I don’t assume it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself to this viewers. I’m the gal who survived 2021, and I can’t say I loved it.
That is, in fact, a parody of JFK’s tongue and cheek introduction in a 1961 speech he gave in Paris after his spouse, Jackie, shocked France throughout their European tour. Her potential to woo what was thought of the toughest nation to impress cemented her as JFK’s secret weapon. She went on to do the identical in Vienna after which over and over all through his 1000-day administration. She wooed me after I was 13 and residential with the flu. Bored however too weak to rise up to activate the tv (that is pre-remote management days, youngsters), I grabbed the closest e book beside our fuzzy inexperienced sofa, a dusty, outdated “Okay” from the encyclopedia shelf. The remainder is historical past — a lifelong fascination of Jackie’s life, culminating in my faculty argumentative thesis about why we’re so drawn to the tales of celebrities. My conclusion was that we see our personal story someplace inside their layers of fame, fortune, and endurance. It’s not simply that we wish to “be” them. I went a step additional explaining that due to our innate must know extra about ourselves and who we’re, we will’t assist however put money into their lives repeatedly. We could by no means be well-known or wealthy or practically as profitable, nevertheless it doesn’t imply we’re not a Jackie, a Sally Journey, or a Beyoncé in our personal proper. I stand by my idea as we speak. How we apply it to how we stay…nicely, there’s the rub.
Increase your hand in case you’ve been personally victimized by 2021.
One other parody (“Imply Women” this time) however I received’t elaborate apart from to say that like college plastics squad chief and bully Regina George, 2021 was simply plain imply. Imply and fugly! Y’all bear in mind how pumped we had been on the finish of 2020? I imply, it simply couldn’t get any worse than 2020, proper? Then 2021 requested 2020 to carry its beer and as soon as once more right here we’re pondering that it could’t presumably get any worse than 2021. Is the joke on us once more? I’ve learn loads of sage recommendation that means we shouldn’t even strive for a greater 12 months in 2022. They are saying to maintain expectations low and take what we get. Insert clap emoji to the sage. What an inspiration.
However I get it. Why get our hopes up? The Omicron variant gained velocity after Delta did the soiled, and undoubtedly Theta or Gamma Nu or Psi Psi Psi (Tri-Psi for brief) might be right here quickly with a pink bow in its blonde highlighted hair, able to cheer us right into a rousing Rush season of despair. Solely, I can not go the best way of the pessimists. I’ll really feel depleted. I could also be justified to say, “Wake me up when it’s over.” Chances are you’ll too, nevertheless it doesn’t imply we should always. In spite of everything, how are we alleged to study extra about ourselves — who we will be, needs to be, and might be — if we simply resign to residing as defeatists? Jackie straightened her pillbox hat and stored going. And if Kim Kardashian can maintain smiling after three failed bar exams, you possibly can enter the brand new 12 months with a shred of optimism.
2021 was tough: Covid, most cancers, and discovering my mom’s physique on my technique to let the canines out on a balmy June morning. Chemo and grief don’t make a great cocktail. Remission does, however when it’s adopted by a hurricane and pneumonia, its taste wanes. One factor after one other. It appeared like each time my world leveled out, it was nearly instantly off-kilter once more, leaving me to ask on quite a few events, precisely how massive was 2021’s beer?
I contemplated this query not too long ago whereas ready for information that might’ve given me an superior end-of-year increase and might need nearly (nearly!) made me say, “So I assume it wasn’t all dangerous.” (Nothing well being associated, however necessary nonetheless.) I waited and waited. I fretted, questioning if I’d carried out all the things proper to get what I wished. My abdomen was in knots. I drummed my fingers endlessly. I refreshed my electronic mail six occasions an hour, checked the amount on my cellphone after refreshing my electronic mail, and half-listened to each dialog as a result of my thoughts was perpetually at “When will I do know?”
Then within the midst of my unknowing, I had this revolutionary thought: In the event you’re this apprehensive, Annie, you don’t have any religion about something.
I solely wished to listen to what I wished to listen to. I used to be clinging to a greatest case situation that I had created. If it goes this means, all the things might be positive. My perspective was so restricted. Silly, Annie. Don’t you realize by now that you just don’t have all of the solutions?
I inform my kids that in the event that they fear, they aren’t praying and that after they pray, they needn’t fear. Nonetheless, my anxiousness was so consuming that it left no room for my very own recommendation. At the same time as I prayed for God to ship me what I wished, I smugly thought my request was the one good answer. That isn’t religion. Religion isn’t believing we’ll get our means. Religion is realizing His means is at all times higher.
I say this with scars from a number of surgical procedures and a most cancers combat. I say this having buried my mom within the midst of my chemotherapy. I say this after a 12 months realizing that each time my little lady says, “I really like you, Mama,” she says it with worry that my most cancers will return. I say this having had the identical worry, myself, every single day since I rang the remission bell. I say this having misplaced a father too younger, jobs I liked, houses to hurricanes, associates to silly fights, and different battles, each petty and critical. I’ve suffered. You will have suffered. But every time, someplace in my mourning was that tiny crack of daylight that exposed a path ahead – a greater path I by no means would have seen had I not been in darkness first.
I wouldn’t stay within the superbly chaotic dwelling by which I’m elevating my kids if Hurricane Katrina hadn’t knocked down my previous one. My kids wouldn’t have the chums they’ve or the excellent schooling they’ve acquired if we hadn’t been compelled to modify neighborhoods. The physician who saved my life this 12 months was solely made identified to me by way of an expert relationship my husband solid as a result of he tragically misplaced one other. My household’s religion flourished this 12 months underneath the worst circumstances conceivable. Previous friendships bloomed once more as assist over my prognosis and mom’s loss of life poured in. It was my father’s voice I heard on the best way to my prognosis. “Don’t be afraid. You’ll be positive,” he stated. From that second ahead, by way of all of the bodily and emotional ache that adopted, I felt a closeness to him that surpassed our bond whereas he was right here within the flesh. He was the angel despatched, the messenger I wanted again and again to belief the result, and I’ve little doubt he was positioned precisely the place he wanted to be for after I would wish him most. As laborious as it’s to let go, my mom is just too. Twice already, she has come to me in highly effective methods, making an affect higher than she might have right here. Some name it The Butterfly Impact. I name it grace.
I’m an idea-person. Give me an issue, and I’ll discover the repair. I’m a planner. Give me ten minutes, and also you’ll have an agenda. However I’m not God, and as inconvenient as which may be typically, I’ve to just accept what it means. I’m, nonetheless, a believer. I imagine I wasn’t born to endure. I imagine I’m not meant to solely be rewarded if I do endure. I imagine that loads of good has come my means underneath good circumstances. I additionally imagine that peace is usually discovered after I get out of my means and see my circumstances from one other angle. That information I used to be ready on? I didn’t get what I wished, however what was actually stunning was that afterward, I used to be relieved. It was as if I knew as quickly as I didn’t get it that it most likely wasn’t good for me anyway – type of like passing up a quick meals restaurant on the best way dwelling from an extended day and consuming leftovers within the fridge as a substitute. Life is fickle that means I assume. We lastly get all the things we’d like after we cease believing within the energy of all the things we wish.
Stuffy-nose and foggy from the flu, 13-year-old Annie fixated on the picture of the primary girl within the encyclopedia. On the time, it was the glamour that drew me to her story – all that Chanel, Givenchy, the yachts, and the Schlumberger bracelets. As I write this, I once more have a stuffy nostril, solely now it isn’t the glitz that grabs me. After the encyclopedia’s publication, Jackie would go on to reinvent herself time and again, even beginning a publishing profession in her late forties. That unabashed center finger at what tried to knock her down is what impacts me as we speak. Stoic in her black veil, big sun shades, conserving what was non-public, non-public, shoulders again, and wearing head-to-toe resilience. That was her actual legacy.
A number of verses carried me this 12 months, however one I returned to time and again: “She is clothed with energy and dignity; she will be able to chuckle on the days to come back.” (Proverbs 31:25) I is probably not clothed in Chanel, however I’m dressed within the garment of a survivor. I don’t at all times get what I would like, however I do get what I want after I want it. God has by no means let go of that promise, and for that, I’m full of pleasure for what’s to come back. You’re a survivor too. We’ve gotten this far, associates. Anybody who tells us to show again has clearly by no means learn a “Okay” encyclopedia.