Dear 2020,I had enough.

When 2020 started, I walked to the balcony and said my prayers, being thankful for all the changes the past year brought me. I cheered to the new decade, a new beginning in Austin, and hope to be able to fight something fierce for my dreams. A few days after, in January, we went to LA, loving every minute of it. But then, that was it, no more good times. At all. Dear 2020, I’ve had enough.

There are no words to explain the chaotic year this was.It feels dystopian. I don’t even know where to start explaining how this lockdown and avalanche of difficult situations messed with my mental health. Not to politicize my post, this is also an election year in America. Couldn’t get any worse than that. We don’t have peace of mind, as every single day is a fight to see who is going to save us as no one does anything besides fighting for their own causes.

The mainstream media, the lies, and the alluring of politicians making whatever we are going through about them. Twitter is a battleground, no way you can keep your sanity on that place. Facebook became a political platform, where everyone from your high school, who never let their county, thinks that Mr. Reality Show “you are fired” President, are working to make their life better. These people fight you like they are fighting for their lives. It’s yelling, accusing, bigotry, and information they find in their butt. I deleted both apps from my phone. I’m not a robot or a social experiment for a software engineer to play with mind and feelings.

If you didn’t watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, please do it. The Social Dilemma is a documentary about how Facebook and other social media, how that influence people’s minds, and in some cases, like my country Brazil, elected a President. That man just convinced the population with lives on Facebook, instead of participating in person debates, that he was capable to be the leader of the country. Spoiler alert, a Donkey would do a better job than he is doing. Add that to the fierce allies and followers of these people and you can’t even say your opinion out loud unless you agree with them. I rather keep it to myself and talk to people I know about what I think of this mess.

We are all in this together

At the beginning of locked down in March, we didn’t know how long that was going to last. We are in October and we still don’t know how long is going to last. I heard someone saying: “When are we are going to have our freedom back?” and someone answered, “when we take it back.” America is not a free country. Separations, clusters, rich versus poor the whole country is divided. I always wanted to move here, now I’m not even sure if I want to stay. How long can a person live in solitude, only communicating through devices, as ordering food, groceries buying books, etc.? We are all on a verge of losing it.

I need to be able to travel and see different places. I need to be able to make plans and dream about different possibilities. Everything is on a stop right now. I’m always expecting the news announcing another lockdown, I’m losing hope of something getting fixed and we go back to our daily routine. My routine now consists of: walk around the house, pack to move, call my family, walk to Target, walk around Target, and go back home. For the past 7 months. I also listen to podcasts and music, but I can’t concentrate to watch a movie in one sitting.

Rent is due, from 2016.

This lockdown affected everyone I know in a different way. If you didn’t make a big life decision during this time, you will at some point. I have friends crossing the country to start over in a different state, I have friends who got divorced. Friends that are considering leaving the country and me, moving to Colorado, without having a place to live.

Two weeks ago, I found out an apartment I lived in Georgia, between 2015 and 2016, put me on a National Credit System. I didn’t know until I applied for apartments to live in Colorado, because they check your residential status on a website called Onsite, for Rentbureau.com that I didn’t even know it existed. I don’t know how would that affect my livelihood, because I’m not even the primary renter, my husband is because he is the only one working.

2020neeee

It’s the weirdest situation I have ever been put on. My credit is great, and I’m just an adjacent to the primary renter, yet, we can’t rent a place to live. Even though we have been renting houses for the past 4 years. This week I lost my mind multiple times. How can you do that to people in the middle of the pandemic? We need a place to live, my husband has a job, we have the money to pay the deposit and the rent, yet, because of the stupid apartment complex we lived in during 2016 and because they lack providing security to us, we left. The place was sold and changed administration, but I can’t apply anywhere to live in Colorado. Forbidding people from renting should be illegal. Apartment complexes shouldn’t be allowed to do that, that’s sketchy, especially during the pandemic. People need to be better.

Although are fixing the situation, we are probably contacting a property lawyer to help us out soon. That itself debunked my mental health. I can’t focus on anything, I want to cry while packing, and if I knew that before, I would 100% have fixed it. I can’t even get excited about the move and I love moving, not the process of it, but getting to a new place to start fresh, it’s enlightening.

Mental Health is important.

There is an urgent need to refocus my energy. I have been trying to for the past 7 months, it’s not easy to remain calm and positive at this point. I wonder how many people are in the same situation, feeling like a complete loser without any direction in life. Hang in there, friends, like High school Musical says “we are all in this together!”. The only thing keeping me sane now is this blog and the dinners I get to work.

Be safe, stay healthy.

