2020 was a really difficult year. From COVID-19 to racial unrest to the upheaval of some our most trusted U.S. and global institutions, everyone has carried a heavy load this year.
For many of us from BIPOC communities, we have felt under attack; be it by the vicarious trauma of watching people we love be brutalized or vilified in the public arena, or having our personal beliefs questioned and ridiculed, or having people make no effort whatsoever to understand our pain nor try to work with us to fix the societal things that plague us.
COVID-19 has forced us indoors and into isolated spaces. For some of us, this has yielded fear and loathing, for others sadness and despair. Racial unrest has forced many people who never even considered it, to examine everything they thought they knew and to really, for the first time, listen to stories of pain and struggle from their BIPOC and marginalized, friends, neighbors and even family members.
One thing 2020 has also brought to us is a new wave of mental health concerns and trials. Research is clear that anxiety and depression are rising and that many people do not have access to the care they need.
All of this is deeply troubling and deeply difficult. But I did not take us down this path of the ills of 2020 to leave us here. Rather, I wanted to recount these things to allow me to share one vitally important message with you, my dear reader.
YOU ARE STILL HERE AND YOU MATTER.
AS WE CLOSE OUT 2020, I need to tell you that MY VISION for you is multifaceted:
- I want you to know that you do not struggle alone or in vain
- I want you to know that your life is valuable and that you are seen
- I want you to know that I am happy you are here reading this message and still here living and breathing
No, things have not always felt good this year as we’ve mourned the loss of our rituals, our activities, our gatherings, our ability to move about freely and so much more. But, the fact that you are here today means that you (and I) have another opportunity to try again and this is what is most important to me heading into 2021. As you greet the new year, please remember the lessons of 2020. If you need a bit of help, let me start you off with a few of those lessons.
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU REALIZE
YOU ARE MORE LOVED THAN YOU KNOW
YOU ARE A SINGULAR WONDERFUL CREATION THAT THE WORLD NEEDS, SO PLEASE STAY
2020 has taught us many lessons and I’m asking you to pay attention, reflect, tuck those lessons away for safe keeping and pull them out as you need to in 2021. Yes 2020 was rough, but you made it and I am so proud of you (and me too).