This was the year that felt like it would never end. Yet, here we all are. From impeachment trials to COVID19. Social unrest to a Presidential Election. I don’t know about you, but I am fucking exhausted.
After the initial shock of the world shutting down and the panic of whether my husband would be out of work or not after we just spent a ton of money on an all new living room set. I adjusted to the new normal of the world. Thankfully, we both were able to keep working. And we both were required to leave the house and go to work. I have never been more happy to have older children during this time. Overall, a lot of people are out here talking about 2020 as the dumpster fire that it was for a lot of people but are neglecting to talk about what they learned about themselves and others during this time at home.
For the last few years I have been on a journey of sorts to figure out who I am, and what I believe in. Trying to figure out what feels right and works for me. There are a lot of outside influences these days and figuring some of those things out is hard and takes a lot of time. That being said, I am by most definitions an introvert. Which means, telling me to stay home was not hard for me. What was hard was filling the time that I used to spend chauffeuring the kids around.
Unintentionally I learned a lot about people in 2020. The hypocrisy. The nastiness. How downright mean people can be to others. It started with the unfortunate death of George Floyd and spun out from there. I watched black squares pop up all over Instagram in support of BLM.
Then I saw the bookish community totally shun BOTM for their lack of diversity; people were canceling their memberships right and left. People were looking for Justice for Breonna Taylor and completely overlooked the findings of the Police shooting the occurred in her apartment that ultimately took her life. Everyone seemed to have forgotten about the incident in Central Park where a white woman called the cops on a Black man simply for asking her to keep her dog on a leash per the park rules. And at the time of the writing there is a case in NYC where a white hysterical woman accused a Black teen aged boy of stealing her phone in a hotel lobby in which she was not even a guest, but the child was. The last two stories are not as important I gather. Excuse me while I am not concerned about being shot by Police in my home, but I am concerned about something that might actually happen… like being accused of something by a random white Karen simply because of the way I look. I digress.
Living on the East Coast, New York specifically, we dealt with the COVID19 pandemic before most of the country. And it was like no one else was paying attention. As we started opening back up over the Summer, the rest of the country was getting hit with the virus. Precautions were relaxed. It was no longer necessary to wear a hazmat suit to the grocery store and undress as soon as you step into your home. Early voting was strongly encouraged though. People went out to vote early in record numbers. My IG feed was filled for W E E K S of people rocking their “I voted early” stickers. It was the “cool” thing to do. We voted on Election Day because my life was not that busy, that I could not go on Election Day. 🇺🇸 Plus I was going to the grocery store every week – what was the difference.
What I saw AFTER the Election is what really put me off. For days, which felt like weeks, there was no clear answer as to who won the Election. It looked like it was going to be Biden, but like a lot of people during that time I could not turn the television off. I had to see it. I could not not watch. It was an awful drug. Eventually I did though, after the online bookish community showed their ass to me. People were being downright disrespectful to some of their followers. Never calling anyone out by name specifically, but saying that if you voted for Trump you voted for bigotry and hate and you were not welcome on their page, “in the most disrespectful way possible”.
I do not know the person who originally tweeted this but A LOT of the pages I followed re-shared this. Admittedly, I did not follow those pages very closely but I still liked their bookish content. But seeing this over, and over, and over, and over again really put a bad taste in my mouth. I see you. The people who wrote this, and the people who shared this know very little about the people who are following them to make such blanket statements: I am not racist by any definition, I am married to a white man and I love not only our mixed children – mixed children are so beautiful. I have gay/lesbian as well as transgender relatives for which I say – DO YOU BOO. Love is love. No matter what is looks like. So for complete strangers to pass judgement on me, or people like me just because of who we support politically is shameful; to ASSUME. These are all the same people who “rushed out and canceled their BOTM memberships”, (or so they said) but I have seen lately selecting their monthly picks. 🤔 They are the same people who rushed out and ordered books by authors who were not white and never read them, or better yet, never even picked up their order from the black owned bookshop they supposedly supported. They posted all those goddamn black squares, and BLM stories but have yet to say a word since. All of that being said, I unfollowed every since person who posted that. Not because I was offended by them but I respect their wishes. Like I tell my kids, be careful what you put on the internet because one day you might have to explain yourself. These are the types of things that creep back up in people’s lives years later once they have moved on out of their feelings.
At one point, before the election, I was fed up of seeing the same garbage posts and posted something that infuriated me. And when no one said a word about it. I made another post. And the messages I got in return, I understood I was not actually welcomed in that space. Like most other places, you are allowed to have an opinion so long as it falls in line with everyone else.
