Dear August 2020: It’s Been Real
I would love to know how we made it to August of 2020 in what was either the longest or shortest of years in the history of time. If there is a year I will never forget or hardly remember, this is it.
In a recent phone appointment with my counselor, which reminds me, this is the year I regret not getting my LPC, I bawled like a little girl who had her pigtails pulled by that mean boy on the bus. The frenzy of bewilderment and frustration are the norm. Still, let us go back to normal.
What is normal though? I don’t even remember what normal is or was.
I clearly remember 8:30 pm on December 31, 2019. Sitting on my bed, I was writing notes for a fourth book proposal. That was a nuts endeavor, as my third book had just been turned in and I don’t think it even had an approved cover yet. As I marveled at my anticipated genius, I said out loud, “2020 is going to be a year I will never forget.”
My phone rang at that very moment. It was my hippie-baby, Luke. He said, “Mom… David is dead.”
David was Luke’s best friend. They had been the dearest of buddies since they were five. Now, at 20 years old, David would never see 2020, the year that never seems to have had a chance.
Look, I am not one to complain. Well, maybe I am. In the 5 years that I have been a writer, I have had a couple of rants, threats on my life, and a few complete transformations into something or someone else. And I am a big girl, literally. I am too tall, big hair, big teeth, big boobs, big feet. Also, I wrote a book about those things, my third book, Well, Girl: An Inside Out Journey to Wellness, which launched on August 1st of 2020. That aside, I may not have street smarts, as in inner-city Chicago smarts, but I hold my own.
Launching a book in August of 2020 was scary. I mean the book is great and trucking right along… but no one knows what anyone is thinking until they think it and act on it or post about it with their latest manifesto/epiphany/cry for help.
Present company included.
I have watched other authors launch and others postponed. This is one place I am all in for surrender to the God who created me creator and landed me in the hands of people much more competent than I.
I am in love with my publisher. My launch team is fantastic. And my Facebook tribe is the absolute most dear and real cyber humans I encounter. My publicist is my hero. But none of us could have predicted what August 2020 would look like.
Truly, you can’t make this stuff up.
When Jeane, signed on with Barbour Books for the publicity for “Well, Girl,” she called me and said, “Have you ever had a normal book launch?” She has been with me for all three of said launches, but I humored her cause I like her and we all need some good conversation right now. “No,” I said.
My first book, Stolen Jesus launched on the same day that Tom Petty died, *moment of freefalling silence… Amen. Simultaneously the Las Vegas shootings occurred. Book 2, Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors launched while I was standing in a foot of water… in my living room. I think there was a hurricane or something, I hardly remember. Whatever, there was stuff going on. And one cannot expect that something isn’t always going on, but none of us could have made up in 2020.
Made up you say?
No worries, I can answer this accusation in the most politically correct or incorrect way possible. Whether it is or it isn’t – whether it is a conspiracy or the next Black Plague, what can’t be tossed to the curb is that it is real because it really impacted the lives of the living. I won’t submit to any other scenario. If you got sick or you didn’t, someone did. Whether you vote blue or red, voters lost income. Businesses shut down, events got canceled, seniors missed out, marriages thrived or suffered, and 2020 really was and is unprecedented.
What didn’t seem to fizzle was the American way of picking the most polarized scenario they can choose and then beating it into an offense. And while my opinion on mask-wearing is directly related to the fact that I am vain, and it seems to interfere with the pleasure I take in showing off my face, and my lipstick is alway on point, I wear one because it seems like it is the right thing to do.
That said, the most exercise I have gotten in 2020 has been the walk back to my car, because I forget my mask every single time I go into any establishment.
If you are reading this and you are part of the card-carrying militia of the right to breathe, I get it, you are correct, this is America or what used to look like the land of the free. However, I might suggest that were you to contract COVID 19, you would like the right to breathe also. Free is as free does. Also, my 18-year-old daughter is just a receptionist at a salon. And that salon has a sign on the door that says, “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”
As an American small business, they have the right to refuse service to anyone. So while you may have printed off a card stating your right to breathe, that business has rights too. I am not a lawyer, although I play one in my head when I regret some of my life choices. And I am a pretty good imaginary lawyer. I am unable to justify even a frivolous lawsuit against a teenager who refuses to let you into a salon, she doesn’t own, for an appointment, you don’t have, so that you can yell at her that you have a right to frequent the establishment with a bare face because this is America.
Furthermore, that little salon in a strip mall a quarter of a mile from our house is owned by a young man with an adorable wife and 2-year-old daughter. When his salon was closed in March, he went to work at a grocery store as a bag boy so he wouldn’t lose his business or have to let his stylists go. That seems more red, white, and blue than spewing legal threats at people who are simply glad they made it to August 2020 and still had some peanut butter left in the jar.
I am not sure how we made it to August, harshly divided into hashtag categories and conspiracy theories. The aforementioned 18-year-old daughter and I had our first real fight just a couple of weeks ago. When she finally blew her lid she said, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT GASLIGHTING IS?”
Ah. Motherhood. I should have been a lawyer.
Yeah, I do know that gaslighting is a method in which a person or system, in order to acquire more power, makes a sufferer question their reality.
As I explained to her she would not be going to college in New York this semester, I admit I used my pain and losses from 2020 to somehow quench the fires of her losses in 2020.
That never plays well.
Whatever you lost in 2020 effected you in your own personal space, it is no one else’s to tread on.
What I hope I remember, should I make it to 2021 is that no matter my suffering, however well it is illustrated, others are suffering too. And I am not them. Of the monumental occurrences in 2020, I hope to never forget the surge in rights and equality. Still, when I was asked my opinion I thought, how can I speak to this? How could I speak to such injustices when I have never experienced such malice? At which time it was pointed out to me that I have a brown-skinned son, the legendary Sam I am.
It was at this point I put my computer away, completely resolved to the side of surrender in a world with eight sides to every story. I am privileged, (which I don’t think I am supposed to say and am also supposed to admit.) Still, it is by default and I do not know how to backtrack that or verbalize it or make it right for those who have suffered something I cannot fathom, but still breaks my heart, threatens my son, and simply cannot be ignored. How does one fight a fight for what should be common sense, that we treat everyone with respect and dignity? The right to breathe because a surgical mask is “not fair” seems like such folly in the wake of a human being suffocated to death on the hot pavement.
God bless those who suffered so the rest of us fools might see.
Right is right, wrong is wrong and August 2020 is coming to a close and it was neither good nor bad… it was just another month in the longest, shortest year in the history of ever.
That said, this week Starbucks did launch the pumpkin scone, something I am certain they normally do in October. I suspect America is getting a jump on fall so as to end the year of mass confusion, offense, justice, and mayhem as quickly as we can so we might flip the page to January 2021.
So long August 2020… it’s been real.
Jesus be all over us all… Love, Jami
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