Let’s get real, y’all. This year was a shit show. Personally, I knew it was going to be that way when Alissa disappeared on New Year’s Day for 53 straight hours. You don’t start your year discussing with your attorney the legal implications of hiring a PI to find your missing daughter and have high hopes.
In full transparency, I also didn’t expect that I would spend the better part of 9 months in the same 150 square feet of the apartment that I hate. Is this what it’s like to be in utero? I’m not sure. I also don’t know the gestational period of coronavirus, so there’s that. There are days when it feels like I will never escape from this womb. And there are days when I am not sure I want to.
Aside from my personal strife and science deniers, I didn’t expect that this would be the year that I would discover my voice as a Black woman.
If you’ve known me for any period of time prior to this year, you know that being Black is an identity that I’ve struggled with my entire life. This year, I learned that is not uncommon for those of us who are mixed. But something broke open in me this year, and it was a lot of pent up rage that led me to write probably one of my most raw and honest pieces of work, ever.
It quickly turned into the most read essay I’ve ever written, which was exhilarating, to say the least. What was even more beautiful were the conversations I was able to have with some people because of it. Not even a month prior, I was asking the question, “Will Black Lives Ever Matter?” because it seemed that the racial justice movement we saw ignite at the beginning summer was nothing more than a passing fad to many. When I wrote that piece, I had lost hope that this year had any influential significance.
As the election grew closer, I began to feel more and more unsettled. Here in Colorado, a state that has only been blue since Obama was elected in 2008, all signs were leaning Trump. Literally. His supporters were more vociferous with their big trucks and obnoxiously large flags. Billboard sized signs peppered the hillsides of the mountains I hike on the weekends. Walking through the neighborhood adjacent to mine, a house was proudly decked out in QAnon garb. I immediately stopped walking in that neighborhood after explaining to my (white) dad what the display meant. After all, I saw the video of what happened to Ahmaud Arbery and I didn’t want the same fate.
I think in my gut, I knew that the election would be close, and I was genuinely fearful of what that would mean for me, a mixed-race woman of color and a solo parent to a mixed-race female teen. Yet all I could see in those last few days before the election were women in my circle who still didn’t get it. My business coach. A fellow blogger. A woman I adore as an artist and a mother. I was filled with so much frustration, I had to scream into the void.
But when my words were echoed back, I was not expecting it. I was not looking to be encouraged, applauded, or even acknowledged. Sure, there were plenty of negative comments. Bullies who called me names and fragile white feelings that were hurt, but overwhelmingly the response was, “Yes! YES! I get it and I support you.”
The conversations that came out of that fifteen minutes of rage were what gave me hope for what’s next.
In thirty-seven days, we’ll have a new President of the United States. While I don’t expect him to cure us of what ails us by any means, I am hopeful that we will see some of the change we have been fighting for come to fruition in my lifetime.
“Hope” is not a word that I would naturally associate with this dumpster fire of a year, but as the calendar winds down on 2020, I cannot help but feel hopeful that in some aspects, 2021 will provide the fresh start we all desperately need.
Read other writers’ take on this month’s theme: Hope
Stay Hopeful, My Friends by Christi Jeane
Shifting Sands of Hope by Mia Sutton
In It Together by Laci Olivia
Who is your Only Hope? by Amy Rich
The 2020 Storm by Adeola Sheehy
Hope Over Survival by Sarah Hartley
Optimist on Purpose by Megan Dellecese
A Story About a Dog by Jenn Norrell
Both Fragile and Enduring by Danni Brigante