Dear John | Come Correct

Dear 2020 and 2021,

I’m writing to you in tandem now because for me you are inextricably linked. You both held and hold great hope and great fear I am doing my best to reconcile.

You, 2020, opened the doors of opportunity for me. New city, new job, new apartment, new friends, new lovers, and the promise of more time and the space to create.

I was doing my best to be open to all these changes had to offer and teach me when along came the virus and shut all my hope down. There I was, left to sit in my new apartment, alone; I worked my new and highly anticipated job alone; I faced the fear of sickness and the death of loved ones … alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m ever so grateful to have the home, job and relative safety from the virus. I am incredibly grateful for my coworkers, friends and families whose connections online have buoyed me. But you spent the year stealing back all the potential you held out like a shiny new ring in January. My passion for creating slumbered along with my body.  2020, you’ve brought depression, loneliness and near constant fear.

I want you to know, in spite of you, 2020, I learned a few things. If ever there was a time to learn how to just be, you were it. You forced me to slow down, listen to the needs of others and take a supporting role that felt right in so many ways. I learned how to take deep breaths again and be patient. I was able to speak my truth, needs and wants into a potential relationship and felt heard and respected for the first time in maybe, ever. Ironically, I found the social distancing and virus precautions a welcomed relief to the previous pressures of dating apps and meeting new people. In a time where most of our personal connections are at a distance, it becomes very clear what others’ motivations are or aren’t.

And you, 2021, I haven’t forgotten about you. I am approaching you with cautious optimism. Lord knows there are so many things already I could address with you here. But there is time still for that in the coming days and weeks. For now, I will say, while I am hopeful still, I have set the bar low for you.

My hope is you allow for the healing of our bodies and our nation in the various ways that must be addressed. I know that will take unity and caring for others on a level so many people seem not want to do. It will take acknowledgment that systems we’ve so long relied on were always designed to be racist, anti-Black and anti-Semitic. We will need to acknowledge white supremacy and white privilege as systems to be torn down and dismantled.

I am hopeful, 2021, you bring relief from tragic illness, the ability for families and loved ones to be together again, the return to work and the recovery of businesses for so many. We should not, however, return to “normal.” We’ve learned so much and have much to gain from moving forward with those lessons and completing the work. We may not have imagined what 2020 might bring our way, but we can take a deep breath and move forward in you, 2021, with the knowledge we can be better and do better.

You have so much potential and I can sense it waiting, eager. We will need to be patient. You will not deliver all at once. The lessons I learned in 2020 will be welcomed, as I move through you. All the expectation I held for 2020 can be realized in you, and I will look for every opportunity to make it so. But make no mistake, 2021, I am no fool and will not fall for the same shiny false promises of your predecessor. Come correct!

As always,
Jeanette

About the author

Miller is a visual artist, writer and social justice activist. She works at The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects and lives in Jackson, MS.

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