Nefertari Williams: Facts Are Facts

DALL·E-2024-04-01-11.50.05-Imagine-a-painting-capturing-the-essence-of-a-FACT-from-a-realist-painters-perspective.-This-artwork-shows-an-ancient-weathered-stone-tablet
Artwork Generated by DALL.E 2024

Unlike with my National Geographic magazines that I loved as a kid or my set of weird smelling encyclopedias that I enjoyed leafing through from beginning to end, If you don’t search a certain flow of topics you won’t get particular groups of information. 

 
Most people don’t have access to an abundance of information. This access is becoming even more limited as some books are being banned. This access excited me as a kid as I learned useless facts (well not so useless I was my high school jeopardy champ).  I craved information so I would ask questions. I became disgruntled when an older person would say to me “now you are asking the right questions” instead of just answering me. I always thought they had the answers but they wanted me to do the work to get the answers myself. I later realized that perspective isn’t always black and white and for a child at that age I asked particularly unique questions and they really may not have known the answers. 
 
With the invention of the internet I became enamored by search engines. I am also thankful that my teachers and mentors taught me the valuable gift of asking the right questions. I believe this will be what divides or unites us as people ( as opposed to skin color). With so much information available at a simple touch it will be hard to narrow down a topic without the art of knowing what questions to ask. 
 
Information and facts are also not as black and white as they were in simpler days like before the internet. Facts were confirmed through third party perspective and most of us would accept that as truth. Easy right?!
 
Today, you can be challenged for saying something as simple as the dog barks. Someone might ask something like – does it or is that what they want you to think? What?? These are facts that we know. A dog makes a sound and we have called that sound a bark. So a dog barks. That is now a fact. Right? Well what if I want to call the sound that a dog makes, a meow. And what if I can get half of the country to say that the sound a dog makes is a meow. Now your fact is no longer a fact because you no longer have third party perspective. 
 
Or another example may be the statement black is a color and white is a color. Someone may say – no black is my race I am black. Then someone else may argue – but your skin is not the color black so how do you identify that way? The response may be I don’t know my country says if I have one drop of black blood I am black. How do you have black blood? Well my mom says my dad is African American and white. So he’s white- no but people from South Africa and Northeastern Africa are considered white. I know my skin is white but I am black. Ok ok I’m confused. We are All confused. 
 
Did I confuse you … good. That was my point.
 
But why would anyone want a nation to be confused?  
 
Is that how it works in life? Search engines are just awesome. I sometimes wish they would list popular or relevant searches for every moment of each day  but nope if it’s not already on your radar it will not appear in your news feed, your social media nor your search engines. You have to already know to know what to ask and we are so busy living life most of us don’t have time to sit and day dream or become critical thinkers of theories or disputed facts. Facts are facts period.
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About The Author:  Nefertari Williams is a jewelry maker, activist for women with heart disease and the mother of five beautiful children.  She lives in Willingboro, New Jersey.  To access additional articles by Nefertari Williams link here: https://tonyward.com/nefertari-williams-two-steps-smarter/
 
 

Nefertari Williams: My Broken Heart

Portrait of heart care advocate Nefertari Wiiliams from Willingborough New Jersey
Nefertari Williams. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

Text by Nefertari Williams, Copyright 2023

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My Broken Heart

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It was Sunday, June 8th, 2008. Nine months into my fifth pregnancy, I was relaxing at home, watching some television, when it happened.

As I rolled over to get up off my deep couch I felt a pain stronger than I had ever felt before. Since this was my fifth pregnancy I knew it wasnt labor. I rolled onto the floor but the pain disappeared and I thought it was gone for good. Although I had called the doctor, I quickly called back and said I was fine and started back to my couch. Suddenly it hit.

It was just like they had explained: it felt like a piano or an elephant sitting on my chest. I wanted nothing more than to remove it so I could get just one breath of air. Movement was around me but the next thing I remember was my husband getting me to the car and rushing me to the hospital. When I arrived the nurses quickly got me back to labor and delivery.

The doctors were puzzled. They were unable to diagnose my problem, and I was left to sit in a hospital room for hours without care. I felt every pain and even though they gave me strong pain medication it didnt help with my inability to breathe.

The next morning did come. The man who walked in and introduced himself as a cardiologist is still, today, one of my heroes. He said he thought he knew what was going on and that he had ordered a helicopter to take me to the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as I was in southern New Jersey. I was pretty drugged but I do remember hearing voices. The next thing I knew was in the critical care unit with hundreds of tubes and doctors surrounding me. I looked up and one of the doctors said You are a very sick lady. You are alive but we need to decide if we are going to spare you or your baby. You and your husband have to make a decision.”

