‘Firstly, let me congratulate you on your amazing taste in music. I myself am a Taylor fan too.’ Charlie laughs, and we both agree how nice it is to be able to do this interview in person, rather than over Zoom like the first one.
‘I went back and read the last article, and I had to really think about what happened after that. For me, that time post pandemic [lockdown], was the absolute worst.’
During the first New Zealand lockdown in March 2020, Charlie talked about how good things were. ‘I was so happy, so enveloped in my family and everything was just lovely. We were coddled away from everything.’
When she had to go back to the world though, things didn’t go well. She said: ‘All of my positive, airy fairy thoughts came crashing down and I had a really bad time. Reality hit and I felt really isolated. 2020 was incredibly difficult.’
2021 was much better. ‘It’s actually been mind blowing, in a positive sense. I’m actually scared because some things are ending now, and I’m like no, no, I don’t want to go back there, I don’t want to go back to how I was feeling.’
Charlie looked into taking the teaching course she’d previously talked about, but it wasn’t something that would fit with family life. She said: ‘Instead, I enrolled in a project management course and an accounting course and it was fantastic. They’ve done so much for me. I met some really lovely people, and it just gave me a sense of me. Like, it was something just for me. But now it’s ended, and I’m scared.’
She’s taking measures though, and has already applied to do a further course, this time in leadership. ‘Just, you know, to keep me going.’ Charlie’s also been doing pottery for the past three years but her group had to change the members to allow new people to join, so she’s put herself on a waitlist for a new ceramics course too.
‘I’m also biking and swimming now, and I’m going to sign up to the Akaroa 1km swim in February. Things are coming that are good and positive that will maybe fill that gap, which is good, because I am a bit scared of where I might end up again.’
‘The reason I, erm, fell over, was the fact I had no sense of worth left within me. I felt like I was just The Mom, and last year taught me that I can do things for me before everyone else, which has been really good for my self worth. I don’t want that to stop.’
I ask Charlie what part the pandemic played. ‘I think it was a long time coming, but I definitely felt like I had a post-lockdown hangover. It was really, really hard to integrate again. Really hard to, you know, get back into life and be around people. I suddenly felt very crowded and overwhelmed. It’s like the pandemic made me almost phobic.’
Interestingly, Charlie hated the second lockdown. She said: ‘It was bizarre. I think by the time the second one rolled around I thought ‘oh no, not again’. It was ridiculously unexpected for me, because I don’t watch the news. I was completely blindsided, not prepared for it, and I just didn’t want to do it again. It just didn’t work in our house. It was fine, but it definitely wasn’t like the first one.’
I ask Charlie what she’s learnt. ‘Last time I told you I didn’t want to go study because I was scared of failure, but now, I know I can do it. I didn’t study teaching, but I have studied, I’ve loved it and I made it through a year and two courses. I do have it in me.’