The 2021 (What a) Year In Review

“I can’t wait to see 2021 gone. Next year – “
“Don’t you say it!” I screamed. “Do not say anything about 2022! I don’t want to hear that it’s going to be better. I don’t want to hear to watch out because it’s twenty-twenty, too.” I made contemptuous air quotes to emphasize that I did not appreciate the pun at all. “I don’t want to hear want to hear one word about the new year! We’re just going to sit here quietly, and hope it doesn’t notice us.”

My coworker chuckled with the kind of laughter that wavered between genuine amusement and hysterical terror. Her smile became strained as she realized what a number of other people had already agreed:

2021 was much harder than 2020.

Pandemic aside – and I cannot believe that I’m brushing a frigging pandemic aside, but I am – 2021 was an intense tornado of events and emotions for not only myself, but for quite a few members of my framily*. I mentioned in the beginning of 2020 that I felt the weight of all the work I had to do. 2021 was the year I did it. That’s not to say that I didn’t work hard in 2020 because I did – if I hadn’t busted my ass for the latter half of 2020 I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did this year – but that was more part of my health journey, which is a post in itself. I touch on my health in this YIR of course, but this is more about the many things that happened around it because 2021 felt like it was three years.

January

I returned to school full-time which was terrifying. Up until this point, I had been taking one course at a time – sometimes none – because my health was so precarious. Also, the prior courses had been prerequisites, and though I still pushed myself to get A’s, I didn’t feel the need to distinguish myself. The courses this semester were in “my” field, so I didn’t want to just do well, I wanted to excel.

I updated my physical therapy to build muscle. Here again, this wasn’t something that I was doing new, but something that I was finally building on. I’d been doing physical therapy since July, but I started adding more resistance with tighter bands and weights in January.

About half of my hair, which was nearly as long as my waist, broke.

February

I made a few more adjustments to my physical therapy in February, but for the most part, this month was spent doing homework, and constantly looking in the mirror to figure out if I should just cut my remaining hair immediately, or wait until it grew a little more.

March

I got vaccinated against COVID. There were a lot of emotions attached to this, and sadly some of the darker things I’d been feeling, things that I thought I was finished feeling now that I was protected against dying from the virus, have become valid again. I never fully worked through them, and now I’m glad that I didn’t waste the time trying.

I cut my hair. The reason I had considered waiting was because I grow my hair out to donate it. I like to donate 12 inches because most kids request longer wigs, and chopping that much now meant that my hair would be shorter than I’d ever had it. I finally just did it. The chop might have been less traumatic if I’d tried to have it cut into some kind of style, but I was already feeling ugly and frankly did not give a f*** at that point.

April

There were some familial changes that I don’t want to examine in public, but they were pretty cataclysmic.

I started an autoimmune flare that would last about six weeks. Not only was it the longest flare I’ve ever experienced, it was the most painful because my kidneys became inflamed twice during it.

May

I finished my first full-time semester of school. It was the first time in twenty years.

My GPA became 4.00. Long story short, I’d been carrying 5 F’s in my GPA because I didn’t formally withdraw from classes over twenty years ago, when I was an 18 year old who was recovering from brain damage. I’ve achieved A’s in all my classes since then, but it was not reflected in my GPA. The school finally approved expunging the F’s from my transcript.

The company I work for moved the office for the first time. Renovations in the new office wouldn’t be finished until September, but the executives were dead-set against renting a few additional months at our current office, so they rented a temporary space in the new building.

My company hired another person to do the brunt of the work in my former position, and I began training in earnest to help/cover for my coworker in Finance.

I managed to sell off about 500 trade gallon-sized plants of my nursery stock. I’ve had to accept that even a small nursery is too much for me, so I had my first open sale since COVID, and thank God for my mother’s help because we sold that many in about five hours.

The flare continued…

June

I had another plant sale that moved about another hundred plants. (My plants really are bomb, and I do it without chemicals because I’m really a witch.)

The first Summer semester began. A fun note here is that I did not realize these were six-week accelerated courses.