I refused to decide. I could feel my baby moving and thumping around just as her four siblings before her had done. I knew I had four children at home who needed me, but how could I just spare my own life and not give this new beautiful life a chance?

This was Monday, June 9. Daily I had dozens of doctors and nurses coming in to visit the woman who actually survived a coronary artery dissection. Yes, my coronary artery had broken completely in half, and while I was left untreated the bottom front of my heart died. It was an actual heart attack. I was experiencing cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and the dead heart muscle was forming an aneurysm that could rupture at any moment. I was a walking time bomb. All this, and I was still nine months pregnant.

During one of my daily visits from the crews of doctors who wanted to examine the sickest woman in the hospital” I looked to my right to see a five foot petite beautiful blue eyed blonde storm in, as though she had been trying to reach my room for days, and announce that she is not losing me nor this baby—not on her watch. She introduced herself as Dr. Michal Elovitz, an attending physician in Maternal Fetal Medicine, and she came close to my face. I looked up with tears in my eyes and said. I dont know where you came from or who you are—but I know because you are here—everything is going to be all right.” She caressed my face and ordered everyone out of my room, making demands for accommodations for her to be at the hospital until the baby is delivered.

The week went on. I had several visitors. My husband sat by my side. I had the worlds best nurses. I received hugs, kissed and encouragement daily. It was Saturday, June 14—my mothers birthday. She had suffered a massive stroke four years earlier and was unable to be with me due to her own disability. My coworkers were visiting when I felt a cramping at the bottom of my belly. My coworkers—working overtime to bring a smile to my face by telling inappropriate jokes—could see that I was in pain and informed my nurse.

The next thing I knew I was surrounded by at least fifteen doctors and nurses. I had been placed in a glass room with collapsible walls for just this reason—a quick and easy trip to the operating room. When I opened my eyes I saw those same blue eyes staring at me. Her hair was in a pony tail and she had on a sweat shirt and jeans and I was able to smile as I touched her sloppy ponytail. She said Yes, I have been sleeping here waiting for this moment and I knew it was going to be today”—I had told her it was my mothers birthday. We arrived in the operating room and they set me up. She had never before delivered a baby vaginally in that operating room. We were praying that today would be the first.

As I lay there I was being pumped with blood and IV in almost every part of my arm. I was instructed not to push. At that point I was 10 centimeters dilated (the point when the baby should descend) and nothing was happening. Because I had been given so much blood my heart  began to shut down and my lungs filled up with fluid. It felt like when you are swimming and you accidentally get water in your nose. I was drowning in my own fluids. Not under Dr. Elovitzs watch. She yelled something and the next thing I knew I was breathing again and she asked what kind of music I liked. I said Jazz—but I also love club music.” She said Club music it is” and she ordered the staff (of maybe 30 people) to play club music and she yelled Neffie, you promised me a baby.” I was told at that moment I said to her You got it” and I bore down and she vacuumed out a beautiful baby girl. She ordered the anesthesiologist to give me something for the pain but she made me open my eyes to identify my baby. She brought her close to my face and whispered You did it.” Barely alive, in a weak voice, I said, We did it.”

That was a rough night. I was unable to take the medicine that works for cramps and I couldnt see my baby. She was in the NCU safe and warm with the best nurses in the world. I was the one who was in critical condition. When I looked to my left I had a nurse sitting my side and when I looked to my right the same. I was in such poor condition that I had two critical care nurses sitting two inches from my side. They told me that the next 24 hours were crucial. My buzzers beeped and alarms went off. The nurses did their jobs and I was right back each time.

As soon as I was strong enough—it must have been about 12 hours later—I demanded to see my baby. They made it happen and what a moment it was. She looked just like my baby picture. She had a tiny IV in her arm and a blood pressure cuff on the other arm. She was so content laying there in her own private incubator. I wept thinking about all that she went through.

Days went by and we both got stronger and healthier. Although I did have a minor setback with a bout of pneumonia I was still able to bring my baby home a week later. Our journey was just beginning. I was going home to five children and a failing heart. To repair the dissection doctors had to place three stents in my coronary artery, which required me to take blood thinners and about nine other pills daily. The blood thinners require constant monitoring, especially in the beginning, so I had to travel to Philly every two days with five children, hardly able to walk. It was tough but I was happy to be alive so I was happy to do it.

