Fresh Air

river landscape
By: ZULUECHO Initiative

This blog was originally posted on the Zuluecho Initiative website on April 21, 2020. Click the link to see the original post.

I’ve been quiet for some time. Seems like just yesterday I was writing an article a week with conviction and drive… what happened?

Well I needed a break. I needed to remember why I write. I needed to ensure that I felt my writing was bringing value to my life and to yours, not simply the result of an empty commitment to myself to put out “content” every week. Yes, I put “content” in quotations because I think content is tied strongly to what I want to discuss today. It goes without saying that the last two months have been challenging. Not only for me, not only for you, but for all of us. For humanity at large.

I couldn’t tell you what it was, but I’ve had this feeling in my gut the last couple of months. 2020 came around and suddenly everyone’s vision for their future became hyper focused. The freshness of “new years” resolutions was still in the air, and you could feel its presence everywhere. Then something happened. Something none of us “saw” with our “2020 vision”. Something that took us a while to understand. Something we were not ready for. Suddenly, our lives as we knew them were tested, replaced, challenged, substituted. The simple things became of the most value to us. The smile you gave a stranger while walking on the street became a luxury none of us could afford. What happened? I’ve still not quite figured it out…

“COVID-19” they say. That’s what happened..

Yeah – that’s the obvious answer. But what really happened? I could sit here and discuss the calamities and the implications of devastation that this pandemic has caused, and will continue to cause for some time, but in today’s media climate, both national and social, I am sure you already know that stuff. The answer I think, lies in something almost MORE obvious than “COVID-19”.

I’m struggling to write this because I too have never lived through something like this. I’m struggling to write this because I too feel trapped and stuck. I’m struggling to write this because I too have had anxiety attacks, and breakdowns, and have had trouble adjusting to this way of life. A life in constant fear – the fear that by simply breathing you may become ill or worse, be responsible for somebody else becoming ill. I’m struggling to write this because I too, am human … and THAT is the answer.


This phrase we’ve become accustomed to saying – “Social Distancing” – has prevented us from encountering eachother and sharing physical experiences. But as the strong beings that we are, that has not taken away from our humanity. What I’ve witnessed in the last few weeks has been a phenomenon like no other. A phenomenon that PROVES that in our greatest times of crisis, we are each other’s most valuable resources. A phenomenon that shows us through DATA, that we are stronger when we work as a team, each playing our roles in the bigger picture. What I’ve witnessed in the last few weeks have been some of the most incredible displays of humanity I’ve ever seen. The power and the brilliance of how I’ve seen people respond to this goes beyond “social distancing” because truthfully, we are closer now than we ever were.

This whole situation has helped us realize how important we are to each other. This whole situation has made us appreciate the small things we’ve taken for granted for so long. Social media has become an environment where everyone has the ability to connect but not only that… it has become an opportunity to show the world that YOU are HUMAN… FIRST.

Artists are creating art live on their feeds. Musicians are throwing “virtual” concerts. People are teaching one another how to cook foods from various global cuisines. Gym classes are unifying people across cities, countries and continents. We sing together off of balconies now…. We are calling each other more, rather than texting. We are appreciating people who put their lives on the line every day to SAVE the lives of others. Countless charities have emerged to help those affected by any means necessary. I’ve heard the phrase “the virus does not discriminate” and I find this remarkably true. And in the same way that the virus does not, humanity at its truest form does not either. Our answer by instinct was to turn to humanity to find solace and peace in this testing time. If there was ever a doubt in your mind that you can do something, or accomplish something, or start something, now is the time to reach out to ANYONE you see and show them your humanity. People are learning new things every day, because they CARE about eachother. You can too. Even if that means learning how to manage your anxiety in a healthy way – find what it is you need to learn about yourself during this quarantine. Because you are human, first.

You don’t have to speak the same language to understand the pain and suffering of others. Acts of kindness towards others does not depend on whether or not you know them. Borders are closed but we are more connected now than EVER. Take a moment to comprehend that. What does that mean? What does it really mean?!

The answer was always humanity. We just needed a reminder….

2020 is not YOUR year. It’s OUR year. It’s the year we are reminded to empower each other, to support one another, to care for eachother unconditionally. It is the year that taught us to be grateful for the company we have, the friends we’ve made, and the love we have the potential of showing even to those we don’t know.

2020 is the year we remember what it means to be part of humanity. That’s what will get us through this… and that, to me, is a breath of Fresh Air.

Below is a film I made that brought together people from all over the world in a unifying voice. I asked everyone who follows me on Instagram to tell me in one word how they’re feeling given everything going on… I compiled the results in this film. YOU made this film. I simply gave you the platform. HUMANITY made this film, I’m merely shedding a light on it. You’re not alone.

If this post resonated with you in any way, PLEASE share it with those who might need to hear it. These are testing times, we need to be there for one another, and also for ourselves.

Believe in the power of our dreams… #zuluechoinitiative