COVID-19, Complaints & Community By Lillian Arnold-Rendell

30.07.20 SHARE

COVID-19, Complaints & Community By Lillian Arnold-Rendell

Koorie Youth Council

So here we go, COVID-19 lockdown take 2 for Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Whoo-hoo. Deadly, aye?

Honestly, I don’t know about you mob out there, but I’m struggling and things are hard. I know for many of us out there COVID-19 has put a hold on study plans, work and in general, the ability to live our lives, see our family and community, and to practice culture and reconnect to Country.

All I know is that firstly, it’s okay to admit you’re struggling, that you feel alone or aren’t coping very well with the fear of COVID-19 or the lock downs.

I’ve been blessed to be able to work from home, but have been since the second week of March and I tell you, the novelty has OFFICIALLY worn off. At first it was all “woo-hoo” sleep ins. Then semi-small panic attacks about the work I needed to do and trying to figure out the motivation to brush my hair, put a bra on every dreaded day, let alone exercise or force myself out into the sun for some Vitamin D.

Things have been hard, not only going through the uncertainty of everything that is “Aunty Rona.” But the breaking of habits, ones that we weren’t even aware that we had, but did every day or every week. Whether it be, getting our mooms up for work every day, attending classes or showing our Blak excellence on the D floor, or on the court or field every weekend.

We’ve had to break old patterns and create new healthy ones (and who knows for how long). AND THAT’S SOME MIGHTY HARD WORK.

Oh, and we’ve had to find new things to look forward to, cos’ going for dinner dates, community events, playing sport and (Bunjil help me, I don’t want to admit this) but going into WORK, for many of us isn’t an option in our current reality.

So, personally, I’ve been focusing on a few things:

  • Small, achievable goals. E.g. Lillian got out of bed for her team meeting today *tick*
  • Trying to eat fruit and veggies errry damn day. Unfortunately, Uber Eats every other day apparently is REALLY bad for your bank account.
  • Forcing my BIG hole out of the house for a minimum of 30 minutes. That’s whether its walking my dog around the block, reading a book in the sun (lol at Melbourne’s lack of sun lately) or kicking an inflated yoga ball at the oval with my sister- haven’t tried it? I HIGHLY recommend!
  • BEING KIND TO MYSELF. Understanding we are going through something traumatic and taking things one day at a time, even if that is giving myself a break at work (or social media after the big blow up regarding BLM) and retreating to my bed for Netflix and donuts.

BUT, what is my ultimate blessing and ultimate advice?

My beautiful family, my sister girls and brother boys and community that have been my number 1 support every step of the way.

Where there’s been a longing for Country, culture or community, they’ve been there. For hour long yarns, online weaving tutorials via Zoom, motivating me to get outside and get active with events like Run Rona and Clothing the Gap’s virtual NAIDOC March, or even support on working on my family tree, or slowly learning language.

It’s not shame to reach out. Our old people did things as a community, and mental health shouldn’t be something we think we have to deal with alone.
If it affects one of us, it affects all of us. Our Ancestors and old people did not fight colonisation or extinction from foreign diseases (or pandemics) to survive for us to do this alone.

We have 65,000 years of culture behind us, over 3,000 generations and over 230+ years of resistance and resilience. Together, we can get through this.

One day at a time.
Be kind to yourself.
Reach out to your family, friends, and community. We have your back.

Ngaya Winanga’y Nginda maliya ngay dhiyaan
(I love you friends and family)

Ngaya Winanga-y ngindga
(I love you mob)

(Goodbye for now)



Lillian Arnold-Rendell

Photo from Nation Dance


Lillian Arnold-Rendell is a proud Dharug and Kamiliroi woman and a KYC Executive member








Remember if you need support, there is support out there:

  • Yarning SafeNStrong available from 12 – 10pm, 7 days a week on 1800 95 95 63
  • Victorian Aboriginal Health Service 03 9403 3300
  • Lifeline 131 114
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • The Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080
  • In a medical emergency call 000