I found out later that my heart wasnt functioning as effectively as they had hoped so I was admitted back into the hospital so that doctors could place a defibrillator in my chest. This is a device that shocks the heart back into rhythm should it stop or begin to beat too fast. Continuing with my positive attitude, I was thankful that such technology existed and was given the label by several doctors and nurses as the most positive patient ever!

I live today as a disabled person. Although at one point my ejection fraction (a scale that doctors use to measure heart function) was only 17 percent—normal ejection fraction is 50 to 70 percent. It is now up to 35 percent, which is still critical but an improvement.

I enjoy my life. Dont get me wrong. It is a constant battle fighting depression and anger but I find myself being thankful for every single moment. I no longer see life as a constant struggle but as an opportunity to make a difference. I know how it feels to be at the brink of death and I am able to tell other heart patients that no matter how bad things may look now—it will get better. I tell them to trust in whatever higher power they believe in and to accept that the future is not in their control. What shall be, will be, so enjoy the present. Life is even more precious once youve almost lost it.

I can now laugh, shop (with assistance), drive, and I am almost able to do 45 seconds of the dance Single Ladies” by Beyonce!!! I have learned to appreciate my medicine and value my doctors. I view the tests and appointments as opportunities to learn more about my condition so I can share with others. I try to remain positive and I smile when I look at my defibrillator scar. Not only do I think about how awesome it is that such technology exists but to live in a county that allows someone like me—a middle class mother of five—to receive such wonderful medical care is just an amazing thought that I dont take for granted.

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About The Author:  Nefertari Williams is a jewelry maker, activist for women with heart disease and the mother of five beautiful children.  She lives in Willingboro, New Jersey.  To access additional articles by Nefertari Williams link herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/nefertari-williams-my-fight-to-combat-loneliness/

Bob Shell: AAP, What Are They?

UFO illustration by Dean Rosenzweig, copyright 2023
Artwork by Dean Rosenzweig, Copyright 2023

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2023

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AAP, What Are They?

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Everyone has heard of UFOs or Flying Saucers, but what are they? My preferred term is AAP, Anomalous Aerial Phenomena. I prefer this term to UFO, because it makes no assumptions not established by the observations. AAP don’t fly in the sense that our aircraft and rockets do. They lack wings, airfoils, and have no visible means of propulsion. Occasionally they show exhaust behind them, but that is rare. They simple float or hang in the air without any visible means of support. They accelerate instantaneously, to amazing speeds without causing sonic booms, which we cannot do. They make right-angle turns in defiance of inertia. 

And, are they even objects in our normal sense of that concept. They disappear into nothing, appear from nothing, divide into two or more, change shape and size, and don’t show up on ordinary radar. So, it seems they aren’t objects as we think of that word. 

The only part of UFO that’s true is that they are unidentified. We simply don’t know what they are. 

The old term Flying Saucer doesn’t fit, either, because they don’t fly, as above, and are rarely saucer-shaped. 

The term Flying Saucer was coined by newspapers after Kenneth Arnold’s sighting near Mt Ranier in 1947. Arnold was piloting a small plane when he saw a formation of AAPs flying at phenomenal speed (he estimated 14,000 mph). He said they moved “like a saucer skipping over water,” a common observation of AAPs. This “accelersate and glide” movement has been observed many times. 

But Arnold never said they were saucer-shaped. He said they moved like saucers. The things he saw were crescent-shaped. Newspapermen stuck us with an erroneous name. Unfortunately, this catchy name stuck for a long time. 

AAP come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but are rarely actually saucer-shaped. 

Back in the early 1970’s I had a very clear daytime AAP sighting. My wife and I were living on an old farm with no close neighbors. The old farmhouse was on the side of a hill overlooking a shallow valley. We were sitting on the front porch on a warm, sunny summer day, when movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. 

When I looked up, I saw a shiny metallic cigar-shaped something slowly crossing the sky. It is very difficult to judge the size of things with no point of reference, but I could tell this thing was quite large. I ran inside the house and grabbed my good 7 X 35 German binoculars and looked at it through them. It was externally featureless, appearing to have a shiny metal skin like polished aluminum with no windows or other external features. As it slowly traversed the sky we noticed a weird phenomenon. Nature had gone absolutely silent. Before this thing appeared birds were chirping, grasshoppers were rasping, tree leaves were rustling in the breeze, all the normal natural sounds of summer in the country. All that ceased — stopped dead. The silence was eerie, spooky, and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. 

