Hello! I know what you’re thinking: Who are you and where have you been?? And I don’t blame you. I’ve posted a few times throughout the last year, but not much, and I’ve barely been present on social media. So let me try to answer the question of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. I’ll try to keep this brief and not get too TMI or personal or whatever.
So the short version is this: I’ve been struggling a lot this last year with my mental health, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. I know I’m not alone in this, but I feel incredibly embarrassed to be admitting this, and I’m not totally sure why except for the usual stigma that revolves around any discussion of mental health.
To put it simply, I feel like I let the ball drop on everything in my life once the pandemic hit:
*I stopped reading. The last book I read was on March 14, 2020, until recently when I read two books in one week – but I’ll get to that later.
*I stopped blogging on a regular basis. I only have 17 blog posts total from between March 1, 2020 and now (February 19, 2021) – including this one. That’s a staggering decrease from when I used to post 3-8 times a month in previous years.
*I basically stopped checking my blog email. I answered a few emails here and there, but I’ve still got review requests dating back to November 2020 that I haven’t answered.
*I stopped posting on Twitter – or even checking Twitter – almost entirely. I’ve slowly been trying to post more, but I’m not on there anywhere near as much as I used to be, and I know I missed a lot.
I feel like I’ve let a lot of people down – authors, publicists, blogger friends, everyone. I definitely receive fewer coverage requests now, and my social media posts don’t get nearly the interaction they used to. And I know that’s all on me for being so bad about everything. I sincerely apologize for letting everyone down, and I thank anyone who has stuck by me the last year.
So, what have I been doing the past year? Well, just trying to survive day-to-day has been difficult. My mental health has really tanked over the last year, and I struggle to find enjoyment in anything. I’ve been working consistently since the pandemic quarantine shut-down started in March; I’m a bookseller at B&N, so our store was closed for several months, but I continued working with a small team doing curbside orders, and helping with all the store changes that you may have noticed if you’ve been to your local B&N lately. Continuing to work during a pandemic was definitely stressful, but my coworkers are wonderful, and it kept me busy and kept my mind focused, if only a little bit.
I also developed some new interests during the last year. I’ve been obsessed with Mean Girls the Musical since 2018, and about a month before quarantine started, I had the incredible privilege of getting to see it live on Broadway. Since then, I’ve 100% become a theater nerd and I’m more obsessed with Broadway than I’m comfortable admitting. My latest obsession (truthfully, with the way my mental health has been lately, it’s probably a hyperfixation) has been Dear Evan Hansen, which has become one of my favorite shows. I consume any and all content (videos on youtube, pictures, cast performances, behind the scenes videos, fanfiction, fanart, etc) that I can get my hands on, and I do hope to be able to see the show live once Broadway re-opens. Dear Evan Hansen has definitely been the thing keeping me sane over the last year, and I’m incredibly grateful for all the friends I’ve made through the DEH community.
Another new thing? I’ve been absolutely obsessed with rom-coms lately! If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you know I’m a hardcore fantasy/paranormal/thriller/dystopian fan, and reading a contemporary or romance book was a rarity for me. Now I’m obsessed with them!! I’ve bought a ton of books recently and – miraculously – have started reading again! As I mentioned above, I recently read two books in one week – What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, and Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan, and I loved both so much. I’m going to be posting reviews for those soon! Though I’m 100% still into fantasy/paranormal/thriller/dystopian and have bought several books in those genres, I’m just really in the mood for rom-coms and contemporary reads right now. Whatever gets me reading, right?
Because, you see, my reading has suffered over the last few years – even before the pandemic hit – and I’ve been struggling to balance reading for blogging and reading for me. And I’m definitely going to be changing the way I blog going forward. I need to make it fun again, and I need to not be so hard on myself or push myself. I need to be more picky with what books I sign up to cover and what books I request from publicists. I need to not be afraid to say no to certain things, and I need to read what makes me happy. And those are all goals I have going forward. I’m not ready to give up blogging yet, but I definitely need to practice some self-care where blogging and reading is concerned. We’ll see how it goes!
The pandemic and quarantine and all these new interests also aided in my discovering new things about myself, and accepting things that I’ve been struggling with for years. I’m still not totally ready to talk about those things, but if you pay attention to the books I’m reading, you might be able to figure it out. And, one day, I might be ready to discuss it.
So… Wow. That was longer than I planned, and I’m sure I rambled a lot. But if you read that whole thing, thank you! if you’re here at all, thank you for sticking with me. I really hope to be more active in reading and blogging and on social media going forward. I can’t promise I’ll be perfect, but I’ve lost a year of my life to this pandemic and life is too short for that. I miss reading and blogging and being happy, and I hope to get back to the place I was in before the pandemic as soon as possible – Maybe even a better place than before the pandemic. I don’t know what the future holds, but all I can do is go day by day and do my best.
So, cheers to that!
How have you all been during this last year? Are you reading? blogging? Did you discover new interests? Share in the comments what you’ve been up to!
Welcome back to reading! The books missed you! ❤
Hi Meredith – It’s Kathy from the old BN Book Group. I randomly looked up your blog this week and was happy to catch up with you. What a year this has been for everyone! I spent much of it in PT for shoulder pain and ended up having surgery in November. And then had to start back with PT in January.
Still recovering from that and now having some wrist/hand issues. Since I spent 3 months in a very large and bulky sling and only having the use of one hand (my non-dominant one!), my reading has all been done on the Kindle app on my phone. I did way less reading as I recovered from surgery than I thought I would. Way less reading overall. It has just been hard to find books that I actually enjoy. I seem to have started a lot, but also abandoned a lot. Makes me feel very out of sorts! I’ve started listening to 2 reading podcasts – What Should I Read Next? and Currently Reading. And I’m on my 3rd go round of watching the entire 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix – which I had never watched before. I call them my pandemic friends. I see pretty much no one except my husband and dog and doctors and my physical therapist. I was very touched by your post and just wanted to reach out. You are by far not alone in dealing with the difficulties of the year. I have only seen my grandchildren a few times and now realize I have lost a whole year of their lives. I am looking forward to things getting better as more people are vaccinated. Take care!