“How do you know when a Netflix documentary is groundbreaking? The answer is when it’s available for free for everyone on YouTube.
I never planned on watching “13th”. That’s actually because I never knew it existed. Now, what matters is that I have watched it and I cannot not share what I’ve learned from it.”
I’ve always had a very strong bond with my grandmother. Since my parents always worked when I was a child, it became my grandparents’ responsibility to take care of me and my siblings. I’ve spent countless hours at my grandparents’ house, even to this day. While my grandmother mainly speaks Italian (and I cannot), we still have fun together and keep each other company. One thing my grandmother is famous for (at least in our family) is her pasta. I think she has cooked pasta almost every day for dinner for the past few months. She usually uses store-bought pasta for dinner, which is quick, easy and tastes fine, but she sometimes makes pasta from scratch, which tastes so much better. It was for this reason that I got excited when my grandmother invited me to help her make pasta today.
“It’s okay to rest.” These are really simple words and yet they hit me like a ton of bricks. It was February 21, 2020, and I was attending a short-doc event during black history month, that was part of the Fade to Black Festival. This initiative, sponsored by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, gave these budding directors funding for this project, as well as a larger public platform to release it on. There were five short films being shown, each shot by a young black filmmaker, exploring the given theme of: “Being Black in Montreal.” Each movie portrayed this shared subject matter differently and was individually wonderful. But the documentary “Rest is a Right,” by Sara-Claudia Ligondé, hit me like an uppercut to the chin.”
“For the past few months, I haven’t had the motivation to go outside much. I do go on the occasional walk, but it is not unusual for me to spend an entire week indoors. In order to fix this slump I’ve found myself into, I decided to partake in my favourite winter sports this week, including skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding. I discovered that the sole act of deciding to do these activities actually gave me the motivation to do them. It was hard to get myself to go outside, but after I did take that initial step, I found myself having lots of fun. I would like to tell you guys about my experience.”
I was made to reflect recently on the many souls that have departed in the past year. Perhaps naively, I’ve grown accustomed to being lucky enough to go numerous years without suffering much personal bereavement in my immediate social circle. Maybe it’s a sign of my getting older, combined with the unique circumstances brought on by the pandemic. But never in my life (growing up in the West) have there been so many casualties all around me. An experience mirrored in their own social circles, by my friends, family, and acquaintances.
“Learning your limits and boundaries can be an equally painful and surprising experience. No one is as surprised as I am by how different my life currently looks from even just a month ago. I am used to experiencing change, however, the shifting dynamics in my life right now, both with others and myself, indicate a clear time of transition for me. Times like these tend to generate the most spiritual and emotional growth, and to be honest, I did try and catalyze that process consciously. I embarked upon a 30 Day Challenge beginning on December 7th, 2020 and coming to an end on January 5th, 2021 with the intention of gaining clarity. I knew that I needed to hone my focus in terms of where I dispensed my energy; and, I had the suspicion that a challenge targeting my habits and daily routine would help me in obtaining that clarification. My hypothesis was correct, as that is exactly what happened.”
“With the world in the midst of a pandemic, semi-permanent isolation from others on a regular basis has become part of “the new normal.” Indoor places like museums, concert halls, libraries, art galleries, clubs, bowling alleys, and so much more, have been closed since the start of this epidemic last year. Or their services and maximum occupancy levels have been minimized to protect the public, thus stripping these locales of much of their socialization elements (not to mention revenue).”
“Below I’ve written a parody of the lyrics to the Christmas carol “Carol of the Bells.” I’ve tried to follow the same cadence, as Peter Wilhousky’s original song, to the best of my ability. The format of the original carol is the reason why the lyrics repeat once. I want to advise the reader to try singing these verses rather than reading them. Perhaps using an instrumental version of Wilhousky’s song to follow along? Or, maybe listening to “Carol of the Bells” with lyrics a few times to get the hang of it, and then diving right in?”
“Wisdom is often hard-earned and so it should be regarded with respect. Respect, as it would turn out, is worthy of Aretha Franklin’s level vocals boasting to the rooftops of the necessity of this feeling. The thing about respect is that it is meant to be reciprocal; meaning that the energy flow should in theory be open and acknowledging of boundaries on both ends. There are few greater feelings in this world than gaining the respect of those you admire and care for, including yourself.”
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