The last four-ish years have left me exhausted. It all stacked up. Being chronically ill, my four miscarriages, everything going wrong in the world. And 2020 itself has been a rough year for everyone. In the same ways. In different ways.
I haven’t got much (any) editing done lately. I meant to. I meant to have finished months ago. I meant to be querying by now. I meant to also be almost through a first draft of something new (currently stalled at about 50k words). I meant to draw more comics, write more stories for Silence Killed the Dinosaurs. I meant to have so much to talk about here.
It hasn’t worked out like that. The world doesn’t work out like that.
I haven’t even read many books this year. It’s nearly December and my current count for new-to-me books is a bit over 50. Which, I don’t know, maybe that sounds like a lot to you. It isn’t for me. It’s about half what I’ve read in previous years. I tend to get or at least approach 100 new reads. And I’m trying to be a Proper WriterTM, so it is important.
Over the last year, I had my fourth miscarriage in a row. A bushfire tore through my community. I bled so much I ended up in the ER and later had surgery (and I’m still not entirely sure why that happened. Probably to do with the miscarriages is anyone’s best guess). A pandemic began. My partner and I spent two weeks in quarantine. The state border between myself and my sister closed. The smoke from the fires set off my asthma and I couldn’t leave the house at all for a full month until my new preventor medication kicked in because every time I did the shock of the winter air made my lungs try to suffocate me.
When the pandemic started, I actually had a pretty good idea what it would be like for people. I became chronically ill in 2014, and for the first year and a half I was so sick I could barely leave the house. My whole life changed. I could still see close friends and family, at least, but I didn’t have much tolerance for it. I couldn’t handle more than a very occasional, short, quiet visit while propped up with pillows. I lost touch with so many people I’d always caught up with in groups because I simply couldn’t do those kinds of social gatherings anymore. I watched my life trickle away, wasted. It was lonely and frustrating.
That’s not exactly the same as a pandemic, especially because inside-time during a pandemic isn’t wasting your life—it’s saving people. I wish I could say something like that about my useless 2014/15. But, still, it was similar enough that I had an inkling of how lockdown would feel. So I bunkered down to draw light-hearted comics, hoping to save the smallest part of someone’s day. I didn’t know what else I could do.
But I’m tired.
I’ve become so used to bad news—in my personal life, in the world—that it’s hard to believe there’s any other kind out there. Hard to let it in when it happens.
It is happening, though.
I’m lucky to live in a place like Australia, where officials moved quickly and sensibly when the pandemic took off. Hardly anyone I know has had covid, and no one I know has died of it. My state had a little hiccup over the last couple of weeks and we went into lockdown … for three days before they realised the outbreak wasn’t as bad as they’d feared and let us out again. There are still extra restrictions in place and officials are watching the situation, but it’s starting to look like they managed to trace and contain all the cases in a matter of days. And Melbourne has been back on top of things for ages now.
There will be a vaccine. It may be a little way off, especially factoring in distribution. We may need boosters every year or so. But more and more candidates are finishing stage three trials successfully. Something is going to help. This won’t be forever.
The US yeeted Trump. (Well, maybe just a little bit about the US election, then). Honestly, I wasn’t sure it would happen. I’d completely given up on sensible decisions from people as a group. But his presidency is finally in its (very pathetic) death throws. We won’t see him on TV mocking people with disabilities or inciting violence against minority communities for much longer, at least not with any authority, and my friends in America should have a better shot at navigating the rest of the pandemic safely.
And maybe some other things are looking up too, although I can’t talk about it (I know, unfair of me).
I’m still tired.
I don’t really believe any of it yet, not deep down where it soaks into your bones and affects the way you think. But … maybe … things are going to heal. Not in a never-been-broken way, but at least in a better-than-it’s-been-lately way.
So I’m going to try not to be too hard on myself for collapsing. I’m just going to get up and get going again, between naps, at whatever snail speed suits my worn-out body and bruised psyche.
One morning I woke up happy. I was happy before I even opened my eyes. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way. Almost four years, I think.