OH, you guys. Whew. It’s been a hot minute since I even logged in over here at RamblingRach.com. Here’s my 2020 recap. Well, a summary of the first quarter anyway. Stay tuned for the rest.
It was a rollercoaster of a year for me. And most of it had nothing to do with the pandemic.
Not-so-quick 2020 recap – Q1 (as my bestie boo would refer to it):
January 1, 2020: Left my hometown
I sold almost all of my belongings in December and gave notice I was leaving the rental home my girls and I had called home for the past year and a half. The girls, two dogs, one cat, and I headed to Tybee Island, Georgia on January 1. This meant leaving the county I’d lived in my entire life, but I was so ready. I swore I would never live there again.
I’d been to Tybee Island several times before and knew I loved it. I also knew I couldn’t afford to live there in the summer. I had a house secured for three months and was both nervous and excited to figure out where I’d go next.
The girls were only able to stay with me a week before going back to college. One had never been to Tybee and I loved showing her around, even though she complained about the cold the whole time.
Then I was on my own. Away from everything and everyone I knew. It was so much harder than I expected. And so much colder. It rained pretty much that whole first month and stayed around 40 degrees. It was dark and dreary outside – and my mood matched.
February 2020: Birthday extravaganza
Made the four-hour drive to bestie boo’s in Orlando at the beginning of the month to celebrate my birthday. There were several days of making great memories with people I adore. My friend Nicole joined us one night for a joint celebration with the four Ds: dinner, drinking, dancing and drag queens. Her birthday is a few days before mine and I love celebrating together. This was our second birthday at bestie boo’s.
I got to meet her friend Erin for the first time and I instantly had a new friend, too. We wore so many sequins. Bestie boo was finding loose blue sequins that fell off my pants all over his house for most of 2020.
A dear friend who bestie boo and I have known since middle school drove two hours to have brunch with us. Bestie boo took me to a cactus farm and got the first plant I’ve ever kept alive. (It’s a year old now and looks great!)
It was an amazing weekend.
I arrived at Bestie boo’s Friday afternoon. Here’s how I looked leaving when I finally crawled out of bed Monday afternoon after a weekend of celebrating. Tired, still in last night’s eye makeup, and crying because it was time to leave.
Going back to be alone in Georgia after being surrounded by people I adore for days was hard. I fell into a pit of loneliness and depression. I also woke up with an awful sore throat a few days after my birthday weekend. So I was lonely, depressed, and sick.
I was so sick still on Valentine’s Day (exactly one week after my birthday). Valentine’s Day the year before had been fabulous. I hung out with friends and then spent the night in a hotel with a man I’d known since I was 20 who was visiting from across the country. Quite different from being sick, cold, and alone on a literal island. One of the friends from the last Valentine’s Day was no longer in the picture, and the man definitely wasn’t in the picture in the way I wanted.
I’d been so excited about this move and having an adventure, but my time in the Tybee Island house was almost half up already and I had no idea what to do next and I wasn’t enjoying any of it. Because my mental health was so low, making myself work was almost impossible. As a freelance writer, that was a huge problem financially. And of course, the more I beat myself up about feeling bad and not working, the more difficult it was to work.
I had a complete emotional breakdown to a pal over Marco Polo and she convinced me to tell bestie boo. I hadn’t wanted him to know how much I was struggling. He was the one who pulled me out of the rubble in 2018 when I left the toxic relationship I’d been in from ages 20 to 40 just five weeks after my teenage daughter almost died by suicide. I knew he was proud of what I’d been through and how (with his help) I picked up the pieces. I didn’t want him to be disapointed in me.
But with the push from my friend, I told bestie boo how I’d been feeling. And he pushed me to take steps towards making a plan just like he’d done two years prior. And just like two years prior, it wasn’t easy or a quick fix, but taking action helped me take a tiny bit of my power back.
Another old friend (again, since middle school) came to visit me in Georgia at the end of February. I was mostly over my sickness, but still a little weak – I even had to get him to blow out a candle for me because I just didn’t have the breath.
While I was going through my divorce and trying to find solid footing, I posted often about my friends. Bestie boo and a little handful of others really got me through that year. I don’t know how I possibly would have been okay without them. I guess I would have been eventually, but they sure made it easier.
The friend that visited at the end of February was one of that group. Part of my bubble. What I didn’t share on social media or this blog – and what will be a post all of it’s own one day – is that when you’re falling apart and lean on people so heavily to keep yourself together, things can get really weird and relationships can get damaged. And that’s what happened with this friend.
We’d only seen each other briefly for a dinner once since things got really. freaking. weird. with us over a year before.
So we went from that to him visiting me in Georgia for a whole weekend. It was still freezing that weekend. It was also Tybee Island’s Mardi Gras celebration, so we drank hurricanes and watched the parade. We ate sushi. He got to meet Mermaid Jan, who was instrumental in me “discovering” Tybee Island years before. I showed him my favorite tree on the island. And we found a giant hippo sculpture.
Because sometimes things get weird, uncomfortable, and painful. But then time passes. And sometimes it goes back to okay again.
March 2020: And then a pandemic happened…
He actually returned with his girlfriend for a weekend at the beginning of March. We took long walks on the (still chilly) beach = one with the tide so low there were hundreds of live sand dollars visible, explored a cemetery, browsed art galleries, and binged Schitt’s Creek.
##tybeeisland ##georgia ##beachvibes ##shecandoit♬ If the World Was Ending (feat. Julia Michaels) – JP Saxe & Julia Michaels
I started feeling really sick again while they were visiting and started downing Dayquil/Nyquil.
A few days later the United States shut down because of COVID-19. Prior to this (and starting to feel sick again), I’d finally started exploring the island. I’d bought a used bicycle, joined the YMCA, taken a beach yoga class, found a favorite cafe, discovered the Goodwill Outlet in Savannah…
And then BOOM! I was sick again and quarantined alone on a (did I mention) literal island.
Well, I was alone for a few weeks anyway. Then my girls arrived because their college classes went online. I’d barely left the house in weeks because everything on the island was shut down and also because I was so sick walking from the couch to the refrigerator was cause for a nap. Getting a doctor’s appointment in a new state during a pandemic was basically impossible.
I convinced one of my girls to chop off my hair the day she arrived and then take photos of me in the backyard. No, she’d never cut hair before. I was so happy to see a human I knew! One of my humans! (Side note: I’ve gained nearly 30 pounds since this photo was taken in March. Oof. 2020.)
Oh, and I watched Tiger King somewhere in there.
Stay tuned for Q2 2020 recap. And Q3. And, of course, Q4, which I spent most of crying. Like I said, 2020 was a rollercoaster, yo.