What Books Did You Read in 2020?

What Books Did You Read in 2020?

“… we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask me. I never opened my mouth and you never opened yours. We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together. We’re close. We’re having a meeting of the minds. We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy.”

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

What is a book, but a snowflake frozen for all eternity? It’s a unique imprint of a memory, a dream, words that run together to form a story. Unlike the untenable ether of dreams, a book can be picked up at any time of the day or night, and suddenly you’re there, standing inside the writer’s mind, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling. It’s magic. The best kind, because it is so willingly given and so generously shared, with so little being asked in return. 

If the year that’s gone by has given you nothing but more time to yourself, a book would’ve been one of the surest ways to stay sane. Here, I list all my reads of 2020. As always, my choice of reading material doesn’t follow rhyme or reason, although I do think I read a lot more memoirs this time around. When one’s life becomes rote, reading about other lives just seems that much more interesting!  The following may hopefully give you ideas for what to read next. About 95% were all read and available from Overdrive, through the generous auspices of the Toronto Public Library.

I also list my top five unforgettable books of the year. To get to them, scroll down to the standouts section, and feel free to share your own in the comments below.

Memoirs, Memories and Me
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
The Most Beautiful – Mayte Garcia
Full Service – Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg
The Outsider – Jimmy Connors
Home / Home Work – Julie Andrews
Inside Out – Demi Moore
Me – Elton John
Permanent Record – Edward Snowden
Open Book – Jessica Simpson
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale – Jenna Jameson

Baby It’s Real (So, So Real)
Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi
Catch and Kill – Ronan Farrow
Bachelor Nation – Amy Kaufman
Uncanny Valley – Anna Weiner
No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram – Sarah Frier

Books for Grown-Ups and Shit
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Normal People – Sally Rooney
The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
Less – Andrew Sean Greer
Bring Up the Bodies / The Mirror and the Light  – Hilary Mantel

Royal Pains and Other Reimaginings
The Last Empress / Becoming Madame Mao – Anchee Min
Daughters of the Winter Queen – Nancy Goldstone
The Queen’s Secret – Karen Harper
The Other Windsor Girl – Georgie Blalock
The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

Myths and Monsters
The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker
The Children of Jocasta – Natalie Haynes
The Dragon Waiting – John M. Ford
The Library of Legends – Janie Chang

Gone Girls and Gone Boys
The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey
Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay
Woman on the Edge – Samantha M. Bailey
The Butterfly Girl – Rene Denfield
The Marsh King’s Daughter – Karen Dionne
The Missing Millionaire – Katie Daubs

Atbp.
The Collected Stories of Jessica Zafra – Jessica Zafra
All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews
Tidelands – Philippa Gregory
Gods of Jade and Shadow – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Dune – Frank Herbert
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

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The 2020 Standouts

The Child Finder – Rene Denfield
Starts off slow and a little predictable.  One can sense the twist from far away, but by the end all the tragic threads have been pulled together so tightly, it sings like a tightly corseted nightingale.  Read this if you want something in the tradition of The Lovely Bones and Room.

The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin
Ugh I hate her so much. Chloe Benjamin writes so bloody well it makes me want to claw my eyes out. The Immortalists tackles the bonds between siblings, and their ways of coping with the loss of each other, which got me right in the feels. Read this if you love your siblings.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
I don’t obsessively follow best of, or must-read book lists; part of the fun is finding books that turn out to be amazing reads without giving in to the hype So when. Pachinko came out, to great fanfare in 2017, it sailed completely over my head. Mr. King’s analogy of writing as telepathy is wonderfully apt – you can pick up a good book and a good story at any particular time, and it will still speak to you. Pachinko is a multi-generational story of stoic strength in the face of exile and discrimination in a land that refuses to acknowledge the humanity of those they deem foreign-born. Clean, straightforward and neat of prose, Pachinko  still manages to hit you in the solar plexus with a devastatingly effective one-two punch. What a read.

Starlight Tour: The Last Lonely Night of Neil Stonechild – Susanne Reber and Robert Renaud
Structured more like a screenplay than a novel, this is bound to get optioned if it hasn’t been already.  Starlight Tour is a chilling, heartbreaking account of the abuses indigenous people of Canada endure. Compelling, bleak, an indictment of callousness and police brutality, it is a reminder that the mistreatment of a proud people – whose original claim to this land has been cruelly shoved into the recesses of Canadian memory – perpetuates to this day.  A must read, though the inclusion of a number of graphic police photos are not for the faint of heart. 

