I Went to Therapy and it was totally normal, helpful and not a big deal

It’s no secret that mental health is a stigmatized subject. Research tells us that mental illness affects people of all ages, all educational levels, all income levels and all cultures. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. That is approximately 7 million people! And still people get awkward and weird when the topic of mental health is brought up.

This September I started regularly seeing a holistic therapist, Angelika. This is like the naturopathic version of a normal therapist. The biggest difference being that Angelika doesn’t have a doctorate and so she doesn’t prescribe medication. Most of her methods and techniques focus on belief change using methods such as guided meditation, positive visualizations, supportive mantra’s, hypnosis, ect. It sounds fancy but for the most part my sessions consisted of me talking and her listening, just like in the movies but without the fancy couch.

I decided to start seeing Angelika when I realized I was struggling to cope in everyday life. She had worked with a friend of mine who saw real positive results and I knew that talking to someone was my best option. You see, a lot happened in September. I moved into downtown Toronto, Lucas moved 2 hours away for school, I started a new job. All very exciting stuff but it was a lot all at the same time and as it turns out, I had some trouble adjusting to it all.

One Monday evening in September I went to yoga class to help calm me down. While in the change room, I put my jewelry in a side pocket of my bag. The next morning I went to get my jewelry from my bag and it wasn’t there and I went from panicked to hysterical to ballistic in minutes. I ended up having to call in to work and take the morning off as a personal day. I couldn’t breathe, I was hyperventilating, I couldn’t stop crying. It took hours for me to calm down. Was the jewelry special? For sure. Was it worth that much stress and anxiety? Hell no. It was just the cherry on top of the overwhelmed pie and that was the moment I knew that I needed to get some help asap.

I met with Angelika 5 times over the course of 4 months and it has made such a positive difference in my life. I feel so much more relaxed, I am managing stressful situations better, and I have a much more positive outlook on the big and small things in my life. We talked about all sorts of things but when whittled down most of my fears and anxieties were rooted in communication with others. Communication with Lucas, my friends, my co-workers, my sisters, my parents. With Lucas, it was a fear of being unable to communicate while being far apart and I was so afraid of that happening that I was making it happen. With my sisters, it was a judgement thing. I thought they judged me and so I treated them a certain way in response to what I assumed they were thinking. It put strain on my relationships. Working with Angelika I have learned how to be less hard on myself and less judgmental and presumptuous in my communication with others. My relationship with Lucas (despite being long distance) has never been stronger. We share more now than we did when we lived together and we have learned how to make each visit more meaningful. Also, my relationship with my sisters is so much better. We used to bicker all the time, which is normal for sisters but was also very sad. For the first time in my life it feels like my sisters and I are friends rather than frenemies and it feels so good!

In October I slipped up while talking with a co-worker and said “oh I was talking with my therapist about that this morning”. He looked at me like I had three heads. At the time I was embarrassed. Even though I was making so much progress, I was proud of myself and I felt like I was controlling my life instead of my life controlling me. I was embarrassed that I had admitted this secret to someone. But now I am realizing that I have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. So I need someone who is unbiased to listen to me vent every once in a while, so what?! It’s healthy! I’m getting things, emotions, thoughts and feelings out into the open and then dealing with them in a rational and clearly thought out way. The way I see it, everyone should be taking the time and energy to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about, it would make the world a much nicer place.

So if you have been thinking about therapy, any kind—do it! Let this post as a sign! Yes, the first appointment is awkward and weird and nerve-wracking but also so incredibly worth it. Let them think that I have three heads… I feel great and that is all that matters.

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So here’s to my mum and dad!

I just have to take a moment and tell the whole wide world just how wonderfully amazing my parents are. Seriously! There are not enough descriptive words out there to describe how just how incredible they are.

