March 1st, 2020. What were you doing? Check your Facebook or Instagram memories, ladies! They’ll either make you gleefully nostalgic or delightfully depressed. I’ve tended to teeter between the two, engaging in winter workouts to break up each day in search of sanity and balance, punching aimlessly into the air as needed.
If you were like many of us gals in the U.S., the idea of a global pandemic was slightly looming yet, we went on with our lives per usual.
We got our nails done, welcomed guests into our homes, danced the night away at concerts and chuckled ourselves silly at comedy clubs, packed in like sardines. We helped colleagues at work, nonchalantly reaching over them to type onto their computer keyboards, exploring new programs or methods. We coughed without a thought and politely “bless you’d” or “excused me” to a sneeze, blaming it on a little cold or that darn pollen or dander.
Fast forward to March 1st, 2021. What are you doing? I’m counting my blessings that my friends and loved ones are safe. I’m experiencing racing heart palpitations anytime anyone sneezes in my direction. I’m taking the long way on the walking trail with an unfaltering fury directed towards the runners who loudly huff and puff past with no face coverings.
I’m thinking of the 500,000 Covid-19 related deaths in America alone, not to mention the disparities that took place amongst communities of color and essential workers who made life a lot easier for all of us fortunate enough to start our day in the office from the comfort of our own living rooms. My heart goes out to all of the women who now hold it together as newly minted at-home teachers worthy of certificates at this point!
And of course, we praise the medical professionals and healthcare heroes with a special place in our hearts for Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett.
In my little nook of the globe, I was able to immediately switch my voice students to online lessons and we carried on in quarantine style. All office and professional work responsibilities continued via Zoom sessions, lengthy emails and phone conversations. Virtual showcases and work meetings were a hoot, especially when attendees forgot to turn off their microphones, providing a jaw-dropping, shocking show of their own, complete with swear words and “he said”, “she said” dramatics. It’s hard to steer clear of at least a little Zoom embarrassment, especially when it’s served as your new normal for 12 months now.
I’d have to say that one of the highlights of this past year was joining the team at The Syndrome Mag and having the chance to interact and work collaboratively with some of the most diverse, hilarious, inspiring and multifaceted women I’ve ever met. As we march our way into Women’s History Month, we’ve made a bit of history of our own as a niche, non-profit online publication based in gender equality with a comical core.
The Syndrome Mag’s Herstory: March 1st, 2020 – March 1st, 2021
While in quarantine, we did the following:
- Launched a podcast, The Original Syndrome, under the leadership of Janet Livingstone.
- Debuted the Black Voices Matter campaign in the name of social justice.
- Published our second book, “Show Us Your Wits”, featuring more than 50 writers.
Throughout these past 365 days, we’ve kept each other laughing with the help of women from all over the globe, contributing, “Show Us Your Wits.” Represented countries include Iran, Pakistan, China, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Italy and the U.S. Topics of coverage range from finding time for romance in tight quarters, coming to terms with worn and torn stretchy pants, managing mental stressors, surviving vile virtual dates and finding the humor in being stereotyped, yet again, and explaining it to your kids.
“Show Us Your Wits” is the perfect Women’s History Month gift to yourself and is now available on Amazon.
Read it to ease your butterflies as you shiver your way into spring, especially those of us in the northeast and midwest! For those of you lucky enough to wear flip flops this soon, take it out on the balcony or to the park with your special someone, who may just be a glass of wine or a sparkling S.Pellegrino at the moment and that’s okay. Plenty of authors express similar sentiments, so you are not alone!
A few of my favorite selections:
- “Pandemic Party” by Marie Steinwachs
- “50 Shades of Athleisure by Kathryn Sadakierski
- “Substitutions Made by your Instacart Shopper” by Courtney Watson
- “A Coronavirus Yoga Practice” by Wendy BooydeGraaff
The Syndrome Mag is run by our mighty Directress Silvia Bajardi. It was first founded in Italy by Bajardi in 2012, making its way to the U.S., where we’re just shy of our 5th anniversary. We offer compensation to our contributors but many choose to donate to the cause. Their generosity and yours is why we are able to exist and educate as it pertains to representation, acceptance, fair pay and flexibility.
In the words of Bajardi,
“Though the pandemic has leveled the world under a single threat, its impact is different from person to person. Between racial, ethnic, cultural and national groups, our differences and privileges have further polarized us. Women are the ones who pay the highest price. What emerges from these (“Show Us Your Wits”) stories, which bring together a multiplicity of voices and countries, is the will to not let ourselves be overwhelmed by these events, and more than anything, not to let fear define us. Because no matter the circumstance, laughing wildly — no holds barred, bras to the wind — is what keeps us alive.”
The best is yet to come. So, let’s all warm up together in the spirit of sisterhood, remaining motivated, banding together closer than ever to “Rise Up” right in time for Women’s History Month. We have some glass ceiling breaking worthy stories in The Syndrome Mag pipeline featuring recognizable comedian friends of the magazine and regular contributors who make our days a little brighter and our nights a bit more relaxed.
On another semi-related note, I’d like to give myself a little pat on the back for my personal history as recent as yesterday when I smiled with my eyes at the lady in front of me at Target wearing a huge red “MAGA” mask, but I digress.