The Once and Future King – T.H. White
How have I passed on this for so long? I really shouldn’t have.  Guinevere is a lying, cheating harlot, Lancelot is a whiny little bitch, Mordred is truly the scum of the earth and a kingly, world-weary Arthur smiles benignly throughout the whole mess.  T.H. White’s re-imagining of the Arthurian legend has more than earned its place as a modern classic. I love this book and hate myself for only reading it now, but better late than never is my ninja way!

In Which I Look Up and a Year’s Gone By

You know what the year was like for me? A quickie. Barely any time to start, sputtering to a finish, then just lying there, gasping for breath. Yep, that sounds like 2020 to me.

I watched as we bragged about working from home, then complained about working from home, then broke out because working from home became too much. I watched as we made dalgona coffee and sourdough bread, watched as we succumbed to the acute mental illness that is Tik-Tok, watched as we started hawking homemade things, and watched as we blamed everyone from the highest echelons of government down to the barangay tanod for everything,

Toronto went from orange, to red, to orange, to red, to grey – and I couldn’t enjoy any of those zones at all, or even say they made a difference. After the virus struck and the city shut down, I lived the whole year as if I was in a round the clock grey zone. Dine-in restaurants? What are those? The number of times I actually ventured out to shop (groceries don’t count) can be counted on my fingertips. I didn’t enjoy having to wear a mask all the time, or having to shy away from people. I didn’t enjoy slathering on hand sanitizer every time I’d enter an establishment and every time I’d leave it (neither did my hands). I stopped seeing faces and bodies, and started seeing possibly virulent petri dishes with arms and legs. I don’t enjoy the paranoia that strikes at the sight of bare, flared nostrils over a face mask.

I was lucky to still have a job when everything else had either downsized or shut down, so I threw myself into work. What else was there? But all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy; I worked too much, so much so that I felt myself beginning to fray at the edges. In this case, all work and no play gave Jack burn-out. It also gave Jack the possible beginnings of carpal tunnel. At the risk of beating this metaphor into the dirt, I am Jack.

Taylor Swift released not one, but two albums this year. I did diddly squat. I was (am?) the embodiment of Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song. I’m gonna kick my feet up, then stare at the fan, turn the TV on, throw my hand in my pants… I barely wrote anything, not because I didn’t have time, but because there was nothing to inspire.

This time this year, I was supposed to have been back home in the Philippines, with my family. They may drive a body crazy, but at the end of the day, I like spending the holidays with them. I miss the traditions we have, the midnight dinners and the cornucopia of round fruits, that incessant Jose Mari Chan Christmas album. The smell of apples brings tears to my eyes, and so do oranges; the sight of a bag of Chippy can form a fist around my heart, squeezing hard enough to take the breath out of me. Don’t worry too much, though. Quite a lot of things can make me break down lately; this year I found myself crying during two separate Dr. Who finales and My Neighbor Totoro. I’m a mess. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s been a heavy year.

I am not someone who is able to be optimistic at all times. I am a realist, and I realize things are probably going to get worse before they get better. I also realize that I took my hometown for granted, so much so that I up and left it, like an idiot who didn’t know better. I miss home. I miss it more than I ever have since I’ve moved. Worse than the enforced lockdowns and the job burn-out, the sensation of having my wings clipped is the one I found hardest to bear. But such is 2020. This isn’t the new normal anymore. It’s just new. Or is it normal? Only 2021 will tell.

Happy New Year, everyone. More than ever, here’s to your good health – physical, mental, emotional and everything in between. And remember…

Big moneyyyy!

It’s My Party (and I’ll cry if I want to)

The day after 29

The last time I worked on my birthday, I was rescued by three of the loveliest girlfriends a girl could ask for. They showed up, whisked me off for aperitifs at Bo’s and peanut butter afters at Pan de Manila, talking till the sun came up. Yes, we were classy like that. It’s been a decade and a hell of a lot of life changes since that night, but it also feels like only yesterday; even if we don’t get to hang the way we used to, I will cherish them forever.

