A Note in 2020’s Yearbook

From Program Partner Colin McGrew

For those that know me, it may come as no surprise that I had a hard time choosing what to write about. Indecision runs deep in these veins! In fact, I just deleted a page-long document to begin writing this…which I only now realize I should have saved. You live and you learn and that is what this blog post is all about!

So 2020, the owner of the middle-school yearbook that you signed – “We definitely need to hang this summer! Keep it cool, C!” – knowing full well that you had no intention of hanging out with this person. In fact, they don’t have your phone number and you deliberately did not leave a trace of contact information on that inscription. I mean you didn’t even sign your whole name and maybe if you’re lucky someone will draw one of those cool S’s all over your vague message and that heavy sharpie ink will bury it without a trace. You know the one that kids drew all the time and everywhere for no apparent reason. They graced the back of desks, notebooks, and skin. A symbol of boredom, adolescence, and pure artistry if you ask me. Middle School antics aside, we cannot separate from our reality, nor what has caused it or what it will cause in the future. We have to learn, react, and move forward with the intention of doing better. So, here is a reflection of my own year, what it has meant to me and how it has set me up for the future.

Here is a non-comprehensive list of ways in which this year has shaped me. I celebrated my first year at Inclusive Communities and acquired more responsibility under my new role as a Program Partner. I lost my great-uncle to COVID-19 in April, a happening that firmly solidified the role that COVID-19 would play in my life this year. I got used to wearing masks in public and awkwardly slinking around folks to always be giving space. I voted in my second Presidential Election and for the first time, voted for seats here in Nebraska! I celebrated two years with my partner Julia and one year with our unlikely Border Collie companion Ryder. I learned how to work from home, forgot, learned again, forgot again. I discovered new trails and renewed my love for bikes and hatred for road rash. I was reminded and continually have to remind myself of my privilege, the systems and violence it perpetuates, and how to make it not about me while also working to address it. I saw Americans die at the hands of disease. I saw violence against many, rooted in anti-blackness, and a failure of systems, leaders, and communities in recognizing the problem with that. I ran. I supported my partner through her second year of medical school in any way that I could. I cried. I felt deep rooted fear. I canvassed. I got lost, in more ways than one. I laid down on my living room floor to be blanketed in music. I turned 23. I wrote this.

This year will perhaps always have an asterisk next to it that denotes the method these events were delivered, often virtually, alone, or from a distance. I mean I said goodbye to a loved one on a conference call with my close family, and sat on the line as they passed. The strangeness of that will never go away, nor should it. However, these happenings have shaped me and renewed my commitment to problems bigger than me. They have rooted more of my actions in the values that I hold dear, values that I continue to justify the ways in which I live, love, and learn. I am honored to be surrounded by so many folks that do the same. Thank you to all the people that supported me this year. The magnitude of the love I felt was anything but small.

Keep it cool,
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