Bring it, 2021.

I think it’s safe for me to say that everyone had a shitty year. We lost many greats and were exposed to many horrible leaders. Some of our favorite icons lets us down, while others inspired us. Our nation is not only divided politically, but morally. We saw how our morales intertwined with our politics. Simply put, we have politicalizes things that shouldn’t be political. Moreover, we saw how people are emotionally unstable especially during quarantine.

In a year filled with misfortunate, I can easily say that I am very privileged. I don’t have to worry about job security or paying my rent. However, COVID-19 still made it a pretty shit year. But, I want to take a step back from the all the horrible-ness and look back at what kept me emotionally stable. Hopefully, they will be there for me this year as well.

Please, enjoy my cheezy post and be safe.

Therapy.

I started therapy too late in my life. After a very personal moment that nearly shattered me emotionally, I decided to seek help. I needed to figure out if I had depression and/or anxiety. So at 24 years old, I embarked on a journey of self-reflection. And, I’m currently still on this journey. From family drama to professional struggles, my therapist helped me discover that I can handle anything. Failure won’t bring me down and I don’t emotionally depend on anyone. I am very fortunate that I can continue working with the same therapist over web chat. Thank all the Hindu goddesses for that!

Therapy not only kept me emotionally stable, but inspired me to keep working on myself. It confirmed that I am not perfect and shouldn’t strive for perfection. Rather, I should embrace all aspects of myself. Also, I need to stay away from self-destructive behavior. Once I shed all the unnecessary emotional turmoils, I found that I had more time for other activities. More importantly, I had the emotional endurance to handle every single obstacle that comes my way.

Stacey Abrams.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected, I felt the sudden urge to be more political. I set goals for myself: register for every election, vote in every election, and encourages others to do the same. When Biden-Harris announced their ticket, I immediately started volunteering by phone-banking.

“Oh,” one of my friends said, “you’re one of those now.” Those being phone-bankers. It was nice to get out there and remind people to check their registration. When Biden-Harris won, I felt that some of my work paid off. But, let’s be honest, it was Stacey Abrams who saved America.

Stacey Abrams (image from Twitter)

By exposing voter suppression, her team was able to make sure all the votes were counted in Georgia. Abrams restored some faith in the democratic process. I don’t know what we would do without her. Thanks, girl!

My Friends and Family.

We couldn’t see each other in person that much, but we made the most of it. From video chats to endless text chains, my friends and I were able to stay in-touch as much as possible. Although we couldn’t check on each as often as we wished, we still had each other’s backs.

My sister and I enjoying the Sand Dunes.

My sister and I stayed in constant video contact. Even though she’s mad at me for moving to place where she has to buy a plane ticket to visit me, my sister made it a point to check in on me. She never wanted my loneliness to define my opportunities here in Alamosa. My cousins arranged virtual family reunions so none of us felt disconnected. My beautiful extended family agreed that we took our large reunions for granted and never appreciated the time we had together.

Mommy Got Vaccinated.

Almost everyone in my family is in the health care profession. They are either doctors or doing COVID-19 research. Our family recently lost one of our pillars to COVID-19. That lost made us lose hope. But, then the vaccine came. And, seeing my family get vaccinated brought tears of joy. Especially, seeing my mom get vaccinated.

Superhero

Earlier this year, I wrote a very short story about my mom. As a pulmonologist, she was on the frontline treating COVID-19 patients. My mom not only made sure her family was safe, but ensure the safety of the entire hospital staff. She updated herself constantly on the virus and implemented as many safety procedures as she could. In her spare time, mom found safe ways to visit me.

Mom is truly a superhero.

Vicious Puppies.

When I told people that both my chunky Labrador retrievers were moving with me, I was met with shock and disbelief. However, it was the best decision of my life. My boys love me like no other. If I had no pets, I would go crazy. Sheru and Ruger made my house feel like home. Without them constantly demanding attention, I could easily see my mind drifting to dark places.

Ruger and Sheru

Ironically, being a single-dog-mom of two boys taught me about work-life balance. Because of the pandemic, many doggie day cares were closed. Also, I didn’t know many people here who could check in on my boys when I had long work days. So, I had to manage my time. If I decided to work late in my home office, Ruger could disturb me with a toy. He constantly reminded me that it was okay to take a break. And, my anxiety shouldn’t get the best of me. By focusing on my dogs, my mind got a break from the constant fear of screwing up.

My Plants.

Like many others, I decided to take up gardening! Specifically, I spent my time indoor gardening. My plants, like my doggies, are my little babies. I enjoy watching them grow and lighting up my rooms. Obviously, I have a long way to go. But, so far, I am doing a pretty good job. I’ve only killed two succulents (progress). Planting also taught me to be more patient. I am not waiting for immediate results but enjoying the process of watching something grow. You should all try it!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Listen, I am not good at a lot of things. But, I am fucking fantastic at Animal Crossing. I’ve been a fan of this video game franchise since I was a child. So, New Horizons got a lot of my attention this year. My island, Pawprint, has a 4/5 star rating! I’ve unlocked many features and enjoyed all the updates. Animal Crossing is a game that requires a lot of patience. Although you can time jump, I have not like I did in previous versions of this game. Instead, I am enjoying participating in all the activities my island has to offer.