I completed my 100th documented physical therapy session. I shared this on Twitter, and everyone was very sweet about it, but I had to delete the tweet. Ironically, it was because I was receiving compliments about my weight, and they were putting me in an unhealthy mental state. I’ll just leave it at that.

I got two bathing suits. Yes, this is big news for me.

July

My coworker went on vacation and I covered for her. I had been seriously sweating this for over a year, so much so that I put off re-piercing my bellybutton because I didn’t want to worry about soaking it while covering for her.

Summer classes session one ended making it the first time I had completed two semesters of school in a row.

Summer classes session two began.

August

I had a lot of support, but I chose this text because this person NEVER curses lol.

The mental crash that started in June picked up speed.

I was in limbo at work. After my coworker came back from vacation, no one could decide how much of whose work I should do. I really didn’t know what to do with myself.

COVID numbers began to rise. I’d spent months buried in schoolwork and learning someone else’s job, just waiting to get through to spend a day at the shore, and when I looked up, the Delta variant and the likelihood that immunocompromised people needed a third vaccine meant it wasn’t safe for me. I had a difficult time with this.

My healthcare provider said some pretty fucked up shit that I’m still processing.

Summer classes session two ended.

September

The Fall semester began. My advisor assured me that taking three English course wouldn’t be more than I could handle.

A company’s finances are somewhere in there.

My coworker gave her two week notice, it was a given that I would stop doing anything related to my former position, and pick up her work. I had been taught just the basics of her job to keep the office running while she was on vacation, and I now had less than two weeks to learn what she did as full-time employee, who had been there for years, and had a degree in Accounting. I was assured that I wasn’t expected to do that much.

My company’s office moved for the second time. Not only was the furniture not installed yet, but the move happened during the last three days my coworker had with the company. You know the expression “you don’t know what you don’t know”? Well, I didn’t know anything, and I didn’t know which box it was packed in either.

I randomly mentioned making ghosts out of chicken wire in a Twitter response, and it exploded. That goofy tweet is probably the only thing I’ll ever write that will achieve some measure of success, and I alternately laugh and cry when I think about the reality of that. There was enough interest that I created a TikTok account to show how I make them.

I got my COVID booster.

October/November/December

(I’m lumping these three months together because they were so hectic that I never had time to look up to see what week it was. October 1st was my coworker’s last day and the date that I had three papers due, and the next thing I knew it was Christmas Eve.)

The assurance of my advisor that three writing courses wasn’t more than I could handle was wrong.

Tell me you’re stressed without telling me you’re stressed. (My cardiologist is pissed.)

The assurance of my employer that my coworker’s job wasn’t more than I could handle was wrong.

I learned that somehow people who have actually conversed with me, still vastly overestimate my intelligence.

I somehow became responsible for the finances of a million dollar company when I don’t have my associates degree in anything much less Finance, have never done any accounting, and barely knew the financial software. That said I learned Quickbooks desktop, then I learned Quickbooks online. I learned how to process contractor payments, pay taxes, calculate IRA contributions, do international wire transfers, S corporation shareholder distributions (kind of), business expense, employee reimbursements, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m guessing I did correctly since the Feds haven’t smashed through the doors. Yet.

I completed a semester with three writing courses. Never again. At least not until I’m able to compose a two page essay without agonizing for hours over word I type.

I wrote a poem that my professor loved. She asked if she could forward it to the head of the Literature department because he is part of some publishing group in Boston, and she believes he would be interested in my work. So there’s a teeny-tiny possibility that I could get published, through my poetry of all things. I haven’t heard anything more though, so I’m still banking on that Tweet being the highlight of my literary career.

You can see how much of my hair broke now that it’s growing back.

For the first time ever, I made it through my first full year of school. Though it was Spring into Fall, I completed two regular full-time school semesters in a row. I’m sure that’s nothing for most people, but last year at this time I was terrified and looking for an excuse to not return to school again, and here I am on the other side. I still choke up when I actually think about that because I can’t believe I did it.

My hair has grown back about eight inches.

And that was 2021.

