Oh! Hey! Remember last year? I compared the year 2019 to a dry and awful blow job and I was SPOT ON and then 2020 hit, all salivated and hopeful and guess what motherfuckers? WORSE.
I don’t like to swear because my mother raised me not to. I don’t like to swear because someone once told me it was a sign of an unsubstantial vocabulary. I don’t like to swear because my kids (very occasionally) listen to me and yet…. did you live this year? Are there any other words? There are no other words.
And yet — when I look at my 2020 versus the 2020 of so many people I know and love, I am extremely lucky. I had Covid-19, weathered it and recovered, despite a significant secondary infection that tossed my body temperature to volcanic heights and left me nearly worthless for a week of 104 degree cold sweats. My year was full of reading and painting and writing 30+ Covid poems and telling stories in podcast and connecting with clients and friends and collaborators and dreamers and lovers and…
I didn’t get arrested during any protest I attended. Not like Nick Tilsen who faces 17 years in prison for leading a revolutionary peaceful protest on sacred broken treaty land because INDIGENOUS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. I didn’t lose my job over lack of vaccine Not like my friend Jen who literally gave her LIFE and bled for the safety of fellow New Yorkers during a pandemic but whose credentialing is lost in a broken healthcare system because HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT. I didn’t lose my brother or my uncle or my sister or my best friend like (insert the names of over ONE HUNDRED of my friends) because COVID-19 IS A MOTHERFUCKING PANDEMIC. Gawd.
I have it good.
I paddled my way across the Everglades and the San Juan Islands. Took on new roles in business and in healthcare and in non profits. Worked until my eyelids dropped over exhausted eyes on building communities of compassion during an impossible year. I’m mostly lonely and gained more pounds than I ever imagined but I’m well fed, housed, sometimes loved, full of imagination.
The thing of the thing is that we mostly did it. We mostly made it. We’re mostly alive and masked and tear-filled and laughing. Hindsight will be 2020, ferrealz. But here we are, shockingly magnificent despite it all.
I don’t ever wanna live another 2020. But in the challenges damn have we not seen the rise? I think of my friends who worked frontlines, blistered, masked and sore — and are finally getting vaccinated. My teacher friends — who drove to the houses of students who couldn’t make class or didn’t have internet access — who sat on front porches in scowling winds to deliver instruction. I think of my Mom & my Dad who fought cancer in a pandemic, waiting for hugs and wondering about futures. My grandma — who has learned to Facetime and found Jesus in online mass — who prays the rosary for me every day and who reminds me that we are actually all we get.
Fuck this year. And may we carry it onward into all that we do.
May we have learned to consider the health and hope of those around us. May we honor the vulnerable. May we adapt to new ways of learning. May we react with grace to plans that shift. May we revel in the splendor when we have the privilege of seeing a new place or new culture. May we appreciate the service workers, the drive through clerk, the grocery bagger, the CNA. May we master technology for its good and lessen it’s hold on our lives where connection could be vital and vibrant. May we remember how much we have needed Art and Artists. May we compensate the writers, the truth tellers, the big-pot-of-soup-neighbors.
We have lost it all. May we gain something in the exploding wake — the stardust trail of the year that wasn’t.
And yet we are. And yet it was. And here we are.
Onward. Into whatever we next are and do and become. Give yourself pause and grace and grief and celebration. Today we are still alive.