actions that will never have the same meaning again. Portraying my own motherhood during quarantine has allowed me to heal, and to forgive my mother.
- Quarantine Diary - It's weird… I have quarantined twice in the last year since my son Ikal was born. These are undoubtedly moments to look inward and reflect. So many questions arise, sometimes even unanswered. This quarantine, unlike the first one, has brought me great anxiety for the future, my son and the planet. During the first quarantine, postpartum, I was full of hope.
- Quarantine Diary - As the world out there goes wild, my son Ikal, like all of our children, grows up in new ways. In my ideal world he would be playing with nature, eating dirt, and discovering the world outdoors.
- Quarantine diary - A view from my window. We have been in a mandatory and total lockdown for 125 days, here in Santiago de Chile. More than four months have passed, confined in the same space. The emotional urge to explore my emotions in order to understand myself is what has led me to create this visual journal. Undoubtedly, the confinement feels stronger and more overwhelming when someone imposes it on us. When we have freedom over our actions, and we decide to stay home, we still feel free. Not anymore.
- Quarantine diary - My quarantine days are breastfeeding, napping, diapering, playing, loving, and repeating. Deep down, I feel that quarantine is a bit like motherhood; emotions of loneliness, isolation, unanswered questions, anxiety, reflections, illusions ... I understand that these emotions are a neutral feeling. Not negative, not positive ... just new.
- Quarantine diary - A photograph of my mother and I during her postpartum quarantine. Thirty years later, we are quarantined together again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an endless circle; she is the beginning of my own motherhood. She materialized it. And now, quarantine gives us the chance to deeply share a life that we would have never lived together, otherwise.
- Quarantine diary - My mother's stretch marks next to mine are a symbol of pride; a memory of the power that we acquired when we gave birth. This confinement makes me feel like I'm a puerpera who just gave birth, because the context and the emotional register are very similar.
- Quarantine diary - Children dare to scream in despair, while we choose to be silent. On one of the 135 nights that we spent in quarantine, I comforted my son Ikal as he endured a very high fever for three consecutive days. Motherhood has always been a taboo theme, full of stereotypes and idealizations. The few or many difficult days are hidden in our homes, and nobody talks about them.
- Quarantine diary - A tray with fruit at the entrance of my mother's room, who was isolated for 14 days in her room due to COVID-19. Now, she is well and healthy. Her absence felt like an ache within all this madness. She has been a part of my routine for months. Now that she was one door away, she felt so far. How isolated can we really be?
- Quarantine diary - Tomorrow is the last day of quarantine here in Santiago, Chile. Tomorrow, the lost stares through the window will end. The longing of walking barefoot on the grass, the desire to breathe the fresh winter air. Tomorrow at 10 p.m. we will begin to inhabit this city in a different way— at least, we hope so. We have learned so much, lost so much and gained so much. I hope that this span of time has helped us all to reflect on the way in which we are treating our earth, and learn to inhabit our planet with love, compassion and respect.
- Quarantine diary -. There are good days and there are days that are not so good. There are moments that overwhelm me with anxiety, uncertainty and despair. There are moments when I dream as if I am awake in strange worlds, and when the night comes, I cannot fall asleep. I don't know what is really going on outside my four concrete walls anymore, other than what I can see on a cold glass screen, without a human’s heat, without an animal’s smell.
- Quarantine diary - Today we went outside, for the first time in four months. We were in quarantine for 143 days, and when we walked out the simple things became the most beautiful ones, the most significant. A walk, a hug, a look with a stranger; as I listened to the birds, nature expanded before my eyes. Today I looked at my surroundings with different eyes, and I fell in love with the simplicity that is in everything.
- Quarantine diary - I have been in isolation for 73 days. I’m constantly having the same dream, where I’m walking barefoot through the forest and time stands still, in deep silence.
- Quarantine diary - The confinement feels stronger and more overwhelming when someone imposes it upon you. When we have the freedom to go out, and we decide to stay home, we still feel free. Not anymore.
- Quarantine diary -Social networks idealize reality, and this diary makes my most intimate moments feel naked. I have spoken to the mothers who have written to me, thanking me, because they identify with my diary. So I decided to share this: When I got pregnant, I was also afraid of losing my identity. I was afraid of losing my freedom, I was also afraid of losing my job, I was afraid of ceasing to be the woman I was. And I wish someone had told me that everything would be fine. Quarantine in conjunction with motherhood can be a difficult mix to digest.