When the thing had gone about a third of the way from horizon to horizon, a blinding white beam like a searchlight shone down from about its middle, brighter than the sun, onto things I couldn’t see because of a small ridge across the valley. That light shone down for maybe fifteen seconds or so, then went out. 

The thing wasn’t directly overhead. We were viewing it at about a sixty degree angle above the far horizon. It moved silently and majestically across the sky from my left to my right, until it disappeared behind the tree line. Once it had gone all of the sounds started again as though nothing had interrupted them. 

In those days you could call the air traffic controllers in the tower of the Roanoke airport. I called them and asked if they knew of any air traffic in my area, but they said there was none. 

I reported the sighting to NICAP, but never heard anything more about it. It was a very dramatic event and remains burned into my memory all these years later. 

In all the years since, when anyone asked me if I was a UFO believer, I answered that I was not a believer, I was a knower. I know AAP exist, but I don’t claim to know what they are. 

That was not my first or only experience with AAP. A few years earlier, around 1971, I was on my way late at night from Roanoke, Virginia to Washington, DC. I was in my mid-twenties and didn’t own a car at the time, so I was riding on a Greyhound bus, sitting toward the front on the righthand side. As we headed east across the northern Virginia countryside toward Washington, it was clear but very dark outside. I looked to the southeast and saw three very large somethings hovering over the hills. The things themselves were invisible, black or very dark against the night sky, but appeared spherical and were covered with colored lights that were blinking on and off in what appeared to be random patterns. I watched, spellbound, for a few minutes. They didn’t move, appeared to be hovering stationary over the hills. There was a moderate wind blowing as I could see from the motion of the trees, but these things weren’t moved by it. To me that ruled out some sort of gigantic balloons. I got up and walked forward and called the bus driver’s attention to them. The other few passengers appeared to be asleep, so I didn’t bother them. 

The driver slowed to look and said, “What the hell is that?” in amazement. I wanted him to stop so we could get a better look, but he said he couldn’t unless it was a genuine emergency, and he didn’t consider it one, so we continued on our way at a slower speed, watching them until I lost sight of the things behind us. As far as I could tell, they didn’t move at all.

Interstate 66 hadn’t been built yet, so we were traveling on two-lane blacktop roads, and at times roadside trees hid the AAP but when visibility was restored, they were still hanging there. I’d guess they were visible for fifteen minutes or more. I knew some of the people at NICAP, so I filed a report of the incident with them the following day, noting the time and bus number. I may have known the driver’s name and put it in my report, but if so I’ve forgotten it over the years. 

My interest in AAP goes back to my teens. My late father, Jim Shell, was a television news reporter for WSLS TV, Channel Ten, in Roanoke. He’d spent all of WW II in San Francisco in one of the coastal defense batteries, set up to defend the San Francisco Bay from Japanese submarines. Even in the 1950’s, San Francisco was a hotbed of what were called hipsters, and beatniks, the beat generation. 

My father became a Freemason and Rosicrucian, and raised his three children free from the mental shackles of established religion. I am ever thankful for that gift he gave me. 

In the mid-1960’s there was a major “UFO flap” in the little town of Wytheville, Virginia (pronounced ‘With-vul’ by the locals). This event was included peripherally in an X Files episode. 

Briefly, for over a year scores of residents of the Wytheville area saw flying triangles, large, triangular-shaped things that flew around above them. There was one place where people parked to watch them, seeing them almost every night. 

Most of the media other than the local newspaper dismissed the whole thing, but my father took it seriously. He went to Wytheville and interviewed numerous eyewitnesses, and reported about the events on his newscasts. 

Interestingly, similar triangular AAP were seen over Belgium at the same time, and reported in European media. Then, as abruptly as it started, it ended. The triangles were seen no more and most people filed it all away in some dark corner of their minds or simply forgot about it. 

My father got a bunch of UFO books when he was researching the Wytheville events. I read them all, and was convinced there was something real going on. 

Those events, and others I may write about one day, confirmed for me that we humans share this planet with “others,” who have technology far beyond anything we have even dreamed of. Who or what they are I do not know, but I have my ideas. 

Recently, I saw a TV report that said that NASA scientists believe there is evidence of an earlier prehuman civilization. 

They have been called ultraterrestrials and hyperterrestrials by some researchers. 

Although many books and articles state that the AAP began with Kenneth Arnold’s 1947 sighting, that is simply wrong. Sightings of AAP date back as far as recorded history. Whatever they are, they’ve been with us since we became human, if not before. 

