I am thankful.
Thankful for generations of activism that allows me to receive effective treatment (and not be disbarred) for having bipolar disorder.
Thankful for queer activists that continually make my life possible.
Thankful for loss that clarified my goals.
Thankful for the past and future struggles that will make me who I am.
Thankful for friends, family, and friends that have become family.
Thankful to this terrible year for forcing me out of some relationships and into a more loving one with myself.
Around time last year, I arrived in Orlando, FL. to spend the holidays with my family. My brother Johnny picked me up at the airport and spent an hour trying to get me to see my relationship was unhealthy, that I needed to make big changes in my life. But I wasn’t ready to admit how right he was. A few months later, in pre-COVID February of our 2L year, I was sitting at a friend’s desk in the SBA office, crying.
“Jeremy, this sounds like abuse.” My friends put it bluntly, honestly. Everything Johnny said a month earlier came flooding back into my mind. Like my brother, my friends and colleagues cared about me enough to say the hard, honest truth.
They said what I needed to hear rather than what I wanted to hear. That is caring. That is love.
I am thankful for love.
With my family’s emotional support back in Orlando, FL, and my friend’s logistical support in Queens, NY, I was able to finally go through the major changes I needed in my life. I broke out of an unhealthy cycle, got through the worst of the first wave of COVID, and began to move forward into a new, healthier chapter in my life in a new borough.
I’m not sure what the rest of 2020 will bring, but all the change I had resisted in 2019 but was forced to except in 2020 wound up getting me to a much better place – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am a better person because of everything that happened in this unpredicted, unpredictable year.
I hope to enter 2021 without losing anyone I love to COVID, but besides that, I am trying to embrace the new year with a willingness to accept the changes it will bring. That was my biggest lesson of 2020, to be open to change.
This year, I am most thankful for change.