Today is the last Tuesday of 2020. The year can, and possibly will, present a new challenge in the few days it has left. Given how the year has been, it would not surprise me one bit.
I found that I needed to look back at the year – the good, the bad, the ugly, the broke down in my car crying, the found out things about myself I didn’t know – and write it all down. Cleanse my psyche of all that was the year.
It started out brilliantly, by signing with my agent. Denise Barone has been incredible to work with. While my books haven’t found a home yet, she’s still at it. A new submission was sent out yesterday. Her communication is impeccable. She listens. I feel as if I have someone in my corner, fighting for me. That I don’t have to constantly track submissions, get the packet together, etc., has been a game changer.
I rewrote 2 novels, plus an entire new one, in the first 7 months of the year. I learned that I can write a 85k word novel again. That’s after spending a few years with a publisher who constantly preached ‘shorter is better’ and ‘people don’t want to read anything that long’. I found my writer’s voice again, instead of trying to please someone who really didn’t have a clue what she was talking about.
My son graduated from high school, even in the middle of COVID. It rained, but the school district actually worked out a way for them to have a commencement walk in cap and gown. The graduating class of 2020, whatever the education level, will forever be known as the pandemic graduates. What they accomplish, though, will not be as easily defined.
I learned a lot about my own strength, and my weaknesses. Extroverts should never be quarantined! I learned what is important, who is important, and that I miss being able to hug my friends more than going to a soccer game or movie.
I learned that I have limits and how to tell others they’re crossing the line. In the past, I let others cross lines out of fear. I was afraid that I was in the wrong for saying no. The concern for their feelings was more important than my need to speak up. Not worried about that any more. A few people crossed the line this year, and I spoke up. I’m still speaking up. I found my voice in this way and refuse to let it be silenced. You may think I’m being ‘overly sensitive’, but that does NOT invalidate how I feel. I no longer hide my discomfort to make you feel superior. Because, yes, that’s what it comes down to.
COVID. That’s a big one. No one I know personally has gotten sick or tested positive, though I know friends who have other friends/family members/co-workers who have. Why is it we’ve been so lucky? Because my friends are smart. We believe in science. We’ve worn masks, social distanced (damn, I miss hugging my friends!), and done what we had to do to keep each other safe.
Playing D&D online: It was a stop gap measure for 3 months, and kept the group together until we could figure out a way to be back at the table in person. I know some play this way consistently. I’m glad you found it enjoyable. For me, I’d rather face a dental chair without any sort of restraints, sedative, or Novocain. If you know me, it takes at least one of those for me to even make the appointment!
My hands. It took 5 months to find answers. As an author, one who uses her stories as stress relief and therapy, this was not a good time. Three different issues, but only one that won’t go away with time. I spent the second half of the year trying to type but fearing I was doing more damage with each keystroke. I lost sleep trying to work around both hands in wrist braces at night. Hearing the specialist say that writing won’t make things worse was one of the biggest senses of relief I’ve had in my life. I still have a chapter that’s not right, no matter how many rewrites I’ve done, so progress is stalled until I get it right (I have another idea I’ll start working on today), but this isn’t making things worse. I’m not wearing the wrist braces at night any more, just the splint on one finger, so that’s an improvement. The braces are still next to my bed, and they’ll go on for a week or so if the CTS symptoms come back.
The stalker: Finding out someone I’ve known for over 30 years just could not give me space when I requested it…that she started to catfish me on multiple platforms…the depth of anger, betrayal, and hurt are hard to convey. She probably doesn’t think of herself as a stalker, but she is. I will forever be vigilant against her forcing her way into my life in the way she did. There’s things I’m likely not to attend again, like class reunions, because of her.
I know that nothing will change at midnight on 12/31/2020, but it’s a step forward. COVID will still be here. I’ll wear a mask up until I get my vaccination, or for a few weeks after if that’s what my physician recommends. Hades, I’ll probably keep them around and wear them if I’m not feeling 100% and have to go out. It’s the right thing to do.
Politically, as a nation, things won’t get 100% better on January 20th. But it’s a step forward.
This year has changed us as a society. The real question isn’t when will we go back to normal. It’s will we actually retain the lessons we learned this year and move forward.
I hope so.
BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm