One of Them Years

What a shitty year its been.

(By the way, I can now swear in my blog posts because Twitter said I could, so there!)

I bet you’re feeling pretty exhausted about this pandemic right about now, huh? Yeah, I’m right there with ya. I’ve felt really down the past two and half months, even though vaccines are starting to get injected into everyone’s arms.

It feels like everyone is pissed off about something these days, especially online. It was really started to get to me in February, so I took a break from social media just to distance myself from all the frustration and anger. While it helped to get away, as soon as I came back it just made me upset all over again — but I cannot avoid social media forever. Even though it can feel very toxic at times, it’s kinda necessary to help us stay connected to assist in filling our social needs while physically distanced.

But social media is also a reminder that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, that people are still flouting the rules put in place to keep us safe, and that a lot of us are still a ways away from getting that sweet, sweet shot in the arm.

The lack of normalcy in life right now is downright depressing, even for a homebody like yours truly. This past year, I feel like I wasn’t really living, just existing. There was no big vacation trip planned to look forward to, no Christmas concerts to prepare for, or a big turkey dinner with my extended family to attend.

Hell, the last time I got to hug my brother was December 25, 2019, just before we left his home after spending Christmas together with him and my sister-in-law. That thought alone makes me incredibly sad.

So why am I bringing this all up?

Because we need to be open and honest with each other about how the pandemic is affecting our mental health. We are pissed off about everything because we have hit our breaking point, and we need others to acknowledge it as well so we can help each other get through the final stretch.

People have told me that they appreciate how open and honest I am with my personal struggles (mostly on Facebook where I feel most comfortable sharing them), and they tell me how much it has helped them deal with their own struggles. I want start doing the same here and on Twitter. It makes me feel like I am doing some good in this world when something I have said or done makes others feel better about themselves.

Recently, Twitter has become more toxic than usual to the point where some accounts I follow have gone dark to avoid abusive users that just cannot leave them alone. I expressed how I wished there was something I could do, and I received the following suggestions:

  • unfollow, block, and mute the accounts that are contributing to the negativity
  • be the positivity that you want to see
  • don’t feed the trolls (always good advice)
  • look for cute or funny photos of Corgis (or, in my case, guinea pigs)
  • surround yourself with positive and supportive influences

And, when all else fails, I just crank up some music and tune everything else out for a while.

Currently, blasting Saint Cecilia by the Foo Fighters is working for me. But you do you.

— Jenn

Hello Again

I first picked up The Diary of Anne Frank while hanging out in the library of St. Francis Junior High School at lunch. It was the beginning of Grade 7 and I still had not found a group of friends to roam the halls with, so most of my lunch hours were spent watching a group of boys play Myst while huddled around the library’s lone computer. I’d watched them play the game so many times without making it to the end that I grew bored and started browsing the books on the shelves.

I heard about the diary before but never actively looked for it with the intent to read it, but it sounded a lot more interesting than listening to my Language Arts teacher read Beowulf to the class (what a snoozefest!) As I read the diary, I found myself relating to Anne — her relationship with her family, her aspirations, and her writing in general. The diary became a springboard for my interest in Anne Frank, the history surrounding World War II, and the stories of other Jewish people who lived through the Holocaust. It also ignited my love of reading biographies, journaling and, later on, blogging.

So, to make a long story short… I’m back.

You see, I have this pesky writing talent that mostly sits dormant save for a few lucky humourous tweets I’ve been able to churn out. And, after a lot of self-reflection (because what else is there to do during a pandemic?), I decided that I need to start using this talent and make some mark on the world. I’ve never aspired to write a book or use my talent to make me money, so blogging is the next best way to get my writing out to as many eyeballs as possible.

I’ve laid a few ground rules for myself so I will actually want to come back and write more blog posts for this space.

  1. I will not be writing about Lethbridge — Sure, it will pop up here and there because, well, I live here. But my posts will not be promoting the city. This blog is a personal blog about me — my life, my experiences, stories I want to share, etc.
  2. I will not be sticking to a schedule — I might write a blog post once a week, I might write three! I might not write a blog post for a whole month. It doesn’t matter. This is my show and I am the ring leader! Deal with it.
  3. I will not be sold! — I am not, nor will I ever be an influencer for anything. I have been approached in the past to write sponsored blog posts, but I was never comfortable with it and always declined. If approached, I will continue to decline because my comfort and my space are sacred.

If you are still reading this, I thank you. It was a big decision for me to come back to doing this, so these ground rules were important to me.

I hope you will continue reading my blog and, more importantly, enjoy doing so.

— Jenn