Let’s be honest, this has been a terrible year to be anything other than a Kiwi. For those of us with incompetent governments, it’s been a bizarre dystopian nightmare in which the world has regressed to a time before human rights, where Jacob Rees-Mogg fought a good-hearted footballer and a major charity about whether or not children should be allowed food, we haven’t hugged anyone in nearly a year, and we all have fucking chapped hands.
I haven’t written much this year because when life hasn’t been overtly shit, it’s been about as interesting as the Queen’s speech is to a five-year-old. If I had written any more blogs, I probably would have started detailing the day that I cleaned every single bottle in our shower to get on top of the mildew problem (okay, I’m sorry, I just had to get that humble brag out of the way).
I tend to hold off on positive annual reflection until the year is over, because while I am too super intelligent and amazing to be governed by something so silly as superstition, the last time I had a terrible year and said, ‘at least it can’t get any worse, Satan,’ my house burnt down on Boxing Day and a fire alarm flipped me into a three-hour panic attack on New Year’s Eve. However, I do think it’s now safe (touch wood) to say it’s possible to end this rotting puddle of bin juice we call 2020 on a relative high (no, really).
I recently had my last session of the year with my therapist. One thing we’ve been working on over the course of this year is what she calls my ‘dark box’ (in my brain, you filthy animal). I get stuck in the bad thoughts in my head and I can’t see what’s going on in the real world outside of my box, or what I can see is obscured and catastrophised until I believe that the reason my girlfriend yawned when I was talking to her was because she no longer loves me, and I should in fact just die already so no one has to deal with this egregious bore for a second longer. And not because she like, has a physically demanding job and yawning at 11pm is perfectly acceptable. It’s very toxic and unpleasant in that dark box, and frankly the other residents of it are all bastards.
This year has gifted lots of people with a dark box.
I think it’s important to remember here that the super villain mega-capitalists haven’t remotely taken a 2020 reprieve. They are constantly trying to wring the pride right out of us and throw us into dark boxes by forcing us to downplay our achievements, so we buy more things to make happy chemicals, rather than telling us that just getting through the days is more than enough right now (spoiler, it is).
In our last (Zoom) session, my therapist mimed handing me something and said, ‘My Christmas present to you is a clear box. Perspective, so you can see in and outside.’
To which I responded, ‘Perspex-tive?’
She did not laugh. I assume she did not get it, because obviously that was hilarious. Instead, she showed me a lame poster she’d seen on Facebook that said something like, ‘The person you were five years ago would be so proud of the person you are now.’
While I’d rather epilate my nasal hair than hang a poster like that in my house, it did make me think about my life in a broader Perspex-tive. I don’t like listing my achievements, because it makes me look and feel like an arse, but to help you fight capitalism and realise how far you’ve come if you’re feeling a little un-proud of yourself right now, I’ll just lightly vomit and do it. In the last five years, I have graduated with a first despite wanting to drop out several times, learnt how to loudly be a lesbian, lost my childhood home and learnt in the process that stuff is just stuff, travelled the world, made and maintained some very important friendships, lived in Canada, learnt that being alone isn’t necessarily worse than being dead, sort of learnt a bit of French, learnt to (sometimes) hold my own boundaries, managed nine months of long-distance, and survived 2020 while doing a masters in Zoomtopia. Which is quite a lot of things, actually. I can guarantee that if you look back on the last five years, your list will surprise you, too.
So, while I don’t condone using perspective to make yourself feel bad for feeling bad (you’re allowed to be low even though there are wars happening in other places), perhaps a little internal perspective is what we all need right now. You’ve already proven how strong you are. Stronger than a box, that’s for sure. Though it may not feel like it right now, you’ve come a long way. You’ve got this, friend.
p.s. Happy New Year!
p.p.s. Good riddance, 2020. You suck.