Oh, 2017. While I love roller coasters, I do not like to be on one for an entire year. Your ups and downs, twists and turns, and loose safety buckles have my stomach in knots. Not in the “Ooh yeah! That was an adrenaline rush,” sort of way. More like, “Thank God! I survived what I was sure was going to be my untimely death from a heart attack,” kind of way.
You weren’t even one of the coasters that start climbing up some big glorious hill, getting to sneak a bird’s-eye view of the local land. Nope. You were that one ride in the whole amusement park that just takes off at ground level going 0-60 mph in 4 flat seconds, and you stayed that speed the entire time. Going as dangerously fast as you could take us through the drops of leaving our first president of color behind and picking up our first orange president along the way. The rise of the Women’s March all around the world was short-lived as the steep drop of the first attempt at the Muslim Ban. More drops and twists, then more drops and twists, and more drops and twists, you get the picture.
Along the ride we had little hills that were fun, but as hills go, for every climb, there was a fall. Alright, enough with the roller coaster comparisons.
Women were the champions of 2017, at least. Particularly, women of color. #MeToo, the Women’s March, Doug Jones defeating an accused pedophile, women reclaiming their time, women persisting none the less, and my personal favorite, the female nurse that called me to tell me my son doesn’t have a fatal muscle disease. ( I might be extremely biased on that last one.)
Speaking of my son. You were very unkind to him this year. Sure, you had small moments to celebrate, but I am not letting you off that easy. On Easter of all days, you shook our entire view of normalcy. Bain got really sick and he has yet to go back to normal. Now, his new set of specialists are looking at autism as his final diagnosis. Plus side: I never knew what good a church family can do for you in tough times until I depended on one. For that, thank you.
This was the year I put up with a lot of crap from a lot of people who I cherished in my life. Friends that left me behind. Friends that I had to leave behind. Many sleepless nights wondering where my boyfriend was, if he was at least alive. My sister didn’t make it to the car that was going to take her to a better way of living. A decision that created in me a need for my own healing.
We got to look up in the sky (hopefully with eclipse glasses on) and forget about all our troubles.
Some would say you are the year that the soul of a nation was tested. I say you were an apocalypse. You were a revelation, the big reveal of the festering, slithering hatreds that found their way out from under so many rocks. Of course, the stage was set for this reveal by your old pal 2016. But, it was you, that hate and fear was sworn into office. It was within you that little spoiled white boys grabbed their tiki torches, killed a young lady, and made a nation solemn. That was their neighbor’s kids. That was their favorite co-worker. That was their most behaved student when they taught high school. That was the KKK and Nazis. That was the big reveal. The start of younger generations living in a world only known by older generations. You will be known as the year people found out how they would have acted in Nazi Germany and Selma. Many might be surprised by their new-found courage, while many others found themselves shocked by their new-found cowardice. Meanwhile, Heather Heyer’s family found themselves surprised their daughter was killed by a white nationalist in America, 2017.
Let’s not forget your wild and crazy climate and weather disasters. Famines, life altering hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes. You were wild. In the darkness of your aftermath, we saw humans being humans. Little glimpses of hope wading through high waters and sifting through crumbled homes.
Las Vegas saw the deadliest mass shooting on record. They also saw super heroes dodging bullets to get complete strangers to safety.
You took Tom Petty. Tom Petty! Seriously? And do not even get me started on Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell. Chuck Berry, Bill Paxton, Mary Tyler Moore. Sam Shepard. The list goes on.
This was the year almost everyone marched, protested, picketed, wrote their public officials, and found home in online groups. People found hope, when really, most of you felt like all hope was lost.
I’m sure I’m leaving parts of you out. I think I’ve scolded you enough. I’m just ready to move on. We can finally part ways. I’m getting a new year. Her name is 2018. And she’s going to be glorious. It’s going to be the best year.
So, in leaving you behind, all I can say to you is