A reflection on the year; the movements, and self awareness during the pandemic

What the fuck was that, right?

This year we have been split into two radical groups. This year has felt like we have been polarized, and we have to a point, but also we have been unified in misery [lol] and navigating this strange time together. As mentioned before, I have OCD, so this out of control thing was hard on me… but I didn’t blame the government. I wouldn’t blame them for my mental health episodes I had during lockdown, it’s not THEIR fault. Obviously a tough situation – but I knew my mental health issues, it just exposed them and made me confront them face on, which I never had to do before.

Rather than talk about the split in our country, the mask refuser, the covid deniers, or the crazy ass election year we just went through – I want to focus on some things that I found quite eye opening this year for me – that I hope change the pace of our culture as we move on into a new year.

Reflecting on my own personal journal and watching “death to 2020” had me remembering all the crazy shit that happened this year that we forgot about. I’d say, however, this list is just as long as our other years, but this year we had time to focus on the bad more than the good. PERSONALLY for me this year was difficult in the discussion of finances [my cat had cancer, surgeries and complications that exceeded an amount that I’m sure most people would pay], death, and revenue loss in my business. Many people have felt the death scenario with a loved one this year; related to covid or not… but it’s getting harder to find someone who hasn’t.

Things that I hope stay or helped me this year:

  • Meetings can indeed be emails. Along with this, students shouldn’t be punished for attending a class virtually if they feel ill or if they do not have transportation. I’ve been banging this drum for 5 years now in my own classroom and I’m so thankful to see other educators coming around. Yes they need to attend class and get the work done, but also no, they shouldn’t fail for missing 5 class days physically. If they can attend virtually, sure it’s more work for us as educators, but if you can just make a live stream it will reduce the amount of absences for students who have less access or quality of health.
  • facetiming family and friends just because. This year during lockdown I painted every friday [2 times a night actually]. Both of my best friends are painters and held online courses and accepted tips. I’d skype my sister in law, and talk to her while hosting my own ‘drink and paint’ setting, we’d chat and paint and honestly I looked forward to that every single Friday. I also would call friends and talk to them more than I would in a normal year, and it was lovely.
  • Ordering food online. Please lordt, restaurants keep this option [lol]. The scheduling, ordering online, picking up food AND drinks changed my life. It’s what every millennial has been waiting for. Pick up food/alcohol and sit in the comfort of our own home or patio and enjoy it.
  • The awareness to the century-old [many centuries actually] problem of racial discrimination. BLM has always been here, but the awareness to it exploded after George Floyd. I listened to a podcast called “why now, white people?” and it broke down how people were at their emotional end with lock down, covid, mental health and also boredom. Because of all of these things, they finally paid attention. With the quietness of the world, white people began to listen and have hard discussions with one another. i don’t want this awareness to die out. This year I have read so many books; historical and research, and have had many discussions with people of different races to dive into this… but I’ve also changed my verbiage and actions, and honestly the Black creators on TikTok have helped me a TON understand or learn better ways to talk about things. I’ve always been a loud person about it, but I never understood white saviorism or white guilt until this year – and WOW, I am so thankful for the quiet of the world and the awareness to this cause – I hope it continues in the world, but I will continue it in my own life regardless.
  • No small talk. Literally it’s hard to have it – almost everything right now is so heavy – but also I’d rather have hard conversations then small pointless ones. So let’s keep that energy going. lol
  • Extra tipping to the employees serving you, rather then ‘paying it forward’ to someone behind you in a line. Coffee shops, retails, people in the food industry are barely making it. If you are in a starbucks line, the person behind you can afford it – the workers themselves probably aren’t making a liveable wage. This year I’ve tipped more for pick up and delivery than I ever had… going into the 25% range for the same, if not less, service.. and I feel good about that. As for paying it forward, I always tip baristas directly instead of anyone in the line.
  • Mental health awareness. SO… people who are against the lockdowns typically use this as a talking point, and unfortunately they didn’t give a fuck about it before. As someone with OCD and depression – this honestly made me very mad. I’m glad its a conversation now, but typically these were the people telling others just to ‘be happy’ or ‘smile more’ without any recognition that is not how depression works. Just like the ‘save the children’ bullshit. BOTH of these things have been going on since the dawn of time – I am SO happy that some of these things are being discussed but lockdown or not – politics or not – these conversations better not stop.
  • Slowing down and self awareness is part of self care and healing – the quiet can help us confront our main problems [it did me with my OCD attacks and eating disorder recognition].
  • Busy doesn’t equal success… sometimes life is more important to enjoy than act like being on the hustle all the time is what makes us successful. Also – that definition is different to every single person.
  • Weight doesn’t equal success. Just because we were /are in lock down doesn’t mean you have to work out 10 hours of the day. This is one I am still learning – and therapy is helping a ton. Every time I have a bad thought about my body my therapist told me to ask myself “does this advance my goals towards who I want to be, or negate it? If I dwell on this thought how does it affect my well being? Does body checking change what I look like at this moment?” All of these things have helped me check myself when I feel like I hate everything I am. No one is going to remember how much cake you ate, but they will remember how you made them feel.
  • Small elopements and weddings revolving around love and family rather than popularity are superior. I hope more people do these in the future.
  • Tswift can make 2 albums a year, and that would be fine with me.
  • Open drinks / containers from bars and breweries in the city
  • Outdoor seating / igloos rather than indoor seating is a huge bonus. It was beautiful watching restaurants adapt. Again, millennial dream.
  • Awareness to poverty and homelessness.
  • Awareness to rich getting richer through this pandemic and poor getting poorer [hopefully we can see change but.. until McConnell is out I don’t see it]
  • The discussion of returning empathy to our culture.
  • Products made from shitty situations [or years] like the coffee ‘Fuck 2020’ made in the UP. lol
  • Finally; my reaffirmation how incredible my family is:

