Gaslighting & 2020: What did I accomplish? I got by.

Not everyone knows about gaslighting. Not everyone has experienced it. Even if you have… Even if you know the signs… Sometimes we don’t see it until it’s been happening for a while or after we get out of a situation or until someone points it out.

Did you know sometimes people gaslight unintentionally? It’s still not a good thing. But wait. There’s more. You can gaslight yourself too.

Here we have 2020, the gaslighting queen

I’ve seen it happen all year especially related to the pandemic and racism of Black people (and in the diabetes space) especially when it comes to Black Lives Matter (don’t forget to capitalize the “B” folks). in the last week, I’ve seen it happen at an increased scale. Even by people who have taken everything seriously this year.

Going back and celebrating the positive things in their stories or highlighting it in a post. Posting or asking about the great things that happened or what someone learned.

And the worst comment of all… “surviving 2020”. Which I find so inappropriate to everyone who has been lost due to COVID-19. It is so ableist too.

I’ve also seen the posts saying it’s okay if you didn’t “accomplish” anything. Sometimes completely on the negative end. But as we know with social media. As we know with the comments of “think positive” or “others have it worse” or “what did you learn” or my least favorite “everything happens for a reason”. We are usually only going to see the positive highlight reels.

And I see it screaming from the screen in front of my eyes.

We are gaslighting ourselves and others. People don’t like to post about their worst hits. And gosh 2020 was a worst hit built by worst hits.

I even find myself wanting to wear those rose colored glasses.

This isn’t good. We need to acknowledge at least to ourselves and our loved ones with both sides- the good and the bad. Otherwise the results can have even worse outcomes and can hit when you least expect it even years down the road.

We can’t stop acknowledging the structures and politics that got us here. Not just this year. Not just our lifetimes. But for years in the making. We cannot just bury the shit of 2020 and expect 2021 to be magically better. You cannot hide from the smell forever. It’ll infect everything around you, everything around us.

But we can still say thank god it’s over. It’s not a magic new start, but a new year can be a reset. Not a magical one though. One that takes work. Work is good though. Work helps build a solid foundation. Shortcuts don’t.

Honestly what did I accomplish this year? I got by.

It wasn’t always pretty. It was often messy and lonely and remembering that more often than not… people can suck. It was often filled with fear and stress and resentment.

I got by.

This is the first year since before 2017 I didn’t have some kind of job turmoil with being miserable at a job or being caught in the middle of politics or applying and jumping through hoops for unemployment. Which damn I can’t imagine doing that this year.

I might finally have the right medication for my PCOS and endometriosis with the depo shot (I started in January of 2020). I wish I could have seen the difference being on it had been without the pandemic always in the corner of my eyes. But I know my emotions would have been way way way worse and more “negative”. Feeling impossible to crawl out of.

Those are the “big” two highlights. My year was also filled with the anger that drives me to get stuff done when used correctly.

But honestly? Overall? I got by.

I barely had a month between taking care of my mom because she broke her hip and the pandemic starting.

Personally, 2019 was a mixed bag for me, but specifically and overall one of my worst years when it’s just related to me. However, 2020 still takes the fruit cake.

In 2020, I got by. I got by with tears and late night calls/text and not being okay on days or nights (or even both back to back). I got by with people in my life who took this seriously but felt burned and let down by the people who are not.

I got by. I got by with repeating some bad habits I thought weren’t even visible in the rear view mirror. I backtracked.

But recovery? But accomplishing goals and improving? Isn’t just a straight line.

I got by. And yes there were good and bad moments like middle and high school with the overall dark clouds following me around but at least I had my light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly… That’s what this pandemic felt like. I was holding my breath and trying to stat afloat. If I let it out? Would I drown? Which brought up a lot of memories. And things.. I didn’t realize I pushed way way down.

But at least. I got by. 2020 wasn’t good at all, a few good things happened, but 2020 sucked. Some of us process differently. And how/when varies on the situation for each of us. We might need to work through while it’s happening or afterwards.

Mostly I got by thanks to my cats and pottery and comfort binge shows I may have seen many many times before this.

I have a lot to unpack.

Not just myself, we all have a lot to unpack.

We can’t just shove the suitcase in the back of our closet or under our bed. We need to unpack it and put things away to work though them. Not to pretend to unpack and take those things and shove them away to turn into skeletons

I want us to celebrate what we might have done (if done safely during this pandemic). I want us to look forward to better times to self improvement and maybe a better tomorrow. However we aren’t out of the woods yet, and it’s going to take a long time.

But it’s not magic. It takes work. It’s never going to happen if we are gaslighting ourselves and others. I want us to work through it all. Or at least make sure we don’t bury it so that we can work on it we can. Because trust me I know. Sometimes we can’t deal with things in the moment or right after. For whatever reason.

And sadly, I am seeing gaslighting everywhere I look.

If we gaslight each other and ourselves about 2020, we won’t unpack. We won’t be able to do the work that might make 2021 at least a little better. It’ll fester. This also applies to not just 2020.

We had some good moments or things happen in 2020, but we also had a lot of bad ones- whether directly in our lives, in the world, or a combo. We need to keep both in mind. Celebrate and use the good as a light at the end of the tunnel. But make sure that we don’t belittle or try to run away from the bad.

We just cannot gaslight in 2020, please.

Gaslighting & 2020: What did I accomplish? I got by.

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We’ll both be glad you did! -Mindy

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