Face facts: Exposing a major fear of mine


Oh hey, Wednesday. Here we go again. I'm wearing my favorite onesie and seizing the day as best I can. But I have an issue. And the struggle is very real. Are you there, crew? It's me maven.

I need to tell you all one of my biggest problems with this virus besides the toll it is taking on our lives literally and figuratively is the following- I hate video conferencing. OMFG do I hate it. I'm not sure how many of you have met me in person, but I am notoriously camera shy. Like, to an absolute fault.

That said, put me in person with just about anyone and I'm golden. But this whole camera thing just ain't my thing, and much like driving, I've avoided it my entire life. (I know how to drive- thanks to living in Miami for 7 years, but don't miss it at all).

But back to the subject at hand- if you think I'm being hard on myself over my appearance, I'm not.  I'm just not particularly camera ready and some people are and I'm just not. At all. Add video to the mix and ugh. omg. i'm not ready for my screen test and never will be. I hate how having a job now requires a strong on camera presence? I just can't. How to navigate this crazy world when everyone wants to bloody zoom zoom zoom all the time?  I find the whole thing so unnerving and uncomfortable. I'd almost rather get an enema than have that awkward video call. Yuck.

I also have many friends, god love 'em all, who want to do caftan happy hours and game nights and wine with friends. I can't do it. I just can't. I'm sorry to all but the whole venue is not my trip. Call me anytime in lieu of seeing me in person. I just don't want to Facetime with you. Any of you. Ever.

What's it all about,  Alfie? Shall we unpack it? Why do i fear this so? I just looked it up and found something called scopophobia which is a morbid fear of being stared at by others. I buy that. I don't like it. Maybe that's why I didn't want a wedding and why I spent ,most of ,my career behind the scenes. Don't look at me indeed. And on that note, ommetophobia is defined on Healthline as "an unrealistic fear that their eyes are in danger of being injured. Another possible cause is the avoidance of eyes related to situational or social phobias, also called social anxiety". Hmm. Not sure that's really me. But still don't look at me.

What's funny about it all is that I go to great lengths to be noticed. My hair is bright red. I'm not afraid of fashion. Or a loud print. Yet somehow, I'm uncomfortable when someone sticks a camera in my face or I see my mug on that Brady Bunch Zoom screen. Maybe I need to wear a chicken head. That might help. Or a costume of any sort. That won't be weird at all. I cop to taking selfies from time to time, but it's rare.

Wondering how the rest of you feel- I know we are in a cultural moment (long before COVID-19) where more and more of us are comfortable being photographed and photographing ourselves in every possible situation. I'm just not that gal and probably will never be. I'm all talk- quite literally. And that's that.  I'll always be that avatar on your screen, faceless but not nameless. This would be a good time to get over my phobia, though. Let's wait and see. If you have any tips on how you deal with it, do let me know. Or maybe it just doesn't bother you. Lucky duck.

Cause that's what's up this Corona problem of a Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in saving face. XO

From New York, with love

Good morning, Wednesday. It's gloomy in the city, for so many reason. There are small slivers of hope happening in terms of hospital admittances, etc. but wow. This has been nothing short of surreal.

As many of you know, I identify as a New Yorker from deep within my bones, even though I am a native Philadelphian. There is no place on Earth that feels more like home for me than New York City, and my neighborhood in Brooklyn has always been a great source of comfort and joy for me. I love living here and I audibly sigh when I cross the Brooklyn Bridge and head back home. 

I have seen a lot of shit go down in this city. I was here for 9/11, the blackout, Hurricane Sandy. And though there were dark days, this is different. I've joked to friends that I always like being where the action is, but being in the city this time around has felt scary, and strange. What was different about 9/11 was the fact that neighborhood businesses were a huge source of our collective healing. Bars remained open, giving away free drinks to those of us trying to cope with a new reality. People gathered together- around car radios, coffee shops, and anywhere to find some source of connection- I remember so clearly the horrible search for loved ones, and all the photos posted on walls and fences that all of us stopped to look at in disbelief, bonded together in our collective horror. But cut to now.

