A few years ago, my dad discovered Pinterest. The cornucopia of possibilities entranced him: knock-off Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscana recipes, ill-fated crafting projects, the occasional misdirected decorating idea. But one online offering really got his goat: memes.
It became a regular activity to visit my family and have an iPad shoved in your face with an endless scroll of memes he had been gathering since the last time we visited. He created boards on his Pinterest account dedicated to various family members, artfully crafted for each person’s sense of humor.
I’ve seen my parents a scant two times in 2020 – once on a freezing hotel patio covered under 5 blankets and another cautious visit to my hometown. Without an outlet to display the memes he proudly hunted down this year, we’re now welcoming the occasional text of his favorites.
Thinking it’d be fun to write some reactions to his meme du jour, here’s the latest meme + my thoughts. Enjoy!
A new way of living. A new approach. In an effort to recalibrate our very breath, the aspect of a “previous normal” has also been established. I’ve read thought pieces upon personal essays on how the previous aspect of “normal” wasn’t working to begin with. Why pursue a new one? Gather ye rosebuds, streams of water, a stray fox – life is brief, but our lives are longer. How do we now want to live? Where do we want to be wild?
The verbal Olympics to brand life in a pandemic has resulted in tiresome phrases being tossed around like pennies in a well. A new normal, we wish on cheap metal, hoping not for something new – but for it all to go back to the way it was. I’ve spent days, wrapped up in blankets and endless scrolling, wondering where I’ve gone wrong, where I’ve supported the normal. I laid my narrow point of view next to my sleeping dog, filled with shame and regret.
I know this is unprecedented. I know that we’re just surviving. I know these moments will be ones our children’s children will read about in large history books and wonder what it was like. To risk exposure of a deadly virus to fight for Black lives, to know that the exchange rate was worth it. To realize as a country that the weight of existence has fallen on those who get paid the least. To tell mothers that they must work and parent and clean and cook all at the same time and be ok with it.
May normal never come to rest on our shores again. May the aspect of normal be so eradicated and ancient that “new” seems endlessly silly. May you rise up to meet the enlightened version of yourself after you realize that normal is not what you strive for. May you relish in the prismatic reflection of the world around us.
I read a while ago that a certain type of shrimp can see more colors in the world that humans could never dream of. They have extra rods and cones that fill their beady eyes, manipulating the light waves of the world around them, resulting in ten times more color. Can their brains interpret these shades? How is the amplified rainbow of their world?
This year is changing our light waves. To the ones paying attention, using a flashlight on the shadowy corners we wanted to ignore before. Extra cones implanted in our beady eyes. A new dawn is on the horizon, illuminating the jagged peaks and deep valleys, bathing over my face. Do you feel it? Etched in gold, beyond those riverbeds, begging you to come and feel the rising tide for yourself.
This is our new normal, to never say that word again.