I like to think of myself as someone who has grit enough to face reality. This is apparently a lie and utter bullshit, because I have somehow turned into someone who runs away from her birthday by literally running away. But not this year. Not by the dictates of this, the year of our Lord, 2020, a hellscape designed to push everyone to very limits of sanity. Not with lockdowns, masks, nasal swabs, temp-checks, quarantine, self-isolation, all these brand spanking new ribbons of red tape strewn across the path of normal movement. So, in place of the usual, this year I have to work. Because of course. Of course. Why deviate from being a shitty year through and through? It’s November, we may as well see this whole thing through to December. And onward. Forever and ever, world without end, ad infinitum, amen.

I don’t normally do this.

Blog on a weekday.

Dig up memories mid-week.

Spend my birthday at work.

It’s been a while. I’ve come to realize taking birthdays off has not only spoiled me rotten, but has also been medication of sorts. It keeps me on an even keel, like my very own annual Rumspringa. So this year, since I have no idea what to do with myself, maybe it’s a good thing I’m working. At least I’m doing something. A very depressing something, but it’s something, which is better than nothing at all. What’s the alternative? Boxed wine and take-out? Crying in the shower?

Still, it’s by no means the worst birthday I’ve ever had. No, the worst birthday I ever had was when I ended up eating torta for three days straight because my mother had bought too much and no one showed up to the party. What a bunch of dicks. LOL. I don’t remember why no one showed up; had I saved the invite till the very the last minute? I think I may have. Did I do it on purpose so I could have all the torta to myself? Who knows? I was eight. The whole thing is a blur. All I remember is the torta. So good. All that sugar. In hindsight, I regret nothing.

Damnit, now I want torta.

The Best Values are Addams Family Values

The Best Values are Addams Family Values

Today being October the 31st, I rewatched Addams Family Values because I wanted to do a Debbie Jellinsky appreciation post. I ended up appreciating the whole movie instead. I couldn’t help it. I loved it then, and I love it now, and really, how could you not?

They know what they like (and say it) –

They know what they don’t like (and say it).

They face disappointment (like a dead, fully baked stripper in a cake) –

And move on with grace and humour.

They never lose sight of who they are –

And revel in it;

They sympathize…

… but not excessively,

and they’re honest.

Maybe a little too honest.

We could do worse than emulate the Addams Family and their values. Addams Family Values is a theatrical gem of the highest caliber. It’s also a searing treatise on societal norms, but that’s a post for another day. Happy Halloween, trick-or-treaters!

Rolling on the River

Rolling on the River

I spent the summer cooped up, trapped by a scorching summer that seemed to make it its goal to burn people alive, and a virus that wants to enter you every which way it can, like some horrible tentacle porn monster.  I had already moved all the way up north to escape the heat, so having a summer that felt just about as bad as it can and does get in the Philippines was a new and frustrating one for me. Fall couldn’t come fast enough.

Fall is my favourite time of the year. The trees are aflame, the weather is mild and the sun is gentle. I didn’t have any specific place in mind, but I knew I needed to escape. Somewhere I was near  water,  could bury my face in a book, watch the leaves turn, have grilled meat,  and avoid people. I found all that in spades in Bobcaygeon.

Bobcaygeon is the hub of the Kawarthas, about two and a half hours away from the GTA. It could be the timing of our visit, but it was refreshingly deserted; I assume it hums a lot more in the summer, when folk escape the city for the gleaming lakes and rivers Ontario is so blessed with.

I loved it up there. Le Hubs says he saw mostly older folks, and that’s okay with me. My zest for partying and clubbing has kind  of petered out, anyway.  I think I’m mentally psyching myself up for bingo halls and cribbage and whatever else it is that older people do for fun up in those parts. I’m kidding. I know what they do up in those parts. They fish. They fish a LOT. Everyone who’s anyone has a boat. And anyone who’s anyone who enjoys fishing knows that Bobcaygeon is the place to start.

I can’t say I fish, but I enjoy being by the water. It’s calming. Maybe there’s an intrinsic part of me, some basic building block that still remembers how good life was before deciding to crawl on dry land and adapt to oxygen. Maybe we all have it, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the nine months we spent swimming in amniotic soup. Whatever it is, when I’m feeling stressed I always feel the need to be around water.

It was only happy chance that led me to stumble upon Gordon’s River Bunkies. The selfish part of me doesn’t want to recommend it to anyone or even mention it, because I want it all for myself, but I don’t think it matters; whether or not I say anything about it, anyone else who’s been here is bound to share how beautiful the experience is. It’s just too pretty not to share.

How could anyone say no?

