Year-end reviews are something I struggle with, because retrieval is something I’ve always struggled with. I was better at screencapping for ‘later’, or texting myself things my journal app would remind me that I wrote on this day x years ago. Even as I relieved myself of many physical belongings this year, I carried around ghosts, hordes of them hundreds of gigabytes strong, thousands of what I can only call Files, that I am still negotiating in my present. It is less of a struggle every time.
I closed 2019 with a dozen days in a hut on a forest island. My host was bewildered that I didn’t approach him with advice on booking all-day excursions to fill up my days. “Isn’t this a vacation?” he asked me, because it looked like I was on my laptop, or that I never left the hut. What I was doing was time travelling, trying to figure out what to keep and let go, how to build something for what I think should stay so I can find them again. All my beloveds who have known me the longest will tell you that I have been struggling with some form of this organising for as long as they have known me. In 2019 I told myself: Never again will I allow myself to be this haunted and disparate. It sounds like a painful process, and honestly it is. But because it is also a fierce act of love for myself, in that clearing is a well of strange and exhilarating pleasure from continuously facing my ghosts. Before midnight I was weeping, and at midnight I was laughing on a quiet beach to the biggest bouquet of fireworks I had ever seen in my life. Everyone almost had to flee.
After days of assembling my personal year end review, and days of translating it to something you might find readable, this is my humble attempt to answer “how was your 2019?”— a timeline I drew out and a few snippets to accompany it.