I’ll write more about AAP and my personal experiences with them as time allows. I’d be interested in hearing from others with personal AAP experiences. I’m currently writing a sequel to my 2019 book ‘Cosmic Dance’ and intend to include a chapter on AAP.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell link here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-images-and-artificial-intelligence/

Bob Shell: Images and Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of porn star Kimberly Kane photographed by famous photographer Tony Ward
Film Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2023

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2023

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Images and Artificial Intelligence

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Every year, Sony Corporation sponsors the Sony World Photography Prize. Thousands of photographers worldwide enter to win this prestigious award. 

This year’s winner was Boris Elgadsen who won with a portrait of two women. 

After winning, Elgadsen revealed that his winning image was not a photograph at all, but the creation of an artificial intelligence program. 

He said he was just testing to see if artistic competitions were prepared to detect AI creations. “They are not,” he said in an understatement itself worthy of a prize. 

Years ago when Photoshop first became available, a traditionalist photographer told me, “This is the death of real photography.” In a sense he was right. 

It used to be that photography represented reality, at least for the most part, because manipulations were difficult. Photoshop changed that. Now, we won’t even need a photograph or photographic elements as starting points to create an image. Just describe what you want to an AI program and it will create it for you. 

AI is also capable of generating sound. Using the Telegram app, users can create false voices. The hacker group known as Torswats offers services such as closing down a school with an AI generated bomb threat for $ 75. For $ 50 they will they will call in a report designed to have police raid a person’s house and haul him off in handcuffs. 

Beyond photography and malicious use of AI, using the app Replika anyone can create a virtual human. A boyfriend or girlfriend who will love you unconditionally, and look and act as you choose. Many users say they prefer these artificial people to the real thing. Using a VR headset, you can interact with them in a virtual reality superimposed on your own reality. The only downside — you can’t touch or be touched by them — yet!

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell related to UFO’s, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-film-makes-a-comeback/

Kitchie Ohh: Universal Rules

Portrait of Kitchie Ohh pinup diva and writer for Tony Ward Studio
Portrait of Kitchie Ohh courtesy Tommy B Photo, Copyright 2023

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2023

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Universal Rules

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I am not a religious person. However, I do believe in the golden rule,” and try to live by it. I also believe there is something other than us, connecting, guiding, looking out for us. Lets call it the Universe. I know Im not alone in this belief, and while comforting, I also know that people put their own spin on it. Nothing is perfect, no single person, no belief system, not even the universe. Stephen Hawking agreed, though he probably meant the literal universe of stars, planets, and all. It still tracks. He said, one of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesnt exist.”

Now, someone who definitely meant universe in a way similar to my referencing it, is Deepak Chopra. I dont necessarily look to him as an authority on all things spiritual. Hell, I couldnt even say I agree with everything he has said and written. But, Im of the opinion that when something resonates with you, whatever it is, you hold onto it and whatever feeling it gives you. Honestly, I only mention him as a while back I found some of his quotes that more effectively expressed what I believe, and the things I have experienced over the course of my life, so far. Here we go.

The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make a decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action you experience.“ Okay. So first the no right or wrongthing. I interpret that as being in reference to living your life, theres no right or wrong way for you to be you.  Unless of course you choose to live in a way that harms yourself or others. Our choices make all the difference. Things fall into place, or dont, as a result. I dont believe in fate or destiny. Theres clearly a path that will bring us to the destination; whatever goal it is that we set. The thing is we still must make choices every day to get there. Even refusing to choose is a choice. Small decisions, like what to wear today or whether its oatmeal or cornflakes for breakfast might not make a huge impact in the long run. But learning, dedicating time, money, and effort, absolutely will.  

This point played out in my career. Did some higher power choose the world of nonprofit fundraising for me? Would I have ended up here regardless of the choices I made? I hardly think so. I have other options, I explored many of them. They didnt fit for reasons ranging from logistics to financial, personal to professional. I chose to pursue this. I enjoy this (most days), and it makes sense. It has never felt like destiny. It is work. It is a choice, every day. This idea also prevails in my personal life. I make choices to make myself content, comfortable, and as happy as I can be. If I waited for the universe, or destiny, to show me what I was supposed to be doing, I dont think I would ever be satisfied with the now. How could I be? That belief leads to either always waiting for something bigger and better, or allowing myself to make excuses, not act to make change, because this is how its supposed to be. Nope, sorry, I wont stand for that. 