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Cutting the cake at their 25th Wedding Anniversary Party
Firstly, let me point out that there are 4 of us. Yup 4 kids! By today’s standards that just a pretty big family. And the age difference is decently spaced as well. I’m 24, my first younger sister is 22, my second younger sister is 17 and my brother is 14. So they had toddlers with teenagers and now they have teenagers with emerging adults (which is basically the same thing as a toddler). That alone sounds like a challenge, right?! Well on top of just raising us to have good manners and be normalish human beings they managed to come to every dance recital, hockey game, choir concert, baseball game, play performance, and got us to every rehearsal and practice in between. If that isn’t superhuman powers then I don’t know what is.
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Our big ol’ family.
Once when I was in third year, my university friends and I decided to book a vacation to Cuba. We had everything figured out except for how to get from London, Ont. (where we went to school) to the Toronto airport. It’s about a 2 hour drive. We looked into shuttle buses and taxi’s but it was all so expensive and so complicated. So I was venting to my mum one afternoon about how much money I was going to have to shell out for an overnight shuttle bus and she said “oh don’t do that, your dad will come get you” and next thing I knew my dad was picking up me and 4 of my friends (and all our luggage) from London. He drove us back to Toronto where my mum fed us a fantastic home cooked meal, she then set us all up with beds in the living room and then at 3 am my dad woke us up to drive us all to the airport for our 6 am flight. Then a week later he picked us all up and drove us all back to London again.
My parents have also helped me to move in and out of 4 houses in 3 different cities over the course of 6 years. And somehow every moving day is excruciatingly hot. One time we opened my storage unit to find that a fine layer of mould was covering everything. So I’m addition to moving everything from point A to point B, they helped me to wipe everything down with bleach and water before carrying it into my new place. And they took all the un-salvageable stuff to the dump for me.
They let my friends use the cottage for free, my dad lets Lucas drive the boat, and at the age of 24 my mum will still pick me up from the train and drive me home to Lucas’ house if it is cold and I’m getting home too late. All that and so much more. They do so much all the time and they never ask for anything in return. Give. Give. Give. And just when I thought I had seen the  most of their kindness hey went above and beyond again. This time not only for me but also for Lucas.
We needed to get his furniture to his new apartment in London but after a series of unfortunate events Lucas couldn’t do any heavy lifting and we also couldn’t get a moving truck. We thought we were stuck. for real, I thought Lucas would be sleeping on an air mattress in an empty apartment for the first two weeks of school. But my parents stepped up and came through for us again. Since they were making a day trip out to London anyway they took a load of Lucas’ heavy furniture all the way to his new apartment. That is a two hour drive and up a flight of stairs and everything. (Naturally today is very hot). The kicker, Lucas and I weren’t even there to help they did it all on their own. And again asking for nothing in return and without a single complaint.
I’ve always known that I was loved. I’ve always known that I was lucky to have parents who are willing to give me so much but it’s just now as I’m entering adulthood that I understand why they do what they do. I think it’s more than just love. I think it’s the fact that they truly want nothing more than to see their children happy. And so they don’t buy us fancy toys or spoil us with money, instead to do everything in their power to help us succeed, to help us be the best versions of ourselves. Now I’m not saying they are perfect parents, my family is just as dysfunctional as the next family and I really do feel that nothing and noone is ever perfect, but there is no denying that my parents are pretty darn fantastic.  So thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for all that you do for us. I know that if I can give to my children and loved ones as much as you have given to me then I will have succeeded in life.
So here’s to my mum and dad. Thank you, again. You are both incredible. I love you.
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Growing Up is Hard: If Not Dancer, Who Am I?

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How do we define who we are?

Am I my past? What I’ve done, where I’ve been, the things I’ve seen…

Am I my future? My goals, my plans, my dreams, my aspirations…

Am I the present? My job, my daily activities, the here and now…

I think one of the most challenging parts of life is answering the question, “Who am I?”. The answer is almost constantly changing because so often we define ourselves by the present. Today, I am an arts administrator, a commuter, a blogger. But that is all surface stuff. My job, my daily activities, the here and now.

Who am I really?

A traveler, a lover of arts and culture, a reader, a writer, a singer, a dancer, a performer, a yogi, a fitness enthusiast. I’d like to think so. But sometimes I’m not so sure. I have been struggling with this “who am I” question recently because of the dance recital I just participated in over the weekend. For the first time in literally my entire life I don’t feel like I can use the word dancer to define myself anymore and realizing this is causing me to question… well… everything.