Picture a one-bedroom floating home on the Bobcaygeon River, close to the oldest lock on the Trent-Severn waterway. Moored on the marina, the river is right at your doorstep; slide the living room doors open, and it’s a hop, skip and a jump away.  Add an interior of pine and cedar, large windows that fill the little cabin with light, an electric fireplace for chilly nights, an upper bedroom with a roomy queen-size bed, one and a half bathrooms, a full-service kitchen with all the accoutrements, a small backyard with a grill, and you’ll get the river bunkie you never knew you wanted. It’s a fantastic engineering marvel, and I love it. It’s gorgeous.  I spent all my time watching the water, reading, and getting in a little bit of the French Open – because it came with a flatscreen and satellite television, for those who might miss the world beyond Bobcaygeon. (Doubtful, but it’s always better to be prepared.)

Grinning like a (very happy) maniac

It was everything I needed for a little bit of a breather, before heading back to the big bad city. I loved it so much, I actually felt like I could live there. Given the chance, I would (and Le Hubs agrees!). It feels like a nice retreat. And it’s perfect – not too many people, but still enough around for you not to feel like you’re on a deserted island.

I’ve never had a dream home before, but if you asked me now, I would tell you my dream home is  a cozy floating cabin on the banks of the Bobcaygeon River, the river rushing by, never still,  lights glimmering on it at night, like flickering candles. Oh Bobcaygeon. I miss it already!

Feat of Clay

Tennis is a solitary sport when you’re playing it. Watching it however, is a different story – whether you’re in the stadium or on your couch, there’s a feeling of camaraderie, of union when you see a packed stadium. Seeing players running around on Philippe Chatrier, a court made five times larger by the absence of people, throws a body slightly off-kilter. It’s weird. It’s lonely. There is no wall of sound. The communal gasps and cries of excitement and groans of exasperation are gone, replaced by the silent nods and occasional clapping of physios and coaches – the only ones allowed to watch – and masked ballboys and ballgirls, linesmen and the referee. It’s weird, and it’s sad, and it’s all my fault.

I jinxed Paris, because I broke my own rules.

I try never to tell anyone about my plans. At most I will be vague about it, because I believe aspirations can be ill-wished by a malevolent wind. You don’t have to tell me how batty that sounds, Le Hubs says it often enough. Still, I’m weirdly superstitious about some things, so I play my cards close to my chest, and only let on what I’m about when it’s all a fait accompli.

But early this year, I told Paulie I was going to France.

The words “I’ll be in Paris in May!” flew out of my wayward mouth. I couldn’t help myself, I was too excited. The airfare had been booked and paid for, Le Hubs had been suitably convinced it was a good idea to tag along with a tennis-mad, Rafael Nadal fangirl of a wife, and this was to be the year I would finally get to stalk see the Raging Bull on the terre battue of Roland Garros. Getting to meet with Paulie, who lives a stone’s throw away from Paris (Switzerland, but what’s one train ride) after a decade would’ve been the cherry on top.

So I blabbed about it. And the universe heard me.

The universe heard, the gates of hell opened, and in clopped the first donkey of the apocalypse, braying for all it was worth. Hello, Covid-19! I am an idiot.

And that was how I ended up in a Bobcaygeon river bunkie, watching the 2020 French Open on TSN.

Internet Sausage Links

They say yesterday’s news is today’s chip paper, but we live in a digital age where peen pictures never die. Chris Evans, who usually features his dog Dodger on his socials, inadvertently featured his todger instead, which explains the rapturous squealing you heard all day Saturday. Christmas come early! Yes, I peeked. Please, like you wouldn’t – Page Six

Speaking of wouldn’t, one thing I wouldn’t do is pay to watch the live-action version of Mulan, Disney’s latest attempt at a cash grab. Not because I’m political, but because I’ve given Disney so much of my income over the past decade, being asked for an extra $30 on top of my current Disney Plus membership for “Premium Access” was grating. I predicted it wasn’t going to end well, and it didn’t, but not for the reasons I thought. Not that I care how it came about, that combination of creative bankruptcy and soulless greed deserved its comeuppance, in whatever shape or form it took – Foreign Policy

While we’re on the topic of soulless greed, blowing up ancient Aboriginal cave sites that date back to the Ice Age is beyond reprehensible. Today’s businesspeople operate on forging ahead first and asking for forgiveness later, and that needs to stop. (Move fast and break things is a horrible mantra.) Unlike Disney with Mulan, the comeuppance is not nearly enough to pay for this disgusting display of horrible decision making, all in the name of profit – BBC

