Updated: Dec 6, 2021
At the conclusion of our fourth campaign (and our first virtual one!), here are some words from our founder, Maddie.
In this crazy, unfamiliar and unpredictable world, our constants are few and far between.
Festivals are cancelled, dating is simply not allowed and even your daily coffee from your local cafe lies in the hands of the government. For most of us, it’s inevitable to feel pretty grim and defeated. We get so many rushes of beautiful hormones from our favourite gym class, dancing with our friends and kissing cute strangers. I always come back to the point that in times where our world has shrunk to a few cubic meters, it’s always easy to look at our don’t-haves, rather than our do-haves. If you are willing to look for them, I think you’ll be surprised, and likely encouraged by all the things we still do have. All of life’s externalities - I’m talking about all the material stuff, the Pilates classes, the concerts and the cute boys - often distract us to an extent that we forget that our simple existence as humans is wonderful too! Our quiet, less extravagant daily routines can still feature a delicious breakfast, deep calming breaths of fresh air, a hug from a loved one and the ability to spread love. Perhaps we have gotten so caught with life’s accelerated 21st-century pace that we have taken the ordinary aspects of living for granted. So, in a time where all the hustle and bustle has come to a grinding halt, the distractions stripped away and little control over anything other than ourselves - let’s see what beautiful masterpiece we can make from this likely perceived mess.
At Neighbourhood, we care deeply about our community. It is the belief of our people that
powers our determined little train to keep chugging, keep creating and keep fighting for a more beautiful world. We feel things deeply, and knew that like us, our community would be struggling with lockdown too.
We created our 4th campaign, (a first of virtual form!) CYBERLOVE, to provide our ‘hood with a creative outlet and chance for genuine human connection - yes, even though it’s through a screen!
Back in the midst of an identity crisis that I was having at the age of 16, I started a blog called
The Love Club and had beautiful women all over the world exchanging handwritten love letters to one another each month. It was special, organic and had a sense of purity that even the greatest of DM slides can never compete with these days. This lockdown had me thinking, how can we bring back that feeling of connection - but on a bigger scale and in a safer way for Neighbourhood?
CYBERLOVE - a virtual pen pal network and social media movement seemed like a fun
solution, and so far, so good! As of Friday, Episode 1 began and almost 50 participants will now spend their weekends doodling, spilling out their thoughts and then sharing them with others. In world where we are forced apart, CYBERLOVE is the little bridge keeping us together. United in loneliness, but now also creative expression and love.
I guess for me, CYBERLOVE is the perfect metaphor for my greatest do-have. I do, and will
always have the ability to love, to be loved and to share love. Locked down or not, nothing can alter that. When we feel like we have next to nothing, remember that we have that.
Our daily lives changed, so we changed too. Love can still be sent and received via a screen - until the day that kissing, hugging and touching are allowed again. Perhaps it’s time to unfurrow our brow, stop sulking and embrace this temporary reality. Life won’t be like this forever. Love will not always be in cyber form. And we will dance again! But for now, let’s just admit that this is it. A moment in history, and we can choose how we are going to spend it. Some of us will wish it away and keep waiting, some of us will start writing.
Wherever you currently sit, we are offering our hopeful little hand in hope that you will take it. We are disconnected physically, but connected in spirit.
Come and dance, laugh and let the light in with us. Life feels a little kinder when you embrace it for what it is, rather than what it is not.