As much as I don’t like to admit it, there have been times in my life that I’ve given up. There were moments in 2021 when I felt like doing it again, and I’m so thankful for the loved ones I have who told me to keep going, and for God pushing me through when I didn’t have the strength to do it myself. I love you all so much.

I don’t really have many expectations for 2022. I meant it when I said that I’m not attaching anything to the coming year. For starters, I don’t think I could accomplish more than I did in 2021, and I’m still too tired from it all to try. But I know that I want to finish my first “normal” school year with a Fall and then a Spring. I want to write more poetry**. I want my hair to keep growing. I want to pitch somewhere to write an article how to help hair regrow quickly – I actually wrote those kinds of articles once. I want to sell the rest of my plants. I want to make my abdominal and glute muscles stronger to take more pressure off of my back. I want to go to the shore.

I think that’s a good start.

*Framily – The family you choose, and the ones who chose you
**This link might be dead because I’d unpublished the poetry I shared on here before, but if anyone wants to read them, I’ll retry to resurrect the posts.

Two Pricks in Three Weeks

I’m just thinking about if I was writing a post with that title ten years ago, the innuendos would have been off the chain. I’ve matured so much since then. I legitimately stopped to think before I decided to type out that I haven’t been on a date in nine years, but, as of tomorrow, I’ll have received two pricks in three weeks, and most likely by two different people. So color me precocious. *self high-five* Actually, I’m going to give myself one of those every time I see an opportunity for an innuendo, but don’t jump on it. *self high-five*

I’ll admit I’m nervous about my second COVID-19 vaccine. As I mentioned before, I did not react during my first immunotherapy session when I restarted treatment, but I now go into anaphylactic shock every time. My immune system is like me where you can attack us once, but that’s all you’ll get. Come over again to fuck around and you will find out. So I’m nervous that my immune system is currently preparing for a viral Battle of Helm’s Deep, and is going to let loose the moment it realizes we’ve been invaded by the COVID19 DNA again. *self high-five* It’d be one thing if my immune system was rambunctious attacking the “invader”, meaning a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and all of that misery, but for fuck’s sake does it have to start attacking my organs, too? Or even worse, take down the ship to kill the alien? I feel that my antibodies really did not think their plan through when… Nope, I can’t type it without making it sound dirty, so I’m just not gonna do it, but I’m giving myself a *self high-five* for restraint. *self high-five*

But speaking of thinking things through, I’ve already made a plan for if I do start to react. They have an EMT in the post-shot waiting area, so if I can just calmly walk over and tell them that my immune system is trying to kill me, then maybe nobody else will realize what’s happening. This is one of the huge things that’s upsetting me. Of course I don’t want to die, but I was just thinking that if I had a reaction and people saw it, then they would tell other people, and chances are that it would make at least one person refuse the vaccine. So I’d be responsible for not only that person, but whoever else they infected with COVID19 all because my immune system is haywire and had to put on a show. *self high-five*

I did consider that I might not be able to get to an EMT before I fell into a state where people would notice that I was having a medical emergency, even if I was calm. If it starts happening too fast I’ll have my EpiPen with me, and I can just jam it through my jeans (*self high-five*) into my thigh. (FYI – This is a completely acceptable administration of an EpiPen because in an emergency you can go right through someone’s clothes rather than wrestling them off.) Those shots hurt like hell though. But I’m pretty sure I can do it without screaming. *self high-five*

You’re probably reading this and wondering if I’m experiencing a lack of oxygen right now by the way I’m rambling. I’m doing this because there are so many emotions to process with getting this second shot. I’m nervous, and I’m happy, and I’m angry, and I’m excited, and I’m scared, and I’m relieved. *self high-five* Believe me, I have another post coming where I hash these feelings out, but I don’t have time to articulate it all right now. *self high-five* It’s almost midnight and I’m tired, but I’m too keyed up to go to sleep. *self high-five* What’s also a shame is that I’ve decided to not make this post public, so I’ve spent all of this time writing something that no one will read. Maybe I’ll password protect it, though that might be awkward. I can tell people who I’m uncomfortable reading this that it’s for my Patreon – which I don’t have, but think I should since everyone is selling themselves whether it’s through Patreon or FansOnly. What happened to just giving it out for free? *self high-five* I blame slut-shaming. There’s nothing wrong with writing like a slut, though I’ll be happy when I can be paid for my writing so that at least I can say that I write like a whore instead. (No *self high-five* here since I just laid (HA!) it out.)