There is no ability to physically be together at this very hard time. The stores are shuttered. The gyms are closed. Going into a pharmacy to pick up allergy medicine feels treacherous and downright frightening. The three block lines to go into Trader Joe's where people stand six feet apart are now a part of everyday life. And yes- I hate to admit it, but I've come across some people who have been hostile and rude. But tensions are so high, and I get it. These are unprecedented times and we are in the center of a swirling storm and it's all too much.

I was going to write a funny post today about all of my COVID era self discoveries, but something else took precedence. I posted about it on Instagram this am but here's a closer look.

Last night was a beautiful evening, and as the golden hour when the sun was setting so perfectly on the brownstones, we took Khan for a walk before dinner. We have literally been walking in a two block radius of light, somehow finding comfort in both the routine and the need to feel close to home, even when we are outside.

I passed a woman and her young daughter, seated on their beautiful stoop, dressed in outstanding clothes. She was in a sequined Rachel Comey dress (spotted by local clothing boutique Bird on my feed), with silver stilettos, and her daughter was in a lovely dress too. As I passed them with my bandanna mask and army jacket and unwashed hair, I audibly gasped. How stunning and chic they looked. It was like a ray of sunshine on top of the sunshine. I stopped to thank them for making an effort. New York is a town infamous for its stylish inhabitants, and for me, I felt a glimmer of hope amongst all that glitz. We walked the dog and talked about our day, and what we were going to make for dinner, or if we wanted to order from our new favorite French place around the corner (La Cigogne- best Nicoise salad in town, not to mention the hand cut truffle fries). 

As we reached our house, our next door neighbor was sitting outside with his face mask on, looking a bit under the weather. His house is all about the old school part of Carroll Gardens that I equally love- blow up decorations for all the holidays and Sunday gravy with family that always comforts me when I see their disposable silver trays in the trash on Monday (secretly, I've hoped for an invite since I moved in). We nodded in his direction and asked how he was doing, to which he replied, "not well. I lost my daughter to the virus".  And then my sense of hope sank deep into my soul. She was 31 years old. 

The ups and downs of this period will never be forgotten. One day you feel hopeful as you watch the trees bloom, the next day you can't get out of bed. The juxtaposition of joy and sadness in the time it took to walk the dog was so intense. Living in New York is intense as is- everyone knows that. But right here and now is when living in New York becomes more. It becomes a barometer and symbol for what the whole world is going through. In a one block radius. 

Wherever you are and whoever you are, I hope you are finding some glimmers of hope along with the sadness. I'm someone who is very empathic and tend to put my emotions in a drawer to cope with life, but that drawer is full and busting open so I'm letting it all out. I love New York more than ever, and I've never been prouder to live in a place that forces us to deal with the very messy business of life, right here, right now. It's funny because what I'm missing more than anything during this time of Corona is not brunching with friends or leaving the house. I'm missing my community- the local flavor and the kids getting on busses to go to school when I leave my barre studio in the morning, the beautiful shops and boutiques full of creative entrepreneurs that make living here a lovely experience. And the sense of normalcy of living in a city that, although, chaotic, is full of love and hope and connection. I suppose that's why I've been finding great comfort in old episodes of  "Sex and the City" lately, because that's the New York I fell in love with. We'll live there again, together. I'm sure of it.

Cause that's what's up this proud New York moment during this very difficult time. Yours, in concrete jungles where dreams are made of, there's nothing we can't do. Let's hear it for New York, because there's no place like it.  Happy Passover, ps. A virtual Dayenu from me to you. XO

Corona Journal: It's getting real (and it's ok)

Good morning, Wednesday. Here we are again. 

So the other day, I wrote about a post-Corona world that might include some glitz and glamour, but today I wanted to focus on something I see now, which is what I'll call life, unscripted.

