2020 – One For The History Books

 

Can I say that 2020 has been an extremely tough year all around? I know that we are all feeling the effects of it. It seems as if we just can’t catch a break. It’s like we keep getting hit back to back to back. As soon as I think we’ve gotten through one thing – BOOM! – something else. I feel like DJ Khaled, “Another One” and “Another One”. It’s like “God really? How much more can we take?”

In August, I had to concede to the fact that I was battling low depression levels. I guess I didn’t want to admit it, and finally, once I spoke it, I was able to work on it. It’s true what they say that you can’t heal from things that you don’t address. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s the fact that taking care of our mental health is extremely important. I know there’s this stigma that Black people just go to church but as my Aunt Charlotte says, “we need Jesus and a couch”. I’m happy that the conversation about mental health is being spoken about on a larger scale by influencers and celebrities. It’s necessary and ok to talk to a licensed someone to unpack some of this mess we’ve had to carry during this year.

My life along with America forever changed in March. For me, that’s when New York started the shutdown due to COVID-19, which meant life as we know it was about to change. I have to admit though, when my office shut down, never in a million years did I think that I would still be working from home in December. I honestly thought that it would be a couple of weeks and then we’d get back to “normal”. During our weekly team meetings, I would count how many weeks it had been since we had been working home. Let’s just say my last count was week ten. I stopped counting after that because it started to take a toll on me. I couldn’t see an ending in sight.

I didn’t leave the house for the first five weeks. I’m an avid online shopper so it was easy for me. The week we shut down, I had just gotten a thirty-roll pack of toilet paper and a twelve-pack of paper towels so I was good. Who knew that those two things would become like gold. Using grocery shopping platforms was something I usually did anyway so it would only be certain things that I would have to go to an actual store for. I sent my husband for everything during those first few weeks. Did I mention that they had set up a COVID-19 testing site right around the corner from where I live? That was yet another deterrent keeping me from going out.

Not seeing my family also did something to me. Of course, I saw them on video calls but it’s not the same. There’s nothing like your mom making her famous banana pancakes for breakfast or her fried fish for Sunday dinner. It’s amazing how we don’t think about those small things until we can’t have them anymore. I can make banana pancakes but it’s something different when your mother makes them. Everything’s better when Mom makes it.

Being Black during this time has been harder than usual in my opinion. I mean, let’s be real, being Black is always hard but 2020 has made it harder because of the mental and spiritual toll it has taken on our community. After the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016, I made the decision to never watch any of the videos. I refuse to put myself through that trauma. When the murder of George Floyd happened, I made sure if a news channel was going to show it, I turned the channel or if someone posted it, I would scroll pass it.
I never watched the video but I saw the still photo of the ex-cop with his knee on his neck. That is a sight that I’ll never get out of my head. How could anyone see that picture and not need therapy afterwards?

Then the protests began and every day as a Black woman, married to a Black man with Black brothers and sisters birthed by a Black woman, I watched the ugly in this world, on full display. What was going on in the world was spilling over at home, in the workplace, there was no escaping it. It was everywhere. How could I not be battling a bit of depression after all of that? Lord give us strength.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to share my feelings with people. My sister, Chaya, calls me Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible. I share, but on my own terms and with certain people. I feel like everyone does not need to know everything about you. That’s just my opinion. My younger sister, Yve once said I need to be transparent and I wondered what her definition of transparent was. To me, being transparent is showing people who you are. You know who I am because I let you know who I am. If your definition of transparent is telling you my business, that is never going to happen. Now see, didn’t you just learn something about me? Wasn’t that transparent?

There was something good that came out of 2020. I self-published my very first book. Alizah’s Story: I Stutter is currently available on alizahsstory.com. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and Goodreads. How many first-time self-published authors can say that? It is a great feeling to go on Amazon, one of, if not the leading online shopping site and see your name and work. Despite all the negatives, I’m thankful to say that I did something good this year.

2020 is definitely one for the history books. It was life-changing for all of us. We lost some of our greatest heroes, John Lewis, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, and over three hundred and thirty thousand lives due to COVID-19. This year also held the biggest and most contentious elections of our lifetime. How did you manage to get through 2020?
For me, having faith and a support system along with taking care of our mental health is key to getting through a pandemic, racism on display, 45, and this crazy world we currently live in. It is my hope that 2021 brings us all peace, prosperity and our hearts desires.

Thanks for listening,

Shanah

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