[PERSONAL] A Look Back at 2020

The Climb

You know, I really wish I had New Years’ Eve summaries for the past decade up on here because it really puts in perspective my climb and why 2020 for me ended up feeling like a blessing, rather than curse.

2010

I was just out of high school. I was dealing with a lot of depression. I knew what I wanted as a career, but it wasn’t fine-tuned. Conversations with adults in my life became hostile attempts for me to “get a job” and my dream career pursuits were greatly dismissed, deemed by some of the most trusted adults in my life as unrealistic.

I got my first job that wasn’t for my mom as an overnight stock person, per suggestion of my mom (her thought process: I am a night owl, so I would love to work overnights). I ended up hating it, firmly cementing in my mind I never wanted to work overnights again (except for myself, of course). It was a seasonal job and I was let go at the end of the month of December.

I spent most of my time focusing on a Pokémon fanfiction called Kelly’s Journey. I also spent time working on a novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month called Love Me Softly.

Related Entry: KJ Month – End – And Happy New Year!

2011

I was hired for a new job thanks to a family member. I also ended up quitting that job about 5 months later. I gave people a bunch of excuses why I quit, but the real reason? I quit because I had a coupon to get a free copy of my National Novel Writing Month novel, Love Me Softly, printed in physical form…and I needed to finish the cover art by a certain time (the coupon expired that day) and if I said, I wouldn’t have been able to. So, I refused to do my job and promptly left. (Do I regret it? Nope. Completely worth it.)

As for other parts of the year, I started getting art commissions, I received a physical copy of the first draft of Love Me Softly, and had an overall productive year. I was still focusing on fanfiction.

Finishing Love Me Softly helped me to realize I could write a lot more than I thought I ever could (I was aiming for about 50,000 words and it ended up at over 130,000 words).

Depression still flowed through this year.

Related Entry: Good-bye 2011, Hello 2012!

2012

I had no job, besides from commissions. I still hadn’t fine-tuned my career vision yet and most of my work ended up being related to fanfiction, sewing, artwork (mostly for others). I studied Japanese as well, which I officially put a pause on in July 2012 and took (and passed) the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in December 2012.

Depression started to increase. One of my best friends stopped talking to me out of no where. It hurt like CRAZY, but it did something important: it broke down walls trauma from a break-up during high school had put up, allowing me to feel again.

This was also a year of spiritual awakening. The most I’ll describe it was that my own awareness went from semi-passive to mostly active. I finally had words to describe and explain my experiences.

My mother had come into my room one day, telling me I still need a job, as I hadn’t worked for over a year. I told her I was getting one in April 2013 and she said okay.

Related Entry: 2012 in Review

2013

Shortly after my birthday in March 2013, I applied for jobs with ease. In April 2013, I was hired by Walmart. Two weeks in, I knew I wanted to be a customer service supervisor and I made it known.

After one of my best friends left me in 2012, I began talking more to an online friend of mine who was going by the handle of Hurricane360 at the time. I don’t know how or when, but we started joke-flirting. Soon enough, I had a huge crush on him. I met him in person towards the end of the year. While he initially rejected me, we both knew we needed to see where our relationship was going to go.

I was still focusing on things like fanfiction writing, artwork, and sewing (not bad and very much needed, but not where I placed them), still not getting a clear picture on how to make my career into something more concrete.

Artwork truly began to take its toll on me – I had been drawing mostly for others since about 2009 and my own was slipping between my fingers. Even the ones I started doing for me were starting to make me miserable.

Related Entry: [RAMBLES/YEAR OVERVIEW] Good-Bye, 2013!

2014

I struggled to come to terms with the fact I had a boyfriend – Hurricane360, my once-online friend. Hurricane moved in with my family before we even knew it. (Both our relationship and him moving in just kind of…happened.)

My depression was going up and down. Tension at home was building like pressure in a pressure cooker. My mom had made the decision to sell her home.

Despite the depression and the tension, I managed to be productive and hit my personal goals, including becoming a customer service supervisor at Walmart!