I get it and would never knock anyone’s barely legal hustle, but really, how badly do we need strip clubs to stay open these days? – CBC

Getting to travel is a privilege, but this is not the best time to do so. Countries are struggling to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, and international travel has been so dicey this year. We aren’t out of the woods just yet. It seems selfish to me to want to traipse all over the world right now. Not that it’s stopped some travel “influencers” from trying to hold on to their gigs. Reading about self-entitled jerks struggling to get out of sticky situations they’ve willingly put themselves in for clout is so satisfying – The Independent

Internet Sausage Links

It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these! Trolling for headlines used to be a lot more fun than it is these days, what with the news being constantly depressing, but I am slowly pulling myself out of the fug I’ve allowed myself to wallow in.

So. Apologies for the heaviness of the past couple posts, I don’t normally let the defeatist, depressive side of me out for all and sundry to gawk at. I have stuffed all that back into the airtight, multi-locked box that only I can crawl into whenever I’m feeling self-indulgent, or like a repressed fifties housewife. I’ll admit, it’s a tempting prospect whenever I see that sheer ridiculousness that goes down online, but sometimes, certain current events help when it comes to gaining perspective. If there’s anything that can help a body stay sane, no matter how hard things (like this year-from-hell) try to rock the boat, it’s finding perspective.

Like how you never really realize what feeling old truly means until you find out Aaron Carter fapped for money online, guaranteeing we will never see the words “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” the same way ever again. Someone save this child – Dlisted

Great news (for me, at least)! Fall temperatures are just around the corner, after a summer that felt like a series of never-ending heatwaves crashing into each other, which is encouraging (for me at least) – CTV

Not so great news (for one guy at least)! I’ve seen worse things happen to linespeople – based off of video evidence this didn’t seem all that egregious – but Novak Djokovich got defaulted out of the 2020 US Open for accidentally hitting a lineswoman in the throat with a tennis ball – BBC Sport

Speaking of egregious, presenting further proof (as if we needed more) that over-the-top gender reveal parties aren’t just ridiculous and stupid, they’re ridiculous, stupid and dangerous – ABC7

Speaking of ridiculous, stupid and dangerous, let’s add reckless and entitled to this thick adjective stew for people who do fucked up things – New York Post

Let’s close out this bit of perspective-finding with the perspective of one Mariah Carey, which is a pretty timely one for the group-think of our era: a tad delusional, a tad self-aggrandizing, fragile as a house of cards, but entertaining anyway – Vulture

Another Visit to the Whinery

I think I’m slowly going insane.

Oh, I joke about it.  But, what if? What if I’m actually nuts and I just don’t know it because… gasp…  I can’t hear the voices? (All I hear is tinnitus.)

Hey, at least I would be something. Not just an automaton going through the motions. I don’t even have drama.  Which is… good? 

It’s good. I know it’s good. You don’t know how good you’ve had it until it runs straight into a telephone pole and explodes, which is pretty much everyone says about 2020. It’s good. I’m just bored.

There. I said it. I am bored. I hate admitting it, because the adage is that only boring people get bored, which makes me, by extension, boring. Which is a horrible thing to be.  Not that I aspire to be an unstoppable whirlwind of constant activity, but slowly  a miasma of sameness has somehow settled onto everything like dust, the way soot from a firewood stove gets burned so indelibly into the bottom of a pan, no amount of scouring will ever  fully take it away.  My summer has consisted of grocery store runs and a road trip for ice cream in a heatwave so intense, I tried writing about it and stopped midway because I got dehydrated.  (We went to Picton, a picturesque little town in Prince Edward County, which has a lot going for it – wines, gourmet food, art, and the best ice cream you will ever find in the province. This is ice cream so good you will willingly suffer a two and a half hour drive both ways just to go and have it; this time around, suffer was the operative word.)

I’m just going to have to accept that I am not the right audience for road trips. I’ve only ever had three that will live on in memory: the first, a late October journey into the mountainous heart of Alberta with my friend Karen, right before she gave birth and I lost her forever to a precocious little girl; the second, a June trip to the tip of Tobermory and the crystal blue waters of the Georgian Bay; the last, a Holy Week escape to Bantayan Island as the token girl in an all-male training team. Everything else has been meh.

