Serenity Sunday: Year of the Rat (Pt. 1)

Warning: Adult Language

Last week was my first work week of the new year. It was taxing, engrossing, and chaotic. At the same time, I enjoyed every minute!

It was as if God dropped me into it all at once to see if I meant everything I said about re-imagining assignments, high-impact work, and having agency.

One thing I am and have always been is a hard worker. And even though I clocked out on Friday with an unbearable headache, practically trembling from the duty and honor that comes with teaching and being in a position to impact and serve everyday, I still felt incredibly blessed.

According to Chinese zodiac, 2020 is The Year of the Rat. A rat year occurs every 12 years and a wood rat comes only once in a 60-year cycle.

Here’s what Google has to say about
The Year of Rat:

People born in the year of rat are generally born with the zodiac rat characteristics. They are believed to be very industrious and thrifty, diligent and positive. The Years of the Rat include 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, *1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032…

When I was a teenager, I learned from a Chinese calendar placemat in a restaurant that my birth year made me a rat. I was on a hot date in China Palace with Keith, my then-boyfriend-now-husband, and there it was, plain as day, on the placemat… I even moved the bottle of soy sauce to make sure I was reading it correctly and it was indeed clear: 1984, Rat.

I remember thinking how wrong they were….Rats were awful. Not adorable. Not only that, I was terrified of them!

In my younger years, I unknowingly stepped on a dead rat at my grandad’s house out in Walthall county. I can still feel the abnormal density of the rodent underneath my right shoe and the squishy sensation that took months to forget… For me, there was trauma around this whole rat idea.

How could I…be a rat?!! Teenage me on the hot date in the L.E.I. jeans was disgusted.

But back then, I didn’t know how high the rat ranked on the Chinese lunar calendar. I didn’t know that in Chinese culture, rats are the most diligent and that “people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous.

All I knew is that here, in America, rats were nasty as shit…and when I was a little girl, I stepped on one!

According to China Highlights:

“Women born in a Rat year have quick minds and dexterous hands, and are able to learn anything. They are always considerate of their families and friends.

People born in 1984 are wood rats.

“They are quick-witted, resourceful, and smart but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well.

Now that I’m a whole adult, I understand what the Chinese mean. Culturally speaking…

I’m totally a rat!

And honestly, although I am very confident in general, I do lack courage.

It’s like, how… sometimes I know what I want to say, but I don’t want to make things awkward or come off as an arrogant know-it-all. So, I fall back.

Or. There’s an opportunity to apply for a writing residency that would require me to be away for several weeks, and of course, I fear the thought of being away from my family. That, and the fear of seeming selfish by leaving them. So, I don’t pursue the opportunity.

And then there’s a recent real life scenario that involves me being in my kitchen– a few days before Christmas and the new year– making breakfast when I slowly turn around to see the thing I fear most in the world… a fucking rat running in my direction…

If you’re interested to see where this story goes (and trust me, it’s definitely going somewhere), be sure and read next week’s Serenity Sunday on TheWriteAddiction. 👀

Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.

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