The Half and Half-Nots

Puerto Rican.
Burmese. (“She could look Myanmar.”)
Peruvian. (“Lots of Japanese migrated there.”)
Brazilian. (“Look at your ass!”)
Trini. (“Because of the way you dance!”)
Wait, what are you?

“A human.” (12 year-olds have a sense of humour, too.)

Sheepish grin. “Yeah, I know, but, like, what ethnicity?”

Ethnicity, hm. Like, akin to what race? Hailing from just one country? Part of a centuries-old diaspora? A phenotypic religious identity? A regional origin? …Convoluted misperceptions.

Do you even know what you’re asking?

“I know,” My chuckle-less chuckle responds. “I’m kidding. I’m mixed.”

“Oh, so you’re half black.”


Oh, right. Being mixed is simply binary. Only black and white exist, apparently. With white being the default. Not many options of boxes to tick off on the census.

So over its multiple-choice question, thick angry words scribble: Does it even matter?! (10 year-olds have a sense of awareness, too.)

“Can Christine come play at my house?” “Sure.”

Her mom comes to pick her up and meets my mom for the first time.

“I can’t have any more people at my birthday party, so I couldn’t invite you,” Christine says some weeks later.

“Oh, that’s ok.” (7 year-olds have a sense of understanding, too.)

We play that day, consistent with our daily ritual of the last two years. Our playground days were numbered after that. She soon finds another group of girls to play with. You can guess the color.

Cheryl’s older sister’s birthday party. “I love how we’re all only black girls here! Oh, except for you…sorry,” the birthday girl adds. Cheryl got flack after that for not having “more friends like her”. And she soon parted ways, too.

Nobody ever sticks.

We receive Christmas money from a set of grandparents. $20 for each of my sisters and me to the $50 for my “full” cousins. “That’s for my good half,” sister says.

On the other side, the other full cousin is showered with gifts and love and language on the daily by our auntie. We get a box of Pretz sticks.

You should have black hair.
You have ‘Hispanic hair’.
Don’t you know how to make dumplings?
You’re so fair. You look better tanned.
You’re so tanned. You should stay out of the sun.
We’ll get you a boob job. Korean girls do it all the time.
But you have thick thighs and a big butt?
But Chinese are usually pencil-thin and you’re round.
Look at your thick lips! Where does that come from?

Me: What does it mean to be the all-American anyway?

“I used to feel defensive and angry, too,” Dad would say. “But you have to realize, everybody’s just curious…

“Plus, you’re not half. You’re double.”

Half the ignorance, double the consciousness. This cheers me.

And although every side expects something, no “side” wants you. (30 year-olds have a sense of sensitivity, too.)

But fuck sides. Redefining and defying the mold is your mantra.

You’re strong in your own category…whatever that is.


Little Hands

At 8 weeks, a fetus ceases to be an embryo. At 8 weeks, a baby already has hands.

Why is it always little hands that they talk about first?

We hadn’t spoken in ages. It had been some petty argument or one-sided flair that started it. Then pride and stubbornness prolonged it…pride really makes people ridiculous. I was ridiculous. So it is more a gesture of maturity than anything else that makes me call her up again, 3 years later.

It is like old times when we were kids. Things aren’t different. They aren’t that different. We still joke the same jokes, discuss the same global issues from the safety of shelter, share stories of our personal evils surmounted as well as of those yet to be.

She’s more righteous now—maybe a bit too much for my taste. But I am also more a listener, so I open up to her diatribes, patiently.

I don’t expect her to keep me so deep in her confidence, so it strikes me suddenly when she reveals that she will be aborting her child.

“A girl,” she said. “I just know she’s a girl.”

As always, I recover quickly from shock. And even as I am still registering information, the side of me that, as always, wants to help people, springs up like a dumb-fuck jack-in-the-box.

“As always, I support you. You know what’s best for your family. And for the kid. You’ll do what you feel is right.”

