It was a hell of a year. Where to even start?
The general mood of 2016 was a low one. I stopped using social media as much and started avoiding the news. I barely followed the American election, I felt numb after Brexit. But I have to try harder in 2017, we all do. Which brings us to what I think is the most important lesson from 2016...
- We can't sit back and do nothing.
I achieved lots in my personal life which took all my energy, but I know I need to put more energy back into the world, into helping and supporting others. I'm not entirely sure how, I'm not sure how we can, but doing nothing isn't an option. If you stay silent, you are on the side of the oppressor. I will be a better ally in 2017.
- We do not live in a post-racial world.
This is a pretty obvious one I think. I honestly wasn't surprised when Trump won the election, the racism was always there. Evelyn from the Internets spoke about this on her YouTube channel. Thing is, I know a lot of my readers are white women like me, I saw bloggers I know tweeting about how surprised they were about the election result. Yes, it's that bad, it was always there. Those of us who felt surprised felt so because of our white privilege. It doesn't personally or directly affect us. We need to shut up and listen to black and brown people, especially women, speaking up and help amplify their voices, but not step in front of them.
- Life is short.
We know, we know 2016 isn't really out to get us, there isn't a secret conspiracy to kill off our idols. But with all the deaths of iconic people, who meant so much to so many of us, it's hard to not be reminded of life's finality. Bowie, Michael, and Prince showed us there's no one way to be a man. Carrie Fisher was always standing up for those with mental illnesses. Muhammad Ali shone with black pride for many years, taking on the US government and opposing the war in Vietnam. WHY 2016 WHY?! Not to mention the 1000s killed in Syria or the black lives lost due to police brutality.
- People care.
OK, not all people care *wink wink nudge nudge* but people across the world care about important things. Or maybe things that seem unimportant to you, like some people really care about animals. We've seen Veganism become the fastest growing lifestyle in the UK this year, and with so many people taking part in Veganuary hopefully it'll keep growing in 2017. Even when some of us feel hopeless when it comes to tackling the patriarchy and racism, there are so many of us who do care. Even the little acts of kindness and support matter. So don't be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve and care, passionately, about whatever it is you care about.
- Women are fucking awesome.
Simone Biles, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Dwi Handa, Solange, Heloise Letissier aka Christine and the Queens, Nadiya Hussain, Shirin Gerami, Sian Williams, Winnie Harlow, Serena Williams, Issa Rae, Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Lisa Rochester Blunt..... need I go on??
What will you be taking away from 2016?