Y’all. 2020. Was. A. Clusterfuck.
When I sat down to write about this, I was reminded of the original inspiration for these annual posts:
Yeah… 2020 was a collective pile of like… really bad things. I can’t even begin to write this post without mentioning them.
COVID and mismanagement of the COVID response has killed hundreds of thousands of people in America and millions of people worldwide. COVID exacerbated social injustices everywhere and forced us to see things in a brutally clear light. The scale of the loss of life, of livelihood, and of stability as a result of COVID and its fallout are unfathomable.
We witnessed the police murders of innocent black men and women: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Brionna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Casey Goodson, and so many more. In response to this horrific and ongoing police brutality, protestors demanded justice and change (yet again) and were met with more brutal state-sanctioned police violence. The pain (and the resilience and the vision) of BIPOC cannot be ignored, nor should it ever have been.
The collective pain and grief and loss and fear and anxiety of 2020 is incalculable. We must not forget it. We must learn from it, find our strength, and carry one another forward.
Though good things in 2020 cannot soften or cancel out the bad things, we can still acknowledge and appreciate that they exist. There were many good things in 2020. And joyful things. And boring things. And nothing things. The bad things cannot spoil any of these. This year writing about and honoring all of the things seems more important than ever. We are complete beings and so we must tell complete stories.
So without further adieu, I present:
2020: The Good, The Bad, and The Other:
- We traveled to Iceland in February! I often reflect on how incredibly lucky we were to have taken this trip right before pandemic really set in. Iceland was stunning and other-worldly. I can’t wait to go back.
- COVID-19 turned my world topsy turvy in mid-March. When schools closed in Washington on March 13, I started working from home. Being a school psychologist from home is… weird. I’ll be honest and say I still don’t really know how to do it well. It’s certainly been a year of stretching and trying (and failing… and failing…) and struggling. It’s been challenging to find any joy or fulfillment at work.
- I played more RPGs this year, with two new characters: Petranella Petrichor (an eccentric scientist on a space adventure) and Belba Tealeaf (a chaotic halfling tea merchant trying to save a town).
- Nearly every Friday since the pandemic started, we’ve had a video call with a small group of friends. We play online board games and share memes and laugh and rage about the state of the world. It’s been an absolute joy. I love these folks and am grateful they are part of my chosen family.
- I have always wanted to be in a book club… and this year I started one with my friends from grad school! We’ve met every month since June! I have loved talking about books with friends and having a built-in excuse to hang out once a month.
- I had a miscarriage in June. Walker and I have been trying to start our family for a couple of years now and thought we would need fertility treatments in order to get pregnant. We had put those treatments on hold due to the pandemic, then found out a couple of months later that we were expecting. We discovered the pregnancy was not viable at my first appointment and miscarried at home a few weeks later. It was physically and emotionally painful. I still grieve a little at the loss of that particular possible future for our family. The experience was an absolute rollercoaster – and I know it’s not an uncommon one. I mention my miscarriage not for pity, but because I know there are so many others who have experienced the same thing. You are not alone. It’s okay to talk about it.
- In July, we replaced some of the flooring in our house. To avoid being indoors with the people working, we decided to rent an airbnb in West Seattle for a staycation. We played board games, ate takeout from new restaurants, walked along Alki Beach, and read books on the beach in the sunshine. It was absolutely lovely.
- At some point this year, we started having very physically distanced driveway happy hours with our neighbors. We live on a lot with four townhouses that share a large driveway in the middle and so we started setting up our lawn chairs in front of our garage doors about once a month. It’s been lovely to get to know them better and to build up our little community. It’s a tradition that I hope continues even after the pandemic is over.
- In a joint effort with our neighbors, we hand-addressed and wrote a total of 633 postcards to voters. From July-October, we sent 373 postcards with Postcards to Voters and Reclaim Our Vote for the general election. From November-December, we sent 260 postcards to Georgia voters for the January Senate Run-Off election.
- I also volunteered for the Biden campaign with the Wisconsin Democrats. I phonebanked, textbanked, and served as a Virtual Staging Location Director for the WisDems Text Team. All together, I spent 160 hours volunteering. I met so many remarkable and inspiring people. And Biden won Wisconsin by a field margin! Of everything I did in 2020, this was the thing I was by far the most proud of.
- JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS WON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! (I am so, so, so relieved. The work is not finished, but this is absolutely a reason to celebrate).
- I finished the year off volunteering with the Ossoff/Warnock campaigns and Fair Fight to help turn out Georgia voters for the runoff election. I wrote 120 letters to voters and spent a few dozen hours phonebanking and textbanking.
- I am growing to understand more about systemic racism, white supremacy, and my own complicity in the system. I am learning silence is violence and it is the responsibility of white people to fix these problems (we are the cause). I’ve been learning about systemic racism for several years, but learning is not enough. Awareness is not enough. Action is required. Reparations are required. I am committed to doing better.
- I cataloged our entire home library of books this summer. (All 289 of them, e-books and audiobooks included!) I believe that what we read shapes how we think, so I wanted to be sure I am making space for all voices, not just straight, white, cisgender voices. I learned that I have a lot of work to do! I’m committed to bringing more BIPOC and queer authors space on my bookshelf.
- Speaking of books, I reached my reading goal again this year! I read (drumroll please…) 53 books! My favorite? The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Her writing and world-building is STUNNING and I am honestly obsessed. Her books showed me the infinite and revolutionary possibilities with fantasy writing. Also, because I can’t help it, an honorary mention: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. This book gave me a lot to think about what it means to live a life.
- I transferred to a new position in a different school in September and reduced my hours to part-time. I was really grateful to start fresh after three very challenging (and, honestly, sometimes soul-crushing) years in my previous school. I’m also very grateful to be able to work reduced hours in order to spend more time taking care of my mental and physical health. For the first time ever, I feel like my work/home life is balanced.
- [Still] no shame: We watched a lot of tv this year. It was 2020, after all. Highlights include Star Trek Voyager, Steven Universe, Avatar the Last Airbender, His Dark Materials, The Mandalorian, and Star Trek Discovery.
- I dabbled in creative writing! I took a fanfiction writing course this fall from Harry Potter and the Sacred Text and attended a workshop about blackout poetry over the summer. Practicing creative writing really stretched my mind and imagination. I’m excited to continue this practice.
- I have attended a lot of Harry Potter Sacred Text online events, including a week-long summer camp. Y’all it was incredible. It was joyful. It was insightful. I learned so much about myself. I met so many cool people.
- My friend Chris made this picture of Finn on a bicycle in photoshop and it is my favorite picture of all time.
- I was (marginally) more successful at staying in touch with friends and family. We scheduled more video calls with both of our families. I caught up with a few friends I haven’t talked to in ages. I hope to do better in 2021; I’m (still) sorry for not staying more connected.
- All of the small but notable things: house plants, backyard coffee, friluftsliv, spice cupboard organization, teal door, homemade masks, embroidery, herb garden, standing desk, feet-up yoga, at home pedicures, pupusas, pink hair, Gloomhaven, (too much) social media, (not enough) exercise, smoke season, online concerts for AJR and Jason Webley, so many walks, online cooking classes from The Pantry, frozen cookie dough, the friendly neighborhood robot, and Winter Solstice.