J.G.Snelly

Keeping up with the strangers.

My hands are dry of so much hand sanitizer. I feel like the pandemic hazy feeling finally got me, as lately I have been feeling apathetic and without energy. I’m a person who is moved by plans, short term plans, and simple ones, like saving money for a workshop, a small trip, or a bigger purchase. With the virus going around, all of my short plans were washed away and I constantly find myself in the cloud of uncertainty. The only thing that I’m sure is going to be there are the bills. Those are always certain. It doesn’t matter what happens to me, the rent and all the expenses will be required to be paid. No questions were asked. No one cares about you or how are you feeling. Capitalism for the win. 

During this almost six months, I found different ways to cope and try to stay sane. It’s very hard because you are washed with the news and the social media trolls, always worried about who is going to call you out next. There is no privacy anymore and cellphones are weapons. No one is saved and if a video is well-edited, it’s hard to know who is on the right, and people are quick to judge and find others to support their judgment without knowing what happened. Yes, phones sometimes are used for good causes, but most of the time people trying to show the “injustice” don’t get the whole story or don’t know what happened before. They just assumed based on what they saw and are quick to share. I rarely share a video of someone harassing or being harassed. It’s not up to me to judge, I was not there. 

This virus let most of the population walking around so vigilant on others, they forgot to look for themselves. They look to see what others are doing and worried about filming, the cellphone is always in their hands, like a weapon. Everyone wants instant fame, who knows maybe they will get checks or be praised for someone in the media. Remember that kid, who posted the bullying video and everyone started giving him shout outs, money for his education “count on me for whatever you need in life”. It turned out he was a small person, a 26 years old actor, who created all that to show how media works. No one fact check anything, they just embark on whatever they are being shown on the internet. Next thing you know, the actor is laughing at people’s naiveness for believing everything they see on the internet. Another post I remember was a mom who let her baby lay on the airport floor, while she was on her cellphone. People were quick to judge, and the poor lady, later on, explained she was just exhausted. The worst part is that she had to come through and explain herself. Which she should have never done it. Let the trolls burn. They will find something else soon. The Internet is a land of nobody and I think it should have some laws. Free speech is ok, free trolling for media purposes with a clear intention of damaging other people’s life its not. 

The Truman Show in your hands
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Remember that woman who was trying to put gasoline in her car, while she while parking her vehicle on the wrong side? People stayed inside of another car, while filming and laughing for a good minute, making jokes. Yes, it’s stupid, but you don’t have the right to make other people’s life your reality show and entertainment. Nobody has empathy this days, it’s all for the show.  Past few years a boom in filming baby gender reveals happened and with that the creativity. People who had just found out they were pregnant doing a blood exam to have a baby gender reveal after being pregnant for four weeks. It’s all for the show and the constant attention-seeking this chaotic situation we leave this time. 

I’m thankful for not having cellphones with cameras during my teenage years. The early 2000s was the golden era of my life. First of all, it would be an embarrassment to come back and watch it later on in life. I still cringe with Facebook Memories from six years ago, I can’t imagine watching dancing videos from when you were 14/15 years old. Ew, no thank you.I cannot imagine the amount of creeping on celebrities I would perform.The Backstreet Boys would definitely issue a restraining order on me. Stalking a foreigner boyfriend and seeing he moved on on Instagram? Hell no, it hurts just to think about it. I think that’s why most of my stories and scripts are based on an era before camera cellphones. It was easier to hideaway.

I can’t fathom cellphones in my hands in the early 2000’s

Life is meant to live and not be broadcast. Privacy is gold and people are losing track of what is real and who they are. It’s ok to showcase your work and your productivity and inspire others, but when you use this tool to promote shame, it’s time to let go.  While you are playing paparazzi, someone’s life is in jeopardy. Go there and ask if they need help instead of filming. 

When I started this post yesterday at the airport, I wanted to talk about the pandemic and the effects thats it has caused on me. I figured out then, that my writing is here to distract me and give me joy from whatever this crazy world throws at me. Writing is how I’m coping.

What kind of joy are you trying to have in your life during this difficult times? I cooked, I intended to clean, I bought unnecessary stuff online. I cried with uncertainty multiple times.

Be safe and stay healthy !

J.G. Snelly

Unclogging your brain

Too much going around you and you are not getting any writing done? You are not alone.

I haven’t been constant in this blog. I have the blank page in front of me but it takes me a while to sit down and write. I fill myself with doubt, so nothing I write looks good enough to be worth posted. I questioned myself too much. Is there anyone actually reads? Does what I write make sense? I guess that a problem with every writer I know. The lack of confidence.