The words come out warmly and confidently. So…why am I crumbling inside?

It’s not like we ever thought of having children. We are like children ourselves. And our relationship is a handful on its own—how on earth could I share enough care for another little human? Why should I feel so affected by my friend’s choice? Her life, not mine.

“It’s done,” she announced a few days later, when I asked her how she was holding up.

The enormity of her circumstance settled around me as if her choice had been my own. It was like a dark, oppressive cloud suffocating me from all angles, compressing my chest, restricting the flow of my breath.

“It’s hard. Some bleeding and pain, and the intermittent crying between shifts. But it’ll be ok.” It was a text message, yet I could practically hear the sigh in her voice and the undertones of resignation through the typed text.

I mean, it’s not like I thought of having children. Why should I feel so affected? Her life, not mine.

But all I could think about—the image plaguing, haunting my waking dreams—was the little life that was no one’s and the little hands that no longer were.

Read me with rhythm

What are you running from?

Interminable guilt complexes?

Vicariously lived lives?

Mediocrity. Hypocrisy. Jealousy. Lies

Of proclaimèd love and secret hate

Of secret desires to see

me fall or ingratiate

Myself to desperate and desolate depths – unforgivable law of delimited self respect.

Why must my time to rise be defined

By the sand dune dreams you never dared to climb?

Into which your faded footprints merely sink

You decline

Your unwhole life wasted in the sand dunes of time.

Your hourglass not only ran out- it cracked

Like the fragmented facets of your many faces that cracked

Leaving you dispirited; malnutritioned, you lack – I can’t make up for your lack – of

Gumption, character or loving support. Support

your own depths, I’ll support my own heights.

I reach for skies

I’m immune to your cries,

Your torments, your abuses, my, oh

My league is miles high. I’ve wasted enough energy and time.

It took more than a day, but now I walk in the light.

Social Media Spec

Instagram Styles

Natural toned fashion feed

Top Performers on Facebook

Do you need specialized marketing that:

✅Is tailored to your initiatives?
✅ effectively visualizes your campaigns?
✅Designs your brand for success?

Check out our site to read testimonials of others who found what they were looking for

What’s the best way to become a leading business? We can tell you how and get you to the top. Read testimonials of other businesses that increased their profit margins with our guidance.

Build your biz without spending your petty cash!
1. Build up a social media personality for your brand.
2. Appeal to a community that your brand supports. This will contribute to your niche market!
3. Network, network, network. Interview other successful businesses that compliment your market. @Mention each other on social media.
4. Be the reporter. Reach out to news outlets with an irresistible pitch so that you can be featured in magazines.
5. Maybe you can’t spend money, but you can spend time. Spend time on business development by chatting with prospects and understanding their problem. Try and see if you answer their needs-if you don’t, reevaluate your business’ value propositions.
6. Don’t sell yourself short. Make sure your investors are worthy of your brand, reputation-wise and value-wise. Be wary of how many investors you wish to have. It’s hard to see eye to eye sometimes, but don’t settle for a**holes.

There’s a trick to achieving happiness – and it seems super negative: focus on your OBSTACLES. Seems counterintuitive, but envision yourself successfully and officially OVERCOMING your obstacles. How do you do it? What do you look like once you do?
The #powerofthemind works wonders, especially when you apply your imagination and a little creativity to getting over your mental blocks. At the very least, you can come out a little more optimistic just imagining yourself at your finest.
We just want you to see in yourself what we do: an aspiring and inspired individual.

Are you applying yourself lately? “We’re all born with boundless capacities. What we make of them has everything to do with attitude and application.”

I’ll never forget the first time I listened to Sir Ken Robinson speak-how enraptured I was by his storytelling and succinct eloquence. And what was more, it was entirely effortless.

