Dear Sophia:

From time to time I go without underpants. Too much information? Maybe. But read on Sophia, because I’ve made some realisations.

Remember I was in the hospital? After I got sick, I started keeping track of how many days I went without underpants. I was on drugs a lot so occasionally would blurt out “32 days without underpants” to startled friends and family. One of my ward mates from Whangerei hospital got texts for a while, unsurprisingly, I believe she has unfriended me on Facebook.

As I recovered, I started applying for jobs. I mean, I had to go back to work right? Every interview I’d have to wear underpants. I’m not sure why, but I felt I had to. This process would ruin my running total of days without underpants which made me grumpy.

And then I started to drive for Uber. My time was my own! I could wear underpants or not! I was my own boss! I could analyse my underpant requirements and make cogent performance-based observations as to the necessity and frequency of underpants.

Now we’re all locked down all over the world and my days without underpants are charting really, really well. With all this extra time to think, I’ve returned to thoughts about travelling – freeing myself from the bounds of everyday life and touring around New Zealand, writing bits of observed wisdom and most importantly, not wearing underpants.

With this extra time to think I’ve realised that my rebellious non-underpants wearing is signalling me the same way my wrist did more than 20 years ago. It broke out in a rash so bad that I could no longer wear a wristwatch. Personal devices were not ubiquitous then, so either I had to ask someone or never know what time it is. In New York City. I was late sometimes, the sky never fell. No one really cares. No one cares about your underpants either. These are all constraints we are conditioned to accept or even crave as some sort of armour.

Underpants hold you in place, bind you, coerce your body to some standard. I am not a product but if I were, I would exceed six sigma.

Again, with perhaps a little too much time, I start plotting out the trip I would take. Ostensibly to write a book, certainly to talk about things in a bloggy way..but mostly to feel…free?

Friends, relatives, smart people everywhere “But what about safety, security, what about your career, you need money you know….”

Now, though, in the throes of a pandemic, I see it. The Wheel of Fortune is spinning again, and how well you follow the rules doesn’t matter. The synchronicity of where you are and how resilient you are matter the most right now. There is no safety. There is either clinging to the past or there is utter freedom to recreate oneself. Ourselves. Our communities, Nations, world. No one likes change really, it’s messy and uncomfortable and hard to gauge.

So as soon as this lockdown is over, I’m out of here. No more trying to do it the normal way. I’m a pleasant lady of certain age, with no children, lovely friends and no partner. I shall wrap myself in the superhero cloak of middle-aged invisibility and live in the now.

I crave freedom to explore. I crave freedom from underpants.

Love, Lilo