Related Entry: [RAMBLES | YEAR OVERVIEW] Good-bye, 2014! It’s been a pretty good year!

2015

With my belongings packed and tucked safely away, the ground broke beneath me and I fell down into the deep depths of my depression. I found myself crying frequently and wanting to die. I tried to reach out for help, desperate for someone to hold my hand and guide me back to more stable ground, but instead I got burned and fell deeper and deeper into my depression.

My desperation and indecision had my living situation decided for me: I was to live with my dad, to live closer to my boyfriend who had had to return back to his parents. I knew this was the wrong decision – I was meant to stay with my mother.

I corrected the course towards the end of 2015, returning back to my mother’s (new) place. Hurricane followed me shortly after and eventually lead us to getting us to our first apartment.

Related Entry: [PERSONAL | RAMBLES] See ya, 2015. Good Riddens!

2016

I started going to conventions to sell my artwork. I met new friends. I found myself more increasingly productive. My vision for my career was starting to become clearer and it was called TrainerKelly’s Network (I knew the name earlier, but I REALLY only started to get a better grasp of it then).

My depression was becoming more shallow as I kept working. However, I had a different feeling to deal with: a desire for homelessness.

Hurricane and I ran out of money in February 2016 and lost the apartment. It was one of the sweetest and bitterest moments of my life. I was ECSTATIC to lose the apartment and to this day, is one of the happiest days of my life: I hated the apartment so much, I honestly just wanted to live out of my car. Bitterest bit? Hurricane had to go off to his parents.

I had another spiritual awakening that put me on a fast-track to maturity.

And Hurricane and I got married.

And I went vegan after being vegetarian for most of my life.

Related Entry: [PERSONAL | RAMBLES] Good-Bye, 2016!

2017

The new job I got a print shop towards the end of 2016 continued over to 2017 and I really hated it. I stuck with it though because I was “being immature” wanting to quit. I was “supposed” to have a full-time job. I was also looking to get a house up the street from my mom because I had a full-time job and that’s what I was “supposed” to do.

On April 28, 2017, the print shop let me go. It was the day I learned to stop doing things for others and do them for me.

I started working on comics, then transitioned to working on an online shop. I applied for a several jobs, but I focused primarily on TrainerKelly’s Network work. I was soon hired by WG.

WG turned out to break patterns for me: It was the first job I ever got for myself, genuinely because I wanted to and not because it was expected of me and I skipped the first part of the depression cycle I had since truly joining the workforce. Working at WG continued to break the patterns.

Related Entry: [PERSONAL | MY DAY] 2017 in Review

2018

I suffered far more than I needed to in 2018. It felt like I was being crushed, that I was crouching, and the bit of water run-off I could drink was being cut off. I was crying often at WG, but I could also tell not to quit it, which had confused me at the time, as I knew when I started getting like that, it was time for me to leave.

The suffering stopped when I finally realized my missing piece: I needed to move in with my dad and work at the WG up there.

Whatever healing I needed to do with my mother was done for now and now I needed to do the same with my father.

Related Entry: [PERSONAL | MY DAY] Did 2018 Actually Exist?

2019

I was working overnight and loving it. I got promoted pretty quickly to a Shift Lead and was loving it. Then I had some trauma get triggered and couldn’t function properly for about four months. I still kept working, but I knew the trauma was slowing me down from getting the hang of my job.

When the 6th month mark came, which typically was when I got the hang of the job, I was shocked when I felt the third stage of my depression cycle kick in. Desperate to stop it, for the first time in my life, I actually asked for an actual vacation. It not only ended up delayed, but I ended up working overtime, pushed just past my limits, and went on vacation after someone who didn’t really even want one in the first place who was asked after me. I became very disillusioned with WG (although, it still to this day has been the best job I have had – besides TrainerKelly’s Network, of course). I wanted to leave, but unlike previous jobs where I knew I needed to apply to new ones and I would be fine, I knew that wasn’t what I needed to do and I drew a blank and continued working, despite I was getting increasingly worse.

Interestingly, despite dealing with trauma and disillusionment in 2019, I found myself completely rid of suicidal thoughts by the end of 2019.

