4.8.16

creative confidence 101


I realize I've been putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to do more than I'm capable of, for no apparent reason. I've been denying myself of my natural process, and have also lost touch with my confidence in execution. I don't know where I fell off so hard with my thoughts, but it has been months since I've written a post without editing things down a million times. Something is off. Something is missing. Something is standing in my way of focus. I figure this is the perfect time to get started on some personal projects, to help pull myself out of it. I'm good at that. I'm encouraging myself to find my strengths. I didn't think I had any until I went looking for them. I feel I have many yet still to discover. That's why I'm here.


When I help people sort out their creative puzzles, whether it be finding the inspiration to be more creative, to nailing down the proper skills, or understanding their creative passions; I always start with the same piece of advice. Well, I have a few pieces, but number one is to do what I call Peter Pan-ing yourself. I've written about it before, so I don't need to go too far into detail. Basically, I'm asking you to get back in touch with your inner child, the person you were from the start, the person you still are; the person you need to nurture and allow to shine through. It's who you are to the core. You are far more valuable than you allow yourself to realize.


I often keep pictures of myself on my desk, as influence to embrace my creative confidence. I could trash myself so easily, and yet, when I put that kid out in front of me, my view changes entirely. I care about that kid, big time. She has a big heart, and a mind so deep you could get lost in it. A busy dreamer; almost as intense as Walter Mitty. Ask that kid to fill a book with stories in a day, and she would. She did. I'm just sorting out where some of those pieces got lost along the way. I'm looking to that kid to help me find the answers. They're there, and she knows how to find them. I just have to stop trying to be a magnificent adult, and listen.


It might sound strange to hear it from me, but creative confidence has always been a struggle. I'm also terribly insecure about being labelled as an artist. Not only does it sound -to me- to be incredibly eccentric (as we can't go without our turtlenecks, judgemental sneers, and tilted berets) I also grew up with a weird societal concept that creative thought lacks real and useful intelligence. I'm not even kidding when I say that I felt like Forrest Gump through most of my school years, because I didn't know how to retain information if it wasn't delivered creatively. I wish I'd known then that it was just how my mind worked. Not a weakness. Not stupid at all. Stupid is as stupid does. 


Confidence, in general, is a tough one to trust and embrace fully, because those who don't have it will attempt to make it difficult for you... including yourself. There's this weird sensation that comes with confidence, because as we gain it, we change. And as we change, so do those around us. It becomes a certain process of dealing with loss at the same time as celebrating the gain. Confidence is tough! As I learn to accept my own; I notice that I care far less about what others think of me, and I spend little to no time trying to earn anyone's acceptance or approval. Like me for who I am, because I'm only trying to do the same. It's a tricky balance that gets easier with time, as you learn to trust it. Just like your creative confidence. Love what you're made of, and don't be scared to let it out.



I like to ask people, what was your favourite project in school(?) because it often stirs up a storm of excitement that is reminiscent to how we express as children. We get jacked up, we jump in, and we deliver with joy. For me, my favourite memory was when one of my teachers brought in a typewriter (the olden days laptop) typed out the classroom's creative stories and coil bound the pages into individual books. Each page had room for illustrations, and inside each construction paper cover/title page, was a -very real- library card to stamp and sign out. For a kid who loved nothing more than reading and writing, this was a dream come true! I will always remember how much I valued that project, and how it made me feel. I don't hang onto much, and yet I still have those books, and the ones I made later on in my own free time. Part of building creative confidence is searching for the root of your interests. If it makes you shine, it's your passion. Grab hold of it, and make something of it. I now know mine. 



In school, I always excelled at anything creative; especially writing. I took to poetry, silly rhymes, and short stories that delivered an emotional or even nonsensical message. I was naturally good at it; so much, that my teachers brought attention to it and made it known to others. I suppose this is why I struggle with positive attention; because it made me a target for ridicule and trolling. It's that threat of confidence that I was talking about earlier. Don't be afraid of it. Let the lumps pout it out on their own, until they learn to do it for themselves. You don't owe anyone explanation for what you believe in. Let it out and be proud of it.