EPILOGUE

I survived.

I decided to make this post public to celebrate (I’m starting to feel like hell which means my immune system is responding appropriately), and also because all of the stress I went through the last two weeks made me forget that I didn’t skirt around death for the millionth time to kill myself attempting to live up to people’s expectations – which somehow included mind-reading and anticipating people’s own mistakes so that I could correct them before they happened. This is the way I write. This is who I am. When I’m scared or upset I make jokes, and all of my jokes are either inappropriate, puns, or inappropriate puns, in that order. If someone wants to take my jokes too seriously then that is a joke. I’m laughing too hard at my own stupid nonsense to hear anything anyway.

finding yourself way too hilarious

Have a Social Distance Christmas

For no good reason at all I wrote this little ditty “Have a Social Distance Christmas”.


Much like my COVID19 holiday card suggestions, I’m trying to use humor to get me through this social distance Christmas. The phrase “social distance Christmas” lit up my brain so much that I ended up muttering it to the tune of Burl Ives’ “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”, and then I just couldn’t be stopped. I ended up bastardizing the entire song into a cautionary tale about staying away from your loved ones this Christmas, and am presenting it to you all. Yay for new Christmas carols!

(The radio plays “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” a bajillion times between November and New Year’s, but in case you’re not familiar, here is the song, including the original lyrics.)

Have a social distance Christmas
And did I say fuck this year?
2-0-2-0, boy did you blow
And you can kiss my rear

Have a social distance Christmas
And when you walk down the street
Say hello? Oh hell no
I don’t care there’s six feet

No, no, no mistletoe
Do you want to get COVID19?
How far does that swab go?
Oh just wait you’ll see

Have a social distance Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh by golly, you just better keep your distance
This year

(Have a social distance Christmas
A middle finger to this year…)

Have a social distance Christmas
Just stay off my street
Say hello? You’ll catch an elbow
No hands but you’ll get beat

Oh, no, you just gotta go
It’s your face I don’t wanna see
“Somebody waits for you”
Nope. They’re not seeing me

Have a social distance Christmas
And in case I wasn’t clear,
Oh by golly I just better not see your ass
This year!

Now that you’ve finished it, I’d just like to say I’m not sorry.

What to Write in a Holiday Card for this Shitty Year

I’ve mentioned in the past that I like a lot of weird, somewhat antiquated Christmas traditions, and one of them is exchanging Christmas cards. When I was a wee Kat my mother would take me to Hallmark where we would spend many hours poring through the racks to find the perfect holiday cards to buy for every single frigging member of my family. In turn I would receive a Christmas card from nearly every single frigging member of my family, so this was quite a production. This lunacy ended when I was about eight, and though I didn’t fully revive the tradition as an adult, I do enjoy getting a box of cards and giving them to everyone except every single frigging member of my immediate family because they got enough. Usually I just sign the card with something like “Hope you have a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year”, but I had no idea what to write in a holiday card for this shitty year. It sounds trite to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” when the impact of COVID19 means that Christmas this year won’t be as merry as it usually is, but I still felt like I had to write something more than just signing my name. Finally I decided to play to my strengths by writing wishes that were warped, weird, and in slightly bad taste. Thankfully my friends and family are cognizant of my bizarre sense of humor so they all went over well. And since this is the season of giving, I decided to share (most of) my wishes here for anyone else who is wondering what to say in their holiday cards this year. Off we go then.

“Merry Christ-mask!”

A good rule of thumb if you don’t know what to write in a holiday card – or any card for that matter – is that you can’t go wrong with a terrible pun. You’re probably thinking, But aren’t people suffering enough? The answer is no. You can never be suffering too much that you can’t be subjected to a horrible pun.