There is no such thing as perfection in a quarantined world. I can light my favorite candles and burn my palo santo and work out till my hamstrings scream for mercy, but nah. Not perfect. There are carbs. And there is absolutely not a stitch of makeup. There are showers but at odd hours. And there there is the "Tiger King," which somehow horrifies and comforts all at once for its utter insanity (at least I don't have a mullet- yet).

Yesterday I was streaming a favorite workout, Pure Barre, who is doing live streams for its members with all of our fav teachers. Last night a teacher I had not taken a class with taught from her living room, and it was a scream. Her cuckoo cat kept coming in and knocking stuff over, and the teacher was wearing a lo-fi outfit and was making fun of her own anxiety. At the same time, she improvised the lack of a barre (de riguer in our studio classes) with a wall lean and a broken chair from her mother, the hoarder. I absolutely adored the hot messiness of it all. I'm very much an aesthete and order muppet, but I am also someone that loves a bit of sloppy chaos. That's what life is, and that's where we're at right now. Have you noticed that anything that feels too perfect or staged just feels all kins of wrong right now? I have. By being exposed to this virus, we've also exposed our vulnerabilities and our divine disarray.

A very close friend of mine was worried that her kids are going to fail their classes because this online curriculum stuff is out of control. I think most parents right now are acknowledging that they may not be cut out for staying at home all day with their children, let alone homeschooling them (I've never felt happier to be a non-breeder, no smug intended). For a society obsessed with perfection (or at least the Instagramification of it), this is a time of reset. Of taking a break. Of acknowledging the beautiful mess in this thing called life. In all of my video calls (in which I refuse to participate because I am notoriously camera-shy Corona or no Corona, honey), people are sort of letting it all go. Two weeks ago? A bit of concealer and a cute top. Now? A scrunchie and a big sweatshirt from college and a bit of wine bloat. Enjoy it, friends. I know there is very little joy in our lives right now, but letting it all go is a good thing. Hearing babies crying during conference calls or pets barking- it's strangely comforting to me. Because it shows that life is going on.

And acknowledging that life is not perfect. That we are imperfect. That the struggle is indeed real, and it's powerful. I hate to admit that I've often said I dislike the expression "I'm doing my best" because, to me, it implied somehow that you weren't. I succumbed to the type A freakfest of everything MUST. BE. PERFECT. But right now? We are all genuinely doing our best- to make sense of lives that make zero sense, and to muddle through the day and the endless bad news and the occasional feeling of hope. Maybe even in the near future, doing our best will be a-ok. And enough. More than enough and then some.

I love seeing all of the content showing people intimately and hallelujah- real. We very much needed to get real. That's my take.

Watching the Cuomo brothers rib each other on national TV. All of that kooky dancing happening. People acknowledging their fears of everything from failure to dying from this plague. It's ok. Let it out. LET IT OUT. That imperfect thing I mentioned? Notice how the word starts with IM. Acknowledging you're not perfect acknowledges your humanity. And mortality. And beautiful, authentic self.

There is beauty and learning in everything, even in times of great fear and peril and no professional hair services. We will get through this. We may put on a bra again when we venture out of our hovels, but maybe, just maybe we'll continue to keep it real. Ain't nobody got time for perfection right now. And perhaps, just maybe, we're reassessing the very idea of what "perfect" means. Also- another moment to revel in- sacrificing all of our lives, livelihoods, etc. to not only protect ourselves but complete strangers from getting it. Unreal. Have you ever witnessed a more altruistic time for those who are taking heed? Alas, I have not. And with the new death toll projection, we really, really need to work together to kick some Corona ass. With the volatility and unpredictability of life right now, it's hard to feel in control. But in this thing called unscripted life, we gotta give ourselves, our co-workers, our kids, our families a hall pass. PS, this post is not meant to minimize the very real struggle of many who are sick, mourning loved ones, or wondering how to keep the lights on. If you need me, I am here.

Cause that's what's up this let's get real kind of Wednesday in beautiful, kooky Brooklyn. Yours, in taking it easy- on yourself, on others, on the current state of things. XO

What's next? Thoughts on post Corona life...