When Creative Writing transformed into English class, I know that is where I lost interest in writing the way I used to. Rather than write what I felt, or what I dreamed of, I was asked to write with reason, for an answer. After endless (boring) group discussions, analyzing the pages of Brave New World, for months on end; someone in my Advanced English group project wrote my review as "I don't think she read the book." This really let me down. It really made me resent my natural abilities, because suddenly I was told I was wrong. I believe this is how most of us lose touch with our passions. It doesn't take much to build a roadblock, but it can take years to knock it down.


I'm still trusting my strengths, and figuring out how to share them with others. Hey, it's why we're here, reading this lengthy blog post that seems to feel all over the map in information. I'm not deleting it. I want it out of my system. It's just like the advice I give to those who want to explore their creative side again. Just try. Try! Don't think too hard, and definitely don't rob the fun out of it. As grownups we know how to make every single thing become so lame through question, complaint, comparison, and reason. Or at least that's how I have often viewed grownups; and why I cried about ever being one when I was little. I was smart enough to know that I was going to lose touch with something I was naturally good at, because growing up involves taking everything so damn seriously. Ask a kid to draw a monster, and I doubt you'll see them asking for reference on how to draw an actual monster. They just do it. They look into their minds and make it happen. This is why I say that reaching back toward your inner child will save you. They just want you to have fun again. Real fun. Not like the fun you have paying your bills on time. Ugh.


And while I'd say that I'm great at being creative most days, not every day is successful. Like today. I spent hours trying to write this post out to sound right, and only now am I writing and telling myself not to delete it. Why? Because that's also the advice I give to people who want to experiment with their creative side. Let it out and let it be. Get a book, some pens (there aren't any secret magic materials that artists use), find what makes you happy, and just fucking do it. Really, sorry to be french about it, but I'm just feeling a bit frustrated with myself.. and it suits this post entirely. Don't stand in your own way of doing what matters to you. If you have expectations to be at a certain skill level, or what your concept of "good" is, or what makes it worth it to you; then that's an entirely different post. If you want more of yourself, practice. If you want to start somewhere, be easy on yourself, or else it's going to end quickly. Stop being a grownup about it, lame-o.



My last bit of advice as you chip away at finding your creative spirit, is to just shut up. I might sound rude here, but really. Shut up with the excuses, shut up about how you don't have time, shut up about how you "suck" at art, shut up about how dumb your drawings might look, shut up about comparison to others, shut up about how you're going to fail, shut up about every little thing that makes YOU stand in your own way. I'm great at this game too, and I've been drawing all of my life. What makes me nuts though is when I encourage people to play, and they flop over with the excuse that I'm somehow going to judge them for trying. Guess what. You're putting words in your own mouth, to stop before you begin. Stop making me out to be the master of judgement. My arms are open to you to get out there and try. Shut up and play. I just want you to express what's hiding in there. The beauty isn't in the skill level, it's in trusting your natural voice. Your creativity is your voice. Please speak up!


For real though, go out and get yourself a book (I'll be getting myself a new one too). Sit down with it for even just a minute a day, and don't pay any attention to how you might want to talk yourself out of it. No one is putting a single bit of pressure on you, but you. There's no invisible audience waiting to laugh at you. There's no one standing behind you waiting to ask for your rationale. No one has to "get" what you're up to. Hell, you don't even have to know what you're up to. Draw something that comes to mind, or just mindlessly doodle. Write down a word, the lyrics to your favourite song, write a poem, a sonnet, a haiku. Research something interesting that you want to learn, jot it down, draw a picture of it. No one is going to see it but you. If you want to share it, share it. Creativity is something all for yourself, and that's the beauty behind it. When you gain confidence, you can share it.. and guess what, others will surely follow. That's the beauty of learning how to play. Just be. Seriously, Peter Pan yourself, hard. Let that kid inside of you do what it has always been good at. I have yet to even address the things I'm looking to explore for myself. Funny, it involves writing... and here we are. I made it. I got this out of my system.