“A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let’s hope this one’s better, or else where’s the beer?”

I like this one because it not only references an iconic song, it also encourages swilling beer. I’m unable to do this myself anymore, but I’m still happy to advocate whenever possible.

“Hope that your visit from Santa Claus is a good one. Don’t worry, he can’t infect you. He’s been Santa-tized.”

I honestly just came up with this sentiment on Twitter today so I didn’t actually use this in a card, but I was so proud of it that I needed to share it here too. I don’t know how well this would work as something to write in your holiday card, but if you give it a go please let me know how it flew.

“This year was uglier than that Christmas sweater you wore.”

Now we’re entering the smartass arena. These wishes say ‘I know we’ve been taking a lot of knocks this year…so here is another’.

“Happy Holidays! Looking forward to next year when we can make plans to see each other again, and then take turns cancelling on each other.”

This wish comes with the gift of keeping it real. We both know we’re relieved when the other cancels. Let’s celebrate the fact that we care enough that we missed doing it this year.

Happy Holidays! I’m missing seeing you at an awkward family gathering this year!

My family is nothing but awkward gatherings. It’s as “Christmas” as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and just as psychologically damaging. And much like Rudolph we keep coming back for more for some sick reason. If you’ve got cousins you like to roll your eyes with as your aunts guzzle boxes of wine, this might be for you.

Well, we’ve both made it this far, so that’s good.

This one is for your fellow pessimist. They would actually prefer this holiday wish regardless of a pandemic.

Cheers to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Namely, the end of it.

This holiday wish is nice because it starts with a Christmas song quote, and then it flips so that it works for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s. It’s like saying “Happy Holidays” with a lot of extra words to sound clever. Oh and if you want to hear some horrible Hanukkah puns you can revisit this post here.

Happy Holidays! Fuck this year!

I mean, it’s what we’re all thinking.

So there you go, peeps! Nine completely sane and appropriate sentiments for your holiday cards this year. Inflict them on someone you love because no matter how awful they are, they at least won’t land them in the hospital.

Two Oh Two Whoah

What could be more fun than having precarious health and no sense of direction, other than having precarious health and no sense of direction in the middle of a pandemic. Oh, and living in the second most COVID-19 infected state in the most infected country in the world. Thankfully I’m at least in the part of New Jersey that is considered a suburb of Philly rather than in the north. (Actually I’m always thankful for that since, as anyone from New Jersey will tell you, the north and the south hate each other.) But yeah, it’s been one hell of a month.

I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half trying to think of how to make this a cohesive post and I can’t do it. The Depression Monster is bearing down on me and while that usually breeds better writing for me, that’s not the case today. Being one of the vulnerable members of society meant that I had to begin social distancing before most people even knew what that was, but then I managed to come down with a fever the Friday before last and that was a complete nightmare. The chances that I had contracted COVID-19 were slim but I still had to isolate as if I had it, and of course because of the country’s ridiculously limited resources, I wasn’t able to be tested to prove otherwise. The scary thing is that I was most likely experiencing a Lupus flare, and thank God that it didn’t become complicated, but it made me realize how fragile I am – a fact that I still do my best to ignore. That realization, along with the current state of things, has me in a funk. I don’t do well just sitting still. It’s a skill I’m trying to develop but I’m not good at it. However if there was every a time to embrace the art of being still this would be it. So much like the rest of the world I’m sitting, which is probably for the best since I don’t even know where I’m supposed to be going yet. I suppose none of us do.

Dribs & Drabs

  • As you can tell I am writing these entries without any regard to SEO, readability, or images because I would use all of those as an excuse to not write. This entry is shit but at least I wrote.
  • I again made it by the skin of my teeth by posting my monthly entry on the very last day. Hopefully the day will come again when I’ll write for inspiration rather than obligation.
  • Stay inside, everyone. If you do have to go out, wash your hands like you ate a bag of Cheetos and have to put your contacts in.