- Quarantine diary - Ikal is already walking around the world. His own world. It is the only one he knows; our house. He has marked the passage of time in this strange, timeless period of time. When the lockdown started, he was crawling, and today he is walking and seeing his great little world from another perspective. What will it be like to grow up in these times?
- Quarantine diary - Symbiosis. Together, we do the daily exercise of accompanying, guiding and caring for ourselves. We have adopted new forms, routines, and rituals to live together and respect each other in this new way of coexisting.
- Quarantine diary - I have wondered a thousand times how my son is growing inside these concrete walls. How much will the lack of nature affect all our children? I have decided to think that I am his nature. I am the earth that contains him, I am the wind that lulls him, I am the fire that motivates him to explore, and I am the water that calms him. Perhaps he doesn’t miss nature, the earth and the sun. Because he has spent one third of his life locked down, he doesn't miss nature as much as I do. He doesn’t miss and he doesn’t yearn, because he lives in the present.
- Quarantine diary – I'm dreaming of the sea and the water brushing my skin. I’m dreaming of freedom and human connection, like the feeling of peace when I breastfeed my son. I become an animal, I transform myself, and I feel hopeful, just knowing that my body has everything he needs to survive.
- Quarantine diary - Disinfecting lemons. Human beings are animals of habit. We get used to everything, as a survival mechanism. After four months of washing and disinfecting everything that enters the house, this ritual has already become part of our lives. We have normalized it. We have adopted new ways, routines and rituals.
- Quarantine diary - I bought these masks a year ago for her birthday, as an excuse to spend time together doing something she enjoys. We never used them. Maybe, because there wasn’t enough time among so many other commitments.
- Quarantine diary - Inside one of those yellow lights called home, we have spent the last 130 days. The pandemic has given me a pause without haste, without pressure and without excuses. It has given me the opportunity to turn the camera towards my own intimacy, and portray what is happening inside my life.
- Quarantine diary - After several weeks of deceptive freedom and a sense of false security, we return indefinitely to a mandatory quarantine. We feel the uncertainty and the fragmented sun on our skin again, when in fact we want to stand barefoot on the wet grass and breathe so deeply that we no longer have air in our lungs.
- Quarantine diary - On Saturdays and Sundays we are still in total quarantine to prevent the virus from re-emerging. However, quarantined or not—inside or outside—my days are breastfeeding, napping, changing diapers, playing, loving and repeating. Nothing changes much, apart from whether we are able to go out into nature. But freedom is not imposed by confinement or by being outdoors. Freedom is a state of mind, a philosophy, a decision.
- Quarantine diary - We have returned to nature, even though we were never separated from it, not even while being locked up. Because we carry nature within us. Even though we felt like caged animals, this quarantine has made us reconnect with our essence. We depend on nature, yet it grew and flourished in our absence. Now every time we leave home carries a much deeper meaning. We will no longer take life for granted, because life has changed forever and we have changed with it. Being able to return to nature has helped us heal and navigate these uncertain times.
- Quarantine diary - Sometimes I immerse myself in a world of fantastic stories, like the ones I tell my son. And I stay there for a few moments, enjoying a parallel reality, a kind of refuge for my crazy mind.
- Quarantine diary - A ten inch wound, now healed, adorns my lower back. This is what the pandemic gave me; the opportunity to heal wounds that I have carried over time. Being able to suture them myself, observe them, face my fears, my demons and uncertainties, and to realize the immense power that exists in me. A tumor could have defined the rest of my life, changed it forever. But destiny had other plans for me.
- Quarantine diary - The first time we left the house was on the 30th day of our total isolation. All of the preparations to go out were so absurd, that at one point I almost gave up the idea of breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on my skin. But the memory of hugging a tree and breathing the fragrance of a flower made me quickly abandon my negative thoughts. A few minutes later we were there, standing among the trees under a cloudy sky and the cold, early autumn air. Between the haze and the sun shining brightly through the clouds, it felt like we were in a lucid dream. Today, we are the ones who have to inhabit the world in a different way.