The reason?

My desire to see TrainerKelly’s Network succeed overrode my desire to die.

Related Entry: [PERSONAL | MY DAY / CREATIVE WORKS | UPDATE] 2019 So Far!

2010 to 2019

Wow, it was kind of hard to write some of those summaries because I’m still hurt from some of them. Even right now, writing this, I want to tear up because I’m still feeling the hurt. But that’s okay – it’s something that will just pass with time, especially after revisiting the hurts.

It’s so strange to me to think I started the decade of 2010 just out of high school and kept my head looking at the ground, instead of looking up at the sky. Looking back, the end of 2013 when I met Hurricane in person really started the chain of events that lead me to what happened to me specifically in 2020, but the majour changes really started when my mother had her own spiritual awakening in the earlier part of the decade.

I’m still dealing with some aftermath of what went on during the previous years. I have deep religious trauma from the first half of my 20s that gets triggered with just the right combination of words that sends me deep into a mental hell that can take me a few days to get out of at best and months at worst. I also have deep trauma with therapists – they burned me so bad in 2015, I begin to tremble and have a fight-or-flight response. If I ever went back to therapy, it would specifically be to work through my trauma with therapists. With the religious trauma, I am very slowly undoing it because it is so deeply ingrained within me. It’s working, but it’s so deep, I am well aware it will take me a while. If I had to be completely honest, I’m really surprised by my own resilience. I think it’s because I know I have a better tomorrow that I can keep going.

So, I’m going to go into 2020.

2020: What was THAT all about?

To be completely honest, I don’t really remember what January and February 2020 were like. I was still working at WG, still wanting to leave, had asked my store manager what my options were and had to pick between two transfers as a shift leader during the daytime. Hurricane and I were in our usual routine – he would stay at his parents’ place to go to work and then come home once his work week was done. He did start coming home more frequently though during the work week specifically to work on his Luigi’s Mansion 3 let’s play, which has A LOT that goes into it (we record videos and commentary, then he remixes the footage and inserts animations, voices, sound effects, and whatever else he needs…it takes him about a month to finish an episode).

Sometime in March 2020, after my birthday, I kept suggesting we should go to get new necklace chains to put our wedding bands on (both of ours broke). However, in the back of my mind and just the overall feeling of resistance within my body made me think “we aren’t going, are we.”

Sure enough, lockdown over COVID-19 happened.

I know for MANY people, this was one of the worst things to happen to them in their life so far and for good reason: so many people lost their jobs, lost their homes, and even lost their lives. I am not denying the hurt and the harm that has come because of COVID-19, everything from the lockdowns to the virus itself. It literally messed with everyone’s lives overnight.

For me, however, COVID-19 lockdowns ended up as a blessing:

  • I had been going out FAR too much prior to lockdown, despite I actually wanted to just stay home and do some of my own work (going out was a habit). Lockdown forced me to stay home, like I originally wanted all along;
  • I realized that I could viably get a work-from-home job, something that I think I wouldn’t have been able to do a decade ago if I tried when I first entered the workforce for numerous reasons, including weak objections from my parents I’m sure they would have given me that I would have accepted;
  • I got to spend a lot more time with my husband, even though a lot of it was just sitting in the same room trying to get our own work done for our businesses;
  • I got to work more on TrainerKelly’s Network since I wasn’t going out except maybe the grocery store and to work (WG);
  • The Black Lives Matter protests provided resource lists I had been looking for, but unable to find during previous searches;

I know that if this had happened in previous years, I would have been depressed like many others had been for 2020. I was surprised though to find that I wasn’t! Instead, I couldn’t help but enthusiastically ask “how can I help”.

I’m sure some people are going to think I am cruel, but a part of me honestly is really excited to be a part of this time in history. This experience has really tore everything up and exposed flaws in our structures and systems. I also find it just SO fascinating that something as unseen by the naked eye as a virus spread so far and so fast. Again – this is not to dismiss the horrible tragedies and hardships that have come from this. I’ll admit, I don’t know if I would have reacted differently if I had different circumstances.

