• Céline Peterson

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021: A day that we all knew would be historic. A day that we all knew would be important to so many for a plethora of reasons. But to express such an overabundance of emotions that I couldn’t feel coming, shows me how truly numb I have been for so long, especially this last year. I believed whole heartedly that I was tuned in and feeling everything as one would be expected to, but I know now after the events of this morning and the vibrations of hope, excitement, warmth, gratitude, and relief that are now surging through my body at a rapid pace, that I was subconsciously only allowing myself to feel a fraction of the emotions that my heart and mind needed to feel. I have genuinely been numb for months and I had no idea. But today, as I sat at home in my bed with my eyes glued to the television, a cup of coffee in my hand, my dogs in my lap, and the fresh air coming through my window, I realized that aside from everything else that this day represents, the woman being sworn in today represents me. I can see myself in her. I can see my nieces in her. I can see my friend’s daughters in her. I had previously been unaware of how much seeing myself in Vice President Harris in this moment would mean to me. This is monumental. Of course, today marks the start of a new day. One with hope, science, humility, kindness, truth, compassion, and civility at the forefront. Our President spoke as a human being. He once again denounced White Supremacy with conviction and vowed to serve all Americans, even those who do not in any way support him. He promised honesty, and I believe him. But for me, as I stated previously, today is about Vice President Harris.

Another shining star today is United States Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, who stood proudly on the steps of the Capitol and recited one of the most profound and beautiful works with strength, dignity, and grace, and left me absolutely breathless. At an astounding 22 years old, Amanda Gorman is the youngest Poet Laureate in US history, and today she, like Vice President Harris, showed little girls all over the world that their voices matter and can and will be heard despite any and all attempts to silence them. In Ms. Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb”, she consciously spoke in a tone rooted in hope, but clearly had the goal of reminding all Americans that there is work to be done, truths to be acknowledged, and changes that must be made. I encourage you to take a moment and watch/re-watch her historic moment in today’s inauguration:

Today is about allowing myself to feel the tons of weight that have been lifted off my chest. Today is about celebrating the end of a horrifying era. Today is about taking a moment to feel any and all emotion that we need to feel, raising a glass, breathing deeply, screaming, crying, laughing, clapping, dancing, resting, and just doing whatever it might be that we feel we must today, for tomorrow there is much work to be done. Tackling the years of work ahead of us will take the help of each and every American citizen who believes in what that country actually represents. I am proud to be one of those citizens who is prepared to do what I can. For the first time in years, I am able to state that I am proud of this Citizenship and it feels great. I am a proud young Canadian-American woman of colour, who today, is reminded that there is indeed light at the end of the darkest tunnels. Take it in, friends. Enjoy this moment.

-Céline Peterson

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One year later. As I write this, I find myself sitting in the exact same spot that I was last year on this day, staring out the open window with the cold breeze coming through. The difference? Last ye