2020 Break Down

2020 Break Down

The new, rediscovered old, the different

Joy – Hank
Book – “American Gods”, Neil Gaiman
TV – AHS/Dead to Me/Queen’s Gambit
Album – “Gaslighter”, The Chicks
Food/Ingredient – Shallots
The Power of Art – Jared Kushner Channels Dorian Gray, by Drew Friedman
Garden – Cauliflower
Person – Joy Doyle, my mother
Activity – Watching sunsets
Word used most often – Options
Word for 2020 – Death
Phrase for 2020 – I’m done
Word for 2021 – Curiosity
Phrase for 2021 – A new landscape

If you only want to read the fun stuff, then stop here. If you want to continue reading, don’t expect fun stuff.

I haven’t been that active with posts for the last couple of months because I really didn’t know what to say. My year diminished into a painfully anticipated end. In the early hours of December 21st, my father died peacefully in his sleep at home. To add to the sadness, we found out that day that a first cousin had died unexpectedly a few days prior and a funeral was currently being held for him. Their deaths are full of their own sorrows, yet they are names on a long list of lost loved ones from this year. I had spent a third of December in Arizona to be with Dad and family, but I made it back home for Christmas. I’ll have to return to Arizona later this month (possibly February) for the service. Death in winter is as plentiful as snow.

I’m not going to ruminate over how awful this last year has been. It was harder than what I’m willing to reveal. Little did I know I would purposelessly dive down into the icy indigo water of my psyche, and discover forgotten relics of memories and pieces of myself. Treasures, no, valuable, yes. Below are a couple of brighter perspectives from what I gathered and hauled away.

Connection to the natural world – I can’t push nature away from me, nor can I push myself away from nature. We are connected. As much as the universe can violently set the terms of the relationship, she is also the greatest solace: Energy, atoms, elements, chemistry, physics, biology, and wonder.

Wholeness – All of it. Every piece of me is acknowledged without judgment. I challenge myself and everyone to swap out judgement for curiosity towards ourselves, others, and uncomfortable ideas.

It’s been decades since I’ve laughed so little. I believe many of us have been forced to recalibrate what’s important. My focus now is on my mother. She lost the father of her children, her one and only husband of 56 years. In spite of human madness, they truly loved each other. Only a year ago, I watched Mum keep pace with Dad as he struggled walking with his walker to get from parking lot to restaurant. But now as I walk next to Mum without him, I notice she shuffles. She wasn’t patiently slow for Dad, they were slow together. Between them, one never began, one never ended.

For 2021, I have no desire to give any reaction to the worst of ourselves. Nor am I feeling generous with hollow positivity. I will only cook with the iron weight of truth. And I will suck at executing all of the above. Perhaps we need to stop expecting more, but instead be more. There is so much more to me, you, and us than what we’ve been convinced of in 2020.

Author: valeriemarieleslie

Poet. Thoughts. Musician.

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