A personal story chronicling the experience of a therapist, student and ARMY in the middle of a pandemic and responding to the year 2020 in the form of a diary entry for the last month of the year, looking at 2020 in from a retrospective lens.
“I remember.” This was the line that came to my mind as I listened to BTS’s “Life Goes On,” while writing my latest journal entry. December is special, it’s got my birthday and that of two other BTS members along with Christmas and New Year’s Eve — the holy trifecta of festivities. I’m used to celebrating it with full fanfare but not this time. And that didn’t sit well with me — it left me sleepless at night, thoughts racing through my mind as if I was a train running at full speed but unable to come to a stop. Being a psychology student, one of the first things I’d noticed in the BE album was how they’d expressed all their emotions into their music, channeling their fear, pain, hope, love, and nostalgia in the lyrics of the songs. They have a long standing tradition of using their art as their catharsis and I thought, “Why not try the same with my writing in order to make sense of this year?” I knew I had to help myself come to a gradual pause before I crashed and burnt, just another name on the memorial wall of victims that 2020 has claimed. I had to feel it, it was the only way I could move forward and into 2021. Something Jimin said in Break the Silence had touched a chord — he spoke of things lost and found in the past few years. I had to acknowledge my losses — I hadn’t met my best friend in over a year, I’d lost out on classes on campus, I could no longer do simple things I enjoyed like going out dancing with friends, riding the metro to university or hugging my loved ones tight. I shed my tears, scribbled in my journal till my palms hurt, said the fan chant out loud to stop panic attacks till I no longer felt alone and then I asked myself a million dollar question — As bad as this year had been, would I want to erase it from memory? No. Because there were some things that made 2020 worth it after all — I took my first clients as a therapist in training, I met a stranger over the internet in the lockdown who I now call my soulmate, I went to my first Pride march and most importantly, BTS did their first national television interview in my country and said they wanted to come here! Okay, maybe that wasn’t the most important part. As much as I love Bangtan, I think they’d agree that the most important thing was that I had survived. It wasn’t about the productivity but about how I had woken up every morning and found a way to persevere. And as a bonus — made memories that I would cherish for a lifetime, because “I remember 2020 — not only the losses but also the gains.”
— Nethra Menon
Psychologist, Writer, Moonchild. I live by Tae’s quote — I have a big heart full of love, please take it all. Find me at- @taytanlove on twitter. (India)
Illustration By: @minren10
Menon, N. (2021). I remember. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , (2). https://ther3journal.com/issue-2/i-remember
Menon, Nethra. “I Remember.” The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , no. 2, 2021, https://ther3journal.com/issue-2/i-remember.
I Remember by Nethra Menon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
© Nethra Menon 2021