Good morning, Monday. How we doin' out there?

I so appreciated the flurry of texts and phone calls I received when I posted about my ongoing insomnia on Facebook. I'm not sure why everybody was so worried, but it was very sweet. Truth is, I've been an insomniac for years, and this situation is not helping. I don't think it's the stress (though I am sure that's part of it), I think it has much to do with the lack of stimulation from the outside world. I'm used to going to the gym at 6 am, running home to shower for the office, jumping into the city, working all day, and like all of you, coming home in time for dinner or sometimes going out after work with friends. By the time it's lights out, I'm usually solid. Nowadays? Not so much.

And as we look forward to another month of this, I'm amazed at how many people out there are trying to figure out what comes next. I'm talking mostly about marketing and branding types who are now in a mad scramble/frenzy to figure out how to connect with our new normal. My response? Who the heck knows. Nobody does.  But the big opportunities are all about action- clever memes about social distancing aside, brands will need to not just show and tell- they'll need to do. And do again. In these unprecedented times, I believe it's less about what you say and more about what you do.  It's all about a human first approach, but if it even seems like pandering, no bueno. That should always be true. Always.

One thing I was thinking about as I was desperately seeking inspiration this weekend- I wonder if all of this shut-in stuff will take us somewhere unexpected or more yang. If you think about the 70s in New York, a time when the city was broke and basically on fire, the reaction from its residents was dance, dance, dance. Plus there was a huge influx of creativity here- from art to music to fashion. Now we all know that all of that fun had some serious consequences (an epic epidemic for the ages and then some), but I'm thinking about how we will all feel when we can leave the damn house again. Think dress up done right. Think dancing and partying and toasting the end of this war. Think meals out with friends and splurging a bit because we are in dark times. Now mind you- many will be left with very little money at the end of this- so if you think this is all about luxury, it isn't. For some, it will be- those same people getting underground haircuts and retreating to homes in the Hamptons to escape Corona city. But for many, there will be creative ways to approach a happy hedonism.  I'm praying this is the case, because I need some fun. And some disco. And something glam and silky to wear after this quintessential loungewear moment.

Many probably think the opposite- that all of this will cause us to rethink our priorities, our sense of space, how we work/live and otherwise and how we will never eat from a buffet again (thank god for that). But I don't think we'll be entering a time of mindfulness. That's kind of what's happening now. It's true we all needed this grand reset, we were all moving too fast, consuming too much, and juggling a lot. But when we can leave our homes again and hug our friends and families and drink and eat in all of our favorite spots, there's no doubt some sunniness will take over after so much sadness. A little decadence. I'm down. I was looking at pictures of Farrah and Liza and Bianca and yes. That feels right to me. And since I'm turning 50 in July, maybe my party (if I have one) will be an homage to the dancing days of disco. Which is funny, because I've fantasized about that idea long before this scourge on humanity. 

Maybe I really am just sleep deprived/depraved, but I know I can't be alone in wanting a bit of silliness and sexiness when this is over. I'll take a side dish of punk rock vitriol and creative chaos a la the other side of the 70s like CBGB, too. All of it. Truth is, none of us can ever know what's coming in this crazy world. And that's the biggest lesson there is. Please stay healthy and safe- I am in no way minimizing the darkness of this pandemic. But after darkness, you know what comes next. Lord knows we need some light.

Cause that's what's up from my Brooklyn bunker. Yours, in disco dresses and decadent daydreams. XO


On vulnerability and compromise this sunny afternoon

Oh hey, Tuesday. Greetings from the new normal. Corona log ad infinitum.

In all candor, there are no words to describe the intensity of this current situation. A global phenomenon. A world war. Where all of us need to stand together (yet apart) to defeat this enemy of humankind. It's biblical. Comic book-like. Hollywood disaster-esque. All of that. And some of us are adjusting to this new life better than others- I feel for my extroverts, immunocompromised, and parents with young kids and so many others like front line workers who are navigating these Covid-19 infested waters as best they can. 

