None of that provided a great headspace for creative writing.
But I think I might be back. One of my 2021 promises to myself is to keep writing. I love writing. It’s a release for me and I need to prioritize it. This last year has been so eye-opening in so many ways…
Though I am not waxing particularly poetic this evening, I will highlight my top five lessons from the madness.
1. Things are hard. You either make excuses or you make progress. The choice is entirely ours and I certainly have made both. This year, I am actively working on both my physical and mental wellness without excuses and also delving deeply into anti-racist/inclusionary culture. Again, no excuses. Put up or shut up.
2. People you never thought would betray you, can. People you never thought would leave you, might. People you never thought could stop loving you, could. It’s not pessimistic. It’s fact. See #1. But love is always worth it and I have no regrets about the way I have loved or the people to whom I freely gave it. Every man must lie with his own choices and I am at peace with mine.
3. A job I used to love turned into something else this year in the form of tiny black boxes and silent participant strangers. The best part of my job (the reciprocal, soul-filling energy that led to REAL relationships built on trust, which led to learning) was replaced with a dark, depleting silence that penetrated every hour of every day. I didn’t think I would get through it and wanted to lay down and quit many times. Instead, I (like so many of my colleagues) adapted and refocused and created a new normal at work. I infused my classes and lessons with laughter and music and dancing and fun, even thought it was completely (almost absurdly) a one-way stream. It isn’t perfect, but I’ll be darned – those relationships have blossomed anyway. I don’t love this method and I can’t wait until loads of surly, complaining, NOISY teenagers invade my personal space again – but I am proud of what’s been created and know it can sustain me until normalcy reappears. Again, see #1.
4. Tough times reveal true character. I have been repeatedly slack-jawed at the “abstain or complain” mentality that I have seen around me in the face of this global pandemic. The level of abstaining (calling off, refusing to acknowledge truths, denying one’s own role in chaos, not showing up for a role you agreed to, or are being paid for) and complaining (mostly online toward school districts and teachers and schedules and plans) is utterly embarrassing and at times, suffocating. The effort to rise above and “be it anyway” has been notably harder. The effort to remain patient and kind - almost heroic. My respect for those in the boat paddling has grown exponentially larger. My disdain for the dead-weight anchors – record setting. I pray this snapshot of the worst has not changed my long-held belief in the overall goodness and humanity of people. I fear I won’t really know until this is over. Right now, I am still in survival mode, filtering everything and everyone who enters my space.
5. Everyone… and I mean… EVERYONE looks worse in Crocs.
The last year has been a trip. The hardships and struggles have been offset by the blessings of ample family time. We are all standing on the precipice of change. I pray it finds us all BETTER than it left us.
Happy Covid-versary, folks! Here’s hoping we NEVER celebrate another one!