And I think it’s due to the remarkable attitude that shines through his speech. He was more than his words. He embodied success over trials (having survived polio in childhood) , success in his career (read and listen to him if you haven’t yet!) and even success in the eyes of the Queen (the Sir speaks for itself…)!

I don’t know about you, but I’m motivated to get up, get out and get it.

Picture your company the way you want it. 📸 🤩 We’ll make your vision a reality. 💫 🌟

So we’ve shared major screw ups and major successes in our agency. 👏 💥 We’ve missed a deadline, botched up a magazine edit and miscommunicated a little. We’ve also built skills and a reliable team. Share your experience with us. Whats your entrepreneurial mood today? You can pick from the picture if words can’t quite express your #mayhem today 🤪🤭😏😉

MG builds bridges… 🌉

…to your brand, to your conversions 📈, to your solutions👏👏🏿👏🏽

Trust in us to show you off.📣📣 Check out some of our testimonials…

Tons of entrepreneurs have grand visions.

But not every business owner can put their visions on paper, on social media, on their websites and in their blogs!

We like to work with real people, putting real stories into real brands. Read our magazine…

Sometimes all we need is a well-deserved vacation. If you can’t take that (we are quarantined after all) take day trips of the imagination: write in a journal, take a nature walk with your pet, master that yoga pose thats been eluding you, call an old friend you haven’t chatted with in a while…You’ll be  surprised at the #rejuvenation that small pleasures can give you.

No one becomes successful overnight. And long term success requires building a stable business with well established values, strategies and a long term plan.
Success requires effort, persistence and hard work. Don’t give up after a few weeks trying. It could take months even years for your work to pay off, but I promise you it will.
That moment has arrived. You start seeing results and thinking the hard work is finally over.
Well… no!!!
In this competitive world, where businesses reinvent themselves on a daily basis, you cannot rely on what you have for long term survival.

Is your marketing strategy stagnant? An alternative perspective might be all it takes to freshen up your approach to prospects. Dont forget that your audience’s perspective is changing all the time, too. 2021 is coming with a new wave of ideas that will either bring us out of Covid or help us continue coping with it.  If you aren’t sure how to generate leads  moving into the new year, get in touch with us for a consultation to amp up your strategy. A fresh pair of eyes could make all the difference and help you target little details that went unnoticed before.

Need help visualizing your stories? We’re full of them! Get in touch!

Top performers on LinkedIn

Repurpose your career in the pandemic. “We’re dealing with a lot of confusion…Were not allowed to be ourselves anymore. So lead with your gifts.”

Rushion McDonald is giving invaluable advice and savvy #entrepreneurtips for aspiring #businessowners. “In the age of corona, hearing the right words at the right time can competely change a life.” So here are some suggestions from him that will hopefully make a difference in yours:

• Make short term goals within 30 days.
• #Excel at your 40 hour workweek so that you’re prepared for unexpected demands of the #entrepreneurlifestyle .
• Be prepared to work alone as much as on a team.

The path is unclear. So lead with your gifts into the new year! Happy 2021!

The key to success? Make your audience feel something. Passion.

“Take your fears on a romantic date once a week” advises Alex Banayan, author of The Third Door.

I know a lot of you might not exactly think that pulling out a journal on a date is your thing…

But its a good chance to ask intimate questions of your fears. Where do they come from? How have they grown throughout their lives?

We’ve all have fears. Maybe there’s something you’ve feared for a long time, like:

• Starting the business of your dreams
• Elevating your company’s brand by outsourcing your marketing
• Investing in that new major tech that would totally increase your conversions

Keep in mind that fear is just a word. You give it meaning. Fear lies in anticipation; relief, in action.

So spend time with your fears. Maybe they won’t go away, maybe you’ll overcome them…what is certain is that you’ll face challenges in spite of fear. And you won’t be stopped from facing fear.

2021 is a new year no wrinkles in it. Give yourself experience. Give yourself compassion. Watch your fears relinquish their hold on you; watch yourself learn to cherish them. Then, grow.