There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.” I wholeheartedly feel that everyone you meet, even briefly, plays a part in who you are. I will say the jigsaw puzzle analogy maybe a smidge too rigid for me, though. The shapes in a puzzle fit together in a specific way, individual shapes cant change and still fit. But the idea that everyone is here, everyone fitsand no one is extra or unnecessary, is beautiful. More so, I think because of its duality. Everyone YOU meet impacts YOUR life somehow, while everyone who meets YOU is impacted as well. As someone who has in the past felt completely insignificant and utterly invisible, embracing this idea has made a huge difference in how I show up in all facets of my life. 

I am now often reminded of this concept. Any time I speak with several of my friends, I cant help but recall the circumstances under which we met. I agreed to go to an event with an individual I knew, more than a friend, not quite a significant other. The event was amazing, the person, however, not so much. Their behavior toward me shifted entirely once we arrived. I was left wondering what I had done. Literally, I was left, alone. Knowing very few people, myself, I decided not to dwell. I would make new friends, or at least, find some people to hang out with that werent complete jerks. Nearly six years later, and I still have great relationships with quite a few people I met that weekend, but hardly speak to the one who brought me there. I cannot be angry or hold a grudge against the person who I attended that event with. Their presence in my life was the catalyst for more meaningful relationships. That was how their piece fit into my puzzle, and Im grateful.

Wrapping up the quotes attributed to Chopra, we have this gem. Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe to guide us to our true destiny.” Weve already covered my opinion of destiny. But aside from that part, this idea that coincidences have a meaning is also something that rings true for me. That is not to say all coincidences must have an especially deep, profound meaning. They might just be a nudge to remember something from your past that makes you smile.

Or maybe, sometimes, they do serve a much larger purpose. In December, I was in a very bad place mentally, emotionally, and professionally. I was feeling completely overwhelmed daily. I slowly began changing things, one at a time, to improve my situation. One day, I was talking to my sister (as I do every day without fail) and was venting about a lot of things, but mostly not finding great job opportunities in my search. Toward the end of the conversation, I remarked that I had an incredibly vivid dream the previous night about our aunt who we lost to cancer, suddenly and unexpectedly. To which my sister replied, Oh my gosh, me too!!” I refreshed my job search; the new top result was a fundraising position with a cancer focused nonprofit. We agreed, Bettys appearance in our dreams was no coincidence. The universe was nudging me toward exploring this opportunity. Which I did…and got the job! 

Ill end this rant with one more belief I hold, that aligns very well with my idea of the Universe, and that is balance. As often as I look to the universe, I also look for balance. Things feeling heavy? Do something silly; lighten the mood! Throwing yourself into work? Take a break. You get the idea. Ill also share that, sometimes, I feel like balance seeks me. It occurs most often when Im feeling cocky. The universe is quick to knock me down a peg, and I always hear that message loud and clear. The need for balance for me, serves as a course correction; it gives the opportunity to recognize a trajectory toward negativity, realign and refocus. Its a good thing. 

One more note on universe and balance. Sometimes, maybe not terribly often, the universe needs to balance its own scale. Keep in mind everything else weve covered thus far: Nothing at all is perfect. Everyone has a purpose. There are no coincidences. 

Just prior to the full pandemic-shutdown three years ago, I met someone for a date. It seemed promising. It did not pan out, despite more than a few tries. Several weeks ago, I met someone else. Similar age. Similar appearance. Similar interests. Same name. My mind immediately threw up the red flag, warning me Didnt we do this already? Remember what happened?” I forced that thought back, telling myself that similar isnt identical. Even the universe isnt perfect. Perhaps, the similarities were to grab my attention. Perhaps, the first persons purpose was to embody things I appreciated and wanted but also to remind me not to let those things overshadow what was not wanted or aligned with who I am. Perhaps, this could be a good thing. Im still figuring that out. Our meeting was a choice; part of the bigger picture of both our lives. Not fate. Not destiny. Well decide what happens. Or doesnt. Maybe the Universe is saying “oops, that first one? My bad. Try this one.”

All of this is how I make sense of things, of my life, and my experiences. I appreciate and fully understand that despite all my overthinking and overanalyzing not everything will be clearly defined. And Im okay with it because, as per Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” Or me. Yet, it will never stop me from trying. 

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Portrait of Kitchie Ohh. Pin up model and writer for Tony Ward Studio
Portrait of Kitchie Ohh courtesy Tommy B Photo, Copyright 2023

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About the Author:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.

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To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, please click here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-beware-the-ides-of-march/