Obituary to 2020


The year that will forever be immortalized in history books as the year the human race lost their shit.

Corona, police brutality, and protest, all things our children will eventually learn but never experience the way we did.

They’ll never know the fear of having to go outside and wonder “will this invisible virus eventually get me? Is this mask enough to protect me?”

They’ll never know the anxiety people of color felt when they stepped out the door and thought, “will I make it back home tonight? Will I live to see another day?”

They’ll never know what it’s like to be on lockdown for 3 and a half months.

It may sound like 2020 was bad, but it really wasn’t, if it weren’t for the lockdowns I wouldn’t have been able to experience the love of my family.

I wouldn’t have been able to learn how to cook my family’s favorite recipes.

I wouldn’t have been able to advance on my clarinet skills more.

I wouldn’t have been able to escape to the far off worlds of Marvel.

Worlds where people fly in suits made of metal.

Worlds where teenagers with radioactive spider powers swing from building to building on the streets of New York.

Worlds where Norse gods could destroy towards with a single throw of a hammer.

Worlds where the only problem wasn’t a pandemic, or police brutality, or racial injustice, it was a purple man with a glove and 5 stones threatening to destroy the world.

That’s what we thought 2020 was supposed to be.

It was supposed to be the year where the world turned into the Marvel Universe.

Where’d we have flying cars and hologram phone calls.

But it wasn’t, and that’s okay.

Maybe this is a test? To see if we humans are ready for the 2020 we imagined in our heads.

That this is all just some trial to see if we’re good enough for all the rewards we’ll soon reap.

If it is, then I hope I pass.

If it’s one thing I want to take away from 2020, it’s that if I survived this year. I must really be strong.

Isabel R., 16, is part of the Teen Writers Studio program at 826chi. She also submits stories on the social storytelling site Wattpad.

What made you write your poem, and how does it relate to your experiences during the pandemic?

I honestly didn’t want to write it at first, I’m not too fond of poems and stay away from them but when I was in the program of Glorious Poetic Rage with 826-Chi, they gave us the prompt to write about our experiences in 2020. I didn’t want it to be sad and mournful, I wanted to highlight the good parts that the pandemic had to offer like being able to grow with my family.

What do you want people to know about what you’ve endured this year?

Honestly, I was scared out of my mind when I found out about COVID-19. I can’t count the number of times me and my mother went to the store to buy up masks, food, and water like it was the zombie apocalypse. I remember the first month I didn’t leave my house at all, I was honestly scared of what would happen. But as things progressed I began learning that if I just wear a mask and be socially distant I’ll be okay. Sometimes I would forget the virus was there when I’m in my home just watching TV and talking with friends like there wasn’t a virus at all. But I had to remind myself that it’s still there and I need to be safe. Sure things look bad now but it’ll be okay… that I’m sure of.

Between COVID-19, police brutality protests, job loss, parents and students working from home, there’s been a lot happening in 2020. Can you share a little bit about how your life has changed or been directly affected?

I remember when the death of George Floyd, may he rest in peace, for the first part of class that week all we talked about is how we felt watching that video and what we think America can do to change and protect our African American men and women. And trust me, we can change A LOT to help protect our African American woman and men. Thankfully, my mother has stayed at home before the pandemic began and especially during due to the fact she has the pre existing condition of diabetes. Also thankfully, my father didn’t lose his job but my heart goes out for all the families who lost their jobs this year. Not going to lie, being a junior in High School and doing it all online isn’t easy. Even though my school work was primarily online way before the pandemic began, it’s a little difficult balancing school work and fun, especially with the pandemic. But with everything I’ve learned this year I’ve been able to handle it and I’m getting used to the pandemic life.

How has writing helped you this year?

Even before the pandemic, since 8th grade I’ve spent my days writing stories on my computer. This is the first time I’ve ever written a poem before. Writing stories about far off places and worlds makes me forget the one we live in right now. It provides me with the relief of being able to control everything and being able to write about magic I’ve never seen in this world. Romantic love from a significant other that I haven’t had ever (except from my parents and sis and family but I think you know what I mean). Epic battles that I never would have dreamed of happening yet when I open that document the worlds flow out of me. So pandemic or no pandemic, I’m still gonna write and no virus can take that from me.

What do you hope a post-COVID world will look like?

I would say normal but our world was never normal in the first place so let’s say… better. I just want the world to take a good hard look at what happened and say “we need to make this better. We need to do better.”

Anything else you want to say about your piece?

I’ve never written a single poem in my entire 16 years of being alive on this earth and somehow it won first place. Holy crap. 2020 man, life’s crazy… that’s all I gotta say.

Princess McDowell is a poet, writer and journalist from Dallas, Texas, and Rebellious Magazine's Special Projects Editor. She's also a cohost of the Feminist Erotica Podcast. As a writer-in-rebellion,...