One of the things I really, really learned and was able to put into perspective is the privilege I have. A lot of time “privilege” is invoked in a derogatory sense, but I found I was able to flip it and be empowered by it. Of course, I’m sure “empowered” can also seem scary too, but the context ultimately is understanding what position I am in and what I can do to help. WHICH…I will talk about more in a bit. Let me get back to WG.

I realized I did not want to continue as a Shift Leader, even though I could hear in me to just “hold on.” I asked my manager for more options, but there was no more that would have fit my criteria of full-time work. My manager kept on trying to assure me that I would “do better” during the day time. I couldn’t really put into words that I wouldn’t do better because I am done with the job. I was going to be moving on from it.

Of course…I didn’t know what to do regarding moving on from the job. Out of desperation, I began to apply to work-at-home jobs. Eventually, one place got back to me, did an interview, and told me that they would contact me when it was time for training. It was going to be a work-at-home call center job.

Oh yeah, I had another motivation to get another job: towards the beginning of April 2020, I wasn’t feeling too well, but I quickly got over whatever I had. Then my husband got sick with something much worse. I thought it was the same thing as me, but then I ended up catching whatever he had right after. The symptoms were similar to COVID-19, including a fever of over 100 degrees (not even sure the last time I had that) and a cough. I knew I couldn’t go into work like that, even with no customers at the store (overnight still worked their normal hours, but the store closed early – it was a 24-hour store).

This felt like a sticky situation for me. I know when I first became a Shift Leader, I was told that I couldn’t call out. There was no one to cover me overnight (other than the other shift leader), so it wasn’t possible. However, we were in the midst of a pandemic and I had the symptoms. There was also one shift leader from the daytime that had joined the overnights specifically during the pandemic to help well-stock the shelves. I figured an exception to “can’t call out” would be made.

You can probably guess by now something went wrong because I’m telling you this story.

So, I told my store manager I wasn’t coming in due to my symptoms. His response? Initially, “you need to come in, you’ll be fine” that changed over to “uuuuh, let me call asset protection” after I mentioned what my husband’s symptoms had been. He told me that asset protection told me to stay home and get tested for COVID-19. He would give me the week off, however, he needed me to find coverage for that night and told me to contact the assistant-manager-in-training.

I contacted the assistant-manager-in-training for suggestions of who to contact. I ended up contacting all the people she suggested, including the regular overnight shift lead and the daytime one that was temporarily working overnights, both of whom were off for the week (overnight shifts at WG were 8 days on, 6 days off, working 10 hours each day). The only person who got back to me was one of the day time shift leaders closer to when I needed to go in. I was like “great, cool, I got coverage”.

Then I received a text from the assistant-manager-in-training, who tells me that this person she had suggested can’t work. I made other suggestions and she rejected them all. She questioned my decision to call out for the week and asked me “do you REALLY think the overnight shift leads will cover you”. In my head I was like, yes, yes they would, but I could read between the lines – she was trying to avoid something.

So, I went into WG with a 100+ degree fever.

I was pissed. The people who were there were pissed. My co-workers filled me in on the side of the story I didn’t see, including the closing shift lead offering to cover for me and being rejected by the assistant-manager-in-training. I checked the schedule to see if my “avoidance” suspicions were correct and…yep. The shift lead who was going to work overnight for me was closing the store the next day. If they worked for me, then the assistant-manager-in-training would have had to either stay a two extra hours or push up their shift two hours. I was annoyed, but this was on-par with her behaviour. I wasn’t necessarily annoyed that she didn’t want to work, but rather that she wasn’t honest – I wish she would have just said “I would have to close and I don’t want to”.

The next morning, as I left work, I got a text back from the daytime shift lead that had been temporarily working overnights. And what do you know? He told me he would cover me.

I heard later that he chewed out both the store manager and the assistant-manager-in-training for having me come in with a fever during a pandemic.

The assistant-manager-in-training quit not too long after over a different incident.

The store I worked went back to normal hours…brand new normal hours. The store changed from 24-hours to 6 AM to 12 AM. The overnight was completely eliminated. I was immediately transferred during my week off.

