Linda maestra! (Pretty Teacher!), published 1799, Francisco de Goya

It’s been almost a year since I last posted! In my last post, I wrote that the new year wouldn’t be any different from 2020. In some ways, I was definitely correct. The pandemic still looms large, even now at the end of 2021. I’m still wearing a mask, hardly going out, and my interactions with friends are primarily online.

However, so many things have happened this year that I didn’t expect. I left my teaching job, even though I loved teaching. I hated doing everything else, such as lesson planning, calling parents, and grading. It felt like I had no life outside of my job and no time to recharge. My job was also pretty far from where I lived. I had plans to find a subbing job closer to my home to still interact with students (but have fewer responsibilities)!

I didn’t find another job. Instead, I started an online business selling press-on nail art. It was the most creative I’d been in years! I truly enjoyed waking up every day, making nail art, and still having the energy to cook and clean. Teaching used to consume all of my energy. I realized that I was so much healthier and happier when I was my own boss, setting my own hours.

I was doing pretty well until about September of this year. All of a sudden (literally one day to the next), my mom became extremely sick. After seeing a couple of different doctors, she was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said there was nothing they could do.

My whole life turned upside down. Suddenly, my partner and I had to leave our beach apartment and move back in with my family. Suddenly, we were responsible for our family’s bills (my mom used to pay for everything). All of a sudden, we had no more privacy for our conversations or spirituality. My family’s house is pretty tiny. Everything is heard, everything is seen, everything you do gets questioned. I’ve been living alone for most of the time since I was 18, so this has been very difficult to adjust to.

Now, I haven’t created nail art in over a month. I haven’t posted anything to my business’s social media. It’s been pretty rough, and I spend every day motivating myself to do basic tasks. I try not to be so hard on myself. Some days I can’t even get out of bed for hours, and that’s okay. I have a part-time job now (I’ve found that it helps me get out of bed).

When my mom was first admitted to the hospital, I would visit her as often as possible. However, I haven’t seen my mom in a couple of weeks because the hospital she’s in has stringent visitor policies due to the pandemic. Lately, I’ve spent most of my free time meditating, praying, and reading. I made a cute little travel altar that has helped me keep a daily practice secret. I light a candle, write down a prayer, and burn an incense match as an offering. Sometimes I’ll draw a mini tarot card and record the reading in a tiny journal. I usually end with a meditation session from my favorite podcast, Meditation Oasis. Honestly, this daily practice is what’s holding me together!

My travel altar: birthday candles, incense, tarot cards, essential oils, and Mala beads (these are more symbolic, I used them when I practiced Buddhism). I’ll make a dedicated blog post about this soon!

Today I actually have a couple of friends visiting. I’m really grateful for the support they’ve given me during the last month and a half! Last week, we carved a Jack-O-Lantern and ate shepherd’s pie and pumpkin bread. Today we’re going to play Animal Crossing and order pizza. Most of the time, we hang out on Discord and rant about life as we play Roblox 😂

Now that I remember that my blog exists, I plan to write more regularly. Hopefully, that’ll motivate me to do other things, like painting some nail art! Thank you for reading if you made it this far, and I hope you are healthy and safe!

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