What a year it's been - and it is only April.
Who would have believed, in our lifetime, the world would come to a stand still - a complete shut down of schools, businesses, recreational centers, cultural institutions, borders - even public parks - which is hard to understand until one considers the grime on monkey bars, slides, benches and swings - Yuck!"
We knew things were serious when: we had to line up six feet from the person in front of us to enter a store with only 6 customers inside! We knew things were very serious when major league sports cancelled their season then night/ day time hosts began broadcasting their shows from their homes... remember when "talk" about the virus began, and James Corden pointed to his studio desk, announcing, they'd stay "right here" keeping us entertained? Well, he now features various artists performing from their homes after being forced into hiatus due to "The Virus" in early March! We knew things were bad when cavalier leaders who promised "We have it totally under control" in January or who told us to, "have fun...go on spring break" as late as March - yeah, you know who I mean - backtracked, saying this virus is very serious; we need to stay home.
We knew things were really bad when the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, CDC in the U.S. and various authorities across Europe either recommended wearing masks or made mask wearing mandatory, if only in specific areas (like Austria where basic mask wearing in supermarkets and other food and drug stores became compulsory). This was done as we learnt more about asymptomatic carriers spreading the virus to healthy people.
In reality, there is a group who saw all this coming. This "experience" is what our WWII Generation was talking about when they stuffed cash - a shocking amount of cash - under their mattresses, "just in case;" or saw value in coins... my grandmother gave me a dime when I was a child, and even then I wondered, "What the heck could I do with this?" She knew. She saved change all the time, always having change to offer for one purchase or another. How about that older person who warned about that possible "End of the World as We know It?" We thought s/he was an old, annoying, doom-sayer, didn't we? Guess s/he was not so "crazy," after all. These people had simply experienced Life Disasters before we did.
My questions is, are we saying, "Respect" to those people, now? You know, now that we have gained insight into their experiences: being locked in our homes; witnessing empty streets; worried about our income, worried about getting paid, worried about life; wondering what horror will come next or, my personal favourite, wondering "when this will all be over!"
Now that we have witnessed thousands of needless deaths, striking anyone at any time - without discretion - has this changed us ? Caused us to take pause and, maybe decide to take this precious time to BUILD, GROW, EXPAND, IMPROVE... or are we using this time... by wasting it?
Now that we have internalized that the worst IS possible, with blessings to those who suffered great loss, should we take this time to commit to our best? Even if our best means getting that long awaited rest.
As corny or new age or "hippy dippy (I like that expression)" as this sounds, committing this crucial time to our best selves is the opportunity in this horrid situation - the seed in the hard shell, as it were. This issue of queeniebrownmagazine.com is dedicated to that effort. We will examine how to clear our minds of all the JUNK that has been distracting us. We will assess what we want and how to Strive for IT, as opposed to merely dream about it. We will discuss what might be holding us back then include a solution to push through blocks onward to motivation then action. Of course, looking good along the way - just for ourselves - will be a bonus we cannot resist.
So, let's, get to it.
Oh My GOSH! We are in Love with Christopher!
Christopher John Rogers, that is.
Coming from perfomance backgrounds, we love all things with a taste for drama - unless it is destructive. Marc Jacob's SS NYFW video with his West Side Story meets cabaret show took our breaths away - and then there was Christopher's show ! Can you say, DRAMA??? Not as well as Chris can. Tell us we are wrong.
From bold delicious
colours, to fab hair few
would dare, to gender
blending done the only
There was flounce,
peek a boo tummies, sleek
tailoring, oversize jackets,
ruffles, bows, animal print
and so much more! Deep breath in...
and out... Sherri Hill was lovely, and Damowang pretty frickin' cool. With that said...
Christoper John Rogers, we love you! Please come speak with us. Or better yet, Let's just gibber gabber over a cocktail and treats.
So, if we never hear the term Coronavirus, again, it would be far too soon for most of us. I mean, do we NEED another person gabbing on about coronavirus this and coronavirus that, Covid 19, specifically?
But, why are we so touchy - excuse the pun. Are we tired of the discussion because we have been inundated with it for over twelve weeks or are we tired of the discussion because it - excuse the expression - scares the shite out of us and we just want to STOP thinking about possibly dying, sooner rather than later?
If you were to ask me (and I know you haven't but I am going to share, anyway) this is an important conversation to have, We should continue having this conversations until we ALL comprehend the seriousness of these viruses!
