Dear 2019 Me: Who Were You?

Life Update Dec 30, 2020

I have received your sweet cards, gifts, and life updates for the end of the year. You know who you are that sent them. I think. As much as any of us know who we are?

Unfortunately, I am not an organized or energetic enough person to reciprocate. I have only a handful of addressed (but not filled in yet) postcards floating around my apartment. Postcards from a trip I took 5-ish years ago. Just all New Zealand sheep. They are visible in an attempt to get myself to do them, which has not worked. Yet?

Things are rough for everyone and I appreciate your thoughtfulness so much. I actually wrote this update for me... to deal with the sad discouragement demons rustling up a storm in my brain this week. I like to go back to old journal entries at different time points, so I went back to a year ago to see what was happening in my life then.

My meandering curiosity about my past self turned into a sort of before-and-after or pseudo year-in-review.

I hope everyone is thankful that I am posting a blog instead of editing some of the audio I like to record when I am upset to comfort myself. It has too much crying in it for public consumption. I'm kicking around the idea of releasing it anonymously though. Would I need to garble my own voice to avoid recognition? Might be beyond my current audio editing skills. It could also ruin the authenticity of all those sad feels.

Suffice it to say, 2020 has made me find creative ways to be my own friend.

Image of me, Cakelin, on the left in 2019 and right in 2020. I am a light skinned/white, femme, non-binary person with a septum, glasses and green eyes. In both pictures I am making a funny expression, pulling my mouth downwards and out. 2019 me has long bright green hair, red lip stick and thin tortoiseshell oval glasses. 2020 me has peach/pink chin length hair with orange lipstick, wearing gold and black geometric glasses in an aviator style.
Image of me, Cakelin, on the left in 2019 and right in 2020. I am a light skinned/white, femme, non-binary person with a septum, glasses and green eyes. In both pictures I am making a funny expression, pulling my mouth downwards and out. 2019 me has long bright green hair, red lip stick and thin tortoiseshell oval glasses. 2020 me has peach/pink chin length hair with orange lipstick, wearing gold and black geometric glasses in an aviator style. I am more wrinkly and less filtered in the 2020 photo.

A year ago at the end of 2019...

  • I had a review at work that didn't match my version of success, I clearly didn't share values with leadership.
  • I adopted a rescue puppy to be my next service dog.
  • Amy Gannon, an important leader who encouraged me and so many others becoming entrepreneurs, died in a helicopter accident with her daughter.
  • I had the first inkling of wanting to start a podcast with user interviews for my company.
  • I do circus arts - I was in acroyoga classes and had just signed up for German Wheel.
  • I ran a 4 mile Christmas Lights run with my running crew.
  • I accepted a role as a set painter for a feminist play, Let's Eat Mary.
  • I spent Christmas and NYE with my chosen family.

Now...

I also track each day I don't drink and I was 88% sober for A YEAR (currently 94%). This year, somehow.

I also went from reading 25 books in 2019.. to 46 in 2020. Partially from audio books due to so much time at the dog park. I check them out from the library via the Libby app. Partially because I'm tired and reading is something I can easily do in the best place on earth - BED.

Image of a tweet by molls @mollls : "i love being in bed. i don't understand how people don't get into bed and immediately feel happier. Sometimes I get into bed and that is my activity, just being in bed, because that's how happy it makes me. I just lay there and think about how I'm in my bed and I'm happy about it
Image of a tweet by molls @mollls : "i love being in bed. i don't understand how people don't get into bed and immediately feel happier. Sometimes I get into bed and that is my activity, just being in bed, because that's how happy it makes me. I just lay there and think about how I'm in my bed and I'm happy about it"

What's the same...

I'm tired a lot. My energy/health/abilities are unpredictable AF. Some days I'm in bed except for walking Pepper.

I feel a lot of guilt and like I am never doing enough. I'm rumination royalty at this point. Sometimes I wish my brain would just STFU and other times I wish the engine would turn overrr.

I'm rumination royalty at this point.

I'm still stuck frequently, where I'm either not sure how to move forward, what should be the next thing, or can't seem to make myself do the thing because.. ADHD?? ?

I'm still estranged from my parents/family. I'm still in therapy. I still do a lot of yoga. Journaling/writing regularly saves and solidifies my life. I still habit track.. possibly way too many things hahaha.


Managing chronic illness and executive dysfunction is lifelong. Sometimes I will be discouraged. I do my best to put my well being and my relationships before any external accomplishments. I try to value effort over outcomes, but that also sucks when you have no energy for effort. What do, what doooo.

Being immunocompromised, I'm physically alone almost all of the time. It sometimes makes me too self focused and I forget what my purpose is. I'm working on it, I know learning in public will help and I'm trying so hard to make it a habit.

Not sure I would have made it through this year without support from friends and my sister. Y'all are priceless. Snaps and video chats and calls and postcards and voice messages. And helping me find my missing bed screws after I moved so we could put my damn canopy bed together. 😂

That's why I'm willing to be alone, even for the holidays. So that as many people as possible can keep their loved ones. That sacrifice is worth it for me, but everyone has to figure out their own limits.

Please don't travel or mix households if you can avoid it. Please keep social distancing and wearing masks. Please get vaccinated when you get the chance.

Please hang in there.


[Image description for header image: screenshots of journal entries from December 2019 from the journal app I use Journey. They are slightly overlapping and disordered looking. The background of each screenshot is grey, with the date and time in orange and the entry text in white. Where the address would be for each screenshot, I added a text box that says "nope street". The topics in each entry range from silly (a purchase list with "onesie" on it or a list of potential dog names) to serious, like one that mentions pain reminds me of my mission.]

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Cakelin

I'm a scientist and writer for machines and humans. I am aiming to be Robinhood for people's data. Disabled, nonbinary, and queer.

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