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 You see, my parents enrolled me in dance when I was two and a half. I was never the best. I couldn’t jump the highest or spin the fastest, but I loved moving and shaking and being on stage. I took tap, jazz and ballet classes and performed in the year end show for a total of 15 years.

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Then I went away to university and got involved in the school dance club, as well as the theater club. It was a different stage with different people but I was still on stage, doing what I loved.

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When I moved home from school for the summer after my first year I decided that I missed dancing on my stage, with my friends. So with permission from my studio owner I put together a group of alumni and we took to the stage. The alumni dance group successfully came together for four years. It was so fun to pick our own music, create our own choreography and enjoy the rush of recital weekend again. 528810_10151254170914638_988242742_n

And then one day it became more important to work on my grades, or my choral music, or whatever else. It wasn’t something I consciously decided, but one day I just wasn’t dancing anymore. Life just got in the way, I guess. However, I still considered myself a dancer. Dance had always been a part of who I was, why did that have to change just because I wasn’t dancing anymore?

This weekend that all changed. The short version of the story goes like this. The alumni group have been inactive for one year. People were missing it and since I lead the helm in the past everyone turned to me to start things up again. Reluctantly, I did. I say reluctantly because I’ve got a lot going on now, as I said before, life just gets in the way sometimes. But I managed to pull it all together… until it all collapsed, of course. Two months before the recital and a week before rehearsals were to start 4 of the 6 people backed out. It went from being a group number to a duet in minutes. They all had excuses but to me it was bull shit. Then two weeks before the recital my partner tore her thigh muscle. Yup it is every bit as painful as it sounds. Her doc isn’t sure yet if she will need surgery, but dancing was off the table… And then there was one. I wasn’t prepared to be on stage by myself, I was nervous and out of practice, my turns were a mess and my jumps were lousy. But my studio owner was expecting me to be there, so there was no way I could back out now.

I performed. It was fine. The dance was dull and uninspiring with only one but there wasn’t much I could do about that. All the reasons I loved dancing were not present this time around. There was no energy, no social aspect, no fun. For the first time in my whole life I felt out of place in the theater. I felt foolish for trying to hold on to a part of my life that was so obviously over. And I felt lost. I had always been a dancer. So much had changed, hell, everything had changed at some point or another and I was always a dancer and now for the first time, I wasn’t. So that begs the question, if not dancer, who am I?

I suppose I am still all those other things listed above. I am still a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a best friend. I am still energetic, fun, outgoing, smart, passionate, stubborn, ect. I know this and yet, I’m scared. Scared of changing and losing the pieces of me that I have come to recognize and define myself by.

Maybe that makes me scared of the future. Maybe that makes me scared of myself.

Maybe that just makes me human.

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♫♩ A Musical Review & A Love Story ♥

Everyone has a favourite band. A favourite song. A favourite quote.  For me all of those things come from the same source. Mumford & Sons. The band, in my opinion, can do no wrong. They are flawless, in every sense of the word. There are a number of reasons why I love Mumford. First and foremost, they are spectacular musicians, song writers and performers. You can see, hear and feel the passion that goes into making their music. Secondly, Mumford is the reason I met Lucas.

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You see Lucas and I actually went to the same high school, two years apart (for the record, I am older). We had mutual acquaintances, I had heard his name a few times in passing but we never crossed really paths. In August of 2013  I went with a group of friends to see Mumford play at the Gentlemen of the Road  traveling concert festival. The festival was essentially two days jam packed with live musical acts with Mumford as the closing act on the Saturday night.

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The venue was about 2 and a half hours west of Toronto. I was traveling and camping with a group of 4 girls. Myself, Karin, Sam and Alicia. When we arrived on the Friday afternoon we went straight to setting up camp. That was easier said than done. Do you know how many poles come with a camping tent? So many! Since it was going to take us a while to set up Sam decided to call in reinforcements. Two of her friends from high school who were also at the show for the weekend, Lucas and his buddy Taylor.

