A letter to 2020

Dear 2020,

I have seen a lot of hate towards you. And it’s just fair, you hurt people. You hurt the world as a place and the world as a community. You hurt the mental health of thousands of people. But more importantly, you took with you a lot souls. Kind souls. Fragile souls. Old souls. Too young souls. With them, you took the joy away, the gatherings, the excitement of meeting new people and see your friends. For this, I understand the hate. You were the year of misfortune and bad luck, but not for me.

This letter, dear 2020, is not going to be hateful. Because I am actually so thankful for everything. Of course, the sanitary situation sucks and put us all in a life-break for months. But it had been for me the opportunity to think about myself, about the person I was, the person I am the person I would like to be. I usually spent all of my time worrying about others, or about school, or about money, or work. But I never really took the time the worry about myself, about my mental health, my present, my future. And 2020, you gave me the opportunity to do so. The months I spent alone are the most empowering months I have ever been through.

From January to February, you taught me I can do everything to reach my goals. I got out there, in the world, and found an internship. It lasted for two months and was a horrible experience, but I survived through it, and in the end, everything I learned didn’t go to waste. I took the time to work seriously for something other than school and immersed myself in the working field I would like to spend my life in. For this, I don’t regret those two months, because they showed me I could do it, and be happy to.

Then March came, and the first lockdown. Everyone at home. Everyone alone. Students were isolated. I knew I couldn’t stand it and I am lucky enough that my parents told me to come back to the south. So here I was, in March, driving through France to go back to a place I still called home. I am not going to lie, March and April were hard. Because I and my fabulous team were supposed to be shooting a TV show, working on sets and with actors, and living our dream. Instead, we were scattered through the country, away from each other, away from our dream, away from this opportunity. Those were two months in which I felt like drowning, I couldn’t breathe. I cried a lot, didn’t get much sleep, and went back to dark places I had not seen since I had moved to Paris, two years before. March and April nearly killed me, but I am still here. And gosh, I am so proud and happy I survived, because what happened later in the year changed my life.

June, the month I came back to Paris. The month my life looked like it was getting normal again. It’s in June that I realized I now prefer to live on my own, not in my parents’ house. I prefer my independence. My schedule. My routine. June was the first time I figured how lucky and grateful I was to have my own place and some amazing friends. Because they were here. It lasted three weeks, but they were. And I will never forget how they kept me up then, how they opened my eyes to the wonders surrounding me and filling my life. June was short but full of school, friends, and good times.

Then, as I have been doing for the last 4 years, I went back to the south again, to go back to my parents’. But more importantly, to work. My work is hard, physical, and we don’t have a lot of breaks. July and August are usually months during which I don’t get to see a lot of people, I don’t have time to rest, to chill, to enjoy my breaks because of how tired I am. And even if it’s okay, because it’s only for two months, I always end up feeling miserable, drained out of life and feelings and energy. But this year, when I started, it felt different. I don’t know if it was because of the lonely situation you put us through, but people were nicer, more joyful, more open. I felt happy. Also this summer, for the first time, I realized how I could shape my body in a very healthy way, working out. And as August came, I felt a bit more comfortable.

And August? Dear 2020, thank you for August. Because in the middle of the exhaustion, of the mental pain, and this anxious feeling the virus gives us all, I was lucky enough to meet the person who turned you from a nice year, to maybe the best year of my life so far. Because this is the year I fell in love. And not only did I fall in love with an amazing and kind and sweet person, but also with someone who showed me I can go out there and try out stuff and be a little crazy about my ambitions. They say you can’t love someone until you love yourself. But dear 2020, you know I started loving myself the right moment I fell in love with him.

September. Busy, hard, and confusing September. I can’t tell you I didn’t live your last months happily, because I was happy. Our dream of shooting a TV show was back on track, I felt more confident, I started working out. My mental health has never been in a greater space. Because for the first time, I got the opportunity to think about me and the person people see when they look at me. It got me into a lot of questioning, regarding my image, and my way of being around people, my lack of confidence, etc. But I now got the key, and from October, I started using it.

I don’t have a lot to say about October, I am sorry. It was the shooting month, the month I realized how lucky I was to be in love with the most supportive person ever, the month I really started getting confident, the month I opened to my friends and family about my issues and mental health. October was a month of truth, a month of freedom. This is the month I realized how grateful I am for my life, and my health, and myself. Then November came, and the new lockdown.

Do not judge me 2020, for you are not perfect yourself, but I think I tend to fly every time I feel like I am going to end up alone. This time though, I didn’t. Because I had someone who had my back, to tell me I could do it, I am this strong person I show to people. November was a lazy month, an annoying one, frustrating even. But it didn’t stop me from keeping on working on myself. I lost weight and gained muscles, I started some habits that I love and discovered new things. I don’t have a lot to say about this month other than it was the threshold of something new.

Because when December came and I left again, there wasn’t any anger in my head anymore. I was happy and grateful, and truthful. I leave you, 2020, feeling more confident about myself than I have ever been. I leave you full of ambition and desires to see more, of the world, of myself. But I also leave you with some questions. Because if I now know who I am and who I want to be, I still don’t know where I belong. And this, 2020, is something I trust 2021 to teach me.

I don’t know why I felt the need to write this down. Maybe it is because I would like you all to focus on the good stuff and the things you are grateful for, instead of the bad stuff. Maybe it is because I wanted to sharing something happy about this year to you guys, to cheer you up. Maybe it was because I am proud of myself. This letter, as this year we’ve been through, is something I now leave behind. But I don’t forget. Please, my dear biscuits, take care of yourselves, think about yourselves first, and don’t forget that your mental health is important. Have a nice and beautiful year, in which I hope for all of you to fulfill your dreams and discover new stuff about yourselves.

Your dearest french bookworm, Estelle.

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