If a BD and Marketing team had a baby…

Here it is. Marketing strolls through one day with a zillion awesome ideas for social media. BD sits at the table and presents data about the actual market and potential prospects.

BD has been gathering data on restaurants while Marketing has been catering to the fashion sector. Now they’re at odds. The data doesn’t match the prospect. They’ve been taking steps backwards when, all along, they should’ve been helping each other!

So they fight. They bicker. Then, they make up. And BOOM: the baby is born!

Marketing and BD communicated together. They decided that it was a good idea to match their content to their target audience. And later, when their BD-Marketing baby grew up, their niche market expanded into other niche markets. And kept growing.

Create strong lines of communication between your BD and Marketing teams because, together, you can re-focus a strong approach towards your ideal client. This is how your sales increase. This is how your business baby grows.

Are your marketing and sales teams communicating?

Biography written for team member

I’ve still got a long way to go guys…

The truth is, I’ve started from scratch.

I’ve spent a decade in education. Then one day, I blinked. And when I opened my eyes the world was different and I was ready for a change.

Now I’ve graduated from teacher to student (wrap your head around that one) and am riding the learning curves of marketing with a supportive team at the helm.

The truth is, you may have to look back to see how far you’ve come, but you’ll never know without moving forward. So I just keep climbing. I keep pursuing knowledge. I keep learning from my team. And it’s been awesome!

The journey is a reward in itself (thanks, Confucius!) and I can’t wait to be at the top of my game – because when I get there, I know there’ll be a whole new game to play and learn from.

The point is, embracing change this year has been what matters the most.

The point is, what matters most is how you handle  those changes.

Who else has gone through a major transition this year? Any updates?

Interview Written for MGS Magazine

Who is Oliver Ma?

Oliver’s humility is evident in his gentle demeanor and soft tone of voice.You would never know that he was subject to police harassment or that he regularly sings before thousands of people in the streets of Hong Kong.

It only comes as a slight surprise to learn that his favorite cocktail of choice is, in fact, a mocktail, contrary to the superstar persona expected from a renowned singer.

There is nothing arbitrary about the musicien extraordinaire. Starting his songbird debut in school plays as a teenager, the musical devotee was already destined for musical stardom. Not unlike many stars, Oliver Ma’s struggled with criticism from his peers that could have easily deconstructed any other person’s confidence. 

But perseverance and personal faith won out, in Oliver’s case. Once he reached a crossroads post-graduation, it didn’t take him long to decide between university and a career in music. Choosing the latter set in motion a series of events that no one could have foreseen – a series that has rocketed Oliver into a simultaneously dazzling and daring future.

“At the end of the day, I was always more excited and proud of myself for winning 1st place in a talent competition than if I were to rank at the top of any academic class. So, in the end, it had to be music. When it comes to the thing that you want to do for the rest of your life, you have to ask yourself: what is it that I genuinely love to do?”

Words have never been more ardently spoken. Especially coming from a performer who was and is a subject of constant scrutiny. 

Living off what you love

Ma’s story may sound like one fraught with loss: losing his father at a young age; losing his friends who didn’t believe in his talents; losing money to MLM scams that claimed to believe in his art; losing his right to street perform due to political disruptions in his native Hong Kong…

Yet, through halestorms,the Chinese-Filipino artist is far from discouraged. In fact, he counters any and all tribulations in the most productive way possible: by spreading life advice to his fans.

“All in all, I think the best way for us to deal with things is to turn all of your misfortunes into your lessons. When my closest friends once told me that I wouldn’t have had the guts to perform out in the streets, I went ahead and managed to make quite the career out of it for the next 2-3 years. 

“When certain parts of the local community would belittle me for not speaking or singing in Cantonese, I chose to focus on my strength as an English speaker…Little did I know that I would end up making quite the name for myself for singing the English version of ‘Glory to Hong Kong’. 