As I mentioned, I'm a bit of a shut-in usually, so the whole staying in thing is not a problem. I love my home, but I'm amazed at how much we need human contact too. Nobody lives in a city like New York who wants to be alone all the time. True, we crave that when we can't have it, but we feed off the energy of others, so I notice that the main streets of my Brooklyn borough have people out and about getting necessities and walking dogs and trying their best to social distance, though there are always some dumb-dumbs in the mix who don't know how to follow the rules.

And during yet another bout of insomnia (I'm not that anxious honestly, but my mind is active), I thought of the following. 

You know how I feel about the new lexicon that's pervasive any time something crazy happens. I wrote about that the other day, but two new words had me meditating and cooking a little in the wee hours last night. And they are "compromised" and "vulnerable."

We now know that although this virus doesn't discriminate, the "compromised" and "vulnerable" of our global population are at the highest risk of death from this scourge. But I'd argue that far beyond the physical destruction of this disease, we are seeing these words appear in other places.

For instance, let's start with compromised, or rather, compromise. Since many of us are sheltering in place of sorts, we are sharing space for more extended periods with people we may not be used to seeing so much of during regularly scheduled programming. A co-worker of mine told me her husband was sitting in his car to take conference calls so his wife could work at home with the kids. (This is a very New York story, ps- small spaces and such). I'm sitting in my bedroom all day working while my husband takes the living room. I am probably going to get bedsores, but Khan and I love the light in our bedroom, and I can also turn it into a makeshift workout studio, so I tend to hang in here. Parents are having to compromise with each other and take turns with their kids. Compromise, kids. We are all learning to compromise everything, even the space we have to ourselves on the streets and in the supermarkets. 

And then, of course, there's vulnerable. And this one's a doozy.

As women, we are often told it's ok to be vulnerable. To show vulnerability, even though we are all trying to be tough. For me, the most poignant part of this experience is the vulnerability of our entire ecosystem, not just our mental states. So many people are now completely vulnerable when it comes to making money. There are no savings for some, because there was only hand to mouth and check to check. From people in the production community to creative types to service professions like wait staff, bartenders, hairdressers, and a million other careers, the vulnerability of not being able to make a living is real. All too real.

The vulnerability of those that live alone and rely on going out and about with friends for lunch or in the evening to not feel isolated. The vulnerability of extroverts who have a hard time shutting it all down. The vulnerability of those without healthcare wondering what will happen if they get sick. The vulnerability of our entire damn country, being left in the hands of someone who lacks empathy or compassion of any kind. We are all feeling so vulnerable, and it's beautiful. Truly. I have a friend who is one of the strongest, most positive Pollys I know, and the other day, she wrote about breaking down in tears. I say, let 'em flow. Get 'em out. Because besides the obvious fear, panic, and anger, this virus is bringing us closer to ourselves and what we care about and what really matters. Open yourself to it, people. Don't kick yourself because you're not as Type A as you typically may be. Take your guards down. Emote. Ask for help while you're at it. It's ok to feel all the feels. That means you're alive. And thank goodness for that most of all.

For me, I'm trying to sleep as much as possible and go to bed early (maybe that's why I can't sleep) and work out each day. I'm working as much as time will allow yet making time to take Khan for works and cook a decent lunch as much as I can. None of this is perfect, mind you. These are imperfect times. In fact, life has always been flawed. It's just the past few years has been all about making everything look perfect for Instagram. Well, we're seeing what life really looks like now. And it's not perfect, but it's beautiful in its fragility and chaos and yes, vulnerability.

Keep the faith, my friends. Together, we're better. If anyone needs a boost, I'm here. And don't be surprised if you get a weepy call from me one day. Every day is different. Be kind.