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No joke, as they wandered over to our tent disaster I looked at Lucas and thought “who is he? He is very cute. I must know him.” Luckily the feeling was mutual. The rest of the weekend kind of went by in a whirlwind of music, beer, sunshine, dancing and laughing.

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Photo by Samantha Gatez

When I think back on that weekend I feel like Lucas and I were inseparable. I think he was by my side from the moment I met him to the end of the weekend when we had to drive home again. But somehow we managed to avoid having a picture taken together. The whole weekend was almost too perfect. If someone had told me that the whole thing was a dream I would have believed them.

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Photo by Samantha Gatez

I think there is something magical about music, especially live music, that brings people together. In a lot of ways Lucas and I are major opposites. He is a free-spirited, spur of the moment kind of person. I am meticulous planner and goody-two-shoes. I like to think that we have influenced each other for the better. He has helped me to relax and enjoy the moment and I think I have helped him to find a stronger sense of direction in terms of his goals and such. But I honestly don’t know if we would have had that connection, that spark, if we had met anywhere other than at a concert.

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Photo by Samantha Gatez

So you see, I feel as though Mumford & Sons brought Lucas and I together. Naturally I was devastated when they announced their hiatus in September of  2013. They had just given me an amazing weekend, an connected me with an amazing person and all I wanted to do from that moment on was go see Mumford play live music, with Lucas at my side.

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Photo by Samantha Gatez

After a very long year and a half they have finally made their way back onto the music scene with their brand new album, Wilder Mind, released on May 4th.

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At first I was really nervous about this new album. In their time off Mumford ditched the banjo, which they were essentially famous for, in favour of a more classic rock inspired sound. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some classic rock, but to me Mumford is synonymous with indie, and rock isn’t indie. The first single dropped from the album was titled Believe. I’ll be honest, on first listen it felt like Coldplay and I was confused. It was a great song but it didn’t sound like the band I knew and loved. So when the new album finally came out I was expecting to be “meh” about it.

Oh! How happy I am to say that I was wrong! I’m not sure exactly how to explain this but I’ll try my best. There are a number of good songs on the album, there are a number of great songs, and there are a few just okay songs. But as a whole, as one piece, from beginning to end, listened to in the order they intended it is perfect. The album tells a story, the songs compliment each other, the music ebbs and flows through the entire work. While the banjo is noticeably not present the music still feels like Mumford in the vocals, the orchestral background music and in the lyrics. I beg of you, please do not listen to this album on shuffle. Hear it how Mumford intended it to be heard.

I think Mumford and Sons successfully accomplished what Taylor Swift also accomplished with the release of her most recent album 1989. Both Mumford and Swift managed to change their sound without compromising their music or betraying their loyal fan base. I feel that they were able to do so because they made a strong, confident 180. Instead of writing songs, they curated entire albums. And that, I feel, is what makes all the difference. It is a magic that we are lacking today. Because of iTunes we have the “luxury” of picking and choosing songs, rather than listening to entire albums. So a lot of artists make a few great singles and really poor albums. Although with the renewed popularity of vinyl records this is hopefully going to change.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out Wilder Mind, do it now! And if you have, what did you think?! Share in the comments!

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

I have seriously been neglecting the blog recently. Life has been exceptionally hectic over the past two weeks. I have had virtually no free time and in the free time I have had I’ve been watching The Mindy Project. Following the antics of Mindy’s made for tv life has become a full fledged obsession. mindyIn addition to binge watching the most hilarious woman on netflix, I have been running. A lot. In preparation for my race which is in 13 days! I have been working, a lot. We are launching into our spring run of shows here at the Opera. So the amount of parties and events that are happening is overwhelming. I have been reading, a lot. At this pace I’ll be finished my 50 book goal in no time! And lastly, I have been cooking! Not a lot, but more than normal!

So many excuses, so little time. Lets break it down for a moment.

Running

giphyThis weekend I ran outside for the first time since I started training for my 5k. I was incredibly nervous. When using a treadmill I think it can be hard to tell if you have made progress or not. I knew I had improved but as the running intervals got longer I found it more and more challenging to keep going. I figured that I had reached my limit. WRONG. I had reached my indoor limit. My outdoor limit is a whole other thing!

