I was staring into the fire in my friend’s backyard, we sat socially distant around her fire pit, and I said “that shit doesn’t even matter.” Then I panicked.
“Who AM I?” I thought, shocked and awed that I just said the word “shit” so flawlessly — out loud! No one else flinched, the conversation continued, but it was at that moment I realized I’ve changed.
Up until that night I was always a person who said curse words in their mind but not out of their mouth.
For some reason I felt like I sound wack when I curse. I’ve told myself I can’t say the word correctly or as passionate as it should be said. But 2020 taught me now to relish in the satisfaction of each curt syllable jetting past my teeth.
I don’t need to tell you how shitty this year has been. You already know. We’ve lost too many people, doomscrolled ourselves to sleep, marched for Black lives and felt the loneliness of isolation. This year has changed us all in some way.
I’ve become hardened.
In these four walls of my home I stopped moving. Everything I ran from in the past, rushed over me until I was drowning in my living room.
Once I could breathe again, what was left was someone who doesn’t give a damn about watching their mouth anymore. What was left is someone who is angry.
I was supposed to be this angry in 2009 while I was living in my car. But leave it to the year 2020 (and some good ole therapy) to let me catch up with anger I’d been holding on to for a decade.
Being homeless should have hardened me, but I was too focused on hope back then. I didn’t feel the weight of how cruel the world was until May 25, when the world watched the death of George Floyd.
Growing up Black you learn very early of the pain in your bloodline, how people like you have always been marginalized. But after May 25 the generational pain became unbearable for me. Then to get on social media and watch similar situations continue to happen, that hope I was holding on to shriveled.
My skin got thicker and my vocabulary got reckless.
The voice inside my head that once told me “you sound wack when you curse” now says, “go hard, sis.”
I’m still the same bubbly, overly nice (doesn’t text back for hours) person I’ve always been but don’t try me.
Between my own breakdowns this year, I’ve listened to friends at their breaking points exhausted, angry and pushed to our limits. This year has toughened you too.
So whatever thoughts held you back before 2020, don’t let them hold you back in 2021.
That shit doesn’t even matter.