All of these encounters eventually led to this…
Goodbyes are not forever, and are not the end; it simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again.Unknown
You can only see something so many times before you realize what has to be done. For the most part, I decided to take a step back from my blog. Right now, I do not feel like there is much I can bring to the table without criticism. And I can say, especially right now, I am not strong enough to deal with it. I do not even want to pretend like I am. I’m tired of trying to explain and defend myself. Honestly I hate that it came to this. I went back and forth for weeks trying to figure out what to do with my space. As long as someone “follows” this site, or subscribes to my newsletter, what I write will be available – otherwise, a static page is all that will be available to the public for the time being.
For the most part though, I have moved on. I have moved on from the Fall and shitty people on the Internet. I learned that even for people IRL I can only keep things surface level. I am less irritated and they don’t give me that “I thought you were so smart” look/response.
Gyms opened back up at the end of the Summer and I could not wait to get back, even though masks were required. As I write this the virus is still spreading, cases and hospitalizations are going back up. Being pretty concerned that gyms were going to get closed again since King Cuomo said ‘no indoor dining allowed in NYC’, I purchased an indoor spin bike for the house. Which I can honestly say has been the best purchase I have made all year. (I still do not understand how two people eating inside a closet in NYC poses such a risk; who honestly is sitting outside in the winter to eat a meal)
While 2020 was a downer for a lot of people, myself included, one thing that came out of 2020 as a positive for me was that I did not diet once. Yes, I am by definition overweight but I am healthy. I got rid of the clothes I was hoping would fit again one day, and purchased clothes that actually fit me. This is going to sound so cliche and cheesy, but I have learned to move my body because I love it and am able to, not because I hate it. These two things have made a lot of difference in not only my physical, but mental health. In just these last few weeks with my spin bike, and my subscription to the Peloton app and Apple Fitness + I have found A LOT of enjoyable workouts that leave me feeling so good afterwords. (If you have an Apple watch and are new to working out, Apple Fitness + is definitely a great place to start). I stopped eating what I thought I should be eating, and listening to my body – eating what my body told me to eat. Which has led to a lot less snacking and eating late at night. Some days I have coffee breakfast and don’t eat anything until 1pm. Other days its three full meals. I don’t drink (alochol) anywhere near as much as I used to which I am sure is strange to hear, especially this year of all years. (My husband and I went to a work holiday dinner where I had two glasses of wine and holy hell, the next day was awful for me. Need I add we left at 9pm)
I am totally fine with that though. I am not in my 20s anymore – the desire to get buzzed, let alone drunk has long passed. I have a drink with a meal these days and I am good.
As I sit here reflecting on the good, bad and ugly of 2020. I completely forgot to mention probably the biggest change that happened, aside from our new living room set. We added a member to the family. To clarify, a four legged member. (When I told my dad we were adding to the family he felt the need to ask if it was two or four legged).
I’d like to introduce you to Wendy Rona. My husband, son and I really tried for the name Rona but my daughter was not having it. My daughter has been after wanting a dog of her own since the summer – put together a whole presentation and everything. There are a lot of scammers out now on the internet trying to convince innocent people like my daughter they had puppies for sale that they would ship across country FOR FREE. I thought it would be a lost cause getting a dog after convincing my husband our daughter would take care of it but a guy at work pointed me to a website and after a few text messages back and forth, and a four hour one way drive we picked up our Pug(ish) puppy. (As she has grown we are all convinced she is not pure Pug, but it is okay we’re a mixed family anyway)
This blog started almost four years ago as a book blog and I realize I have not touched on any books this entire entry. Reading this year was hard. I found it very hard to focus on actually reading so most of the books I completed were audiobooks. Sadly nothing I read this year really WOW’ed me enough to talk about them in depth. I listened to quite a few books that I read in past years – some old favorites like Eleanor & Park and One Day. I binged the Handmaid’s Tale on HULU during the beginning of the pandemic and absolutely loved it; felt inclined to try the audiobook which I really enjoyed until the end. Reviewing the books I read this year, I lied. I actually read ONE book that stood out for me. But I know it will not be everyone’s cup of tea and you have to actually have an open mind and be willing to listen in order to enjoy it… it was Blackout by Candace Owens. It is a book I recommend to everyone, but I know most people will not take the recommendation.
As far as the amount I read, it was about on par as last year. I do not like to play the number game. Yes, I will be setting a Goodreads goal for 2021, and it will be the same goal I have set for the last few years, 12. One book a month is more than adequate. Even if I “only” read 12 books next year, it is still more books than most adults read in a year. My daughter this year was surprised to see how many books I read this year stating she “only read three”. I told her she was still ahead of most adults.
In closing, say goodbye to 2020 but be gentle with yourself in 2021. Especially these first few months. The nation is coming out of a pandemic. There will be a shift in political power in the coming weeks. We are all coming out of a tough year and it will take awhile for things to “go back to normal”. If you are someone who sets goals, and makes resolutions – do the damn thing, but be kind to yourself and just as important, be kind to others. My only goals for 2021, aside from continuing to do what I’m doing is to keep up on Animal Crossings. Yeah, I became that person during the lock-down and my island has become pretty unloved since the Summer.