2016 was a year of pain for the most of us. No matter where you came from, what you believed in, or what you loved, our capacity for pain was tested. From terrorist attacks across the country to the deaths of our most beloved celebrities we were forced to think about how all of these tragedies made us feel. Millions of people were torn apart this past year by differing beliefs, but millions more were brought together.
Those we lost.
In 2016 we found refuge amongst our fellow citizens of the world. We fought racism, terrorism, justice for Native Americans, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, climate change denial, and so much more. We comforted each other when our favorite childhood stars passed away. When the people we look up to who we thought were invincible made their way back to the stars. Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Leonard Cohen, the list (unfortunately) goes on and on.
We took these deaths very personally; finding companionship through those who shared our same fandom regardless of who they were. We watched as France, Syria, and Florida were attacked leaving us shocked and desperate for ways to help those who felt so far from our reach. We stood together fighting for “Black Lives Matter” and Standing Rock Reservation. We found ways to protest without violence to spread the importance of equality and kindness. We started having an open conversation on rape culture and mental illness. We educated ourselves on the past so we can fight to not repeat history. The movement for healthy and clean living grew along with an understanding of Climate Change and the importance of keeping our Earth safe. We were reminded of the long fight we have ahead of us towards equality when America’s President Elect came into power.
Look on the brighter side
The easy thing to do is to resent 2016. Be angry at all the pain and setbacks it caused us and hate the people who chose to be ignorant and cruel. Instead we can be grateful for how we came together despite the pain we feel. How we chose to fight for what we believe in and spread our knowledge. We can instead be kind to our neighbors and forgive 2016 for the wrongs it made. We can take ownership for our actions and go into 2017 with a hopeful heart. We will continue to fight for freedom and equality and we will kill them with kindness. We will create more art to make those who have passed proud and inspire those of the future.
Most importantly we will continue to believe in people and the good they can do. The only way to win this fight is to continually choose love over hatred – to forgive, learn, and be aware of the feelings of those around us. Thank you 2016 for showing us how strong we are and that we can indeed survive anything that is thrown at us. Here’s to 2017 that will be probably filled with disappointment and pain but more importantly filled with hope, unity, and love.