Let's play.

15.6.16

good grief

When I feel stuck, I write. It's my therapy, my process of understanding. I don't even know where to begin, yet I already have. I'm sick of loss, I'm sick of sadness, and I'm sick with frustration that I can't fix it all. "Grief is a solo journey," my best friend reminded me. This is true. I suppose this is why I feel so distanced from everyone. Grief puts us in such an empty place in the world. I feel I'm lost in my own thoughts, because we all process things differently. I can't even talk about myself. It feels selfish, and yet, I need to. I need to understand.


I'm a feeler. When I grieve, often it is more for those who are grieving. I always want to know what they're thinking, how their hearts are aching, how they feel about knowing that life will be different from that moment on. Life is profound. We learn through experience, and the impact of loss can alter and shape us forever. I'm no pro at dealing, but I know I've experienced plenty. Grandparents, cousins, friends, coworkers, neighbours, pets. It's a lot to take in, but it has taught me so much. I know that my reaction of acceptance can sometimes be taken as if I don't care, because it is different than what is expected. That's where it hurts the most. Grief comes in all shapes and sizes. With and without tears of sadness.


My first loss was my grandma. She practically raised me, as my second mom, my source of understanding, my example, my cheering team, my supporter. I was 15 when I last saw her, and for years, I felt it was impossible that she was gone forever. It felt like a cruel magic trick, a weird sort of disappearing act. For years, my dreams deceived me into believing she was on vacation and bound to return, or that I'd need some sort of potion to bring her back to life again. I'd call her home phone number, to hear it ring, to wait for that voice to be there and say it was just fine. I deceived myself for years. I didn't know how to let go. I didn't know how to accept it that death is permanent, and life isn't. It shook me hard.


I was angry, I was sad, I was depressed for years. I went through a million emotions, until I finally followed the advice of my mom. She said to shine. She said to celebrate. She said to laugh and remember the good times. From my perspective, at the time when it was fresh, I thought this wishful approach seemed damn selfish... and kind of annoying. I thought, how dare you take away my sadness and tell me I should be smiling? It definitely wasn't for her to say, but I now appreciate the courage it takes to do what she suggested. Shining in the face of loss is a method of survival. It really has helped me through the years of so much at once. Thank you, mom.


I was lucky I didn't see my grandparents age. They were only in their 60s/70s when they passed; so I never saw them whither or experience anything with their health that altered who they were and how I remember them. Their deaths were quite sudden, and so I never had that chance to say goodbye. I've come to accept that I don't like goodbyes. I don't think getting to say it changes anything in regards to closure. I know that for years after their absence, I at least wanted to say thank you. To let them know how much they provided to me while they were here. I can't change that. But I can take what I've learned, and I can treat the ones who are present, with love, honour, respect, and devotion; so that when they go, I can say there are no regrets. It has altered many of my relationships, as I appreciate every single day that we are all given.


I mended a lot of my relationships with my family. We experienced some really horrible things together, and for a while it broke us apart, as we healed at our own pace. I feel that the beauty behind loss and heartache is that it makes you stronger. My mom always focused on this fact, and it helped me embrace the tough times, for what they'd show me later on. I feel I can face a lot of tough things that most people don't know how to process. I feel like this, sadly, keeps me at a distance from those who expect differently. I can't get them to see what I want them to see. It can only be done on their own time. I can only listen, be that shoulder, and offer help when needed, and remind them... I'm there. My heart is heavy with love, and it wants to be shared. Grief is a closed process before it can open up to the world again. I wait.


I'm learning just to keep quiet and be patient. Like my mom, who sat at the foot of my bed, after my grandma died, hoping just for a minute that I'd return; to see me smile, to hear me laugh, to watch the colour come back to my tear stained cheeks, to watch me run outside with my arms open again. It was never easy for her to sit back and wait for it. I get that, but it takes time to rejoice in the face of loss. One of the toughest things about feeling joy again is that there's a sensation of leaving the lost behind. I'm glad that I see joy as part of the process of life and death. I know my grandparents would never want me to spend a lifetime grieving over their passing. I choose to celebrate what I ever had, thanks to them.