Look, I don't want to talk about pandemics any more than the next person. I prefer to avoid all thoughts of lying in bed, lungs filled with - what? dead cells? fluid? congesting me to the point of being unable to breathe. The thought of dying this way is terribly, desperately, horrifying. But, the rational behind having this discussion (about a grave illness thus a hideous way to die) is to avoid having the experience of either! If we have to discuss it to FIGHT AGAINST IT, and avoid causing other pandemics,
Let's Do It!
Maybe, it's from being raised by a germ fearing Jamaican mother (let's get a whoot whoot for all mothers who freaked out when their kids got dirty or wanted to touch nasty things then bring their nasty thing touching hands home), I hate germs. I hate the thought of germs, I hate other people's germs - I am evolved enough to appreciate my own germs; they help my body protect itself and survive and all the scientific-y things bacteria that live on our persons (that thought took me a while to digest after that science class with... what was that grade seven teacher's name???) do. But, the thought of germs gives me the willies. Have you SEEN them under a microscope?
My mother drummed into our heads (mine and my three siblings' heads) to wash our hands: "After you use the bathroom, blow your nose, come from outside - especially if you go to other people's houses and touched their things - and (lawd God) GOD please! don't put your bare bottom on their toilets!" When I was a child, you KNOW she held me up, hovering over the seat, if I had to use a public washroom... when I became too heavy she taught me to squat... these days I strategically line toilet paper atop the seat - yes! that's what takes me so long when I am in there!).
I don't mind a welcoming hug, but, even with dear friends and family I'd prefer an air kiss - three times is fine - to you kissing me on the lips. In fact, I would prefer an air kiss hug to shaking your hand! Not because I don't know where your hand has been, but because I don't know how well you washed your hand after having it there! You could be scratching all sorts of places (we all have to do it), that is fine, as long as you washed that hand well - VERY WELL - after.
Truth is, I followed what my mother taught me - how could I not, with the insistent pounding message? But, I thought her messaging was a tad extreme... I mean, really? if I don't wash my underpants by hand before putting them in the washing machine they are still dirty? Or, If I don't have a shower for ONE NIGHT, a rat will drag me away (never to be seen or heard from again)?
Still, I complied.
It was in my 20's, I shockingly discovered, not every person was taught the same cleanliness etiquette, our mother insisted upon. For instance, did you know some people DO NOT wash their hands after going to the bathroom? Or they'd quickly swish fingers beneath a running tap for three seconds then dash from the bathroom. I have personally witnessed this. Some people cough in their hands, pick their noses, yes, even scratch their private parts then have the nerve to be offended if you refuse to shake their hand!
Let's talk about being in public while sick. Do you know some people will enter a building, where they know colleagues and friends work, SICK! and not isolate themselves? It is understandable some individuals cannot afford to stay home in spite of how poorly they feel. But, precautions can be taken: gloves can be worn, as well as masks; things touched could be wiped; coughs and sneezes can go into elbows/ upon sleeves; COLLEAGUES CAN BE WARNED SO THEY CAN TAKE PRECAUTIONS!
But, God forbid someone look stupid.
Instead, friends are infected (forcing them to take germs home to their loved ones - especially that elderly person who is particularly susceptible).
My all time favourites, are those who hop on a plane for that vital business meeting or that long awaited vacation, feeling unwell but taking NO precautions in keeping their germs to themselves! Again, why look stupid... I wonder, do they think, "Screw other people. I have important things to do." Or, do they think other people want to catch their illness.
Maybe they don't think about other people, at all.
Frankly, I believe we are far too mobile. Folks are running from this side of the globe to the other because we are desperate to have a fabulous EXPERIENCE or must make money for the corporation. Why is it so important to be jet setters, these days? How much profit is enough? Who are we trying to be? I believe this back and forth traveling (particularly for unnecessary reasons) is from where these pandemics stem. It occurs to me, we humans cannot adapt well to germs from other geographies. We have a difficult enough time managing our own local viruses. Remember how the British decimated the First Nations population with a simple cough (or was it a touch)? Notice the price drop of stock markets across the world because someone traveled from Wuhan China in 2019? What about that Italian merchant ship that fled attackers in Crimea only to rush home with the Bubonic Plague? We should not be jetting back and forth spreading our local germs.
OR travel depots must sternly amp travel precautions avoiding such disasters.
Frankly, all the jet setting and non hand-washing and exposing colleagues to germs was a beef I had when working in the nine to five world. I believed then (as I believe now) in social isolation (must I specify when feeling sick?). Yes, I know we are contagious often before symptom begin! Why are we squeezing against each other like eels in a barrel to share an experience? Why is a boss's bottom line more important than the employee's health? Why must we (who are vigilant with our precautions) suffer because of those who are careless, inconsiderate and or nasty? I like a good conversation like the next person, but, seeing people every 21 days is just fine, with me. If we must be more social, that's what telephones are for! Six feet are close enough after the air kisses: moi, moi, moi - step back. If, every flu season, we practice what Covid 19 has forced us to practice, I believe the annual influenza epidemics around the world would result far less in the 3-5 million cases of severe illnesses and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths (as estimated by WHO).