Playing Animal Crossing is like eating comfort food. It’s so familiar to me. The game for sure contributes to my homebody personality and charm. It help me come to terms with having to be alone in this quarantine. And, that there is nothing wrong with being alone. If you are happy with yourself, then you can be alone for awhile.

Alamosa.

As a woman of color, I naturally had many reservations when accepting my placement here. However, the job opportunity was one I couldn’t pass. Being in a small public defender’s office gives me undivided attention and room to spread my wings. I am basically everyone’s little baby in the office. Although COVID-19 limits my interactions with my co-workers, I don’t feel like I have no one to help me. Many of them have gone out of their way to not only supervise me but also be my friend.

When the Hindu holidays rolled around, my friends threw me a little Diwali party. And, it was one of the best Diwali parties ever! We danced, ate great food, and I mansplained Hinduism. Luckily, Alamosa gave us great weather that day. Moreover, Diwali was one of our many outdoor hangout sessions. Without these social interactions, we all probably would have gone crazy.

When outdoor fire pits were banned so we had to get creative.

Furthermore, I love being a public defender in this crazy small town. My job gives me meaning and purpose, which makes me happy. Yeah, there are tough days but I always get up every morning with a purpose. Also, everyone around me inspires me to be the best PD. I can’t complain too much.

Exercise.

I recently joined a gym but don’t go as often because of COVID-19. However, my mental health demands exercise! Without it, I get crazy sad. My protocol is simple: wear a mask and maintain distance. Fortunately, my gym has many large rooms where I can space out. If I see too many cars in the parking lot though and a few people not wearing masks, I go home. Somedays, exercise isn’t worth getting COVID-19.

Art.

I can confidently say that I use all of our family’s streaming service. I love watching movies and TV, especially trashy TV. My job can be a lot. There are days where I don’t want to speak to anyone for several hours. Instead, I want to get lost in other people’s stories (preferably, not criminal law related). I did watch a lot of reality TV but I also craved new compelling content. Rather, than rewatching a TV show I’ve seen a million times, I actively looked for new content. From classics to unknown gems, my watchlist consists of a variety of compelling stories.

However, streaming great movies made me miss going to the theater. Luckily, there was a drive-in movie theater nearby, but it’s seasonal. Once that closed, I had to resort to my streaming services. I genuinely miss getting ready to go see a movie. Getting out of the house, meeting up with people, watching a movie on the big screen, then discussing it over a meal of unhealthy food. It was one of my favorite pass times. Hopefully, COVID-19 won’t force everything onto streaming and we can go back to the movies.

Support local bookstores.

Moreover, I bought more books in different genres. I started reading more political and horror books. Quarantine allowed me to expand my mind and explore different aspects of my imagination. The more content I consumed, the more I felt the urge to focus on my own creative writing. Getting lost in a good story is a great way to relax. It also inspires me to journal more. This allows me time to reflect.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols.

Of course, I would not be here without these protocols. From distancing to mandatory mask laws, I have complied with all of them to ensure the safety of the community. Mask laws were not implemented as a loophole to go out to high risk areas. Rather, they exist to protect us if we need to go out to get the essentials. Hopefully, many of us learned how to be mindful of our actions. Simply put, we all learned that our actions have some type of effect on others.

This year, I’ve seen many people using masks as an excuse to hang out at high risk areas. However, hanging out in high risk areas still increases our COVID-19 cases. I understand that some people need to go out for their mental health, but we have to make small sacrifices for the collective need. Each of us played an important role in surviving this pandemic. From essential workers to the general public staying home, we all contributed. There are ways to hang out safely without increasing our cases.

I think everyone is trying to find some normalcy in this pandemic. Often, I hear, “I want thing to be back to normal,” or “I am just trying to live a normal life.” The pressure of returning to normal causes anxiety and discomfort. Frankly, nothing will ever be normal after this. COVID-19 universally affected everything. There is no going back after this. Instead, we have to move forward. Going back to normal means quietly accepting all the shit in the world that we luxuriously ignored. I don’t think we can go back to that. At least, I can’t. Rather, I think the mindset should be, “I want to get through this pandemic so I can start moving forward.”

Image from whbnews.com

2021.

Truthfully, I only have one resolution this year: get my vicious puppies to be less chunky.

2020 took so much out of me that I don’t feel the need to set impossible resolutions for this year. Honestly, the next few months will be hard as the vaccine is being distributed. Many will be against the vaccination while others will be deprived of it for awhile. I don’t want to be too hard on myself by setting too many goals for myself this year.

Yes, 2020 was tough. But, these hardships make us stronger. They offer a period of reflection that many of us don’t get. Please, take the time to be grateful of what you have and mindful of how this year will play out. We have a lot to look forward to but a lot of work ahead of us too.

Happy New Year!

That’s all I have for now. Fuck off 2020!

Published by Nikita Srivastava

a passionate feminist and social justice warrior who occasionally calls herself a goddess. She received her JD in 2019 and became licensed to practice law in 2020.

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