So on Saturday I grabbed my friend Melanie and we hit the pavement. Having Mel there really helped because she motivated me to keep going. Yesterday, I ran outside again, on my own this time. I ran a short route that I used to do last summer. Back then I was out of shape and untrained. I couldn’t run the whole thing without stopping to catch my breath at least once. Yesterday I did the whole thing without stopping and at a decently quick pace! Thee cheers for progress!

Work

Very briefly, my job in lamest terms is fundraising. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that a huge part of fundraising is donor appreciation. Here at the opera we appreciate our donors with exclusive events. Behind-the-scenes type stuff. I actually really enjoy working these events because it gives me the chance to get to know our donors and learn more about the works we are presenting on the stage. In addition to working all the swanky parties I also work some of the shows at the welcome desk. Basically I’m just there to trouble shoot questions and engage with the donors. Between the parties and the shows I’ve had a lot of late nights. But I don’t mind too much because I really like this aspect of my job and it’s only for a short period of time.

Reading

One of my many goals for 2015 was to read 50 books this year. It is nearing the end of downloadApril and I just finished book number 11! I am thrilled with my progress and I have really enjoyed expanding my literary horizons. In addition to reading 50 books I have been making an effort to pick books that are outside of my comfort zone. The book I read most recently was a memoir by a Canadian woman named Amanda Lindhout, the book was called A House in the Sky. True story, while working as a freelance journalist in Somalia Amanda and her partner were kidnapped and held for ransom for over a year. Her experience was a traumatic nightmare but *spoiler alert* she lived to tell the tale. This book was truly amazing. Terrifying and inspirational all at the same time. I encourage everyone to read this fantastic book.

If anyone has a good book recommendation I would greatly appreciate it! Share in the comments!

Cooking

Lucas’s mum just celebrated her birthday and I needed a way to say both happy birthday and thank you for accepting me into your family. But what do you buy for someone who has everything already (especially if your on a budget). Answer: you don’t. Instead you make dinner. So I made a pretty decent vegetarian meal featuring sweet potato, carrots, green beans, rice, soy beans and chic peas. I’ll be posting the recipes next week so stay tuned.

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And this week it is just me and Lucas so I made dinner last night. I forgot to take pictures but I made tomato stuffed chicken breast, sweet potato mash and an arugula salad. This meal also turned out to be pretty darn delicious! It feels good to receive praise for my cooking since I’m really not confident in that department. I’ve also made a few batches of cookie recently. mmmm cookies.


So there you have it! That is why I have been neglecting my internet wonder. But I will do my very best not to be so distant in the future.

What activities have been occupying your time recently? Share in the comments!

The Bravery of My Sister

This is my “little” sister, Natasha. Also known as Tasha, Tash and Na-cha-cha. I put the little in brackets because while she is younger than me, she is also taller and looks more mature (I think).

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My sister is a flight attendant. This job is something she has been working towards for just over a year and in December it became official. She underwent 6 weeks of grueling and intensive training to get a position and I couldn’t be more proud of her. The thing is… I’ve never actually told her that. I’ve said good job and that’s awesome but I’ve never said Tasha, I am so proud of you. I guess it’s easier to express emotions onto paper (or a computer screen) than it is to say them out loud. Also, we are just getting out of a period where we didn’t get along to well. We just didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things so it was easier to fight about it, we are very close in age so bickering and button pushing comes pretty naturally. Now that I’m thinking about it we haven’t had a nice, endearing moment with one another in a while. And I wish I could say that this post is my way of telling her that I care but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know that I write a blog at all…

So why then am I writing about my sister? Well, same reason I write about anything else. Because I have these thoughts sitting in my brain and I need to get them out. #thisiswhyblogsexist

Anywhoo, back to the point of this post. I am no novice flyer. I’ve flown back and forth to Europe twice, back and forth to Cuba three times, across Canada and to various places in the states. I have no hesitation getting on a plane but when I think about my sister flying here, there and everywhere on a daily basis… It just makes me nervous. Infrequent flying seems totally natural to me but flying everyday seems to be testing the fates. I imagine there are way more flights everyday then crashes, no one ever reports good news after all, but still. BUT STILL!