My mom taught me such a valuable lesson, I feel that when I am faced with a world where she is no longer there; I'll know how to take her with me. This gift is tremendous. I really feel it is the most valuable lesson that has helped me deal with the realness of life. Meditation also taught me a lot about life and death, as I used to fear death to the point of panic. I didn't like the idea that it is inevitable that I'll one day be gone. People will be left behind. I'll be spoken about, remembered in a way I'll never know. It makes me think about how I live out my days, how I treat the people around me, how I focus my energy. What do I want to leave behind? What would I want to do with my precious time on this earth? I suppose loss has helped me reflect on what I need from myself, while I'm here. I can't control anything but right now... so here I am. I'm okay with knowing one day I'll be gone. Life is beauty. Live it fully with the time you're given. Now is all we have.


In my neighbourhood, there are poppies blooming everywhere. I see them as a massive symbol of remembrance. They remind me to stop, take time, and remember all that has been lost; and all that has been gained in the process of experience. I used to see my grandma in the shape of a tree, because she said it was what she wished to return as. That's lovely, and that image keeps her close to me no matter where I go. To my grandpa, who showed me the night sky; the stars will always remind me of the twinkle in his eye as he shared his glorious knowledge and imagination. So many things in this world keep the losses in a place that can never be taken. I'm grateful for memories, I'm grateful to remember the people who have made up my life. Everyone comes and goes. Love is what never dies.

Tomorrow would be my grandma's birthday.
I will celebrate.

29.5.16

in circles

I'm trying my best to keep my writing simple. The trouble I have is that I get a thought, and then I get excited about a number of things at once; then I write a bunch of stuff I can't keep up with, losing the thought entirely in the end. I don't see any of it as a bad thing, because writing is a certain therapy for me; but I see that my mind gets caught in a loop, and goes for a ride.. sometimes leading to places where I get a little lost. I'm happy to have such an active mind, but I'm also learning to take time for it, to stop, entirely. I catch myself running on empty a little too often not to do something about it.


I like to understand how my mind works, and really listen to what I need in order to feel more positively about the things around me. I'm the happiest I've felt in years, and yet, my anxiety is at such a steady high. I realize that this sort of thing happens when I'm not considering my needs. My mind and body need time to turn off. Sometimes I go to bed and things keep going. It's no wonder I've been so lethargic. I can't afford to fall behind, and funny enough, catching up involves taking it slow.


I put so much of myself in what I do, as a profession, that it's really not a surprise that I can run myself down into a state of depression, and self inflicted (coffee) anxiety. For a very long time, I felt like I was a hamster on a wheel; rushing to make sure my work was done for the next person, and the next, and the next, and the next; I hardly gave myself notice. This went on for a really long time, until I realized that my own happiness really needed to be included in this cycle of giving.


I recently heard someone say that 'we are no longer our 10 year old selves, and yet we are still our 10 year old selves." I loved this quote because it is exactly where I am right now with self acceptance and who I have always been, and what is actually mine. I've come to accept some really big responsibilities, and also embrace some of my greatest strengths. I care hard, I'm sensitive, I can cry at the thought of someone being hurt. I'm built to love. It takes time to learn how to let those vulnerabilities out, and see them as your strengths. My need to cry when I'm upset or hurt by something isn't going to change. When I get mad, I spout and pout, until I work it out. If someone doesn't like it, it's not mine to fix. Trust yourself, and value your worth. When you change how you care for yourself, it alters what care you receive from others. Not even kidding. My life has changed so much because of it.


