This year has been one of brokenness, a time to inwardly retreat as we outwardly forge forward in this calamity of a year. 2020 has reeled me into some of the darkest recesses of my mind, revisiting dark, melancholy possibilities I hadn’t entertained in years. When I recall some of our major incidents, it sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie that my middle schoolers might drum up: rumors of World War III, a global pandemic, murder hornets, racial and cultural injustice, not to mention election allegation outcries. Combining this with some very personal family struggles–emergency surgeries, chemos, mental fatigue, financial instability, and general seclusion–this has surely been the hardest year of life yet.
There were countless moments where the bad overwhelmingly outweighed the good. While this is the time of year when people generally craft New Year’s resolutions, I think it’s necessary to acknowledge that I don’t know what’s coming next, and that at this point I need to just pause to acknowledge what I still have during a year of so many have-nots. Reflectively, it’s the seemingly menial, everyday things have stepped in to show their might and get me through these last few months:
–The family and friends who stick through it all. This year forced me to pry open my introverted shell to reach out to those who truly matter, whether through socially distanced visits, Zoom, Facetime or text. It’s made me realize who truly cares about me and who I truly care about, and also who I wish to keep more at surface-level.
–The concept of saving, be it mental energy, money, or time. I’m realizing it’s not about spending just because I can or getting the most work done because I have to, but also to heed my inner voice, to do what’s necessary without being excessive in terms of work, play, or even exercise. I’m slowly learning that just because my to-do list grows daily, I cannot help others unless I also help myself. My time, my life, and my resources are limited, and so I need to make sure I prioritize.
–Using my voice to speak up for others as well as myself. Months of being stuck at home has broken me away from a years-long routine that often left me exhausted and resentful: work, gym, grade. Work, gym, grade. Work. Gym. Grade. The pandemic has forced me to think about my reality as well as to dream what direction I would like to take from this present moment forward. There’s more to this life than what I realized pre-2020, and sometimes it takes a maelstrom to shake things up and force us to find a different way, a road less traveled. For me, it means finding different ways to help those around me, new ways that I hadn’t even allowed myself to consider before.
2020, you’ve been full of pain and strife. You’ve taken away so many wonderful people from us be it COVID or other disease, social injustice, or age. You have brought so many of us to our knees in these long, dark hours. But please know that you have not taken away our spirit, that we will emerge victorious and that whatever challenges you have thrown at us to make us fall apart will only make us stronger, banded together. So thank you, 2020–you ruthless son of a gun–for your level 10 of Jumanji, your fear-mongering and your empty threats. Please know that we know the best is yet to come.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.