But still… she loves it. She is having the time of her life up there! Shes personable and smart and exceptionally pretty so customer service comes naturally to her. She has this thrill for adventure and this need to travel so being able to have lunch in Jamaica but still have breakfast and dinner at home is a luxury.  And she is so brave because she is a flight attendant and I am so proud of her!

I would log off and call her right now to tell her all of this but she is actually in Mexico on a layover. Can’t complain about that! So instead I am going to share with you some of our most adorable moments.

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My 21st Birthday
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Our Annual Family Photo Shoot. Circa 2011
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The time she got stitches & I lost a tooth all in the same day.

One Lovely Blog Award!

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The most thrilling, exciting & wonderful thing has happened! I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award! Basically this a way for fellow bloggers to show love for other bloggers with new, up-and-coming blogs, like mine. It is an absolute honor to be nominated because to me it means that someone out there finds my blog lovely! And really, can I ask for anything more?! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU to Angela Eve of My College Odyssey for the nomination! It truly does mean the world, thank you!

The guidelines for the One Lovely Blog Award are:
• Thank the person who nominated you for the award
• Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog
• Share 7 facts/or things about yourself
• Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog

So here goes nothing, seven facts about me!

  1. I am a huge, HUGE Harry Potter fan. I actually have a Potter themed tattoo on my rib cage. It says Fidelius.  10 House points to whoever can tell me what it means!
  2. I used to study classical voice in high school and as much as I loved it I was afraid of letting my love of music become work so I decided not to pursue a career in performance, instead I took the administrative route to supporting and growing the arts. Sometimes I wonder what my life would look like if I had chosen the opposite path, but as each day goes by I am confident that this was the right one.
  3. I love the suburbs. I love the uniformity of similar looking houses and I like the fact that the suburbs are close to the city but there is still space to move around. Cities are crammed, farm lands are too sparse, but suburbs are just right.
  4. I am embarrassingly proud of the fact that I am a natural blonde. I consider my hair to be one of my best features and I think it quite literally defines who I am as a person.
  5. My favourite food is popcorn. I could eat popcorn all day, everyday. It can be salty, it can be sweet, the possibilities are endless. And it’s something that I can actually make!
  6. My dad and I share the same birthday! I was born in the evening of his 30th Birthday. How is that for the best birthday present ever?!
  7. I love having a blog because it gives me a space to share my wildest, random thoughts but it also makes me feel connected to a larger community.

Nominations! I think the following blogs are lovely and I nominate each of these bloggers for the One Lovely Blog Award:

  1. foodkitten
  2. Mica’s World
  3. Did You Dress Up For This?
  4. The Creative Cavern
  5. Samantha The Reader
  6. asexblogofonesown
  7. Sam I Am
  8. Janes patisserie
  9. Discovering ratchet
  10. Clitington on Film
  11. Orange Drop Delight
  12. Indulge litterae
  13. jonaswalkerson
  14. continuumissues
  15. The Yolo Babes

Please Don’t Give Me Solitude

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Other than the incessant ticking of the clock the house is silent. Every 30 minutes or so the furnace will shutter, forcing dry air to circulate through the house. And I am sitting alone, being consumed by the silence.

On a Saturday afternoon after a long and busy week, this is what most people long for, peace and quiet. I, however, am not most people. This quiet, this stillness, this solidarity… this is my worst nightmare. Without the warmth and the noise of another person I feel empty. I feel lost. I feel exceptionally lonely.

All the introverts are scratching their heads in confusion, “there is so much to do when you are alone!” they say. I could do laundry, I should do laundry, I need to do laundry. But I don’t. I could clean the kitchen, everyone would be so happy if I cleaned the kitchen, but I have no desire to do that either. I could read my book. I like this book a lot and today would be the perfect day to curl up and read. But I’m distracted. My brain can’t focus on the words and I think I’ve just read the same page over 3 times. I could go to the gym, its been a few days and a nice workout could be exactly what I need. But I have no energy, no strength and no will power.