I can’t bear having yet another visit to the grocery store double for an escape, I just can’t. The constant heatwaves aren’t helping. Last week, I made a quick run to the neighbouring Filo store for victuals and broke out in a heat rash. I was barely out for more than fifteen minutes! It’s bad. It isn’t just the virus that’s kept me indoors, it’s our closest star, too.  The heatwaves have driven me indoors (and driven me mad) since July.  Sunlight, blech. What can I say, I was a naked mole rat in my past life.

It’s all this hideous ennui – which frustrates me, because how dare I succumb to something as innocuous as ennui? This is not my usual time for clawing at the walls. No, I save this build-up of quiet, semi-hysterical sort of swirling, inner insanity for the last days of winter, when I’m feeling trapped by all the enforced hibernation, but we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. We’ve left Kansas so far behind it’s barely a blip. The “new normal,” according to my friend Gail. They should just call it new. There’s nothing normal about it. 

 

In Which I Think I’ve Finally Had It

In Which I Think I’ve Finally Had It

The bestie is going to Rhode Island next week for a friend’s birthday trip. There’s a part of me that’s happy for him, for managing to carpe the diem despite living in a country that is burning down around his ears. And there’s a part of me that’s envious. I’m envious of his ability to throw caution to the wind. I’m envious because I can’t seem to.

I am angry with myself for being such a scaredy cat. It’s like I woke up one day, realized that a.) this virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, b.) it may not be all that easy to shake off for my demographic and c.) have hobbled myself ever since by restricting my movements mostly to work and home because I can’t seem to silence the inner voice that keeps screaming “I don’t wanna die! I don’t wanna die! I don’t wanna die!”

I’ve spent the night in a haunted jail. I’ve slept with a dinner knife under my pillow after booking a $25/night bed in what, in hindsight, was surely a borderline illegal hostel. I’ve taken numerous walks in the dead of night, under questionable lighting, from my place to the main road so I could catch a jeepney to work. I’ve travelled solo. So why can I not do this? Why am I so cowed? Why can’t I bring myself to take up the reins of my normal life and take the risk? 

I’m tired of doing my part. I’m tired of staying in. I’m tired of avoiding crowds, tired of avoiding people, tired of wearing a mask in public. I’m tired of hand sanitizers. I’m tired of keeping my distance.

I’m tired of following instructions.

I’m tired of this heat.

I’m tired of streaming shows. 

I’m tired of numbing my feelings with food. 

I’m tired of avoiding most of the news cycle. I’m exhausted. Every time I think we’ve done it – eating Tide Pods? Gender reveal parties? Humanity finally hits rock bottom! – the news comes on and I realize that noooo, we are not done. Not by a long shot. There are still new depths to plumb.  I’m tired of reading about selfish, uneducated assholes who believe Covid-19 is a hoax. I’m tired of protesters who think mandatory mask-wearing is detrimental to their health and an assault on their freedoms, tired of idiots who think “it’s over” and have illegal bonfire parties at the beach with crappy music, tired of people who walk around thinking “well, I already have it anyway, so I may as well be out.”

I’m tired of borders. I’m tired of feeling hemmed in. Tired of the 9-to-5. I’m tired of watching people act like it’s fine to carry on the way we used to, and I’m tired of being in survival mode all the time.

I’m tired of all the politics. I’m tired of sexism. Of racism. Of victimhood. I’m tired of clapbacks. I’m tired of cancel culture. I’m tired of illiteracy. I’m tired of stupidity. I’m tired of social media. I’m tired of YouTube drama. I’m tired of the incessant Twitter pile-ons on the cause du jour of the day. I’m tired of the desperation, of the incessant grabs for the spotlight, of all the stunting people think they need to put online to grab attention. To grab validation. I’m tired of the hate. I’m tired of Tik-Tok.

I’m tired. I’ve spent the last few months using work to distract myself from the apocalyptic hellscape that is 2020, and you know what? I think this is it. I’ve finally hit a wall. I’ve run out of gas. I’ve had it. I am going to have to get over myself and this ridiculous fear sometime. 

My grandmother walked to school in the middle of World War II, and would hide in ditches whenever planes flew overhead. Compared to that, this is nothing. Besides, I’m tired of being afraid. I’m definitely tired of complaining. I’m tired of being tired. I will find that fine line between bravery and foolhardiness, and I will walk it – I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I will.