Kiwis Surviving Self-Isolation: Mr Bear NZ Corie Boley

Mr. Bear NZ 2020 Corie Boley is spending lockdown laughing with his ‘husbear’, learning the guitar and contemplating the biggest happy hour ever!

Tell us about your Level 4 Lockdown – where are you? Who’s in your bubble? And what are you doing to keep your mental health in check?
Kia Ora, my level 4 lockdown is being spent at home, in the Kingsland/ Mt Eden area at home with my ‘husbear’ – Cadno. Both of us are fortunate enough to still have jobs, so we are working from home. When we are not working we have found time to express ourselves creatively. Cadno has been working on his stand-up comedy and participating in some virtual comedy and group writing classes. I have been spending my time creating art and trying to teach myself how to play the guitar. We have also been cooking a lot, and exercising a little bit every day. Trying to figure out what our #newnormal is and what that looks like. 

What are your top tips for express readers who are struggling with self-isolation? I think the biggest thing is to define what a routine is for you and try to stick to it. Define what you would like to accomplish day by day or week by week, and chores or projects that have been put off. Try and give those things attention. Also virtually chatting with friends and family over Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp. These have massive social benefits and can help break those feelings of cabin fever. Get outside and go for a walk, run, bike ride. Remember to practice social distancing and hold others accountable for that too. Also, some essential services are still open and operating so take advantage of them. Learn how to bake or cook. Youtube is full of free resources to learn all sorts of new things. Lastly, binge watch the Tiger King on Netflix, it will blow your mind. A gay throuple gun sling’in tiger king on a mission to prove someone’s murder, and will stop at no cost. It’s amazing….

What is the most positive aspect of self-isolation you’ve experienced so far?
I think the most positive aspect of being isolated is having my ‘husbear’ here with me. Having someone to talk to and help keep my anxiety a bay has really levelled me out. Using my time to think about what is most important to me, and focusing on what that means to me.

What plans do you have between now and day 28 of lockdown?
Well, my 32nd birthday is coming up on April 16th, so I was going to celebrate in some way. TBD. Also, learn one song start to finish on the guitar.

What will be the first thing that you can’t wait to do when regular life resumes? Go for a drive to jump in the ocean.

Moving forward is there anything you think you will change about your life following self-isolation?
I think I will be more conscious about personal hygiene, though I am already but just more aware. Also keeping up on my personal health.

Is there a closing message you would like to share with our gorgeous LGBTI+ community? 
No matter what happens we are all in this together. He waka eke noa. If you are feeling: down, bored, scared or unsure; please reach out to friends, family or use your community. There are free and anonymous services out there that are still operating, and happy to just listen to what you have to say. Please do not hesitate to use them. Need To Talk (1737) is a great service you can call or text. As a Mental Health First-Aider, I care about each and every one of you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me as well. My Instagram is @mrbearnz2020. Lastly please utilise each other. We are a community and not even a global pandemic can keep our spirits down. Check-in with one another, and keep in contact (virtually) on a regular basis. Catch ya on the other side for the biggest happy hour, EVER!