I hoped the call center would get back to me soon.

The other store wasn’t as nice, but there was a familiar face there (the assistant manager used to work at my previous store), so it was okay. At first I was a little excited, but it soon fizzled because I knew I was just dragging my feet.

I don’t drive anymore and I found it difficult to go to and from the store. Sure, it was easier than the other transfer option, but this one still was not that good. I was often closing and the buses don’t run that late that go to my area (not even during regular hours, let alone the reduced schedules). I had to get a ride from a rider share service and often times had to wait about an hour to even get a ride. I did not like doing that, especially because I had my own work to do!

It was towards the end of May that I internally felt what I had been hoping for all along: the OK to quit.

I had almost quit when the previous store manager called me to tell me about the transfer, but I held off, falling back into old habits of trying to be “responsible”.

I hadn’t even heard back from the call center yet, but I used it as an excuse to leave, even though that wasn’t actually why.

I had wanted to leave since August 2019 and I stayed because internally, I had a very clear “hold on”. At the end of May, I got the internal OK to finally quit.

I wanted to quit SO badly that day or Saturday (I don’t remember the day), but I decided against it for two reasons: 1.) I wanted to break my typical cycle (I usually put in two weeks and then just stop showing up after a day) and 2.) I didn’t feel like the store deserved it. They didn’t do anything wrong. So, I looked at the schedule and decided to put in my two weeks, just short of two weeks, in order to end the work week.

I managed to hang on and part on good terms.

WG, as I said, broke SO many patterns for me, this included.

And I know, I know, quitting a job during a pandemic like this seems ridiculous.

After I left WG, I got back to work on TrainerKelly’s Network.

So, I had been working on TrainerKelly’s Network all year, some times more than others. When I left WG, I continued where I left off, with a low workload and just working through. However, I suddenly had all this extra time and…I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I realized I needed to look at it differently and expand it out. It was truly a new experience for me – I never had worked fairly consistently TKN while working another job before nor have I ever had so much open space to focus on the work I am doing.

Just as I was getting the hang of working on TKN, I received an e-mail from the call center calling for people to reply to the e-mail – they had openings. I called, they did another interview to make sure all my information was still accurate, and I got hired!

My heart felt broken and I slipped into depression I hadn’t felt in a while. I cried. I was not happy.

I was heartbroken because really, I was doing this again? I was applying for another job, getting settled in, and suffering all for a paycheck? I couldn’t work on TKN full-time?

After talking to my mom, I perked up more and looked forward to the day I started.

The call center was for health insurance. It had the best training I ever had, but I still felt like I lacked confidence. I also realized that even though I accepted the low pay (I’m sure in the home state of the company, it was great, but it was under minimum wage here), I wasn’t happy with it after learning more about the job. I was a bit worried about it being for health insurance (once upon a time I was going to get licensed to sell health insurance, but then I found I have a huge moral issue with how it is functions and just could not rightful sell people it), but it was okay.

I was doing pretty great for the whole training, which surprised me. The schedule was from 10 AM to 6 PM, which I know is in my trouble timeframe. I was surprisingly awake and I found myself with plenty of energy to continue working on whatever I was doing for TKN.

Then the end of the month hit where we hopped on the phones, my schedule was changing to 9 AM to 5 PM and…I crashed.

I had trouble functioning.

After speaking to my supervisor, we change me to a closing shift and I did better. I reconfirmed that I just don’t function on a 9 to 5 schedule (give or take two hours) – the first was that print shop.

At first, it was kind of fun, but I found myself getting increasingly frustrated and caring increasingly less about the customers. I missed WG’s supervisor system – where supervisors would take on anything, no matter what. I was trying to stick with it because I wanted to be promoted and join the computer-tech help desk that helped people troubleshoot their computer issues. I expressed it to my supervisor and my supervisor had the same idea. However…

  1. The group I was in ended up switching supervisors THREE times, which meant that my desire to change over to the computer help desk had to be repeated more times than I wanted;
  2. It also made me feel like I was forgetting TKN.