Sure, we should attend social gatherings: parties, concerts, restaurants, local theaters, but, allow people their "bacteria border" (that's a whole other article), and
STAY HOME IF WE'RE ARE NOT FEELING WELL!
Where did this "soldier on" when you are sick mindset come from?
Highlighting people who cannot afford to stay home is less the issue than highlighting the organization that penalizes workers who do (stay home when ill). Sure, there are individuals who take advantage of systems that support "staying home while sick", but, let's be honest, we all know who those individuals are. They should be penalized for their bad behaviour, not the rest of us. Unions must stop protecting such behaviour in order to safeguard the rest of us - literally. There should be zero tolerance for the assholes (excuse my language, that slipped) ruining it for conscientious people while organizations, institutions, corporations, bosses in general, take responsibility for changing the "coming to work sick" attitude. Entering a public environment, ill, is irresponsible as opposed to admirable. If you are sick, stay at home, wipe what you touch, call in for help if you need groceries - and Lawd God! stop
sending sick children to places healthy children attend! You KNOW you do it.
Finally. ALL governments must work in cooperation under obligation to the people they (are supposed to) serve. I say, are supposed to serve because we all know many officials are self serving bastar - opps! almost did it, again - we know many government officials are out for themselves instead of the general public. Governments should be working in cooperation so if a virus hits, that origin region can be shut down and placed under quarantine. Immediately. No one should be allowed in or out for that area until the quarantine period is over. Emergency medical professionals should be dumped in the area - before the rest of the world suffers. Governments must STOP posturing, faking, lying and actually PROTECT its people - finally. Considering our technologies and abilities, it should take far less than THREE MONTHS (about what it took with COVID 19) to shut everything down, if necessary (which could be avoided if the origin location is closed, right away). Of course, in the COVID 19 circumstances THEY had to allow time to dump their stocks for a good price and get their loved ones to a place of safety before the rest of us sheep began baaing. I sound cynical, it's true. Don't just listen to me, read this article written in The Atlantic by Ed Yong March 20/20.
But, what do I know? This could just me be being paranoid. Right?
You might recall our QueenieBrownmagazine.com, Christmas 2017 Edition, wherein we introduced you to Patricia Kumbakisaka as a Special Mention.
This international child: born in Romania, raised in Greece then Canada; speaker of five languages with a goal of becoming a diplomat with the United Nations was so impressive, we felt it necessary to share her with you - in spite of her (then) tender (28) years (she recently turned 31. Happy birthday, Patricia).
Right on time and as expected, Patricia continues to shine. You can read more about her here: https://www.100abcwomen.ca/patricia-kumbakisaka-on/ where Patricia is named, one of Canada’s 100Accomplished Black Women of the year to be awarded this fall. We continue to be impressed by this young woman, and are proud to know her. Go, Patricia!
Patricia Kumbakisaka, a quintessential example of how today's young person can grow into tomorrow's Real Person BEING Extraordinary.
Take Your NOW Moment;
"ByE, ByE," TOUGH TIMES!
Stressed, bored, restless, overwhelmed, lonely, depressed...
just a few words used to describe our current Stay at Home situation.
If you are feeling any thing other than hopeful, restful, joyful, contentment even just patient then this message is for you.
First of all, understand, you are not alone. This message might sound trite or like a lie established to appease The People, but, few truer words were ever spoken. Think about this for a moment: at no other time in our history - except maybe in our Small Tribe days - has the world been "one" in an experience. This is the first time that every human, regardless of age, gender, orientation, ethnicity, social status, pigmentation, creed or religion is/ has or will be touched by a single occurrence. Allow that to sink in... even the Bubonic Plague, in it's rage, killing approximately 50 million people, remained within the European borders touching into Northern Africa and Spain (in the mid 1300s).
Maybe, this situation has you so frazzled the uniqueness of this reality is irrelevant amidst the torment of your thoughts. Maybe, you don't care that every person is in your shoes, somehow, battling along beside you. Maybe your thoughts are so powerful they are overwhelming you, isolating you, literally driving you crazy.
If you feel helpless, hopeless, like you are losing yourself (second of all), call, text someone, foster a pet - SKYPE! We humans are social creatures who NEED face to face communication to employ "connection." If you have no friends or family who can help, know, there are organizations with staffed phone lines; religious leaders regardless of your classification; or local political members who can direct you to help. Go to a hospital - Yes. The world is odd right now - hospitals are still here to help - everyone in dire need.
