inspired by a tweet

Like most people who have Twitter, I find myself scrolling quite aimlessly sometimes, thumbs moving from the bottom of my screen to the top and back to the bottom again, only diverting this rhythm to tap the heart or cycle icon. Most of the time (at least this year), there’s a(n) (un)healthy amount of doom scrolling: COVID and capitalism and climate change and leaders being complacent and and and [fill it in, you know?]. It’s enough to numb the nerves as we move from day to day, week to week, month to month, and the end of a year.

Every once in a while, there’s a tweet that will catch me at exactly the right time. A cycle in my brain changes as I fixate on each word, reading it over and over again until I feel myself wake out of a slumber that mindlessly scrolling can turn into. This time, the tweet is by @brownroundboi and it reads:

“I’m not interested in 2021 accomplishments: Let me know how you need care. Tell me the ways your heart fell & still beats. Share how naps exhilarated you. Praise on how you said No & felt it in your marrow. Rejoice texts you left unread. How you slept in. Love, how did you rest?”

These words struck me in the gut. I felt everything. And so to end the year, I wanted to expand it and write my own.

I’m not interested in 2021 accomplishments. Purely making it through another year amidst so much death and dying, grief and despair, sadness everywhere, even with so many people not making it, will be labeled as an accomplishment. Simply making it to a point in the year where you have the opportunity to reflect on what a year it may have been is a privilege that so many don’t have. To accomplish is to be in competition with others or the self, to complete a set of tasks or a list of things that you’d set out to do. It’s a product of productivity, most of which I’ve been working to reframe: what if our lives weren’t defined by a list of things we got done? What if productivity didn’t equal worth or value of someone or something? What if work wasn’t framed this way? Don’t get me wrong: being proud of the things you’ve built, the life you’ve written, the things you did to get to the point where you feel like the best version of yourself, that’s okay. Encouraged, in fact. Own it. Name it and feel it all the way through. Celebrate it. My only hope is that it’s not to the detriment of your life and the people you love. It is not the basis of how deserving you are of every good thing.

Let me know how you need care. Let me know what care even means to you. Is it showing up, announced or otherwise, on your doorstep with Thai food? Is it being in the same room without speaking a word at all? Or is it reading something you wrote and highlighting my favorite lines? Is it writing you a letter to show you that the universe is listening? Knowing how you need to be cared for and communicating those needs to people who want to show up for you builds connections that you can’t see before taking the leap.

Tell me the ways your heart fell and still beats. Tell me how you might have had your heart broken by something reckless, someone who can’t see or hear or love you well. Tell me what it means to have a broken heart and what it might be teaching you. Tell me how you learned to open up wide despite everyone telling you not to or how you found a path you’re excited about when it comes to matters of the heart. Tell me everything I need to hear to know who you have been this year, who you might be today, or who you are hoping to be tomorrow. Tell me how you hope.

Share how naps exhilarated you. How sleeping and dreaming gave you life. How it helped you climb out of a hole you’ve found yourself in most days this year. Share what it means to be exhilarated by something so simple, so powerful. Give me your thoughts on a society that will try to sell you a self-care regimen that might not even work. Share something fiery and debilitating and honest. Share.

Praise on how you said No & felt it in your marrow. Praise on how “no” crawling out of your mouth to an unsuspecting set of ears made you somersault your way to feeling liberated. Show me how, inside of your bones, your inner child rejoices after having been told no for so long, it felt like a miracle when a yes came along. Show me how you broke a cycle of making yourself small to comfort the feelings of others, even though deep in your heart, a fire rages on. Praise all the ways you said no to things that are causing harm and said yes to things that help you heal, that help those around you heal.

Rejoice texts you left unread. Rejoice the ways your attention has been pulled in a thousand different directions and you chose peace. Rejoice with comrades in all the ways you stopped giving your attention to those who do not value you, who do not care enough to know what it means to love you well, and who do not see you as more than existing. You are fucking brilliant, my friend, and so so lovable. Rejoice.

How you slept in. Love, how did you rest? For good measure, show me all the ways you rested this year. Whether it be sleeping in or singing a slew of songs. Whether it be soaking in a tub with your eyes closed or writing a novel about all the people someone has loved. How did you rest? How did you redefine that word and let it manifest in your life? Love, how did you rest?

Inspired by @brownroundboi’s tweet, I have one of my own.

“I’m not interested in what you got done in 2021: show me what you read that changed your life. Tell me of the ways you changed your mind. Sing of the ways you wrote your way out of whatever it is that you’re going through and onto a page you might love. Show me your favorite songs and how you slipped into a rhythm dancing to them. Share how you managed a grief you once thought you might never make it through. Share how you made it through, how you still do, how you plan to. Share how you mourned a past life, a passed loved one, a self you no longer feel right inside of and how you want to change. Give me the reference lists of everything that has sat heavy on your shoulders and how you learned to let go, even when it hurt (especially when it hurt). How did you grow flowers? How did you give them to people who are still here? How did you come up short and try again? How did you love people well? How will you?”


Published by Robbie Williford

Writer from Flint, Michigan. Partial but slowly becoming. Educator. Storyteller. Bashful. Paying attention to the quiet.

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