I took my first international trip at two weeks old, when my bohemian parents moved us from Europe to America. From the beginning, a bilingual, multicultural child from an unconventional family, I never felt quite at home in just one place. But fortunately, I did feel an innately magical sense that I belonged to the whole world. I made homes for myself in five different countries before turning 30.
When it came time to build “a normal adult” life somewhere, it became clear all over again that I was indeed “different.” So, I dove into the melting pot metropolitan of Los Angeles, where my wanderlust, global consciousness and potentially idyllic (and yet undying) desire to “change the world” were at least somewhat “normal.”
But when this global health crisis began, I started burning with inspiration to do something – anything – as you might imagine anyone would feel if their hometown (the world) was hurting and in dire need of help. I fell in and out of bursts of energy and lethargic confusion, wondering how I could contribute from my apartment, as a small, indie business owner, previously making ends meet by running around the city visiting stores and clients, going on adventures, frolicking around the jewelry district and visiting with friends. The more I sat up late nights watching the world through my phone, the less I could stand the thought of waiting out the storm without finding a way to get involved.
After days of facetime calls with family, colleagues and even long lost friends around the world, I finally had a powerful realization that broke through the anxious fog – Normal is nowhere. Maybe it never was. But if it ever was, it’s long gone now. All of our hometowns – however different, affected, safe, unsafe – are existing right here, on the same level of our shared, sobering recognition that we are all much more similar than we might have thought.
We want to live. We want our families to be safe. We want our world to survive and thrive. Our businesses, industries, bank accounts, cultures, governments, administrations, loved ones and daily lives are all being affected.
Now we are being boldly and undeniably reminded that “normal” or “different,” “regular” or “rich” – whatever separations we’ve perceived as standing between us – they fall in the face of a global pandemic when everyone becomes vulnerable. I say all of this because I believe there really is something we can all do to make a difference – but it’s going to be different for everyone.
Some are braving the frontlines, like the nonprofit organizations reaching out to provide relief and resources to those without any care or protection. Some are working tirelessly in hospitals and clinics, like those being honored by this World Health Day for risking violence and infection to help us find solutions.
And some are like me – trying to find some small way to contribute and give back to the world that raised me. So until further notice, 50% of all sales from Maekavera will be donated to Direct Relief. An organization coordinating with public health authorities, nonprofit organizations and businesses globally to provide personal protective equipment and essential medical items to health workers responding to coronavirus.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t let anyone tell you it’s too small or that it doesn’t matter or that it won’t help. It will. Sharing meaningful posts, forwarding helpful facts and inspiring information – all of it has the power to move us forward from here. The world doesn’t need “normal” anymore. It just needs us to make a difference. However “different” our way of doing it might be.