Dear 2021,

Please don’t suck.

This is the simplest yet most complicated request to make, that I know, but most of us cannot take another year of such annihilating heartbreak, physically, mentally or emotionally.

I’m here to tell you of your predecessor’s harsh antics that smacked us all like an Asian mom on report card day; leaving us dumbfounded, ashamed and in search of a hiding place to avoid any further hurt. 2020 did not care about our feelings or how hard we tried, it wanted us to recoil and fear it, and was successful in its endeavors.

January and most of February followed the path to make 2020 “the year”. The year we would find our soulmates, get promotions, travel as if we really could afford it, to set the premiere year of the 2020s as an ultimate success. Though “the year” had other plans, a dark ruminating plot was on the brink of unfolding and what came of it was an abominable shit storm.

When we found ourselves thrust upon the fingertips of our new Covidian Era, no one knew what to expect. We did not anticipate the hardships that rushed towards us; millions of people losing their jobs at once, a rapid spread of a virus even our brightest and most experienced medical professionals didn’t understand, forced isolation by a thing that wasn’t even visible. What physical entity was there to blame? Not COVID itself. We couldn’t chastise it on social media, we couldn’t call anywhere to complain about it that would reach its epicenter. And yet something we could not see or touch made people fear for their lives and that fear became frightfully valid. If Birdbox wasn’t an omen I don’t know what else could’ve been. We went for months without seeing family or friends, hoping a Zoom call or a FaceTime session would replace the affection and company we were so equipped to experience. What could we do to stop the spread of this heinous poison?

One key thing we could not and did not do was rely on each other. The wobbly mindset of a joke of a leader spawned an even bigger rift between his supporters and those of us who are decent humans. This “out of sight, out of mind” notion could not have been more prevalent in 45’s last year in office. His constant downplaying of Covid coupled with his unique brand of white delusion diluted the seriousness of the virus allowing his legion of followers to dispute proven science as a way to live their normal lives while so many others did not have the same privilege. Allyship to communities of color and minority groups became even more dire during this time as it feels acceptable once again to protrude bigotry onto those who have been considered inferior since the dawn of this country. And not to mention, these groups have been the biggest victims of violence, racism and Covid itself since the beginning of 2020.

Just imagine all this frustration and rage while being stuck inside, at once yearning for companionship but knowing all too well how dangerous that reality could be. The increases and decreases of Covid cases, the reopening and closing of cities and businesses, the back and forth of literally everything this year has been the least fun rollercoaster to be on. The mental seesaw that was 2020 is still here yet everyone looks towards the bright lights that you possess; a way out of what we all thought was “the year”.

Although we are on the first day of 2021, I have to confess that for me 2020 has been “the year”. The year where I have reflected the most, suffered a great loss and even a bigger gain by knowing that at least a portion of the human race is capable of caring about one another, even strangers. The simple gesture of wearing a mask has become a silent nod and one that will not dissipate anytime soon. I’ve seen more creativity this year than ever before and a willingness for people of different backgrounds to come together. I’ve learned to be that much more empathetic to people’s pain and suffering and what I can do to help prevent further devastation. In a year where we had to rely so much on the action’s of others, I hope that the human race will absorb the hurt, hopelessness, struggle and loss we’ve experienced and remember that we can be as fragile or as strong to the person standing next to us.

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