So 2020 has been a hell of a year. I would be lying if I said there weren’t as many “downs” as there were “ups” this time around, but a lot has happened and I’m starting to feel an urge to take things down, make a record going forward. I think most of these little blog posts are going to wind up more of a monthly-type deal. I like to envision a pattern going forward but I don’t always keep to my promises and I don’t want this to become a chore.

This will be what it will be, and I am learning to be okay with the fact that my life is not predictable and learning to enjoy that part of it.

And learning to stop putting so much pressure on myself, create a much more normal image of this unattainable “perfection” I keep trying to chase. This year taught me a lot about slowing down in many ways and about taking in the journey for everything it throws at me.

This year threw a lot at me and my partner and, some of it we are both struggling to regain our footing from.

January — This month, feels like… honestly a lifetime ago. It’s hard to imagine there were actual months this year that were pre-COVID for us. We were gearing up to launch a Kickstarter for the next volume of our comic series (Paint The Town Red), we were bright-eyed and bushy tailed for a year’s worth of new projects, we had five crowdfunding campaigns planned this year, can you imagine? Five! I was even going to the gym regularly with a personal promise to buff UP; a convention schedule lined up that was, admittedly, going to be a lot more lax this year; gearing up for (maybe) another tattoo; a trip…

February — We launch Paint The Town Red Volume 2 on Kickstarter, the campaign is a mess, frankly. Despite our preparations, the new goal, the steeper climb, we barely make it kicking and screaming across the thresh-hold to make our goal. I, honestly, don’t know how we managed it. We certainly wouldn’t have without the help of our friends pushing it with us and cheering us on. We stumble into victory and the reward is our first vacation in years.

March — First week we went on a cruise vacation, COVID was just becoming a household name, most were not sure what its cause and effects were, and it was just starting to become more wide-spread. We came home to a 14-day quarantine… that would honestly turn into social distancing which would last the rest of the year. We wound up moving out of our tiny 3 & 1/2 and into my parent’s house for the sake of sanity and the knowledge we were going to move into another apartment by June. We spend the rest of this month in limbo, playing games, learning how to live in a household with several other adults, adjust to schedules, laugh it off, have impassioned & panicked conversations about money and the future as infection and death tolls only get worse. We celebrate my partner’s birthday laughing about how we’ll have to have a celebration twice as big for her next year.

April — If we weren’t in lock-down by now (pretty sure most of March was locked-down for us) we certainly were now. Numbers spike higher, new cases are revealed, things on the COVID-front are reaching terrifying scales as the situation, honestly, really starts to hit. Most big events have cancelled or are about to cancel. We’re living with my parents still, I’m filming small videos of quiet scenes on our walks around the neighbourhood which has really nice natural scenery. The end of this month we start renovating the new apartment so that its ready to move into in June. We visit the old apartment to grab a few more things, feeling a bit bittersweet about the fact that we will be leaving it without living in it and making those last memories before we leave it behind. I take videos of the space as a keepsake even when most of it has been packed away already.

My partner gets some horrible news from home, not long after the news piles on higher. Its a very hard few weeks, months but we pick up our feet anyway and keep moving forward.

May — This is a madness month. We scramble to finish the final touches on the apartment, we move our stuff out of the hold place, family is generous and sweet and helps us move into the new place. I scramble to set up my accounting…. of which hasn’t been completed since the beginning of the year, I vow to never do this again, future me? Don’t let this slide, you suffered many tears and horrible math-calculations and it was genuinely Not Worth It.

June — We move in halfway through the month, officially, when our appliances arrive, we crash into a new routine and find that it’s hard to sleep in the eerie quiet of a new place when you got used to several months of living with four other people in a house with three cats… So we, maybe start looking into adopting our own…

July — We re-launch our business, the shop re-opens, we are slowly shifting back into a routine. We lose a lot of friends to an argument this month, lose more to situations outside our control. Its a tumultuous time but one good thing comes of it: I have an interview with Montreal Pride for August, it goes swimmingly well. The host asks me what I’m going to do when the interview is over and I make him laugh when I say we’re about to adopt two kittens.

We adopt twin boys we name Pepper & Ghost and … they are only 18 months. It’s… a hell of an adjustment to the new routine, these boys are a couple of handfuls… especially when they get more comfortable. Pepper is a menace and a pest and for several days … weeks… we lose … a lot of sleep. Ghost is quiet and shy and reserved, but slowly we gain both their trust and they adjust to a new routine we set for them.

August — Happy birthday to me, its been months and while COVID is still a threat the numbers have become reasonable during the summer months. Malls have re-opened but everywhere we go we are expected to wear masks for our protection and the protection of others around us (good). I’m in the process of fulfilling Myth Retold and getting Iphigenia ready to print. My partner is a sweetheart and offers to take the burden of illustrating them for me.

September — I get copies of Iphigenia, they are gorgeous, I put in Medusa for print, we fulfill Myth Retold (all but Atalanta), fulfillment goes up until October. Mom has to go back to work in schools, nothing feels really safe about this process, everyone is weary. We meet up with friends for a social distancing pick-nick where we get to see each other face to face after months of not seeing any of our friends. Its very welcome, we laugh a lot and talk and walk until the sun goes down. Its freezing that night, we walk home shivering our asses off but it’s absolutely worth it. We promise, if numbers provide, we will meet up in October–

October — Montreal becomes a red-zone, there’s no visits and no travel permitted between zones. We turn to voice chat with friends. As cases get worse we stop visiting my parents for a few weekends and keep up through social distancing as they finalize touches on my sister’s apartment in the basement. Our shop gains traction, Myth Retold books sell like hotcakes as a few Greek Mythology-themed games, shows, etc drop all at once?? We make a last-minute decision to launch an Underworld-Themed Greek Mythology pin Kickstarter.

November — This Kickstarter hits new records for us. We are floored and stunned and shocked and nearly in tears. My partner gets paid for a big contract, we are the most financially stable we have been since we started our business heading into the holiday season. (For future’s sake… this is also the same month Destiel became canon in Supernatural before being sent to super hell the same week Trump was voted out of office so…. November was a wild ride this year). I tried NaNoWriMo but, understandably got extremely distracted. My sister moves in officially and we help her do so.

December — Everyone spends the holidays in isolation, because my sister lives in the same building we spend our Christmas with her, via drinking games to Kingdom Hearts on the 24th to brunch on the 25th and a final Turkey dinner delivered by my lovely family <3

I type this after kissing my partner at midnight for the new year and Pepper sleeps at the end of the bed soundly. And I’m feeling maybe a tinge more optimistic for the brand new year.

Cheers everyone <3

WJ

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