I am separated from Gian, my roommate, right now. He’s at our apartment in Brooklyn, celebrating his 27th birthday in our apartment. He’s self-isolating.
I paid Julio Torres via Cameo to send him a happy message. Julio is donating the money to the Restaurant Worker’s Community Fund.
At the last minute, I thought of something my friend Samy did for a friend of his who is working the ER at an NYC hospital. He asked friends to send her well wishes and then made her a PowerPoint presentation.
So I sent out requests to friends of mine. Not everyone responded. And that’s ok. It was last minute, I was asking for a favor. People are scared and frustrated and angry and busy.
But for some people, it was a way to do something very concrete for a specific person. A stranger, yes, but a friend of a friend. And not money help. Not physical help. But psychic help. A little time. A little love. A little distraction from the daily grind.
I made a video of all the beautiful things I got from everyone. It was with the conceit of a radio request line. I was the VJ. I edited the package, taught myself a few things in the process, and sent it to Gian. A day early, because I’m dyslexic and bad with dates.
After I uploaded the video to YouTube, even more people responded. So I made a follow up.
Gian loved them…especially and particularly Julio Torres. He felt like Julio knew him now. He felt a human connection. And that is exactly what he needed right now.
I felt really, really good about that.
It’s hard for me to balance my ego with altruism, but what if they feed each other and the outcome is good for both? Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Yes, it feels nice when someone recognizes your gift. But you can channel that good feeling into doing more good…for yourself and for others. And the good you gave, well hopefully that perpetuates on its own to others as well. When you learn whom to give of yourself (time, money, love, energy), you know that they are not just receptacles, they are transmitters, repeaters, communicators, givers, healers.
So it’s ok to be silly and make videos, I think. As someone who’s felt abject misery, a laugh can lift the veil of depression and sadness just long enough to experience a lightness of being. I don’t think that’s an overstatement. Not a tiny bit.
So here they are: