Mid-Morning Musings: Finding the Silver Lining Amid the Chaos of 2020

Dedicated to my late brother.

I woke up feeling unusually contemplative this morning. There was a slight chill in the air. The soft sounds of my cats’ snoring resonated around me while I lay in bed, staring at the glowing silhouettes of the twinkle lights upon my ceiling. The faint scent of smoke and ash lingered in the space around us. And in the midst of all this, the past year swam circles through my mind.

There has been such immense tragedy and turmoil within the confines known as 2020. When the year began, so many of us were looking forward to a brand-new decade; a fresh start and a clean slate from the previous decades’ despair and disappointments. Yet, little did we understand that within a mere few months, the world would become dark and filled to the brim with such incertitude. What was to be a new chapter of hope and inspiration quickly turned into a devastatingly brutal breadth of ugliness.

A pandemic swept the world, drastically altering our realities on how stable and prepared we all thought we were for such an intense event. Innocent people were lynched in the streets and in their beds by the very individuals sworn to protect us, creating a vehement uprising for contemporary civil rights. Many people still don’t understand the dire stakes of the movement and why it shouldn’t be snuffed out as nothing more than a passing social media phase, and how that has inadvertently led to and continues to feed into the grotesque political climate that plagues the United States. Well, it’s one of its sources of sustenance at the very least. The world has also lost so many incredible individuals. Individuals who had so much more left to give to the world; more inspiration, more hope, more representation of the discriminated and the demeaned, more life.

When does it all end? Will it end? And if so, how much more of our soul and our conviction shall it take with it before it finally does?

The more I pondered on what has come to pass thus far in 2020, the more I felt like folding myself into an insignificant little ball and disappearing.  The urge to step away from this reality, from this harsh present times, and even from the instability of whatever is to arise next is indescribably overwhelming. My tears from the fear of the future burn as they roll down my cheeks. My lungs ache with screams that are silenced by the arrival of the next tragedy. My mind is black with the burden of everything we’ve lost.

Then I thought of my brother.

“This is not the end of your story. If stories ended whenever the world was blanketed by catastrophe, there would be no hope for the people. There would be no magic in the air for us to continually reach out for. An ending brings about the tides of finality from which there is no return. No matter how fucked-up it all is, the story goes on. Life goes on.”

His voice resonated in the centre of everything like a beacon in a treacherous storm of debilitating despair. Logically I understand their meaning, but inwardly on an emotional and mental level, sometimes I want to laugh. My brother was an avid reader of Shakespeare and Poe, which if you ever sought him out for advice, became quite apparent in the way he’d speak to you. So, when I think about these words and the plethora of situations where he had to repeat them to me, I can’t help but feel that they are just as fantastical or fictional as the books I’m obsessed with. Even so, at the end of the day, no matter how miserable or discouraging or even unbelievable, he’s right.

The story goes on.

Yes, 2020 has been fraught with harrowing occurrences and Boss Man only knows what’s left to come. I don’t ever want to forget what has happened here. I don’t ever want to remember it as nothing more than a swirling leaf in my existence. Because it is very much a tide of finality in many ways. But I also don’t want this to be how I associate my clean slate, my fresh beginning, the dawn of a new chapter that comes with a pristine decade. This can’t be all that we write in the pages of the tale of 2020. As easy as it is to focus on those egregious travesties, it is not the way to truly move forward, even in the midst of uncertainty.

Each story, no matter how melancholy and calamitous, has its silver linings. There are moments that come together to form a mosaic of hope and inspiration; to craft a landscape of encouragement. Rather than ruminate hungrily upon the darkness, it’s important to concentrate on the joys that were overshadowed by it, no matter how tiny or irrelevant they may seem. Here’s a list of some of mine:

  • I submitted a short story for a writing contest for the first time and placed in the top 10%.
  • I wrote my very first author bio.
  • I established The Djinn Reader, which is a blog for #OwnVoices literature only, something I’ve been contemplating for the better part of a year.
  • I told my favourite author what her books meant for me on a deeply intimate level and it helped her in ways I never expected.
  • I started school, quit school, and then finally found my passion outside of writing, and started school again to pursue it, this time without worrying about “being too old” for my field of study. (You’re never too old to live, never ever.)
  • I discovered a new favourite fantasy book series, so much so that there’s a pleasant ache in my chest when I think about the very first-time I read it. The joy and the wide-eyed excitement are moments I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
  • I chose a new name that better represents my Nonbinary identity (reveal to come soon).
  • I found a new friend via blogging whom I cherish wholeheartedly. She’s such a breath of fresh air and her kindness makes me want to be a better person.
  • I began reviewing video games. They’re not popular posts, but they bring me a great sense of happiness and helped me to reconnect with one of my favourite passions.
  • I learned that my heart condition is treatable, and it shall allow me to live a long, healthy, and normal life; that I won’t die before I’m 35, like I initially believed.

When I put these pieces together, it creates a picture of determination and courage. This is the year where I finally learned to embrace opportunities instead of sitting in my bedroom too afraid to take a chance at life. It may not seem like a lot, but when the world is completely falling apart around you, consumed in the flames of anguish and ambivalence, standing up and taking that one small step can make all the difference.

So, yes, I lay here in bed contemplating about the tragedy and turmoil that has shaped the year of 2020. Yet, I also see the seedlings of promise that lay in the wake of these hardships and wreckage. The silver lining that shall bring about the tides of tomorrow. The story going on, one word, one line, one page at a time.

Where shall your story take you?

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5 thoughts on “Mid-Morning Musings: Finding the Silver Lining Amid the Chaos of 2020

  1. No one wants times like these. No one chooses them. There’s a lovely paragraph in the beginning of The Lord of the Rings where Frodo bemoans his fate to bear the ring and Gandalf has a talk with him that no one WANTS to actually be the hero and fight, or go through whatever struggle it is comes to them. If we knew ahead of time what we would face in life, we’d snuggle back into our mother’s womb and refuse ever to come out. And yet – every story is the hero’s tale with a story arc of life is good to something happens and it all falls to shit and we all work really hard so that … someday… life is all good again. And during all that struggle we learn, we grow, and amazingly have good times as well as bad, meet wonderful lifelong friends as well as horrible enemies (of many kinds, not just people but situations), and we grow and contribute and share and make our life better, and if we’re really lucky, the lives of others better, too.

    For some of us this is a 2nd round of civil rights activity, and it’s easy to look at where we are and cry over the things that haven’t changed in 60 years of activism, but if we truly look back, there HAS been progress (however grim it looks now – it really was even worse once in my own memory) even though we are still far short of our goal. Maybe this country, created with an invasion (called “discovery”) and near genocide of the native peoples and a cruel patriarchal government backing a greed based economy will never be able to reach a place of harmony, peace, equality, and compassion. I know I have my doubts.

    We each have our own abilities and talents and our role to play in the present and into the future. We can choose to be part of the problem, or part of the solution. We can spread love, beauty and harmony, or leap into the chaos of finger pointing, name calling, hatred and greed.

    And if all this was not enough swirling around us, we each have our own little personal cosmos. People we love. People we’ve lost. Our own health and health of our loved ones. “Small” dramas playing out each day in our immediate space and heart and mind and soul which often call on us to be the hero of our own story within this outer maelstrom.

    You are so strong, courageous, and beautiful. You are an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to many others.


  2. Don’t mind me, just crying. Beautiful posts! I’ve had so much of a similar experience because I’ve had an older brother pass away a long time ago. I feel like we lost a connection a little bit for a few years, but it’s been 7 years so I don’t know if I remember correctly. If there is one thing I learned from him, it’s too keep going no matter what. He never did despite all the trouble he had.

    • My brother was someone who always pushed others to keep going and fighting on even when he himself struggled with it a lot. I think people who understand deeply how challenging it is to keep living even when everything is screaming at us to just stop and give up understand better than others why it’s important to never give into those thoughts and impulses. He struggled with depression and loneliness a lot but because of it he made sure that we (our crew of chums) never felt that same ache that he constantly lived with. In many ways, he raised all of us.

  3. What a beautiful post! You really outdid yourself with this one. If this doesn’t bring a smile and a sense of hope to people who read it, I don’t know what will😊 Words seem to few to really comment on this, and pretty much anything I see feels to less, but all I can say is: well done, and let’s hope that the turning point for 2020 is finally coming for everyone. Because really at some point it must right? Posts like this serve as a great reminder to never lose hope and faith. Because really, there always IS a silver lining😊

    • Thank you so much. I’m glad it can help folx out there. It really is so easy to get lost in the darkness and the overwhelming negativity that seems to be swathing the world right now. But it’s important to make the effort to look beyond that negativity because contrary to popular belief, the darkness isn’t without its light. 🙂

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