Since I entered the workforce, my mind had gotten the impression that I had to work, work, work, WORK, WOOOOOOOORK. That I wasn’t allowed to rest, that I wasn’t allowed to focus on my own pursuits, nothing but WORK. This worsened in 2015 when many thing seemed to crumble under my feet. This mindset also got transferred over to TKN (I only later realized I did my business backwards, ooooops, correcting that now). Even after I transferred it over to TKN, I struggled with an internal battle where I would eventually fall away from doing it after becoming very complacent at whatever job I had and that is usually when my 3rd cycle of depression would start happening.

After talking to my mom (yes, again), I made the decision to focus on getting the hang of my new job by a certain date and to focus on TKN and the other things I was looking to learn (which was copywriting, which I was going to have as my next job). So, that’s what I did…and it worked!

For a little while.

I soon found myself with depression that seemed to be worsening by the day. Suicidal thoughts, which I honestly haven’t had in quite a while, suddenly started re-entering my mind. My desire to see myself succeed seemed to be lost. I wanted to give up and be complacent again.

Depression and suicidal thoughts were back in action and my new job was not helping. It’s not like I was happy getting it in the first place – I originally applied to it out of desperation to leave my previous job. I left that job before they got back to me. I was in a completely different place when I applied than when I was working it.

I don’t think the depression and suicidal thoughts were necessarily just because of the job, but I don’t think the job helped. No, I think it was because I was being healed from the inside out: my subconscious was being deep-cleaned. I could feel it in the core of my being.

I found myself in an old pattern of calling out. And once I call out, I don’t want to come back. After calling out for two days in a row, I took time to REALLY reflect on what I was going to be doing. I could just tell I couldn’t stand staying in the job any longer and needed to leave. It was going to make me sick.

I went to my dad and laid out my whole gameplan: I was putting in my two weeks into the call center job. I was going to work through two copywriting classes (including one with a certification) and start applying for jobs for different places, including writing copy. Most importantly, I needed to WRITE MY STORIES!

I was so nervous.

I didn’t know how my dad would react.

My dad for me isn’t as bad as my old therapist, but he falls somewhere in the middle of people who discourage me, whose words I took to heart and held myself down with. Whenever I want to fly, I would stuff myself back down into a box and tell myself no.

Literally, my dad’s only question was regarding what will happen when he retires in 2021.

Otherwise, he accepted it.

I started tearing up.

I admitted to him that it was hard to talk to him about it.

He asked me why.

I explained I have a lot of past hurts, including people telling me to “GET A JOB” a decade ago. It was something that still penetrated me and affected how I perform to this day. It was so bad, that I felt GUILTY working on TrainerKelly’s Network WHILE WORKING AN 80 HOUR WORK WEEK AND STUDYING WEB DEVELOPMENT (yes, I worked on that this year too). Yeah…that’s some deep hurt.

So, I put in my two weeks.

I pushed through I think literally one day.

I didn’t want to go back.

And more importantly, I realized I did not need to suffer anymore.

I was going to suck it up and “be nice”. I debated that in my head.

I went back though for another day, debating if I should call out or not. I decided not to, but the work laptop had other plans and started acting weird. I laughed and went “I don’t care anymore” and called out.

That weekend, I sent in a notice that I would not be returning.

I sent back the equipment (via my old WG) and got back to work on TKN!

I was spending a lot of time writing. I managed to finish 5 stories total before I decided to switch to writing story outlines, as I knew those help me A LOT when writing stories. I also set up a project management app to help me track the progress of each story I was writing since I decided on writing 200 short stories.

On November 25th, 2020, I was journaling and I wrote a line about surrendering control to the divine so I could focus purely on writing my stories. I finished the entry, shut my notebook, and put it back onto the shelf on my desk.

I started working on a story outline. As I was writing, the connection to Google Drive (where I write my outlines) was lost. Since this periodically happens, I decided to go look at some recipes that I might have wanted to make later.

Then my computer’s fan starts wheezing.

I looked at it funny – I know it was doing that during the summer, when it was actually hot, but this was winter and it was cold. Why was it…

The screen went dark.

