This Donna Ashworth Poem Went Viral This Weekend, In A Timely Reminder That We’re All Struggling

Feeling guilty about all the unanswered WhatsApp messages and Zoom chats that never were? You’re definitely not alone

Donna Ashworth poem

by Grazia Contributor |
Updated on

It’s not unusual to see a particular meme, video or quote pop up on my Instagram or Facebook feed several times in the same week. But this weekend, every time I scrolled through Instagram or looked at Facebook (which is more times than I’d care to admit) I saw someone posting a particular poem by Donna Ashworth (who you’ll almost certainly have come across before, her poems about the pandemic and life in lockdown have been widely shared).

But this one in particular seemed to perfectly sum up the mood of Right Now, and acknowledge something we’d probably all been feeling low-level guilty about for the last few weeks.

It starts:

'You're not imagining it, nobody seems to wants to talk right now. Messages are brief and replies late. Talk of catch ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.'

And given how many times the poem seems to have been shared over the last few days, I can't be the only one who feels like this is a weirdly well-timed reminder. I don’t know about you, but my WhatsApp is a mess of unread messages. At least once a fortnight I’ll go through a flurry of activity, suggesting Zoom chats and phone calls with people who respond with equal enthusiasm, and when the time comes… we just never quite manage to make it happen.

And of course, I feel horrendously guilty about it. We’re all supposed to being kinder, reaching out to friends, and checking that people are ok. And really, what else have I been doing with my time - completing Netflix? But the fact is, we were never supposed to live our lives like this - socialising through a screen only, replacing human contact with a weekly Zoom chat that lives or dies by your broadband connection. And whereas our WhatsApp groups were once a source of fun - basically a way of planning our next night out and sharing exciting news or memes, they’ve now become a (scant) replacement for everything else - weekends away, girlie holidays, unexpectedly long and boozy lunches or a big, long, meandering chat over endless cups of tea.

And it’s not enough, or the same. For me, at least, where spending time with people and connecting with them brings me joy and lifts my soul, the endless WhatsApp conversations and invitations to join Zoom have started to zap my energy like a vampire.

But you know what? Donna Ashworth’s poem was a timely reminder this weekend that everyone else is feeling the same, and that energy spent feeling guilty about my woeful WhatsApp reply rate right now is energy wasted. And I can take comfort in the knowledge that, like everything else, this is all temporary. As soon as we know when we’ll finally be able to meet up properly, I’ll be straight back on my WhatsApp groups, proferring my diary and trying to set up Doodle polls.

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