I realize that my posts might be a bit redundant when it comes to self love, time, and finding happiness. The truth is that I just want to share how it has worked for me, because happiness is a constant effort that you can only get from yourself. I may be the happiest I've been in years, but I'm also in the biggest state of transition. I'm letting go of some really tough shit that I've dealt with through the years, and when I reflect on those things; I see that I spent a really long time not providing myself with much love or respect. Especially in my relationships. Not to get too personal, but a solid example:

I was once in a relationship where I was cheated on multiple times. The evidence was in writing, and sometimes left plainly in front of me to discover; yet I chose not to acknowledge it for what it was. Instead, I put this weird pressure on myself to prove that person wrong, to show them that I was good enough to be loved; because I have always known my true value. For a long time, I took this treatment as my own responsibility. I even felt that maybe I deserved it, because I'd made my own mistakes that I didn't know how to face. Once I took that time and forgave myself, I stopped allowing myself to be treated poorly by anyone. That's why I say that self love acts as a filter for people who don't belong. Self love doesn't allow you for a second to be treated like the bag of shit I once thought I was. It's sad, and yet I laugh out loud, to think I was ever in such a place. You should never ever have to run in circles, to show someone your worth. Offer yourself love, and others will follow. Truly.


I've been giving myself some new challenges, to embrace change, encourage more of the positive, and to remind myself that change takes time, effort, and absolute maintenance. I have a number of projects on the go, including a 100 day challenge, called The Great Discontent, where I decided to call mine The Great Disconnect. This 100 day project (doing something creative for 100 days) goes with my incentive to limit my time with technology, because of how social media actually affects my social habits. It's tough to describe, but as an introvert, I have an absolute limit when it comes to how much social interaction is 'enough' for me in one day. When I noticed myself lose touch with some of my relationships and even my own art/passions; I decided to do something about it. I'm enjoying the freedom of turning things off and being present. 100 days, one photo only, and one thought to go with it. To see what I've been up to, check out @kendylitis on Instagram. I'll be there.


Now that I've come to acknowledge my limits, and my needs, I am only just branching out into a healthier environment of what, to me, is real. I have a lot on my plate when it comes to self discovery, which is why I find personal projects, and daily challenges, to be so helpful. Creative expression is a healer, and I feel that we can get to know ourselves so well when we take that time to let it out in front of us. I've learned so much in just 41 days, and it doesn't stop. And while most of my posts about happiness may seem a little repetitive for how often I express it, I'm just stating the truth. I'm happy because I worked for it. If you want something to change in your life, do something. Simple as that.. yet not simple at all. Be there for yourself, and you'll see. 

You're amazing.  You deserve to be treated that way, by others, and yourself.








15.5.16

from me to me: 35

As part of a tradition, I like to write about what each year of my life looks like; for the sake of projecting and maintaining a focus on the progress within myself. 35 was a hefty year, and I've been struggling for days to put it into words what it taught me, because there's just so much. All I can say is that it was the year that I figured out who I am, who I've always been; and who I will remain... without fear. 

It has been a really interesting time of trusting my own voice, and hearing it out. When you listen to your needs, you find so much more to love in the world around you. They're always there, you just have to look for them, and listen. It took me months to decide to leave a city that I'd labelled as home, for one I didn't know at all. I'd say I didn't realize what was in front of me, until I left it. I feel this is a huge message that comes with life itself. I knew I didn't need to say goodbye, and yet I did. I needed space, time, solitude, perspective. I needed to put myself in the centre of my own universe in order to see what to allow back in. I suppose this is how Space Oddity became the anthem of my 35th year of life. What an adventure!



35 was the year I made some decisions that were incredibly lofty and even a bit irresponsible. I quit my office job, started to work as a professional artist, and learned how to take that title seriously. I still struggle with it, as my confidence is new and still quite reluctant to accept that this is actually my true calling. An office job felt like the smart thing to do, yet a pay check could never define my time and/or my worth; nor did it ever offer me any form of benefit, relief, or room to grow. I had to stand pretty firm on my own dreams and beliefs, to prove to myself that it's okay to try, even if the struggle is real. I need spontaneity and challenges in my life, or else I grow bored and robotic. In an office job, I was miserable, restricted, and repressed from my actual capabilities. Quitting my job is still, hands down, the best thing I could have done for myself.. next to asking my dog to pick between staying where we were, OR going on an adventure. Perhaps that decision making process was a little careless in some regard; but damn, I'm glad we did it.




