Olivia, USA

New York City is so weird now. The city that never sleeps, you know. It's empty now. No people in the parks or in the streets. I can skate around in the parking garage of the mall which is normally full of cars. In the beginning of the pandemic, I wore a mask at the NYC airport. I have a mother who works in a hospital and is always making sure that I am safe. And I was literally the only one wearing a mask. Everyone was just staring at me.

At the Black Lives Matter-protests last year I got up and had a speech to talk about stereotypes. This year we're having the same trouble, but instead of being blamed for being criminals, we are being blamed for having the fucking flu. A man got his face slashed, a woman got acid thrown at her. It's scary walking outside. I've started looking around making sure that no one is plotting. I feel I have to be careful not looking at people “wrong”, or maybe it's “wrong” if I don't look at them. It's very distressing. The asian community have been silent for so long because we feel like it won't be respected. Finally we are talking about this.

The first lockdown I was mostly in bed watching Netflix and on the phone fighting with my boyfriend. At the time I was trying to make it as a model in NYC so my friend did a tarot-reading for me, asking for some guidance. But the first two cards were love-cards. And they were bad. My mother got a feeling she had to call me right after and she told me «you're gonna be okay, you're gonna find someone else».

I'm an air-sign so I'm pretty free-flowing. Fine with letting things happen, which may be the reason why I was unhappy in the relationship. I kept being OK with everything. I was expected to do things I didn't want to do. He wanted me to text him «Good morning» and if I didn't he would say «You're not thinking about me». It's important to sort your own anxieties from your reality. «Oh no, they're not texting me, they don't love me anymore», well maybe they're just actually busy with life. I couldn't do it anymore.

My friends and I traveled to upstate New York in the winter, and it was so cold, you know, I come from California. And my friend brought some acid. It's hard to explain the experience without sounding crazy. I went through different layers of reality over and over again. After the trip I've been really focused on reaching my goals. Doing as much as I can. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

My quarantine life lesson has been in the theme of initating things to make them happen. Don't get stuck trying to make a decision. Progression doesn't come from that. You have to make life happen. Life doesn't happen to you. You know when you're in college, you meet so many new people, share new experiences. And the pandemic ripped everything away. It's you and your thoughts alone. It's now been a whole year of self-reflection. Everyone has changed in their own way. I may not necessarily have changed, but my perspective definitely has.

I've read so many articles about these people who were like “Yeah, I didn't believe in the pandemic so I didn't wear a mask, but then I caught it, so now I do”. And there's still so many that belives the vaccine contains a microchip or the government is trying to control us. Don't they know what a vaccine is? Conspiracy theories are a lot of fun as long as you know how to separate it from reality.”