Cause that's what's up this wordy Tuesday in the 718. Yours, in exhaling, and creating a whole new language to deal with this thing called life. XO




Dispatch from Brooklyn during Corona: Muscle tees, lipstick, and potential bed sores

Good afternoon, Friday. I was just sitting here thinking about the majority of the world on lockdown. Unprecedented. Unbearable on so many levels. But if I can be an optimist for a moment, I hope this leads to a new consciousness and awareness. That somehow by being apart we can be stronger together. I sure hope so.

So thought I'd share an email that felt like more of a letter to a good pal who was reporting from her home, and then I sent back this dispatch from mine. Here's how I'm doing, and I'd love to hear from all of you on how you're doing:

In terms of coping, I'm the most wonderful combo of Cancerian/Gen X/Closeted Misanthrope/Homebody/Introvert so this has not been so terrible for me. Today I streamed a workout of a class I was too intimidated to do in person, and was shocked to find I could hang through most of it. I do worry that I am eating the majority of my feelings. I have discovered paleo granola and oat milk yogurt. I know, sounds divine right?

David and I are co-mingling nicely- he is in the living room aka Conference Room A while I work from bed and worry about bedsores in Conference Room B.  Today I showered and put on a bra. I enjoyed a bit of body lotion, but makeup not happening. Oh and perfume. Always perfume. Now more than ever. Smelling good is feeling good.

Khan is non-plussed and being his side sleeping, baguette-like self (mmm. carbs). Currently I can feel his warmth on my leg and all is well in the world. 

I notice my mood changes with the weather. I generally feel better when the sun's out because it feels less like the apocalypse. I have also taken to wearing only black muscle shirts and black pants. That's my vibe of late. I am trying not to wash my hair much so as to preserve the color so needless to say- I look fucking HOT.

I'm working like a dervish but the hustler in me is quite pleased that I can. Grateful beyond belief.  It's all good. Sometimes I forget to take my ear buds out, even when I'm not on a call. It's a good look.

In terms of evenings, I collapse and can't seem to focus on TV or anything else. I look forward to sleeping and that's about it. 

I hope this doesn't last forever.  I have dresses to wear. I also ordered a true red Chanel lipstick just because. It felt right to put a lip on. I thought it might go well with dirty hair.

Well, that's about that. TGIF. Toasting you with a virtual Negroni. Stay safe and well, my kittens. Let's report back and forth. Cause that's what's up in Corona City. Yours, in locking it down.  How's by you? Show me your Corona.  XO

The Corona code: New words for a new crisis

Good afternoon, Wednesday. Here we are again...

So was thinking (lots of that these days) about the virus and how every crisis inserts new words into our vernacular. COVID-19 has its own language. It's all about "the curve". Or "social distancing".  Or "quarantine". There are many more words, and even overnight celebrities like Dr. Fauchi. Two months ago, we had no idea who he was. Now he's our whole world.

Other words coming to mind? Streaming. As in streaming content from gyms and studios to help us stay fit and not go nuts. Connecting. In an age where we can't touch can we still touch somehow? Yes, we can. Note all your social media. And notice how much more you are using the phone to ACTUALLY make calls. Amazing. Third- empathy. Trying to make sense of this brave new world, with the exception of our President who seems to not have an empathetic bone in his body. But for the rest of us? Yea. I think we're trying. I think coworkers are being patient with each other as people try to juggle work and family. I think brands are trying to be considerate (some) when thinking about how to message.

As a writer and someone who loves to use her words, all of this new language is super fascinating to me. And words mean so much. Think about the Corona Virus being called "The Chinese Virus" and how horrible that felt. Let's try and use our words wisely. Communication is absolutely everything with this situation changing by the second. Choose well.

That's all I've got for now. Loving all of your post and thoughts and extraordinary humanity at this very odd time. All the love and keep the faith. XO


Williwear is the vibe I need.

Good morning, Tuesday. Oy vey. Truly.

It's day two of working from home and already I'm feeling a little bit nuts. Truth is, I'm a homebody and everybody knows it but not being able to do my normal stuff feels weird. I know it's not forever and I know I'm way better off than most- very grateful for that. But this is tough stuff.