I learned that happiness is something you create for yourself, and one of the toughest truths behind it is that not everyone is going to like it... especially if you make it look easy. The more I've shared how happy I choose to be, the more I see myself losing 'friends'. It's a tough truth to accept, but it lightens the load on its own. I remember someone messaging me, while I was in BC, to point out how happy I seemed on my own; like it was a bad thing. Loving life isn't about being selfish, it's about being appreciative of what you have in front of you. I left town with very little in tow, and made the most of it. I feel happy to know that I'm capable of making so much out of so little; as very few of us take the time to realize how lucky we are to even be alive for another day. In the face of a year with so much loss, I was presented with so much gain. It all came from within. Magic.




Not everyone is going to believe or accept that I've changed for the better, and I'm okay with that. I learned from a very soft hearted and selfless woman, who happens to be my mom, that not everyone is going to like you at your best. I realize that I've struggled through the years, in our relationship, because I saw a lot of her strengths as weaknesses; because they are similar to my own. I haven't given myself much cred through the years, for how strong I actually am; because like her, I always want to do more. My mom has been there through thick and thin, and when it comes to loss, I experienced far too much heartache at an early age. We lost our home, our family, our privacy, our stability, our pets, our belongings, our loved ones, and a good portion of our lives that we'll never get back. We grew up quickly, and lost so much at once, that it caused me to rebel and push things away for a very long while. My mom is incredibly forgiving, loving, and patient. I appreciate that she stepped back to let me grow, and come back to myself, at my own pace.



It makes sense that I chose to gravitate to people who didn't really deserve the love I had to offer, for so long, because I hadn't realized my own worth. For years, I felt that I was messing everything up as I went; when the truth was that I was giving so much for nothing in return. You give and give, and they only ask for more. I cut off ties with those who only took from me, and their reactions were almost similar to a tantrum. I realize that they expected something of me that was too valuable for them to receive. I gave up trying to argue for what they chose not to see, and I spared my energy for better things. Much like my mom, I forget that I have feelings that are both delicate as they are strong. I forget to offer the same love I give so willingly to others, to myself. Self love is necessary. Anyone who calls it selfish, is just mad you're not providing to their own selfish needs. They can only sort it out for themselves. I've done my time, being ignored for my actual worth. Being loved for your true strengths (and weaknesses) is a very humbling thing.


I realize, in this ever changing world, that I'm lucky to be alive. Lately, I've noticed both of my parents talk about their own mortality, and this makes the process of life seem more real; that it's only here for a limited time. I'm 36, and I see it in my physical body that I'm actually a woman. I'm someone who has lived a decent life, filled with a number of ups and downs, which have shaped me into something unique and even beautiful. I decided to document pieces of my life that I know I'll look back at and be proud of, through a personal project that changed my perspective entirely. It was a project that made me think about why we can't look forward to what we have now, with the same energy we feel about the things we no longer have. Always be proud of yourself. Be proud of the life you have, and the shape you have become through experience. Appreciate that you're given another day to breathe. You are valuable to this world, and you have so much power to make the best of it in your own way. It's pretty incredible, and I am still reluctant to share my -revealing- personal project fully because I literally stripped down to all that I am and expressed what I was feeling. It makes me really nervous to share it, but I also learned that being vulnerable is what makes us stronger.



