Reflection by Madison St. Louis

Madison is an OG of the Quarantined, quarantined for 2 weeks before the rest of us after coming back from the Commerce South Korea Trip. Enjoy her post:

When thinking about writing a reflection during this strange time of self-isolation, I’m scrambling to think of something that hasn’t already been said. I feel like every post I’m seeing on Facebook or Instagram has essentially been the same thing: social distancing is necessary! Protect the elderly and immunocompromised! Look how sad Italians are! While these are all good(ish) messages, I hope that this ends up being something refreshing for you, maybe something redirects your attention. Maybe you’ll just enjoy reading it, that’s ideal. This last month has been nothing short of eventful for me- relational changes, a trip to a new continent, watching an outbreak happen first-hand, self-isolating for two weeks, going back to school for two days, then learning that my first two weeks in isolation were only the warmup to the real deal.

Days after I returned from South Korea, I realized that one of my favorite artists, Princess Nokia, had released not one, but two new albums, displayed in this wonderful dichotomy: one album is named “Everything is Beautiful,” and the other, “Everything Sucks.” Disclaimer: Both of these albums, as well as all of her music, contain explicit content; just know that before listening. If you don’t have an issue with that, check her out. If not, I hope you’re still with me.

These albums have almost perfectly captured how this last month has been for all of us, in one way or another. “Everything Sucks” is of course the darker and grungier album of the two, thematically and sonically. The name itself allows me to let myself feel that everything really sucks, but not for too long- the entire album’s runtime is under 30 minutes. The reality of the COVID-19 situation is that it really sucks- virtually each one of us is being rudely disrupted by a pandemic that is literally killing people and closing borders. Nothing is good about that. As someone who’s out of touch with her emotions, it’s rare and valuable when I can find something (or someone) that helps me to identify what I’m feeling, and makes me feel safe enough to let myself feel it. Believe it or not, anger is a tough one. But this album is so good, I can’t be mad when I’m listening to it- I’m usually fired up and feeling maybe a bit too confident, which is why I made sure to time it so that “Harley Quinn” would be playing as I drove to a job interview I had earlier this month. You need new songs for your at-home workout playlist? Look no further.

Princess Nokia, as “disrespectful” and “offensive” as she may be (her words, not mine), reveals an entirely different side of herself in the sister album “Everything is Beautiful.” Sonically, this album contains an entirely different soundscape than its counterparts. In fact, much of the album sounds like what a brisk spring morning feels like. Sunny and uplifted, it’s a stark contrast to “Everything Sucks.” The albums are polar opposites; this is why I respect her so much. Ever heard a Lumineers album? Oh you’ve heard two? You’re not sure? Me either. (No shade to Lumineers fans.) This album has been the go-to album for me and my roommates for the last little while, all self-isolation aside (hey google, play Wavy by Princess Nokia). Lyrics like “I’m still a kid/but kids are fun” and “have you told your parents that you love them lately?” have stuck with me and have been running through my head ever since I heard “Green Eggs and Ham” for the first time. Its lighthearted contents are not to be pushed aside just yet.

Princess Nokia

So clearly not everything sucks, and not everything is beautiful either. I’m not gonna go on about how we can find beauty in the midst of disappointment and chaos; you already know that. I hope that you can remember things that sucked about this situation and also find thingsthat are beautiful about it. And you’ve all already done that. What I love about the two is how they coexist. Just last night, I was about to lose it on my roommate for burning the popcorn (am I ok???), and today I laughed harder than I have in months because another one of my roomates revealed to me that when she was in grade twelve, she dressed up as the Hobbit for Halloween (she grew out her leg hair and walked around school barefoot all day). Keep laughing folks. Oh, and keep dancing to crazy frog, people! It got you through elementary school, it will get you through this!

Bing Bing,

Madison St. Louis


Thank You, Madison 🙂 – If there is a way to reply to this post (again, I’m new to this), I would love to hear people respond with small things that they have found that are beautiful in the midst of our current state.

7 thoughts on “Reflection by Madison St. Louis

  1. Thanks for the post Madison! I totally agree with you – there seems to be a flood of info on the web right now and it’s difficult to sift through it, especially when most of it seems to be repetitive. After reading, my roommates and I subsequently said “hey google, play waves by princess nokia” – sorry but I think the Lumineers still win (concert in yeg in sept (hopefully still will happen!). At least we can both agree on crazy frog! Anyways, super appreciate your reflection and love that your sense of humour is evident 🙂


  2. I have two house finches who have returned (for my third consecutive spring of living in my condo) and are building a nest and munching on the oriental crab apples still clinging to the tree from last year. Not only do they provide great company, it’s a comfort to see beauty and consistency we can rely on in nature. Especially as the days get longer!


  3. I’ve found it beautiful to have the time to enjoy nature more than I typically do in my everyday life. With my teaching practicum having ended prematurely, I’ve been taking the time to go cross country skiing in the river valley every day. This gets me out of the house while still easily practicing social distancing, helps keep me in shape, and gives me some time to appreciate creation.


  4. All three members of my household, which includes my 17 year old, have been busy working from home this morning. We are about to take a lunch break together, something we would never normally do other than weekends and holidays. We also plan to take an afternoon break with our older children via conference calling. They too are working from home. I am grateful for increased and different connection time. You are right Madison. Not everything sucks.


  5. Personally, I’m enjoying working from home. Weirdly I feel way more productive in my “worky” work (and I get to hang out with my new co-worker all day aka my dog, Ginger). Don’t get me wrong, I miss social interaction at King’s with students randomly popping by to chat or going to the level with a colleague for a London Fog (moment of silence for those). But a break in a routine always livens my spirit and helps me to get reacquainted with my purpose.

    Cheers from my kitchen!


  6. Love this, Madison! I’ll definitely check Princess Nokia out – she sounds like she’s totally my vibe 🙂
    I’m really enjoying that the switch to online classes means my daily routine stays pretty much the same. Having to “show up” to online classes at the same times as I did in-person is making sure I get up, eat breakfast, and have a shower too. We’re creatures of habit! It’s good for us! Even if it means I still have lots of major assignments and studying to worry about, and not nearly as much extra free time as you might expect from life at home. Plus, as an introvert with her husband for a roommate, being “stuck” at home doesn’t feel all that different from the norm for me anyway.


  7. Things have definitely been a little sucky for me in 2020, and the COVID-19 chaos has spun that a little faster (I’m old so your music reference brings images of an lp – get it? Spun it? Nevermind.) This week has been really sucky as my wife has been ill with some of the symptoms of you know what, so we had to quarantine her in one room while her parents (many of you know Wayne and Dorothy), hid from their daughter in another, and the kids and I took over the basement. But on to beauty…

    It has been beautiful to have this kind of time with my children. My nine-year-old Tessa, in particular, has loved being home from school. She has been sleeping in my home office, and we’ve had some amazing talks about life, faith and YouTube (her favourite vlogger Jessii Vee). Brendan and I have been reading a book together – Collapse by Jared Diamond – and after Tessa goes to sleep we play some Co-op Starcraft 2. And – speaking of beauty – my beautiful wife does not seem to have the dreaded disease (never got a fever and the other symptoms are going away) and is now hanging with us again, though we’re going to push through the 14-day household quarantine just in case. And, of course, Poppy is living her absolute best life with everyone home all day every day. What has she done to deserve all this love and attention!? We’re working hard to see the good, bright and beautiful in everything – Philippians 4:8.

    Thanks again for your great post, Madison. I’ll check out Princess Nokia’s music after Tessa goes to bed. I already love the Lumineers. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to more posts from others of you soon!


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