The year that has been 2020

Wow guys...Where to start am I right??

   No kidding, everyone has a 2020 nightmare story, EVERYYYYYONE!

I was silly enough to think I was going to get through the year though, unscathed in any major way. I was among the group of people who felt like "This isn't even my worst year". I was doing well at work, the family was fine, all healthy. I should have known things were going to change soon, and they did. Welcome to my 2020 folks...

   As a family we suffered the same trials many have with school ending, my child is very social and to keep them locked away from friends has been very hard on their mental state. Being cooped up works on my mental health too, so I was very understanding and started to work with them on keeping busy. That was all fine for the first few months, then real depression set in. We still fight it. Lucky for me depression is something we have covered a good bit in the home so, while it has been difficult to live with, the children do understand why they feel the way they do most days and work actively to pull out of depressive periods.

    As if troubles with school and your kids fighting something as detrimental as depression isn't enough, we got the pleasure of adding financial instability to the list as well. Many American families are "One paycheck away". You've likely heard this before and it's very true, just one missed paycheck can throw off the balance of a home. It started with my boyfriends hours being cut down. I know, I know- "at least he kept his job", yes, he did, but it was a constant concern of ours and most of his "extra/live on" money came from his overtime. Trying to hold good spirits in the face of adversity, we accepted that we were in good company with the rest of the working class, and would just have to keep things a bit tighter. I mean, it's a national issue, not just a personal one after all. We were just starting to handle things pretty well, had reached a stride with our bills and food money, and the next turn came.

   That amazing job you guys have been watching me at for the last 3 years, had to lay me off. They had been experiencing a lot of hardships themselves as a company during the pandemic shut down and just could not afford me any longer. I was terrified. I was hurt, upset, angry, mostly though, I felt like a failure. Even though the lay off was no fault of my own I still felt like I had disappointed my family.  I made a call to a friend in the industry as I pulled out of the parking lot of the club for the last time. I knew what I'd be told, it was the same thing I had been telling callers for a month, "We can't hire right now due to the pandemic." and he did, though, right there at the end of that he said, "I'm going to look and see what we can do, I'll call you back." I let the hope of that sentence hit me for just a moment before I dismissed it. No jobs available. I cried again, not for me, for my kids. my dogs, my home. All I could think was that we were already tight, losing a full income was going to devastate us. I sat in my car, trying to dry my eyes before I went into my house to face my daughter. Lucky for me, I have the best kids in the world. I was hugged and told "it'll be ok" Exactly the optimism I needed, with a fake smile I wished with everything I could join her in that optimism.

I wish I could say I talked to my family and was inspired and given hope, but it didn't happen that way. My boyfriend and I both just sat in silence, he told me "We will figure it out, no matter what we will be ok", and I wanted to believe him, but I saw 2020 playing out so harshly for so many people, why would I deserve for it to "All work out"?  I ended my night with a very long period of meditation, or prayer if you wish. I sat in the water of my bathtub and just asked God to calm my heart. I asked him to guide me, and told him I had no request, just his will. I didn't magically start feeling better- just so we avoid the BS clich├ęs. I was so numb, to be honest. I LOVED my job. I didn't really know what to feel or what to do.  

So I didn't.

   Please, do not follow this path if you can help it, I couldn't help it. The thing with trauma, triggers and healing is, while you may do really well 99.999% of the time and think you've got it beat- when it wins- it wins big. It won, and I fell into bed and didn't want to leave it for days, weeks.  I had told myself I'd do something positive with the time, but as the days past I dug myself deeper and deeper into those blankets. I wasn't practicing any "coping methods", I wasn't talking to my family or friends. I'm reminded of Alice, "I give very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.." Yea, that's kind of how I look back on that time now. 

   We had missed a month of income, his hours were still decreased, and I never did see any assistance, no matter how many forms I filled out.  I was losing hope filling out applications. Then the phone rang, and that friend I called at the beginning of this story had come through. It wasn't an offer for the best job in the world for my skills, but he promised once I was in that we would look at expanding the position to better fit my skill level. I'm happy to say that I am now employed again, and he kept his word. That doesn't mean we are out of the hole that losing that much income put us in, but we are much closer to "Back to normal".

   Unfortunately we also lost my boyfriends grandfather as well sometime in-between all of these job issues, and not long after that I get a call that my grandmother has cancer, and she will be coming down for her "Final visit'. I hate that word, final. I hated that members of the family used it in front of her. I hated watching her cry as she left her daughter and grandchildren for what she knew was likely the last time she'd see them. I can't imagine doing that with my children. She looked good. I remember telling myself that over and over as she left. "She looked good, she will make it a bit longer." Hopefully long enough for me to get to South Carolina one more time to visit. 

   This list isn't even all of it, but somethings I will keep to myself out of respect for the others involved, I will say one or two more events that occurred definitely left me in my car crying out to the universe, begging it to "Just STOP, because I can't take any more hits,"

 to  "just pleaseee stop!".  I know my story of 2020 isn't nearly as bad as some I've heard, and these issues didn't even include the regular COVID issues and fears we all have faced. This was what I call "The short list". I know reality is hard for everyone right now, my best friend lives in Minnesota. She has been on the front lines, been blocked off and trapped amidst protest that got intense; her city burned and she even had her home hit with a stray bullet while she was out one day (Thank the Gods, because I'd be lost with out her). Her story is just as soul trying, if not more. I guess I just hope that sharing this may make someone feel less alone, and give them hope that there is a light at the end of the 2020 tunnel-I promise.

 Today is a good day, a month ago, I didn't know if I'd see it. I'm so thankful I can. I now have a good job again, that I love even more than the old one, and I have to say that I am proud of the people, friends, who have reached out and gotten help to cope with all of this through the many 

Walk Unbroken platforms. It makes me proud to be a part of something that gives back and can make people feel like they have hope. 

So if 2020 is giving it to you hard- hold on tight. You are going to come out of this, stronger, and wiser.

P.s- In the meantime, if you need a place to vent it all-feel free to dump it into my email- Judgement free zone.

Love you all, Stay fearless, & don't quit your daydream!

Stephanie Marie