As I stare at the back of 2021, ready to follow it into something new — whether that be good or bad, I can’t help but look back at a year that everyone labels as the worst year of their lives. I look back, right into its face with the privilege and blessing of hindsight, and I realize that 2020 was a very special year.
Now, I won’t pretend 2020 wasn’t the most traumatizing year for some of us. I won’t pretend my experience is universal or much different from the average person. However, my beloved Shoal, you’re all here and therefore you must be morbidly curious about where this is going. Still, in this, I won’t be so delusional as to focus on the positives only. Oh no. I need the negativity. I need all those catastrophes and disasters to be right here where everyone can confront them. That way, I can be clear and truly tell you the value of it all.
All around us, we have been forced to face harsh truths. Some we’ve never seen. Some we tried to pretend weren’t real, and some we already knew and shouted so loudly about from the beginning of our lives all the way to this crossroad. it was only when the truth spilled over into our homes, into our jobs, and into our families that suddenly we couldn’t pretend to be deaf, dumb, and blind. The schism those truths caused ran so deep that many of us fell in and can’t seem to climb back out. Meanwhile, others fight on either side of the gap over whether or not it’s their responsibility to do something at all, much less help. We’ve watched our leadership fail, our heroes fall, and our most treasured creators/influencers come out as only human and thus subject to selfishness, greed, and apathy. These are things that were backbreaking to some, and just dishearteningly expected to others. Yet, no matter what — new or old hat — it is still a suffering we have all witnessed and undertook. The disruption of our preciously currated normalcy in such a grandoise fashion is nothing to laugh at, even if it damn near feels satirical. Most of all, we’ve learned a hard lesson. We can no longer be solely individualistic. We’ve learned that in order to survive and to live, we have to take care of each other.
And that, my Squidlies, is where the truth of 2020 flooded my part of our shared universe with so much light! So much energy and so much power that it may as well been the abrupt eruption of a gama ray blast.
The sheer uncanniness of 2020 gave us something more valuable than we could ever know and probably never will fully appreciate. It gave us Quiet. In the aftermath of the blast, there was a pause. A pause in which people — for bette or worse — began to take deliberate action to cause change. Words caught fire in the homes, schools, and streets in a way we haven’t seen in a long while. There was a re-evaluation on what was and wasn’t valuable to us anymore. What made sense and what didn’t. The dissatisfaction. The upheaval. And then, the willingness to move forward, proving once again that when given the opportunity, we will not devolve into savagery. We will choose to make something happen. We will help. In the end, despite our stubborn and our detractors, we chose empathy.
I saw so many movements in kindness that it made much of the negativity, the lack of accountability, and the aggression in which people approach nearly everything seem like a few drops of rain in a tempest of forward motion. GoFundMes. Donations. Signal Boosting. This network of positivity. This beautiful display of what many will do, despite the few who won’t. This is the Face of 2020 that I am looking back at as I take tentative steps towards 2021.
This face was so often distorted by the widespread myth that if society breaks down, we become evil. Lost in the sea of disaster after disaster and the complancency of our leaders. But that face never went anywhere. It never changed or diminished. The true face of 2020 as a year, in its solidarity and empathy, can only be described in one word: Community.
Like all gatherings, there is hatred, lack of self-awareness, and sheer ignorance that can make things seem impossible and absolutley not worth it. It can’t be helped when so many different people occupy a space. Yet, here at the Cerebral Hedonist, in our small but growing shared universe, the sense of community has been strong. It formed, it spoke, and it bonded. It solidified itself by allowing for other stars, planets, and galaxies to become a massive collective with a mutual desire for more and better.
That is what The Cerebral Hedonist – the pursuit of intellectual pleasures — is meant to embody. That is what all of you who have given, participated, and shared have created for us. I thank you for showing us that in this most trying time, you are willing to be a solution and a quiet refuge. You all have given true value to what we are trying to do and what we are now starting to acheive. Doing our best and sticking to our purpose is truly what is most value and I’m happy to see you believe in it as much as I do.
So, I look into the battered, but kind face of 2020 and tip my chin as I turn my back with the memory of its smile imprinted on our universe. I keep it as I look to the back of 2021 and follow it into the next stage.
Join the discussions. Join the creations.
Be what makes storytelling so wonderful and so very integral to our success and evolution. Be with us and be a quiet sanctuary for any and everyone who needs it.
Be a part of the story.
Welcome to the Cerebral Hedonist… Let’s grow this universe together!
-Harli V. Park-