“And now, with the newly passed National Security Law here in our city, local and pro-CCP authorities have every power to arbitrarily arrest you in the streets. So I am now even more determined to find new ways to still be able to live off of what I like to do.”

A finer example couldn’t have come to the fore to show how things never turn out the way we anticipate. 

And the public couldn’t relate more; what with the onset of COVID that has been rampaging wildly through our lives since December 2019, we are still learning how to deal with the halts, sharp turns and tolls that the pandemic has had on many aspects of our lives. 

Yet Oliver serves as a prime example of what to do when backed into a corner: start digging up and outward. Get creative in finding solutions. And when you reach the top, keep going.

Going digital with marketing

“I have to come to realize that I have no other choice but to switch focus and move the marketing of my music from the streets to the Internet.

“In 2017, I started my own professional profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while still bolstering my busking career. I attempted to launch my own YouTube channel in 2018, but decided to relaunch it in 2019 with the release of my 1st cover collection ‘…Ready for it?’. This premiered across music streaming platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. And now in 2020, I’ve just made and announced my new Patreon.”

The 21 year-old entrepreneur is subtly impressive. It takes a great amount of passion and courage to continue pursuing one’s dream in the face of hostility. Despite having done street performances for up to 3 years without complaint, it is daunting for the young artiste to suddenly have his record besmirched and his livelihood cut off. 

Oliver Ma must now cope with his once-purpose becoming his paradox, his busk becoming his bust: where he once relied on busking to support his family and passion projects, he now must abandon it to save his future and career.

Branding tips from Oliver

It’s not a foreign concept to many of us to have our livelihoods move to online endeavours. Oliver Ma is managing to make the transition with a grace that inspires us en masse. Though I may paint Ma as a patron saint to musicians and political victims everywhere, I cannot ignore his admirably shrewd business minded methods, either.

“Your brand should be consistent. This is something I had personally struggled with because while I was still in the middle of promoting romantic/LGBTQ+ music video cover songs on my own YouTube channel last year, I was instead #1 trending elsewhere for singing political songs. I was in the dark up until recently when I knew I couldn’t run away anymore, so I finally had to pick my image.”

And pick, he did. As we read this now, Ma is making moves to mesh his bold pop-cover image with his viral run-in with pandemic and politics. The result? We’ll have to wait for his Patreon and website to unfold and reveal the newest version of himself that Oliver Ma has in store for us!

Perhaps we could all take a page out of Ma’s circuitous storybook tale, especially those of us who are at a loss of how to navigate our own businesses or career paths. If busking in the flesh is no longer an option…can busking online be a viable alternative? 

As we all move forward into an era of uncertainty, Oliver Ma reassures us by forging the digital path ahead. (If you believe in his freedom for his art, keep an eye out for Oliver Ma’s Patreon to support it.) He was dealt a funny set of cards and is still winning the game as he continues creating and revamping his image. 

Because, for Ma, (re)inventive personal branding will be essential if he is to continue giving us stellar renditions of Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga pop covers. Thankfully, he is willing to share with us his trade secrets to keeping a career alive:

He already mentioned how important it is to be consistent with your brand

On top of that, “be convertible.” Circumstances change and we must adapt with them.

“You also have to be communicative with your audience.” Whether through reposting his fans’ IG stories of his performances, holding legendary Easter Egg competitions online (check out #21EasterEggHunt if you missed it), or through interviews like these, Ma is constantly seeking out ways to speak directly to his audience while having a little fun with us, too.

“I think if you focus solely on your passion, you will eventually find a profit that might even exceed your initial expectations. I wouldn’t consider myself successful just yet – though I can say for sure that I am headed somewhere in the right direction. There is definitely nothing better than to know what you really want to do for the rest of your life. For me, that just so happens to be music and performing.”

Our eyes – and ears! – are open, Oliver! We can’t wait to see where your tenacious rebranding takes you!

Interview Written for MGS Magazine

MG Solutions Experts is an international marketing agency based in Sweden where I worked (remotely) as a Social Media Manager, Magazine Editor, PR Specialist and Content Developer.

Cocktails with Liliana Robeson, Independent Journalist

Liliana and I go back a long way. I first met her 9 years ago when she was my enthusiastic Zumba instructor, fierce and confident. Her natural zeal for owning her own business and speaking controversial truths always shined out from her fearless approach to life. As such, it’s pretty evident that she was a role model to many, myself included.

So it came as no surprise to see her fiery feed pop up on Instagram some years later: a political commentary of controversy and conspiracy theory (IG handle: @robesonliliana). Liliana is not one to dilly-dally. Her tenacity ties into her naturally driven character as a political ‘rallyer’ and someone who engages people with politics. When there is a major national issue, she draws attention to it.

A self-admitted go-getter, she spent some time with MG Solutions to chat about her experience in starting up her intriguing Instagram page and website venture: I actually didn’t have any issues starting up. That hasn’t been a problem for me at all. Maybe because I do [it] without thinking too much.

So in case you were wondering about the secret to her start up success…there you have it: no second thoughts, all progress.

Liliana professes to do the exact opposite of what you would expect from a self-made woman. Her modus operandi of not overthinking things is what has gotten her this far now. Instead of micro-managing and planning every detail, this woman of momentum dives right in, head first, eyes wide open. Her ideas are in hot pursuit of her – not the other way around.

And those bold ideas of hers are just the ticket that put her page amongst the many controversial discourses present on social platforms of today’s digital movement.

However, while we take advantage of the powers of the internet during these pandemic times, Liliana makes us acutely aware of the double-edged sword that it may (or tends to) be: “Social media, like everything, has a good and a bad side. It’s useful, but can be dangerous.”

The irony of Liliana’s position isn’t lost on us.

Her own independent journalism is her act of freedom in action, as it decries (and loudly) punishable acts of the politically malevolent and the woefully ignorant. Even her most recent post criticises child vaccinations and immunizations, denouncing them as a massive hoax and targeting parents who blindly believe in issuing them to their children. Social media is her most valuable marketing tool, both securing her speech-freedom and helping incur an ongoing influx of supportive followers.

Yet, on the other side of the coin, social media can obviously rear its ugly head and bite the hand that fed it in the first place. As a political agent and commentator, it’s clear that Liliana is prone to online abuses, too.

But she can’t and won’t be discouraged. Spreading the word is the basis of her operation. For her, there is no shying away from speech. 

In fact, there is only pressing forward with her venture and hustling to spread her vision amongst others – and where better to spread it than through the global reach that social media provides? 

Liliana also makes an interesting comment about the connection between social media and follower outreach. 

It’s not just about how well we reach out to audiences, but also how well we ENGAGE them. According to Liliana, “word of mouth happens when you have done great advertising.” 

This could mean a lot of things.

‘Word of mouth’ simply refers to the “conversation” that happens around a little heart shaped button that defines your google-optimized future. Word of mouth is now simply a component of clickbait.

Getting popular by word of mouth is merely a phenomenon. A byproduct. The real action lies in how well we create an emotionally relevant connection to those who would follow you…otherwise known as advertising.

And social media is now the world’s favorite tool for digital advertising. 

What Liliana says relates to an equally relevant point: the phenomenon of personalized social media made public, where our personal lives become our adverts. 

Talk about one hell of a way to connect to people than by revealing yourself at your most vulnerable!

…Or even connecting with people using a skill that many of us have lost behind the screen – the art of conversation.

Take Liliana’s own page, for example. Her artfully displayed commentary appeals visually and emotionally to viewers. It invokes discussion from her audience…which invites more clicks, likes, followers, backlink opportunities, comments…or as we said…conversation.

