As a recap of this year, I’ve decided to share sayings that have come up this year as a theme. I can’t take credit for originating them, but if you had a conversation with me this year you have heard my take on at least one of them. Seven just so happens to be the number for completion so these have to be the lessons of the year. The sayings are listed in no particular order with some context and origination for each.
“It be your own people”
Because in fact it is. This year proved that America’s own worst enemy is herself. Those politicians you voted for, that family member that went rouge, and those neighbors running neighborhood watch. Don’t put it past the people near you. We used to say this all the time joking with family, but this year the familial context and community context took on an entire other meaning with Covid-19 and the discovery of racial disparities.
“Coming to a family near you”
This goes hand in hand with “It be your own people”. I think our expectations of other people have been skewed for some time. I actually started repeating this phrase after watching a racial reconciliation talk between two couples (black and white) who pastored churches. The white first lady cautioned fellow white families that interratial dating and marriages were “coming to a family near you” and how will you be prepared to create space for this new family if you’re not working on it now. Whew! I found it funny when she said it, but it was brutally honest for her congregation. She may have just been talking about accepting interracial children but the truth of the matter is that our family members are engaging in a whole slew of things we may not be prepared for. Don’t think your family is an exception.
“Stay outta grown folks business”
This old saying just became more and more applicable this year. With information overload and nothing but time to listen, it has become increasingly important to guard your ear gates and eye gates. Not everything needs to be discussed and NO you should not have an opinion on other people’s lives. Let these people ‘live their life’.
“Live yo life!”
In all of 2020 and beyond it’s important to just live YOUR life. Not everyone else’s. This phrase is also my main exhortation to others this year. LIVE YOUR LIFE! I don’t have time to judge your actions or lack of them, it is your responsibility to care for yourself, seek health, and follow your dreams. However that looks for you, LIVE IT. Live yo life.
You would have thought with all the extra time to be introspective this year a lot of us would learn more about ourselves. But unfortunately that is not how we are acting. There is reasoning behind all that we do, so don’t get caught up doing things just for the sake of doing them or because someone told you, you should. Know thyself. Example one: If you have been quarantined by yourself and you know you need human interaction, by all means find out how to get some. Example two: Don’t let anyone stop you from saving your own life. If you need therapy and your family doesn’t approve, please continue seeking. If you need to go on daily walks, don’t let your spouse keep you locked inside the house.
“Be true to yourself”
Again, this goes hand in hand with the last phrase. And if you need more clarification on this Wonder Woman 1984 was just released, LOL. Somethings’ are just true, but nothing disturbed me more than people lying to themselves about Covid precautions this year. I’m being extra cautious, but I’m also going indoor dining tonight with a party of 10. Umm, ok. This year forced people to realize how untrue they were being to themselves. I have a handful of friends that moved home and realized they prefer it there. How did life have us so distracted from even our regular comforts?!? I hope (and pray) that this year has allowed you to be a bit more true to who you are, and not to be ashamed of that, because you can only build on a foundation of truth and we need growth right now.
“Leave these white people alone”
Last but certainly not least. Leave these white people alone. I mean this literally as much as I mean it figuratively, and I say this to ALL people. There is too much hurt and trauma we’ve endured this year to keep confronting or entertaining people who claim white identity. If they haven’t dug deeper at this point to define themselves, LEAVE THEM ALONE. Sometimes you have to distance yourself from the hurt (AND HEAL) before you can engage it again. Just step away. I’ve been around white people my entire life, and in the year of our Lord 2020, I can choose not to be. If anything this year has shown how deeply ingrained white supremacy is in our government, schools, health care, tech, and certainly in the minds of black and whites alike. Please start distancing yourself and your thoughts from it.