35 was a lot about discovering what family means to me. I realize that I distanced myself almost literally, for the sake of seeing what I needed in order to understand, trust, and believe in it fully. I've spent years, moving around, pressing restart, letting people in, letting people go, saying goodbye, keeping a safe distance from the unpredictable and familiar sensation of abandonment. I have some scars that are still present, but I learned that I create my own pain for myself to keep safe from the surprise. When I was surrounded by the things that made me feel insignificant, I realized how significant I am to myself. We can get caught up in forgetting that we're not the universe, nor do we own it. We are just a very small part of it, and we can lose it just as quickly as we have already gained. We feel deeply, we protect ourselves, we grieve, we mourn, we cry, we scream, we shout at the top of our lungs. It's easy to feel super alone until you realize who is listening. At 35 I learned that just because I can do it all alone, doesn't mean I have to.



The more I learned to ask for help, the more I learned how to receive it. 35 showed me a tremendous amount of love, from so many angles. From the people I've known all my life, the people I met in the past year, to the ones I'm still getting to know; my life is entirely different based off of who I choose to accept into it. Realizing my worth from within this circle of people is how I found home for the first time in years, in an image that I'll never forget. It was the night I decided -on impulse- to go back where I had come from. I was leaving the island, with certainty of where I needed to be, and right above the highway, as large as I'd ever seen it, was Ursa Major (the big dipper). Ursa has been an incredibly representational symbol for me; of family, of trust, of a bond that doesn't require blood (or relation) to be true. Ursa Major is an asterism, made up of stars that are totally unrelated, creating something that is viewed as a whole from afar. That night, I trusted what made me whole and I followed it. I learned that I can create my own universe.



I suppose you could say that at 35, I broke down and built myself up, simultaneously. I found what love means from both inside and out, and that adoration doesn't waver in the ones who truly believe in your purpose. Love is a pretty incredible thing, and comes in many shapes and sizes. When people see you for who you actually are, and embrace you for what you are capable of giving to this world, and encourage it; those are the ones you should hang on to. I buried a lot of unwanted love, and negative pieces of myself in the woods of BC. It was a cleanse that I absolutely needed in order to push forward, and welcome in new love, with confidence. I've never felt so weightless and free of uncertainty. 35 was a year where I realized that I deserve true and honest love. To the guy who asked me daily, how my day was, and how he could help before he'd wish me goodnight, thank you. You're a big deal in a very big year for me.




At 35, I started to see more of my mom in my appearance, and that's part of what this post is about. When I see features that look more like her face, and expressions that are far too close to home, I smile when I realize I'm becoming my maker. I burst into tears one day, when I realized that they're pieces of her I will always carry, even when she's no longer there. I remember when I was at a park, in Victoria, feeling totally scared and alone in a new and unfamiliar place. Just as I was about to go to my car, to leave, I heard the song "Wonderful World" coming from an orchestra close by. I stopped and listened, and let the tears roll. It reminded me so much of my mom and her valuable lessons to see all that we have in front of us, and to smile in the face of fear and sadness. It's the part of her I will always carry, and for that, I will never feel alone. Thanks, Mom.


And then there's this guy, who was with me the entire time. My tiniest friend who impacts my life in the biggest way. He has taught me to find the fun in practically everything, and I could not have done it without him. He got me out of bed in the morning, and out of the house to explore the places that will always remain in my memory. If he could understand the words that I say, or could listen for more than a few seconds, I'd thank him profusely for giving me courage I didn't know I had. I'll never forget that loaded car, Tetris'd so tight with our personal belongings, riding next to a trusting little face, smiling at me the entire way. He chose this adventure for us, and I couldn't be more grateful. What a chance we took together, and I'm so proud to call you one of my best friends, without fail. Breakfast Jones, you smelly, loveable, and wonderful soul. I'm so glad you're a part of my universe, and so often the centre of it. I'll always remember you as a part of this point in my life. Thank you so much. I haven't gone a single day without laughing at you.



What I wish to take with me into my 36th year, is more trust in my power to feel and express. I'm still learning about my true voice, and what it sounds like to speak up and be heard. I have a lot to give, and I'm figuring out how to trust and embrace it; and continue to value it as something that provides me with balance. Self love really is such an essential part of life, and it should never be held against you as something negative or wrong. We go through life knowing no one better than our true selves, so why not treasure it by letting it grow and explore? I have so much yet to learn, and yet, I've come out of such an incredible year of experience. I can only take what I learned and make something more of it. 36, I think we're going to have fun. More self discoveries to come!



