As the year comes to a close, many thoughts fill the inside of my skull. The first being an epiphany,
The other being the phrase: “I am grateful.”
It’s hard for me to gauge where to start when thinking about all we have endured this year. It has been a year of pain, change, growth, sadness, resentment, resilience, joy and accomplishment. The range of emotions experienced across the world has led us back to ourselves once again. Being forced inside, forced to go home, forced to slow down, stop, and live. I can’t think of anything more beautiful and gut-wrenching at the same time than that.
Personally, this year for me felt like someone was plucking each individual hair from my body, one-by-one. It also felt like rug-burns, a knife to the achilles’ heel, a shovel to the head or, whatever. Just ‘concussed.’ For awhile, all of it hurt- especially the part about being ripped away from the city I love because I got laid off from my job.
Adjusting was the hardest part. Creating structure from thin-air and diving into self after being functionally depressed to keep up with the pace of San Francisco… it’s something when you move back to your old town.
A lot of frustration came, waves of it. Then, tsunami’s of tears followed along with anxiety, fear, and rage. Before this year, I’m not sure if I ever felt pure rage but, soon after the rage came grief. It was a plethora of emotions; especially in regard to my people.
2020 allowed us to see and understand how people really feel, on more levels than one. Regardless, I can no longer hold onto resentment when I view any type of change as a virtue.
This photo was taken on March 4th, 2020 on my 21st birthday. I had no idea that a Wednesday in San Francisco was going to be my last time setting foot in the club, my last time seeing all my college friends regularly, and the last moment of a true “college experience” But one thing about me, is that I lived almost every day like it was my birthday because San Francisco just feels that good.
So yeah, moving back in with my parents was hard.
Being a senior online, finishing up my thesis and honoring myself even through a pandemic, even through fighting for basic human rights, even through my dog passing away, my cat leaving, family members passing away, family issues in general, friendship problems & an abusive relationship-
I am here.
The knowledge I gained this year of self, purpose, ancestry, the importance of family… I wouldn’t change a thing about how I personally experienced the year. Hell, I was even in a life-threatening car accident this year. But I’m still here, breathing and reclaiming my Joy.
Music is something that brings me a lot of joy. This playlist is reflective of my long journey; an internal landscape of unhinged emotions.
In terms of lessons, the best lesson I learned this year has been to always keep gratefulness in your pocket. I pull it out every day now. Consistent gratitude, prayer, and shadow-work pushed me further into myself. They have allowed love to reside in my vessel more gracefully by clearing up space. Really, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Curious about what others have learned, I asked the question “what’s something you’ve learned that has induced growth?”
Of course, the answers were beautiful:
To learn the lessons of this year, was not easy. To unlearn, to teach, to stand still in the middle of chaos. To hide. To create. To riot. To cry and to scream. All of it beautiful and so much has changed.
It makes me wonder…
What else can we change?
This year was transformative in terms of mind, body and spirit. Faith was often put to the test and you never know true desperation until it’s 4 a.m. and God forces you down on your knees to pray. The saying, “A lot can happen in a year…” almost seems underwhelming in reflections.
Either way, if you’re reading this, that means you’re alive.
So live, by any means.
Forever and Always,
Your Angel, Ash ❤
Special thank you to Anthony, Jen & Wes for letting me share your reflective thoughts ❤