2020, was an epoch of its own that changed us all.
We began the year in comfort. Comfortable in our own routines and chaos that left us far removed from our own truth and in most instances, the realities of others. As the year progressed, ‘normalness’ was disrupted. There were no more distractions – lies were lies. The flaws in our governments, institutions, legislations, peers, leaders, of ‘people’ and ourselves were clear. The key elements of our lives had to be reimagined and addressed with purpose. Furthermore, the definitions of our contributions to society in the name of humanity were challenged.
Lockdown gave us an opportunity to reflect on who we are as individuals and as a society. At some point, we all learned to meet words with more feeling. We all looked to connect, with even the most basic sentiments and gestures. “Hello” or a simple wave or nod had more depth. Other words in other tongues far from our own came with a mutual understanding of loss, gratitude and hope. We saw that hope is a constant that we carry in every endeavour, especially in moments of uncertainty, tragedy and revolution. In our reflections, our society became well-rehearsed in reinforcing the “need for change” in our personal lives and in situations beyond our own existence. However, the harsh truth is that only some of us will be fluid in our commitment to action for change. I say this with some trepidation because as the new year begins, some of us will set resolutions and goals as part of the performative tradition that comes with the moment and those attractive incentives for change. With that said, I hope that we embrace potential challenges and adapt our strategies to fulfil our commitments.
“Hello” or a simple wave or nod had more depth. Other words in other tongues far from our own came with a mutual understanding of loss, gratitude and hope.
Before we begin to commit to our intentions, we must console the wounds of the past and not be silent or sit in denial. We can learn so much from history. Truth gives way to opportunity. Opportunity may be perceived as a reflection or redirection mirrored in a moment that leads to change. Moreover, healing can only fully take place when appropriate apologies and corrective actions are made. If we truly want to change something within ourselves (as individuals or as a society), we must hold ourselves accountable for every action from our past as well as that which we commit to the future. This equally applies to holding others accountable, including institutions that are responsible for enforcing change as well as safeguarding our wellbeing, society and environment.
I have also learned that there is no true resolve to grief other than honouring and accepting loss and where applicable validating the experiences of others.
The anxieties of past failures and circumstances are at times haunting. We often dread those moments. I have learnt that embracing fear and failure allows one to become whole. I have also learned that there is no true resolve to grief other than honouring and accepting loss and where applicable validating the experiences of others. Memories, especially those of loved ones that have passed are treasures. Decisions based on memory and fact may allow for a more balanced solution. But this can only occur if we choose to lead with integrity. We hear this narrative in many calls for change, however, what does this really mean? Well, this answer sits in truth and having the courage to call things as they are. For example, corruption is corruption. Deceit is deceit. Equality does not always mean fair access or opportunity. We need to ask ourselves, where we align with these issues. Especially, systemic issues that serve to exclude people from underrepresented and marginalised communities including those from deprived social-economic backgrounds, different cultures, races and ethnicities.
We dream of many things but dreams often end – we wake up.
We will ask so many questions and demand answers from those around us as well as ourselves. What does health look like? What can I change in order for me to be healthy? What does stability look like? Is this relationship working? Who do I want to be for me and what does this mean for everyone around me? We must be willing to honestly address and apply ourselves accordingly. What is friendship? What is success? What can I give? Part of self-care is not just fancy bubble baths. Self-care is also holding yourself accountable for who you are and what you believe in.
We dream of many things but dreams often end – we wake up. And so, as we progress to new beginnings, may we commit ourselves to living a reality that is an authentic reflection of our truth. The intention is not to seek perfection but to persevere in our commitment to living and challenging all that we see, believe and work to achieve, independently and collectively as a society. Change is inevitable, but I do hope that all the lessons that we carry into the future are constant.
Yemurai Chaza (she/her) is an Edinburgh based poet and creative with an appreciation for literature, music and science. Her writing is a colourful reflection of her Zimbabwean heritage and experiences growing up in Scotland. Her current work echoes the many seasons of life exploring topics surrounding identity.