It's The End of The Year As We Know It - I Feel Not Too Bad, Actually.
by Candi Bartlett | December 16, 2020
In April of this never-ending year, Amanda Palmer posted a poem on Facebook. A month into the global pandemic, an artist I do not know but who continually produces material I adore, produced a poem about being productive. It never stopped bouncing around in my brain space.
I’ve been thinking about output, what I produce, and spent a lot of time this year feeling like I wasn’t doing a damn thing. At least, nothing worthwhile. It’s not just COVID-19 and staying at home that makes me, and it seems a lot of us, feel this way. Not being busy enough, not putting out enough, constant concern over being left behind or forgotten or simply left out is great for capitalism. Giving ourselves credit for what we leave behind each day usually isn’t at the top of any of the many to-do lists.
People are paying attention right now. Mostly because, I think, NOT paying attention has put us here. Ignoring the uncomfortable, living up to unrealistic societal expectations, being a human constantly in one constraint or another has made us ill, tired, and pissed the hell off. So, it seems, the humans look inward or at their neighbor, be it harshly or not, and we so desperately need it. To pay attention to every bit of ourselves, including the inside parts that can’t be imaged. The magic parts and the personality parts and all of the feelings. I want to be forever grateful to my body and my mind for what they allow me to do rather than finding so many ways to convince myself that nothing is enough.
We are more than enough. Who decided what enough is, anyway?
Early this year I published a short story that is my most favorite little universe (check it out – it’s fun city). The pandemic swept in and sort of covered it in sand, at least it did in my overworked thinker, and I had to remind myself I did something gigantic. Something that scared the pants off me. (Which turned out to be funny as staying home since March has led to way less pants in general.) Did I mean to release a sci-fi tale of existential doubt and human turmoil set against dark, cold space as the world fell into a vacuum of despair? Nope, but like, when is there not at least a little human-created vacuum action?
I cried one bajillion times in 2020. The world is terrifying, my family is far away so I can’t hug my mom, and 2020 has been enough to finally break some cracks in my health. Being at home all the time and being in my pain was and is hard. as. fuck. It created a cycle/pit situation that I am figuring out with love and help – some from myself. Shit, in 2020 I accomplished looking at myself and paying attention to my body in a way I hadn’t before. Big ass “woah” to that. I produced enough tears to wash away some of my fears.
I loved hard and missed hard. I let my bubble care for me and I hope I cared enough for my bubble. I lost my temper, lost touch with friends then found it again, and produced more video calls than ever before. I made art with my friends. I felt really, incredibly shitty. A lot. I tried to share happiness with the cosmos even when I was sad.
Knowing this, remembering all of the things that my body, brain, and spirit produced makes me feel better. It turns out, not all of the things were horrible this year. Even though looking back can be hard, it reminds me that I am made of beautiful universe ingredients. The kind of ingredients that took billions of years to produce things, so I should probably chill out. The universe isn’t expecting me to do anything any faster than I am. (The Man might be, but damn, damn The Man.)
We all did a ton of stuff this year. Think about the mornings with perfect coffee, the days you were fricking on it at work even though your hair was filthy, the night you hard cried with a friend on a face call. The good stuff, the scary stuff, the seemingly insignificant – that was all so very much. You. Are. Astounding.
Happy end of the year vibes to you, fellow human!
Be excellent to each other. Be excellent to yourself.