In honor of that, I'd like to share some images that gave me a bit of delight last night. I was checking out Cooper Hewitt's amazing digital archive connected to their retrospective on Willi Smith, the eponymous designer famous in the late 70s and early 80s who unfortunately lost his life to AIDs. If you are a member of my generation or older, you no doubt either wore something by him or wanted to. His designs captured the creative energy of the time, and in the shadow of some very serious stuff going on like the AIDS crisis in this country. From Wikipedia:

"Willi Donnell Smith (February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987) was an American fashion designer. At the time of his death, Smith was regarded as one of the most successful African-American designers in the fashion industry.[1] His company, WilliWear Limited, launched in 1976 and by 1986 grossed over $25 million in sales.[1] After Smith's death, his business partner, Laurie Mallet, continued the line with various designers creating collections. Without Smith, the company floundered. Due to financial problems and poor sales, WilliWear Limited ceased production in 1990.[2] WilliWear was the first clothing company to create womenswear and menswear under the same label. The accessibility and affordability of Smith's clothing helped to democratize fashion".

Plus he was a Philadelphian. I remember my whole family really dug him. He was a genius and gone way too soon.

I am hoping that this virus comes and goes quickly. But if it doesn't, we're in for it and we all know it. I'm hoping this leads to a surge in creativity- from all of our amazingly inspiring creators and makers here in New York City and everywhere. I love how my husband has started reporting on Facebook some very funny observational humor that is making people laugh. And I'm seeing people try to get creative when it comes to making a living, even in these weird early days. And love how all of the museums and cultural institutions are going online. Absolutely brilliant.

I found these images super inspiring and fun to look at. I for one love living in New York because just taking a walk around can offer endless inspiration. And with time outside restricted, I for one needed a boost. How great are these? To me, we need creative people more than ever- to keep us inspired, smiling, and hopeful. Just thought I'd share, and you can see more on Willi Smith here. 

As I continue to work from home and work out from home, I'm trying to find ways to stay inspired and motivated. I hope you're all doing the same in addition to finding ways to stay healthy, safe, and vigilant. All the love to you. Cause that's what's up this sheltered in place kind of Tuesday in the 718. Yours, in keeping it together, creatively. XO

The virus is spreading...and so is the panic

Good morning, Monday.  I'll get right to it.

We've clearly never dealt with anything like the Corona virus in our lifetime. And since there is so much uncertainty around everything from how many will get sick to how many will lose their jobs/work/livelihood, I'm making an open call for everybody to stop spreading panic.

Stop showing pictures of empty shelves. Please. If you are in New York City, there are plenty of stores waiting for your business that are well stocked. 

Stop talking about conspiracy theories. Misinformation is going to kill us before this virus. 

Stop disaster scenarios and doom. Not helping, folks.

We are ALL worried. We are ALL panicked. You are not helping anyone by spreading said panic. I am in no way saying ignore any of it. We must be vigilant about self-quarantine and take this seriously. But as someone who spent a career as a producer, I have worked very hard to stay calm in the face of panic. There is nothing good about spreading fear.  And at a time when physical distancing is mandatory, we must go to our social networks to seek community, comfort, and actual information besides panic and fear. That's my two cents. Besides the fact, there are many, many people who will need our help in the days, weeks, and months to come. Let's look out for each other and for those in need instead of talking about toilet paper, ok? It's enough.

To all my friends and family and colleagues, we'll get through this. We need to spread some positive messaging right now. I know it's not a happy time- I'm not little Miss Polyanna. But I know what I need and I need strength, calm, and support. We have to be in this together or we will surely fail.

Cause that's what's up this shut in of a Monday in the 718. Spread love, not fear. XO

Love in the time of Corona....thoughts from NYC

Good morning, Friday. I wish all of this rain would wash our fears and anxieties away, not to mention the Corona virus.