At first I thought it was the screensaver, like it went to sleep, but I noticed that the light was still on in the monitor (it’s a 2013 iMac, so it’s an all-in-one with the hard drive in the screen). Then I saw the Apple logo show up on the screen with no sound.

My thoughts: Okay, my computer either just crashed or is installing an update. Hmm…it might not be an update, since it doesn’t have the bar like usual. Maybe it crashed? But that’s weird. I would think there would have been a fatal message or something…

My heart sunk as a gray background I didn’t recognize showed up on screen.

Then a window showed up asking me what I wanted to do: restore from a backup, run a disk utility, search Safari Online, and something else I am drawing a blank on.

I opened the disk utility because something clearly wasn’t right…and I saw it.

Or rather, I didn’t see it.

I didn’t see my hard drive.

Yeah, I saw my external backup and 3 GB hard drive of sorts (probably to run the actual OS). But my actual hard drive?

Not there.

And note this was within 5 to 10 minutes of shutting my journal where I handed control to the divine.

I started crying. I started laughing. I messaged my mom and she was glad I was laughing.

I have been WORRIED about my computer going down for a long time. It’s actually why I made sure that I at least had all my most important files backed up to cloud storage.

Thanks to my worry, I didn’t lose anything. My last back-up was at 7 AM, making it 45 minutes before my computer actually went down. Everything I was working on at the time is in the Cloud.

I decided to look at this loss in a positive light: I was stuck using my 10 year old MacBook Pro to write and I know that every time I used it, it made me feel like I was a writer. I thought maybe that’s what I would be doing.

So, I set up my 2010 MacBook Pro and got to work! It didn’t take too long before I became frustrated though: I couldn’t use all my programs and services the way I normally did. I had no music except for what I had downloaded from iTunes itself (which is a lot, but nothing I wanted to listen to for the story I was going to focus on). It didn’t help either that the computer did not have much space either. I decided though I could deal with it – just let me load on my music, set up my workflow the best I could, and I would be OFF!

Trying to get my music onto the computer was difficult. I ran out of space super fast. The whole time I was attempting to set it up, I felt resistance within me from doing anything.

I realized I was taking control back, so I just was like “let me do this and I’ll hand over control again”.

I finally had everything all set up. I was all ready to go. I had my laptop set up, a second monitor (reused from the call center job; I bought it and it was going to go to waste otherwise). All my music was loaded. I had my programs all set up and I was READY. TO. WRITE!

Right before I began, I did a prayer handing over control to the divine.

After that, I started writing and recording my time and…

…………….

……………………..

…it crashed.

And made this really obnoxious BEEEEEEEEEEPing sound when I tried to start it up.

I knew if it was to be fixed, I would have to open it up and do something to it (I guess it’s called reseeding?) and I wasn’t doing that.

I laughed and I cried, dumbfounded that twice, handing control over to the divine, resulted in the loss of my computers.

I contacted my mom who wanted to SO DESPERATELY help me out, but she had her own things to pay for and could not afford to purchase me a new computer of any sort. Well, she could have probably done a cheap one, but as she kept hearing, it’s not the season to compromise.

To me, the message was pretty dang clear: I needed to rest. What else was there to do?

At first it was hard to figure out what to do, but it soon flowed: I started working through the book, Remembering the Kanji, getting back to Japanese. I have made flashcards for it too – a task I literally didn’t think I would do, but it has been way easier than I anticipated. I powered through a few light novels, including two from start to finish. I turned my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island from 3-star to a 5-star island (which looks BEAUTIFUL). I finished Link’s Awakening on the Nintendo Switch. I played Bayonetta 2 and powered through it. I also played Atelier Lydie & Suelle, which I’m still playing (goodness, Atelier is addicting).

I’m actually shocked at everything I did without my computer.

My husband was super pleased to see me playing my Switch so much.

Playing my Switch so much also made the JoyCon Drift SO much worse. But…ah well.

I think too my husband and I played more Kingdom Hearts for our collaboration channel. We finished Birth By Sleep, a bunch of cutscenes for two games, and are currently working through Dream Drop Distance.