Finally, one last memorable moment to share before I end this lengthy post. There was a time, before I left for BC, when I had a very vivid dream about my own going away party. I was approached by my dear friend, Spencer, who said to me frankly, "you're going to die when you leave." It totally freaked me out, because I'd been warned about the various dangers and risks involved with driving the unpredictable mountain roads. Once I saw it for myself (and that's the only way you learn is by taking risks) I enjoyed the countdown for Major Tom, and took it as a statement that I wasn't going to return the same person I was when I'd left. It's true. I left on an adventure, without a single thing to lose, and so much to gain. I took the biggest leap into the unknown, and it resulted in a life altering year that has changed me entirely. Despite all that I just wrote, I still feel like I can't put it into words just how good 35 was for me. What an incredible time!

This adventure hasn't ended. It has only just begun.

27.4.16

enjoy


I choose to keep myself inspired. It isn't always easy, but I feel that sometimes the key is to not go looking for it. Get outside, explore the unknown, get up close and touch it. The world is a lovely place, and damn this spring has been amazing. When the sun is out, and I need a break, I go to the trails and get lost for hours. Nature is calm and patient. It listens. There is no rush. Enjoy the world. It has a whole lot to share.


I take far more time to myself, to stop. I'm looking to add even more of this time to my days, because I realize it's necessary, especially when it comes to disconnecting from the office part of my home. I could work all day, if I'm not careful. Sometimes, I do. To keep from burnout; I turn off my phone, I keep all forms of technology out of my bedroom, I go to bed earlier (still working on reading before bed), I don't answer emails on weekends... It's all a balance. Down time needs to happen in order to keep going. Technology is just far too distracting from what is actually important. Shut it off and enjoy real life. Your energy will thank you.


Play. It can be difficult to allow myself to experiment with personal projects, when there is so much to do for everyone else. I'm prone to giving to others before I even consider to do much for myself at all. I realize that when I put off the things I want to do, I become rebellious toward the restrictions I put on myself, and I see tension in my work. It's unnecessary. Personal work is just as important as any other work, because it stretches the creative muscles. Either pout, shout, or play. Enjoy yourself.


I'm also learning how to do absolutely nothing. Nothing. No sound, no distractions, nothing. It's how I start my mornings, without looking at a single email until I eat, bathe, meditate, and sort out what I'm doing for the day. Nothing is so urgent I can't enjoy a little bit of time to myself. Enjoy space. 


The more I learn to shut down and take time away from waste, the more I realize that I'm able to put time into the things that interest me most. Since I was a kid, I've enjoyed writing. I have more to share on this topic because it is big. All I can say, to condense it, is to test out your true interests. The ones that have always been there. Your dreams are valid. Explore what they are trying to say, and make something. Enjoy it for yourself (share later, maybe).


In the mix, I'm working on a lot of pieces of myself. I realize that I drifted into a bit of a state of insecurity, as I tend to do on occasion. I want to write more about this topic as well, because I feel this is a big one, with a number of solutions. In short, reactions are funny. Sometimes from others, and sometimes for ourselves. There's just so much fluff surrounding self love and happiness, seeming arrogant and phoney. If you can't believe in it, or accept it, no one else will. Enjoy proper love. You do deserve it.


Sometimes, it all feels like a lot of work. I don't always have good days, or days where I do work that I'm proud of.  I don't always have productive days, or rewarding days. I sometimes have days where I fall off completely from being responsible, or seeing my own achievements for what they are. It's a part of life, to roll with the punches and learn from the experience. When I go outside, I choose a different path (literally), every day. Each time, I see that it leads me to another layer of discovery, another reason to keep pushing forward to see what comes next after that, and after that. No one is standing in your way, but you. 

Enjoy the adventure.