Here’s the story about that last bullet.

In March my cousin had brain surgery. Now, my family is unlike most families. I grew up like brother and sister with my immediate cousins. We spent nearly every day with each other from when I was born until I was about 18/19. We are CLOSE. When my cousin went through surgery, it went well, but then he was unresponsive. He went into a coma, he came out less responsive, and long story short he ended up in Hospice, brain dead. At the end of May his brain began to reduce in swelling and he began to speak and think again [or verbalize it]. He went through therapy, he overcame, he began to walk again, talk, think, laugh, smile, get inflection in his voice – just all of it was astounding. I got to home my aunt and uncle for months and got to speak to them like never before on a personal level every night on my patio. It was something I will never forget. Recently my cousins tumor started to grow at an unmanageable pace again. He can’t speak or hear much now – and through all of this information was the upcoming of Christmas. My family put together a ’12 days of christmas’ for my aunt and uncle and 2 cousins, and dropped off an anon gift every day on their porch. Whether it be food, drinks, dinner, gifts, blankets – just all of it – just.. left me so incredibly grateful for them, and hopeful for the world. We all range in different beliefs, different politics… but none of that matters. The kindness and hard work and dedication my family shows to one another is unmatched. We overwhelmed my family with love in support in a time we couldn’t physically connect with them or console and hug them – and it was a moment… or it’s been a few months of moments I will cherish with my whole heart forever.

This year has been hard… but I’m grateful for it. I learned my relationship with my body was not just a fitness goal .. but an eating disorder. I’m still working hard on this.. and I will for years. I learned I had unmanageable OCD when my schedule was not cluttered. I learned my family is my entire life – and it’s important to show them that with my words and actions while I can. I learned a ton – and I know you have too.

Next year wont be easy. I’m going to say this now: 2021 will be a shit show [lol], but I hope we all have learned the tools we need to understand that we cannot change what is happening around us, but we CAN change our reactions to them. This year I have focused my energy on how I react vs being mad at the situation. YES you can be frustrated but playing the blame game helps absolutely no one. My husband has had to learn with me, that if I am choosing to speak about something in a specific way, that he needs to follow that. If you have someone you love that deals with depression: this is incredibly important.

When we were selling our home [oh ya, that happened, too!] we didn’t get as many showings as we would like. I was frustrated and let down but I said, in the end it’ll work out how its supposed to, and we’ll sell this place but maybe in a different amount of time than we thought and although it’s not convenient, it will happen and it will be fine. He was a bit more pessimistic and realistic and expressed his anger with it all, but only that, no positives. An hour after we had a conversation about me saying it would be okay and him expressing his worries we got a call that out of the small showings we had, we had an offer. So it ended up working out in our favor but it brought Josh and I to a really good conversation about perspective. I literally drown everyday, so when I try to focus on the positive it’s because I cannot handle being brought down any more – so when other people add their weight of negativity, it feels like I am sinking. Do I understand those negative emotions? absolutely, I just have a hard time dealing with them.

We literally reached out to our realtor just about an appraisal on the 4th of December, listed our house on the 18th officially, sold it by the 21st, and bought a home on the 30th [lol]. So, we ended the year on such a good note, and I am so excited to take this next journey with him and our kitties [lol].

I know this wasn’t a post about my eating disorder, don’t worry there is more to come on that. But if you are here because of that, I really recommend this book. It’s amazing. Every night I do about 3-4 entries a day and take an hour to reflect. Monday I really hated everything about me, I cried and screamed into a pillow for awhile. I took a breath, and opened this book. After an hour I had let go of those demons that would have kept me in starvation mode for a week. Really diving into your worth as a human and not a size is a big part of this journey.

Thanks for reading

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