2020 was the first year that I felt seen and heard. It has been a year full of many personal successes, but also a year marked my countless hours of therapy, anxiety attacks, and insomnia-filled nights. To close this year out I am sharing (with permission) an excerpt of writing from my partner John Michael. This piece, in particular, stood out to me, because it so perfectly sums up how difficult the past year has been, the trauma it has caused our family, but ends with a promise for 2021.
"This year started with such promise! But on May 25th Lauren's life shut down. George Floyd's death hit differently.
In the mornings, Lauren struggled to wake up and face a day working through years of racial trauma in her head; unable to sleep, her days were marked by sudden panic attacks as she watched our nation's responses - meanwhile, I ate my granola.
In the afternoons, Lauren could barely focus at work, feeling called to engage in "Diversity" sessions. Through it all, she wrestled alone with fundamental questions of identity and being — all during a pandemic. We'd never deeply discussed her Blackness before—after four and a half years of dating, no less—shows the lengths to which our relationship reflected white society's racial naïvèté writ large. It was just easier for us to ignore it.
There will always be a critical gap of understanding between us. There is no bridge over these troubled waters. I can't know her foundational need for security because I've never felt unsafe or lacking control. I can't know the impulse to suppress elements of your Blackness. I can't know the exhaustion of ushering the less informed through the same rote discussions when all you want to do is sign off, curl up, and tune out the world.
But we survived. Because we showed up. This year has been an emotional roil of cascading waves. If you’ve experienced loss this year, whether it’s a loved one, a job, or your own milestones and plans, our hearts go out to you. We hope you find support and space to grieve that loss. And we truly hope next year is better for all of us - 2021: The year where we continue to just show up."