My mom asked me two or three times for what I wanted for a computer and for me to send her what I wanted. She wasn’t sure if she could get it, but she just wanted to see. The third or so time she asked me, I felt like…yeah, I’m going to send it to her.

I kept getting to get a laptop and hold off on the desktop for now. My mom told me she had been getting the same exact thing.

I sent off the specs for the laptop, as well as my desktop (more with the intention of laying out my future plans, not the ones from right now).

I was expecting if my mom was getting it, it would be towards the end of the month.

I was pretty dang surprised when I heard that my mom received an OK via Divine Will to get the laptop. It was going to arrive around the time I was hoping it would, which was the end of the month.

I was excited enough, but then I saw on the tracking it was coming even EARLIER than the end of the month! It was coming the week of Christmas!!! It was going to arrive on December 21st!!! December 21st!! Aaaaand…nothing.

Then December 22nd.

Nothing.

December 23rd.

Nothing.

I was SO disappointed. And frustrated. Like, you could give me an estimated time, YOU KNOW. That would have been fine with me.

My mom was frustrated too so she called the courier. They didn’t have much information either.

Despite all the delays, it finally came on December 26th. My brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro.

I set it up – which included having to take a trip over to Best Buy because apparently Apple changed all the ports to USB-C ports and now my USB 3.0 back-up hard drive doesn’t plug in without an adapter – and…well, after testing out the Sidecar (i.e. turning my iPad Pro into a second screen), I just kind of let it sit, only periodically going on. It just wasn’t time to get back to writing yet.

Then I ended up with a headache that lasted for a few days and during like…I don’t know, the second or third day, I felt like I could get back to writing.

I started writing another story.

The day after, I returned to plotting out my stories to make my writing time a lot smoother and have been working through those ever since.

For Christmas, I cooked food for myself and my husband. We ended up not doing gifts this year to conserve money, considering I don’t have any income at the moment.

For New Years Eve, we recorded two episodes of a let’s play and…yeah, that’s pretty much it. Nothing fancy this year.

2020 into 2021

2020 wasn’t defined by the Pandemic for me, but rather all the transformations that were going on internally with me. Parts of me felt like they were walking confidently in a straight line both through empty walkways and through chaos. Other parts felt like they were clawing their way up out of a pit, absolutely determined to make it. The very end of it has left me feeling as if I am speeding up to something great and I can’t miss a beat, lest I trip and fall off the platforms.

I’ve been slowly coming to this for the past few years, but I realized how privileged I am. Both my parents are alive and well enough with their health, both are working and didn’t lose their jobs in the pandemic, they both have supported me in different ways and have given me the time and space to work through and with myself, allowing me to come into my own person in my own time. I have space that I have been able to make my own. I can ask for expensive pieces of equipment (because I know they are worth the price) and receive it. I have a functioning body. I have people who understand where I am coming from who I can bounce off of. I am incredible fortunate and both thankful and grateful.

As I said earlier in the post, I found realizing my privileges (and the list can go on and on) was very empowering. It also, at the same time, makes my heart sink to know that there are people who don’t have the same privileges as me for any number of reasons. I am always asking myself what will I be able to do once I get myself situated? How can I extend opportunities given to me to others who might not have it otherwise? Money is a nice start, but I think there is even more. Whatever it may be, I’m excited for the future.

I’ve been writing this for hours now, it’s already 7:33 AM (I think I started at around 1:45 AM) on January 1st, 2021. I don’t know how 2020 will feel once I sleep and wake up: will it linger for me, drop me off without saying good-bye, or something else entirely?

Even if 2020 tries to hold onto me for longer, that’s okay. I’m still transitioning into the new anyway.

I’m heading into 2021 knowing I need to do two things:

1.) WRITE

2.) Take care of myself

That’s it.

I literally don’t know what else 2021 has yet. I don’t even have a clue what I would even like to do for the whole year. (Besides write, take care of myself, and continue with Remembering the Kanji.)

Whatever it may be, I’m here for it.

I think.

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