Maybe, you are not in dire need, but, long to regroup (and you don't want to call your friend or family member - again - at this hour). Take a moment for YOU. This is about gaining clarity. Take a moment for yourself to regroup. Take Your Now Moment.
What does that mean/ how do you do that?
Decide you are going to take ten minutes to check in with yourself. Wait until the kids fall asleep, take a bath - or shower! Heck, lock yourself in a closet if you have to. Close your eyes, and just for a moment look inside your body. Do a body scan - an internal glance of what may be going on - what you are feeling in a section of your body: your limbs, joints, organs, air passages; from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. All you are thinking about during this scan is the part of your body you are looking at from inside your body. How does it feel? If it is "fine," move on to the next body part. If you feel an ache or discomfort, massage it with the warmth you feel on a perfect sunny day. Allow that warmth to absorb into the area while slowly breathing in (at the count of four) then out (for the count of four), until you feel that area ease, soothe, relax. Move onward until you reach the top of your head where you take a final look. Once you realize everything is fine - that stress, that tension, that unease, has settled/ is gone - understand you are more than just fine; you are good. Realize that YOU are actually quite good. Know that right in that moment... and the next ...and the next... you are actually doing well. You are Good. Open your eyes.
Adding music or sounds - even listening to the birds out your window or children laughing - can aid in your check in. Play a song, put on the radio, hum, sing! Whatever works for you, do. This is called, Taking Your NOW Moment.
returning to you,
Your Now Moment.
If you are a
like your hands
are tied in this
what you will
do for today -
maybe even next
week. What have
you always wanted to
do if you had the time?
You have time now, do it.
It would be unfortunate coming out of this time with regret over - anything. Equally important, plan for your "return to normal." It will arrive sooner than you think.
Will you return to doing things as you always did them or are there things you can do better, more efficiently, more in support of an enjoyable life? Make a list of what and how things may change or a list of why things are good, and can remain the same. This is another way of "checking in" with yourself. It is necessary to check in because, sometimes, things get busy, and it is hard to juggle all the thoughts in your head and emotions that go along with those thought. Sometimes, we humans over react, under react or freeze due to all the information we are trying to process. Taking Your Now Moment - checking in - is a perfect practice that can allow your mind and body the opportunity to learn how to regulate - learn how to cope during stressful times.
Why is it important to learn coping techniques during difficult times?
You want to avoid being that adult who throws temper tantrums because their feelings are over whelming. More importantly, you want to avoid the effects of stress chemicals that - as we all know - creates disease.
End blind reactions, stress and/or temper tantrums. Give your mind and body a break by teaching it to cope. Yes, learning to breathe, self soothe, relax, ask yourself sincere questions is the best way of doing that. Dis - ease in the body is manageable. Taking Your Now Moment can help you do that.
Take Your NOW Moment; say, "Bye bye, Tough Times!"
Sacred Acoustics currently offers meditative recordings at a discounted price - or FREE - as a Covid relief. Check them out, here.
Featuring, Andrea Blum.
So, you think standing in a line to shop for groceries is bad; avoiding other shoppers, in said grocery store, difficult; then there is the (almost?) empty store shelves and the restrictions placed on the favourite item(s) you want to purchase - annoyingly inconvenient, No?
If you think these experiences are challenging, picture communist Romania 1980, where you did not line up to purchase items on your grocery list, you lined up to put basic necessities on your table. We speak not just of "necessities" you fancy for a dinner recipe or breakfast menu the next morning, but, real basic food items like a loaf of bread and milk (if you were lucky). As for meat. What meat? It would be no surprise witnessing a person boiling their shoes to make soup!
Can't imagine it? Andrea Blum can.
It is unnecessary that she try to conjure images of this unfathomable (to most North Americans) time because
she lived it.
Today, you would never know
the frightful struggles Andrea survived.
Ranked as the top 1% in Toronto, top 5% as well as "Top Tier Real Estate agent" in Canada; rewarded top awards five years in a row, Andrea's tireless work ethic is challenged by few. Her cool, respectful, honest, approach makes her a real estate agent clients can trust.
As if her unwavering work ethic, sincerity, analytic ability is not enough, this Fine Arts grad channels her talents through the FREE staging element of her business. Many may hear "staging" and think, "Phooey, Money Grab!" But, remember, Staging is free with Andrea, and her designer's taste is stellar. Accept it.
Do more than take our word for it, find Andrea here: http://www.andreablumteam.com
0r here: https://www.instagram.com
See for yourself.