Reflecting on 2020
2020 went by in the blink of an eye. I still can’t believe that I’m writing this just a few days away from the new year.
It’s easy to focus on the bad parts, and if indeed I could go back a year and tell myself one thing, it’d be to make as much good of a bad situation as possible. 2020 may not have been a year to travel, but it was the year for learning a new language, picking up a new instrument, or getting back in touch with old friends and family, all of which I wish I’d done more of.
I was sent to work from home quite early in the whole affair. We all assumed it was a temporary measure at the time, but I know that I will very likely never see that office again.
WFH was a mixed bag. Taking my commute out of the equation was a predictably nice feature, along with having to deal with less every day office bullshit, but staying motivated and focused in a small one bedroom in SF with questionable ergonomics continues to be a challenge.
The idea of working en femme was enticing at first, and I might have done it once or twice, but between a heavy meeting load and the idea being generally impractical, I stopped it pretty quickly. (Given how much I like pencil skirts, truly self-sacrifice for the greater good. ;)
(Writing continues below.)
A year for dressing
Despite the dream of home office girl not working out, it was still a great year for crossdressing. Throughout the year I took hundreds of photos, including some of my favorites ever (despite getting older and gnarlier all the time), and spent almost as many days off as a girl as I did as a guy. I started processing my own RAWs for the first time, which is a skill I’d been putting off learning going on a decade.
The photo shoots were great, but the wrench in the gears was having nothing to do. California shut down early and hard, and aside from a brief stint of outdoor dining, continues to be in permanent lockdown with no end in sight. Wearing dresses and heels is a lot less fun when there’s nowhere to go in them, and by the back half of the year I found myself expanding my leggings collection and wearing them almost exclusively.
I did a little more work in getting better at makeup, switching up some of my products and focusing on learning to contour halfway decently. More on what I’m using these days in girl kit.
Big on Insta
I got an Instagram account going this year. I never hit stratospheric follower numbers like some like-minded gals on there, but it was fun growing an account from ~0 followers to somewhere north of 7,500.
These days I still post occasionally, but in general became a little disillusioned with the experience. People are really nice on there in leaving likes and comments, but I didn’t find myself forming many strong bonds, and was a little disappointed by how difficult the platform makes it to foster any kind of regular community. The number of people who will click through from a photo to my profile and onto this website is only maybe one in a hundred compared to its viewers – people are generally happy just to scroll their feeds and hit the like button. The whole platform is maximally vapid by design.
And speaking of this website, it’s actually one of my proudest accomplishments of the year. I’ve owned freyyj.org for a few years, but for the longest time didn’t get around to putting anything up on it. This year, I finally build a working design, wrote almost two dozen articles, and even made some novel technical improvements to my backend blogging platform that I’m very happy with.
Traffic is not high, and I’m still having trouble competing against my own social media for ranking on Google, but I like to think that I have a few regular readers who enjoy the content. Even if not, I get enough satisfaction just working on the project to justify it.
(Writing continues below.)
Existential cold war
A disappointment for the year is not making any philosophical progress on crossdressing that could help my life. Every year a little bit more of the romance disappears, and I’m left with the stark reality that although I can look pretty cute from time to time, there isn’t much of a place in the world for people like me, and the hobby interferes with making progress in other important aspects of life. It also didn’t help that going out or seeing any other CDs for community support was practically impossible.
The most helpful thing I did in this area was to read Alice in Genderland, a rare detailed and honest account about a life spent crossdressing, and aspirational to boot. I also did a few Zoom calls with gals I’d otherwise lost touched with, which is something that probably wouldn’t have happened were this not 2020. Those were a good idea, although I wish I’d done more.
The biggest life change I wish I’d made was to leave San Francisco. I’ve been wanting to go elsewhere for a while, but I’ve stayed despite the incredible expense mostly because of a combination of inertia, it’s where my job was, and because the city is relatively CD friendly. The latter hasn’t change per se, but because California has now spent nine months in near-total lockdown with no end in sight, I don’t expect that there’s going to be much left in San Francisco to do after the smoke is cleared. Most of the old, CD-friendly venues are already gone, and the rest aren’t going to last much longer.
What I should have done was seize the opportunity after WFH started back around April to make a move to somewhere else, even if it was only going to be a transitionary move on the path to something more permanent. It was a rare opportunity in a working lifetime to be somewhere else for a while with no career repercussions – my salary wouldn’t even have been adjusted just as long as I committed to returning to the Bay Area within a year and a half.
There were a few other rays of light. I started a slow burn to learn Japanese in 2020, and now know somewhere north of 300 kanji and 600 words of vocabulary. It was also a pretty cool year for electronics, and I spent money that otherwise would have gone to traveling on a new iPhone, mirrorless camera, M1 MacBook, and most recently, a condenser mic. These are no replacement for intrinsic happiness that comes from friends, family, and contentment at work, but they’re pretty fun anyway.
I am really hoping that 2021 will be better, but I might get one more shot to do 2020 better. I’m personally afraid that despite promising news around vaccines, we’ll rationalize burning this coming year away like we did the last one, and my short-term goal is to do what I can to hedge against that possibility given that the macro machinery is well beyond my control. More on this soon as I write a goal-setting post in early in 2021.
I’ll leave you with one more photo of me on what was my last night out en femme on the city, way back in January (oh gods, that’s a year ago).
Hope you’re well.
December 27, 2020 (3 years ago) by