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I’m Disappointed, and That’s OK

I’m Disappointed, and That’s OK
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Can I be real for a minute? Totally honest? Maybe even a little bit of a downer?

I’m disappointed.

2020 was supposed to be my year. I had all sorts of plans — tattoos and writing retreats and parties, because you only graduate with a master’s degree and turn 25 once. I put my time in and was ready to enjoy the fruits of my labor, gallivanting around the Twin Cities like it was my birthright.

Then COVID-19 happened, and everything changed, the specifics of which I’m not going to recount. 2020 has been one hellish year, and is even starting to infect — ha ha — the holiday season.

It sucks. I’m disappointed in everything from my country’s response to the pandemic to all of the commercials that paint rampant consumerism as an antidote for trying times. I thought this would be over by now. I thought I’d be able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah and the hope of a new year with the people I love most in the world. I thought, I thought, I thought.

But I was wrong. And I’m mad that I was wrong. And I’m here to tell you that disappointment and frustration and anger and grief and impatience — whatever you’re feeling right now — are OK. Even relief is valid. Not everyone likes the obligations that come with the holidays. An excuse to spend Thanksgiving at home might be exactly what you need.

Again: It’s OK to be disappointed. I sure am. Our feelings are valid, but it’s our responsibility to keep ourselves from acting on them, especially right now.

We all have different views about COVID-19, from the efficacy of face masks to the possibility of a vaccine. But I think we can all agree that as we transition to winter in the Northern Hemisphere, looking to the holidays and beyond, our priority is health and happiness for as many people as possible. Right?

I was going to have a few friends over for a low-key version of Thanksgiving, complete with masks and social distancing. (By a few, I mean three or four. None of this dinner party nonsense.) I had visions of a candlelit table with wine and cranberries and placemats, I guess, because I’m an adult now. I saw it as a middle finger to the nightmare that was 2020, holding fast to the little moments that got me through this year.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen. Which sucks! I’m disappointed! But as much as I yearn for the tipsy renditions of “Hamilton” and stocking stuffers of yesteryear, I love my friends, my family, and yes, even myself so much more than a couple of hours spent laughing over mashed potatoes.

So I wait. I pout, because 2020 is the worst, and my disappointment is valid as hell. And I resign myself to holidays at home with my parents and our calico cats. It’s not as whimsical as wine and cranberries and friends visiting from Chicago, but it’s still the stuff of holidays: love and care and a return to that which grounds us.

Let’s be kind to ourselves this season, OK? Nothing about this is normal. We don’t need to pretend at good cheer. But we also need to be vigilant. We need to be the very best versions of ourselves, which includes doing everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us.

It won’t be this way forever. I’m disappointed, but I’m choosing to be thankful for all the holidays that are yet to come, with wine and cranberries and, yes, even place mats — I will still be an adult in November 2021.

***

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

Brianna (she/her) is a crip cyborg storyteller living in Minneapolis-St. Paul. She was diagnosed with SMA Type II at 9 months of age and lives with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions. By day, she works as an advocate, bridging disability and mental health awareness to empower people to live their best lives; by night, she dabbles in imagination, and is in the process of making the book of her heart, “#WaningCrescent,” the best it can be. Find her online at www.briannahopealbers.com and on social media @briehalbers.
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Brianna (she/her) is a crip cyborg storyteller living in Minneapolis-St. Paul. She was diagnosed with SMA Type II at 9 months of age and lives with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions. By day, she works as an advocate, bridging disability and mental health awareness to empower people to live their best lives; by night, she dabbles in imagination, and is in the process of making the book of her heart, “#WaningCrescent,” the best it can be. Find her online at www.briannahopealbers.com and on social media @briehalbers.

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