For the holidays my partner came over to stay during the end of the fall semester. I was elated because I overwhelmingly missed him, and long distance is exhausting. When he arrived, there was a lovely grace period of making sure we quarantined, took the COVID test and it came back negative. We made all sorts of plans of how our long holiday will go; we were going to buy white snow Lego pieces for my Lego tree set, cook almost all our favorite restaurant foods, visit a comic bookstore and visit a plant nursery, relax and generally be our best selves. Well, COVID made gathering with family members difficult. And since we are college adults, we can’t buy anything and everything we want for the holidays. We instead spent most of our money on ingredients for the food we love and though we didn’t get to go to a comic bookstore and visit a plant nursery, we went to the closest thing, a mall bookstore and a department store’s plant section. We then cooked a ton of food (well, mostly my partner), exchanged food with my parents on some holidays and went back home to eat my mother’s Ishima, cassava leaves stew, collard greens and cake. I ate so much food y’all! I am sure my marvelous weight gain is due to both happy and stressful times.
Simultaneously, my close friends were either mildly affected by COVID or heavily affected by it. You see, many of us are from low-income communities where we have to work as essential workers or don’t take the severity of the virus seriously. As a result, family members were lost, and the aftermath changed all of my friends lives for a long period of time. Believing in hope and having some joy in the holidays was so hard to muster up following this. I couldn’t go to funerals, hug my friends and support them from far away. I thought that me feeling secure and safe wasn’t fair knowing that my best friends were hurting and scared for their family. I don’t like the holidays as stated on my past holiday post but this time, I wanted some sense of normalcy.
I learned that I also carry a lot of privileges or advantages in the world during COVID. I will always acknowledge that I, as a Black woman, am the most unprotected person in the world. But I also want to acknowledge the complexities that 2020 has presented economically. I am able to work from the comfort of my own home, meaning I am able to continue to pay for my basic needs AND pay off my loans. I am able-bodied, young and I have a college degree. These circumstances have led me to be more self-reflective and to appreciate what I have. I am hoping that in 2021, I focus on self-care because 2020 punched me in the face and said, “You lucky that’s all I did.”. Which I won’t take for granted. I understand that I need to care for my bruised self-confidence, bruised hope and belief in humankind. As the years go by, I am becoming more pessimistic and I don’t want to feel comfortable thinking whether it’s worth trying. So even though the year 2020 was full of ups and downs, we all made it through somehow and honestly survived it with some sanity. In the meantime, with only 3 days into the year, I will happily enjoy my partner’s banana bread as I watch an episode “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. Mostly because I want to feel something else other than anxious and depressive.
Comment below: What has 2020 made you realize about yourself?