If you’re reading this I’d like to start by saying I'm so proud of you. Whether you have had a great year and accomplished a lot or, like me, you have had a tough year and been taking it a day at a time - you’ve made it this far and you should be proud of yourself.
As we close out the ninth month of this pandemic, the world as we knew it a year ago has changed forever. The losses we have all suffered due to this pandemic are incalculable - loved ones, businesses, jobs, hugs and in-person quality time with family and friends.
As if dealing with the pandemic wasn’t hard enough, during the first few months of lockdown, the world came to a standstill as we watched a white cop kneel on Goerge Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, killing him in broad daylight. A modern day lynching. As a community, we were already grieving the senseless murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Enough!
Thus the racial reckoning began.
Once again we were forced to remind people that Black Lives Matter. In what feels like the civil rights movement of our generation we saw marches take place in over 60 countries. On a personal level, dealing with the racial unrest has been the most grueling part of 2020. It’s been a lot and it continues to be a lot. The televised dehumanization of Black bodies was traumatizing.
Finding out that some people you know and respect struggle to understand the language of the unheard was devastating. The silence of friends, acquaintances and colleagues was cutting. White people coming to the extremely late realization that racism is a thing was frustrating and exhausting. And let’s not even get started on the reluctance to acknowledge white privilege.
And in a year when we have lost so many Black legends, there are no words to express the levels and layers of grief this year has brought. As a Lakers girl and avid Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, Kobe and Chadwick’s deaths really shook me. I experienced public grief that felt very personal and private grief that hit like a ton of bricks because I didn’t think it could happen to our family.
But through it all I've pushed through. We all have. Not gonna lie, most days have been hard, but God. Jesus and therapy was my 2020 ‘how’. How I’ve made it to this point. How I’ve learned to be gentle with myself about not accomplishing my ‘goals’. How I have learned not to feel guilty for surviving instead of thriving. How it’s ok to prioritize protecting my peace and if that means letting go and moving on from some things or people then so be it.
It’s not been all bad though. In all the loss there has been growth. I have realized that, for me, strong doesn’t feel like strength in the moment. It’s only in looking back that I marvel at the girl that wiped her tears, dusted herself off and kept going. I have an even deeper appreciation for the friendships that weathered the storms of this year. I said goodbye to relaxers and embraced my natural hair. I reclaimed my name.
I am not naive in thinking that 2021 will be some magical reset but, I sure am happy to say goodbye to 2020.
If you're one of the fortunate people who had an awesome year, despite the global turmoil, I'm happy for you. That’s an amazing feat and you should celebrate your wins. For the rest of us, don’t let anyone pressure you into ‘finishing the year strong’. Honestly. It’s ok to just finish and be grateful that you made it.
In this season of gratitude, hope, love, peace and joy, my wish is for all of us to try in some way to experience these things. Gratitude for the life we have. Hope for a better tomorrow. Love for ourselves and others. Protecting our peace. Finding joy in the little things.