Dear 2019 and the years before that,

I learned that the color of a bruise is synonymous to the sky right before a storm. And just like the sky, the body can thunder and lightening itself until it is unrecognizable.

There are billions less birds flying above us. Instead of the flapping of wings, we hear clouds tangle and cough like flu victims. I walked around the Metropolitan Museum of Art and lost count of the humans wearing face masks. I held my breath for as long as I could. What are we really breathing in?

Blame it on the squall.

I learned that articulating the correct pronoun can save a life.

Sometimes the most difficult decision one can make in a day is to turn off their Internet.

Sometimes the second most difficult decision one can make in a day is to exist for twenty-four hours and post zero photographs of what you ate.

Learned how to embroider; learned how to walk outside; learned I can stay inside; learned how to say no; learned how to leave without causing a scene; learned how to sit still (even if just for five minutes); learned how to approach my body (carefully, as though we are meeting each other for the first time);

I still have no idea who I am.

On January 1st, I will not eat differently.

On January 1st, I will not join a gym.

On January 1st, my scars will not erase themselves away.

On January 1st, I will have still done that.

Haruki Murakami wrote, “Most things are forgotten over time. Even the war itself, the life-and-death struggle people went through is now like something from the distant past. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.”

I learned that I don’t have to forget all of this, but I don’t have to carry it every day. I can live amidst war, even when it is inside me. I can search for peace amidst the screams and slashings.

Sometimes, just saying hello to a stranger can save a life or at least remind each other that we are visible even when we are not trying to be.

One response to “Dear 2019 and the years before that,

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