So to make the most of your business, go in head first like Liliana does, by optimizing your social media bios, having a vision in mind and sticking to it…not to mention, stimulating conversation with your insightful (and controversial!) content. 

That’s a sure-fire way to make your business grow with such an easy online tool.

Other advice in a single word? “Growing.” Much like Liliana’s overall countenance, we can expect the unexpected from her counsel. Her word to fellow starter-uppers doesn’t have so much to do with the ins, outs and tips that would get your start-up ahead.

Rather, she encourages us to build our character – a forthright character that pursues goals and builds empires.

No advice. Just do it and be consistent.”

Interview Written for MaskZ of Sweden

Meet Jean Tree

You can’t walk into a room with Jean Tree without feeling the aura of mysticism that surrounds her. So I was thrilled when my former Uni mate consented to interview with MaskZ of Sweden about her version of health care in a health crisis.

To give you a sense of Jean’s ethereal aura, let’s begin with her recount of an age-old anecdote that proves the difference between those who create problems and those who solve them:

It makes me think of this story someone told me a long time ago about a man who died and was visiting Hell. He saw that in hell, it was a room full of people sitting around a cauldron of soup, each with spoons very long, longer than their own arms. The cauldron of soup was full and the people were starving because they could not get the spoon to reach their own mouth. 

The man then got sent to Heaven, and he saw the same scenario, except the people were full and satisfied, he was confused and asked the angel, “I don’t understand the difference?” To which the angel replied, “In heaven, they feed each other.”

Jean didn’t bring this up for NO reason. What’s the message here? 

Right in line with MaskZ of Sweden’s mission, Tree promotes an ideal living that prioritizes health and safety of the community above all else:

We all have one body, and in society we are also one body. We cannot function when a part of our body is sick, or in need of treatment, and in the large scope of things, there are parts of our body as a society that are and have been wounded and desperately in need of care, that has largely been ignored. We cannot say one body part is more “essential” than another, because all the parts function differently and have tremendous value as a system.

There’s a major lesson to be learned here. When an entire community, country – even the world – is gripped by illness, cures can only be procured when 100% of people are  compliant with health protocol. 

So now we’re left with the pressing questions: what protocol is in place? If there isn’t any, what should that protocol be? And how do we get 100% consensus on it?

Jean digs deep into personal accountability when it comes to personal health care: If we can tackle the “why” in what we do, then we are able to ignite intrinsic motivation with health, which I believe is extremely important. External motivation lasts only for so long, and eventually wears out. I think that when people show up for themselves, they will keep showing up.

In Jean’s eyes, protocol doesn’t necessitate being politicised. Taking charge of health affairs comes straight down to the grassroots level and the individual. We have to internalise correct health practices to holistically bring about healthy change.

But perhaps that’s the problem with the current state of affairs and with any body of people fighting against our pandemic circumstances: the requested and, in some cases, mandated behavioral changes (like wearing PPE in public spaces) can only come to fruition when we are intrinsically motivated. 

This means that we have to wear masks, maintain social distance and restrict our interactions simply for our own good. There is nothing extrinsic to motivate us; no rewards of extra time off, no discounts or promotions, no extra employment benefits…it’s hard to execute these changes because the motivation has to come from within

And is that the inhibitor? We are often so driven to success and prompted to action by the external rewards we reap – so much that we forget what it means to conduct ourselves well –  just for the sake of it.

A large portion of the world’s mandates and action regarding COVID19 has been reactionary. It seems like it will be a long learning curve for many countries to understand what are the necessary actions to curb widespread sickness. Preemptive mechanisms, like those seen in Asia, became enmeshed in culture based on all the lessons learned in 2003’s SARS epidemic. Countries in Asia equipped themselves with nation-wide emergency plans, preemptively ready to act rather than react. The numbers give away the effectiveness of emergency preparedness strategies. 

