Year end reflections of a black woman

Everywhere around me I see parents gearing up.
Loading up with fumes of energy.
Getting ready to make yet another Christmas magical.

In the mist of a pandemic.
And the shadows of Black Lives Matters.
I see weary bodies straighten up.
Turn their cheek and stumble in the general direction of well, forward.

I look back on 2021,
I see incredible highs and spectacular lows.

I saw the world taking a pause,
we listened to the wind.
We felt the earth.
We had moments, long moments just for conversation.

I heard the silences,
and the tears.
I saw the solidarity,
and the applause.

The marches pounded in my soul,
and unleashed our voices.
We watched our words echo across the globe,
us Black People,
holding on to our humanity,
holding on to each other.

Some things changed forever,
Some things forever changed.

I look around now and hear the tiny voices of fatigue.
The backs bent.
The short breaths.
I know it well.

This year has left us tired.
A deep, latent, quiet tired that perseveres.

It doesn’t leave when we sleep, walk or play.
It hangs out when we cook, read and work.

This tired is clearly, decidedly here to stay.

I look at my tired in the eyes and continue to smile.
I continue to mother.
I continue to try.

Like my sisters out there,
we still create
we still engage
we take deep breaths to calm the emotions that rage.

we must,
keep living,
keep thriving.

We must look at this year,
look it in the eye and let it know,
we are still here.

Maybe a little shaken,
maybe a little worn down
but here.

It the glimmers of our daughter’s smile,
in the warmth of our son’s embrace,
we find hope.

In our sisterhood,
in our motherhood,
we find hope.

In those belly laughs
and silent prayers,
we find strength.

And tomorrow, you will find us here,
where we have always been,
as we will always be;
and beautiful.

By Emily Joof
By Emily Joof