Its an exercise, as much as I try, days like yesterday that I feel bumped out and nothing is going the way I think it’s supposed to be going. Again, the monsters in my head are my friends and the days they are agitated, its a party on my brain. I’m not depressed or have any dopamine issue, I feel most of it is the competitiveness that surrounds us. Its the feeling of you are “never enough”, you are always behind, “you should have done these years ago” or “why did I spend 14 years working with hotels, when all I wanted to do was work with my creativity?”

I’m learning how to give myself time. For as long as I can remember, people put time frames on how you should live your life and that affects us until this day. People saying mean things to each other, without actually knowing what happens behind close curtains. I used to ask my husband a lot “You are 32! How come you don’t have your own place??” as he was still living at his parent’s house when we started dating. It turned out he had different purposes, like saving money to go to Chiropractic School in Georgia, and the monsters in my brain were belittling his reasons. I still think about how bad I was.

Everyone has a reason and my reason for working in hospitality for so many years was that I thought that it was the only thing I knew how to do it. I thought it was ok, or got so used to work during holidays and weekends that I saw it as a normal day of the week. I also think that all these years prepared me for not to be so whiny about the long hours I will have to put on my own work, like the scripts and the short movies I’m planning for this year.

I figured that I’m always looking for something that makes my brain work at ease, as I have so many distractions and so many options for entertainment. In the past few weeks, I have been making a habit out of some activities to help me out and improve my concentration and good state of mind. That’s what is working:

  • Meditation:
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I understand that the app developers have to get the money they invest back, but I also think someone really rich and established in life could make a free meditation app. I tried the free version of Headspace and fully intend to pay the 12.99 a month. Or as I count – 2 Starbucks coffee.

It’s so helpful to sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and just let the brain to calm down. On the scene of “Eat, Pray and Love” where Elizabeth goes to a Hindu temple in India and her mentor tells her how important it is to unclog the brain. He says at that moment that your brain is like a pipe taking information back and forth, and you if don’t clean it or unclog it, you get stuck with those thoughts. That’s why I’m a huge enthusiast of taking a few minutes per day to center yourself. Out of the entire movie, that scene keeps playing on a loop in my mind. Unclog your brain!

  • Leave your phone alone

This is definitely the hardest part for me. I don’t like social media and all the attention it gets from me and from my day. Yet, I come back every other 5 minutes, like I’m addicted gambler back at the poker table. I learned from an article once saying that social media developers plans and study ways on how to make your brain addicted, just like the slot machines in the casinos. The red notifications are there for a reason, everything is to encourage you to keep coming back. What works for me is leaving the phone in a different room. I occasionally go back and check it, but less often and I get more writing done this way.

  • Go for a walk
Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay

I do this often, even when I don’t need to refresh my brain. I enjoy long walks to target, or at Target, in case you live in a city you can just use cars to move around. Walking around the neighborhood works well too. Sometimes I don’t even turn on my music, its just my ideas and the sounds. I used to walk a lot in Chicago, but the walks were usually five minutes around the block because the cold was unbearable. Please don’t get a frost bite. Today I’m going to a Valentines day scavenger Hunt at my complex to get prizes. There are days, most of the days, I don’t act my age. Its just fun.

PS: When this post was ready I have found two roses around the apartment complex.

  • Dance or listen to your favorite song
I do the same dance moves.

Don’t feel like dancing – Scissors Sisters is an instant mood boost for me. I forgot the song for years, and then the other day it played when I was really sad and unmotivated. I was send back to that time I listened to that song and wished for everything I have now. It works like an Anthem. Do you have one? I’m sure you do! Let me know in the comments, I might add it to my playlist.

  • Do something you love! -

I love drawing, but I’m horrible at it. I’m fully aware. I enjoy doing it knowing that its a hobby and something I’d like to learn, for someday maybe, a person will look at it and say it “oh! it looks great!” instead of “keep trying”. It brings me joy, to scribble or draw faces and scenarios, I usually have a story behind my drawings, because, I write and my brain fumes if I don’t.

Sunny Side Up by J. Snelly

For many years I was too tired to focus in what I liked doing it, only focusing on work and making the days go by. Existing, not living. For many years I was just a working body, serving food and drinks and making sure the silverware was polished before rolling it.

After two Therapy sessions, I was able to hear myself out loud, and putting myself first, was like being back in my body, taking a few minutes a day to draw and write, and have some joy, instead of hallucinating because I was not “successful” in life. I still battle against that stereotype of what is to be successful every once in while. I have to train the brain on how to be content, and stop the never ending chase.

J. Snelly