Oh 2020. You were vicious. You were unpredictable. The year began as any normal year does. Resolutions formed within the mind, spoken and shared out loud at gatherings. Glitter rain showered on the moving shoulders of partygoers clustered to ring in the new year. I remember wearing a rhinestone-studded dress, wayward glitter sparkling on my lashes. I remember the sharp tangs of alcohol misting an air full of heat and youth. I remember grins that stretched the cheeks so wide the sun was envious, heat-laced embraces, and a curious symphony breathed into my mouth. Little did I, or any of us, know what the world held in store for us all.
When the year first revealed itself as one where we would all be locked inside, I remember reading a viral poem claiming that this year was fated to result in realizations, reflection, and truths. I remember reading it, feeling a twinge of optimism, and then waves of doubt crashing over me. I remain ever-cynical that this year was fated; it was more of a tumultuous snowball that continued to expand in horror. It is the year we will most likely consider a fluke in the many years that will chronicle our lives. I exit this year with a weariness that is an ever-present, harsh, and unavoidable weight upon my shoulders. I am wary of people. Wary of words. Wary of myself. And deeply, traumatically wary of the world. Trust has taken a backseat when racial injustice has become a diurnal occurrence that is unanswered, masks have hidden away expressive truths, and distance from each other has fissured into divides that seem impossible to bridge. Every time the pandemic seems to end, it snaps back, huddling us all into this queer reality. The new mosaic of our life is a continued spotting of black hope. Death, sickness, disease. All little synonyms woven into this new blanket our tired bodies did not ask to be wrapped in.
We have gone through trauma. We have been deprived of a normality. We write a swan song for ourselves. It is tangled and jumbled in this mosaic of emotions, the syllables violently echoing. Here we are, stuck in this purgatory. Here we lie, laying upon a bed of exhaustion. Dreams and ideas are coming up empty in the palms we lift to our mouths, tasting nothing but heartbreak and dust.
But this year has also taught us lessons and made us kiss tiny joys. It is more than the synonyms of defeat and disease. I remember chocolate smiles on a chocolate boy. Promises on sugared lips. And I remember hope. The delicate, intangible, essential hope. The yearning for the life before. I remember the hope being especially intense then.
My dear readers, this edition is an ode to all those synonyms that the year 2020 was. Hope, trauma, loss, realization, love, horror, disease. It is a collection of synonyms, of symphonies, that have created the discordant music of this year. There is something beautiful in this chaos. Perhaps you will be able to see it too.