It isn’t that I’m tired, I slept in today. It is because solitude sucks away all my energy, it drains away my motivation and muffles out my desires. This isn’t depression, not yet, I’ve only been alone for a few hours. But if I were stuck in this situation for more than a week… I’m afraid to find out what might happen to me. I’m afraid. The idea of being alone, the concept of solitude is so overwhelmingly frightening. My breath is catching in my chest just thinking about it. But I am also aware of how needy this makes me, how reliant on others it makes me, how dependant it makes me. How pathetic.

I am aware but it does not change anything. Please don’t give me solitude.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

– Stephen King

There is something uniquely special about January that inspires newness. New year. New adventures. New goals. This year I have really jumped on board the goal setting train. I think it is because as a student my goals were, in a way, pre-set: “Get into a good university”, “ace all classes”, “graduate”, ect. As I am no longer a student I could wake up, go to work, sleep and repeat for the rest of my life, but that is such a hollow existence. Without goals, where are you going? Absolutely nowhere. So for the first time in my memory I am setting goals, writing them down, sharing them with my friends and family (and you guys) and I am following through. Read about my 2015 fitness goals here.

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If you have read my about me page you will know that I studied English Literature in University. Therefore, I did a lot of reading. The sad part is that at some point I stopped enjoying the books and the stories, it became work. I was never allowed to just appreciate a good book. I always had to analyze and examine, and I was sick of it. So when I graduated I stopped reading. I gravitated towards movies and television. Sometimes I would pick up the occasional Harry Potter book, a chapter here and there, but I wasn’t reading. Then, about a year ago my dad introduced me to an action novel author by the name of James Rollins. I fell in love with his characters and I loved tagging along on their wild adventures. It was wonderful to be reading again! However, I realized recently that since then action novels are the only thing I’ve been reading.

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There are so many genres, so many different types of stories that I’ve been missing out on. So this year I am challenging myself to expand my literary horizons. I am doing this by setting a goal to read 50 books in 2015! The catch, no more than 5 books in the same genre.

I’m keeping track of my progress using the goodreads app. It is a great tool for reading reviews, categorizing books and monitoring progress. My friend Kim and I are also starting a book club! She works for a publishing company, so she is really well read. Together, we decided that books are always better after you exchange opinions with someone. So we have invited some friends to join us, she picked the first book and I am handling the more administrative things such as selecting a date and a location. The first book on our list is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicals by Haruki Murakami. Lucas’s mum loves his books, they are described as fantastical realism and very non-linear. Obviously this is going to be very different from my action novels but that is exactly what I wanted. The first meeting isn’t until late February but I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

Have a book that you think I should read? Share in the comments!

Exciting Announcement!

I am so thrilled to share some super exciting news! Today, I signed up to run in my first ever 5K race! This is big news because I’ve never done anything like this before and also because it is one of my new years resolutions. run2Now that I have put down some money and registered, I know that I will be more motivated to train. I am not the type of person who does things half-assed. If I am going to put my time, money and energy into anything, I am going to do it right! I’m not saying I’ll be the fastest or the best but I am going to set some personal goals and I am determined to meet them.

The race I am participating in is the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon – 5run4K Run. This is a massive event which will take place on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015. There is a marathon, a half-marathon, a 5K run and a 5K walk. I think it will be quite nice. Early May means it wont be too hot and the route is right along the Toronto waterfront.

I think my biggest challenge will be moving from indoor running to outdoor running. Usually when I run (which is less often than I’d like to admit) I run inside on a treadmill at the gym. Can you blame me? Canadian winters are quite brutal. No joke, its negative 17 with the windchill right now. Also, I have mild asthma so heavy breathing in extreme temperatures is not doctor recommended. So generally I stay indoors. The challenge is that running on a treadmill and running on pavement is very different because the treadmill helps to propel your weight forward, whereas your all on your own in outdoor running. My plan is to do lots of interval and long distance training on the treadmill and when the temperatures improve in the early spring I’ll hit the great outdoors.

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Some of my friends may join me and participate in the race as well and Lucas has promised to come cheer me on. I am so excited for this upcoming journey! Stay tuned for updates on my training!

Have you ever participated in a 5K? What did your training program look like?