Jean herself follows her own protocol when it comes to a proactively healthily engaged lifestyle – and it’s no easy process, but facing a challenge is her mantra and goal-setting her alibi: I do my best to stay proactive in understanding what “healthy” truly means and taking action on it step by step. The pandemic itself wasn’t something that made people more aware of their health, rather, it was the catalyst that exposed the flaws of the health system…we are reactionary and use whatever to temporarily relieve symptoms and/or find a quick fix.

Jean hearkens to a swift difference between types of medical treatment: those that treat the symptoms and those that treat the cause. The problem in regards to Covid19 is that so many of us are part of the cause.

We have to move from being the cause to treating the cause of widespread viral contagion. It presents no relief to treat a headache that is so often caused by dehydration, or back pain that is caused by poor posture. In the same vein, why continue putting yourself at risk by interacting in public spaces without proper protection? When asked about the advice Jean would give all her followers, she kept good community practices in mind and didn’t hesitate to treat the cause: I would say, wear a mask of course, and just be mindful of others. When we wear a mask, we are not wearing it for ourselves, we are wearing it for others…In the same way, we all wear masks… because we are community minded and thinking of the other.

While this is a treatment on the surface, Jean also promotes healthy treatment within. And naturally, when faced with a problem, she was ready to find solutions. She described a previous run-in with her own health and faced her solutions with zeal: I was able to start changing my nutritional needs to better support my physical body, and start tuning into my emotional and mental states of being. 

So we shouldn’t be afraid of change. It involves listening to real needs in real time and reframing our actions and behaviors in a way that is conducive to the healthy function of yourself and your community.

Jane adds: Throughout time, human beings constantly adapt to new situations, and this is no different. We have things that were “normal” before that should not have been normal, and yet we practice them and then it becomes part of culture.

And that’s the beauty of what Jean has to say. Norms are in place and as we learn about ourselves, norms must change. Culture is only ever ingrained and is in constant flux, often influenced, always fluid and never absolute. The idea of wearing a mask and staying equipped with a simple hand spray doesn’t have to seem so foreign or such a burden. It becomes part of our cultural etiquette to respect those around you by being a part of the solution against contagion, not contributing to its problem. 

It also becomes intrinsic to be courteous to yourself, giving your body the modicum of respect and protection that it deserves. 

You have only one body anyway. Is it such a large price to pay to adapt to a new culture of personal protection to protect your body? I think not.

I am inspired to be healthy because when you take care of your health, you are able to live the life that you want, Jean affirms. So if you follow in Maskz Of Sweden’s shoes alongside Jean Tree, we’re taking the healthy route. We’re being community-minded, not as part of the contagion, but as part of the cure. 

Woman Hater

“This country hates women – even more, women who are mothers.” Not my words. But my, don’t they echo?

Get #facts on pay rates, promotions, employment ratios, maternity care and, dare I say, rape culture in the workplace. Then share how you feel reading these posts side by side in your feed.

The Advice You Give and Don’t Take

You did it for you. It’s not the fact that you told him you love him. It’s the demons that you couldn’t confront. It’s the walls you threw up in defense against the darkness that offended you. It’s the trial of trauma you faced all those years ago at the hands of one who you were supposed to trust, who should have loved you…but one who abused your trust instead.

No, it’s not the fact that you admitted anything to him. It’s the fact that you admitted you could love – the fact that you admitted it to yourself. You submitted to love.

You did it for you. It’s not merely the fact that you detract a toxin from your day-to-day. That was to preserve yourself. Instead, it’s the fact that you put your essence into your decision, a decision that smells of you, of your precision, your conviction, your self-possession; you decided it was up to no one but you to possess your light.

No, not the fact that you blocked him from your life. It’s the fact that you chose your self-credence and left him to contemplate himself. It also left him to rise to meet you-whether he did or not.

But you didn’t betray your self-worth. At least, you decided to never do so again. You, first. Happiness follows next. The rest will follow, if they dare.

How will I ever be able to say…

I did it for me?

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