It’s been a bad time.
No one had a good year in 2020, but I have to say I had a particularly bad one. My husband and I split in August, so I moved back to Texas to live with family. Because of the move, I got behind in my classes, and then my mental health was so bad I was never able to make it up. A variety of other traumatic things happened, including some medical procedures and the deaths of two grandparents. I ended up failing half my classes last semester, so graduation is pushed back yet again while I retake them.
I haven’t been reading for a while, because I haven’t had enough mental energy. Almost the only reading I was able to manage last year was a comfort-reread of three old favorite series (the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, and the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison).
I did finally pick up 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, which is a significant read. I read Blindness by Jose Saramago and Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe (his books have been really hit or miss for me, and this one was a miss). I also reread Wicked by Gregory Maguire, another old favorite which was still good, but probably isn’t a favorite anymore. And for class I had to read American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. That was it. I can officially guarantee that I’ve read fewer pages over the last two years than in any single previous year of my life.
But things are starting to get better. I’ve made a lot of emotional progress over the last few months, and I took a much lighter course load this semester. I’ve gotten organized right off the bat, which should help me avoid a lot of the problems I had last time. Most importantly, I don’t feel mentally stuck like I have for the past several months; I can actually comprehend what I’m reading and produce thoughts and put them on paper. I’m truly learning Japanese again, not just committing things to memory long enough to get through the assignments. I even blogged the other day, just wrote an entire post from start to finish based on something I read for school. It’s like my brain has been under a heavy, dense cloud that I’ve finally pushed away.
So I’m hoping to return to life this year. Reading, writing, opening my own bank accounts, and finishing this fucking degree. (At this moment I am too academically discouraged to even imagine myself in grad school, but that is technically still the plan.) The other day I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the demand of my niece, and the screenplay format was nice for making me feel like I’d made a ton of progress. I suspect I might even be able to read for fun alongside my reading for school, instead of having to cram it in between semesters. My brain feels like it’s working again, and though I’m terrified that it won’t last, I’m just going to let myself hope. Here’s to a year that might maybe be better than the last one.