A short time ago, I was in a room with my creative team working on a launch and were discussing how things go "viral"- a term in marketing that seems a bit dated because there's no rhyme or reason to why things go viral a la The Ice Bucket Challenge or any other number of tactics and stunts that marketers come up with. Often they have no idea why these things explode, but when they do there's proverbial champagne flute clinks all around. Success.

But now that we're in the midst of a pandemic with a President who seems so ill-prepared and ill-equipped (and probably ill himself) and the virus spreading fast, life has been put on pause. We're all WFH as we ask WTF is happening. This is, in my estimation, a very large tipping point not just for the US, but for the world.

I remember New York post 9/11, those fresh few weeks went tensions were high and the prevailing sense of the unknown caused fear and panic. Where would we go from here? How could we make sense of what just happened on our shores? How could we cope?

I'm not saying this is anything like 9/11, mind you. 

But the feeling in NYC, my spiritual and physical home reminds me of that time. People are scared. Confused. Panicked. But in true New York form, I'm also seeing compassion and caring and a more gentle touch. A quiet resolve as opposed to our usual brash and in your face vibe. This morning at Union Market in my neighborhood (which is completely stocked by the way), a man was ranting and raving that his wallet had gotten stolen. It was clear he was an unhinged type anyway, and on most mornings, you'd walk by him and roll your eyes and keep going. It wasn't that anyone wanted to help him necessarily, it's just all of us there in our gym clothes and pajamas trying to go about our lives and get our pasta and coffee and chocolate exchanged glances. Knowing glances that meant "please, sir. Could you shut the hell up? We're trying to deal".  

As a New Yorker, we have good survival skills. Most of us don't jump in our cars every day to drive to work or Target, we're out with the people, mixing and mingling and sucking up a lot of energy. As a sensitive, empathic type, the past few days have been really tough for me. It's not that I'm panicking about the virus or even getting sick. It's the collective gestalt that's having a real go on my anxiety levels. I'm sure many of you here and wherever you are feel the same way. And as a former and sometimes current producer, all I want is calm during a crisis. So I'm trying. But it's tough. I love this city more than anything but the energy here right now is spooky. A friend of mine told me he was going on a date last night and I honestly thought he was out of his mind. Love in the time of Corona indeed. I think we all take normalcy for granted. I know I'd give a lot to have some notion of normal, or whatever that will be going forward. For me, the past few years have felt, from a worldview, completely chaotic and anything but normal.  I'd like something a little blah now please. Blah would be fine, really. Just a bit of same same. I miss that. "Nothing to report here" has never felt sexier.

Putting life on hold is difficult. For all of us. And as a New Yorker, it's really almost unimaginable. We thrive with a million things going on at once, but it's hard not to see the cosmic intention of this time. If you look at the way the world has been the past few years, it's fair to say hitting pause to take care of ourselves and each other would not be such a terrible thing. I hate the reason we're doing it, but I don't hate the intention. I worry about all the businesses that are will be hit hardest during this time of quarantine. And that at a time when we need connection most in the form of a hug or a hand, we literally can't have it.  A special shout out to people with young children trying to figure this all out- from virtual classrooms to trying to explain what's happening even though we have no idea.

But what I do know is we will get through this. It's the unknown of it that's terrifying. That's what causes anxiety anyway. But we'll get there.  Like many of you, I'm still open for business, working from home and adjusting to a new normal I hope is temporary. For me, the biggest takeaway is our lack of preparedness as a species. We are all just flying by the seats of our pants. Living check to check. Surviving and not thriving. Reacting to every new meme, fad, flash in the pan. I hope we're all learning a lesson here about mindfulness and cautiously preparing for very unpredictable lives as best we can. And keep washing your hands with soap, dammit. It's become a ritual even though we should be doing it more often anyway. My hands are like lizard skin at this point but I care not.

For now, I'm here for anyone who needs a virtual hug or hand or chat. Stay healthy, safe, and take care of each other. Cause that's what's up this strange time in America. Yours, in deep breathes and compassion and tons and tons of love. XO