We are finally coming to the end of 2020 which has felt like the longest and shortest year of my life.
Looking back at the year has been bittersweet as I have achieved quite a lot this year despite all that has happened but it has been a very painful year for many, me included. This year, I have felt like I have taken 10 steps forward and then 100 steps back every day especially in regard to my mental health. The fact that we survived and we are here breathing is a huge reason for celebration and gratitude.
Take a quick look at all that was achieved this year:
Does anyone else remember coming into 2020 saying “This will be the year of 2020 vision,” or “2020 is going to be my year?” I know I do. It really was a year that we never could have planned but, for me, it ended up being the year that I needed, the year of 2020 introspection.
It is fair to say that January through to mid-March were pretty amazing – apart from the Australian fires, Trump almost beginning WW3, the death of Kobe and Gigi, and the death of Caroline Flack. My dad and I were on BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer, my family performed at the Oscars pre-gifting Lounge, I attended London Fashion Week and the X Terrace Hat Week preview event, we held auditions for the Oxfordshire Youth Awards, and then the world stopped… 23rd March is a day that I think will be etched into our minds for a long time. But it was on 16th March, when I was at the X Terrace event at the Shard that things started to feel a bit weird. That was the last time I went to London and was the last week I had a job. It is amazing how quickly things can turn around.
Lockdown and isolation meant that we all became extremely grateful for those that have always been amazing, the NHS, Care workers, and key workers! We all tried to hold onto little pieces of normality as we clapped on Thursdays. Many events got cancelled and postponed including the Oxfordshire Youth Awards – at the time, this broke my heart – London Fashion Week, Monaco Grand Prix, etc. I went into a state of creative overdrive which means that I was creating content to survive meanwhile my mental health was suffering drastically. For about 3 weeks, I felt this deafening feeling of numbness which was very uncomfortable and lead me to go back to some very dark patterns of thinking. We thank God that he helped me to get out of that situation.
After being in that rut for a bit, anxieties were still high but I was in a position to try and create for purpose. I believe 2020 was the time when I started creating content that actually mattered. From promoting new businesses to celebrating those who needed uplifting to talking about Black Pound Day to talking extremely openly about racism in school, I really didn’t hold back. The combination of the consecutive murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd ignited a passion for advocacy that has always been there but I became increasingly vocal about injustices.
I remember being so frustrated, broken, and upset about the vile racism that raised its head, I remember the tears falling like the blood that has been shed over the last 400 years, I remember the fear of being cast out because I was too outspoken physically leaving my body. I was able to use my voice to speak at the Black Lives Matter protest in Oxford and then subsequently make a short film expressing all my sorrows about how black people have been denigrated for far too long.
Despite this year being a terrible one, it gave us all the time to sit with ourselves and see the best and worst in ourselves and others. We saw some businesses, initiatives, and people step up such as Waad Al-Kateab, Marcus Rashford, Sinéad Burke, Captain Sir Tom Moore, and Dabirul Islam Choudhury. We also saw the darkness of Racism, Femicide, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia, greed, abuse, assault, and corruption rise all around the world and in business, governments, and the fashion and entertainment industries as well. The duality of light and darkness rising as been stark.
Personally, this year has allowed me to do more than I could ever imagine. From co-hosting and producing a podcast, making a Black Lives Matter Miniseries, becoming an editor of Collective Conversationz, creating 2 short films, working with both Papyrus UK and Choose Love, it has been a remarkable year productivity-wise. This year has also taught me to be proud of myself regardless of views, likes, praise, or any other validation. I will not lie, I was disappointed at the time after putting in months of work to create something to get little response. I grew to realise that the feeling of frustration of natural, however, I had to push past it and keep doing what I do best because one day, I will get to the places that I would like to be in.
As I said at the beginning of this article, 2020 has really been the year of 2020 introspection. It has required me to look deep within myself and look at my mental health, look at my real passions, look at my heart and what it was saying to me, look at what God was saying to me.
On Instagram, you may hear me talking about seeing silver linings in everything. It may seem like a flippant comment if you do not know me well, but seeing the best in things and people and holding onto hope is how, I believe, I have remained sane.
I have also had to look into the darker parts of myself and confront those feelings, thoughts, pains, and traumas. It has not been easy but I am grateful to be alive. Every day felt like I was taking 10 steps forward and then 100 steps back. From being in a job that sapped me of creativity, joy, and passion, to losing that job. Then only being creative in the areas that I wanted to be, to having no money at all, to going back to my first ever job: it has been a rollercoaster. I feel like I am back at square one but sometimes you need to be humbled before you can build towards greatness.
I beyond grateful to God for keeping me alive and for allowing me to realise the following things: I am worthy of love, there are things to be grateful for every day and God will never let me down. I know 2020 has not been the year, but it is the year that we got. Whether you were able to accomplish all you wanted to or if you survived this year, I am ridiculously proud of you. I hope and pray that you will be a safe and blessed 2021. Something cool will be coming for you in January. 18/01/21 to be precise…