We knew each other once.

We met at a restaurant. Later I’d learn that it was your mother’s restaurant and you’d never been a server before. It was one of your first weeks. You’re actually a much better cook.

I’d seen you serving the patio as I walked in, you looked at first exactly like Bradly Cooper. Now in my mind, you are definitely not Bradly Cooper. You’re just you.

I was wearing a romper that I still have and I can’t put it on without thinking about you, because that night shifted my entire life. 

I can picture you talking to me and teaching me about things you’re interested in. You blew my mind with the wonders you were learning about the universe and planets and stars. You even had a telescope. Wait, have. You definitely still own it.

Once you took me on a hike and taught me about mushrooms and then got mad when I touched a toadstool because stuff like that is poisonous and then laughed when you saw the look of shame and horror on my face. We chased each other out of the woods and hopped into the car where our skin stuck to the leather seats and our faces became numb against the wind coming in through the windows. 

We’d smoke weed and eat whole pizzas and one time we watched that weird movie about that monster that I can’t remember the name of. We talked a lot. You were so honest about everything, so blunt and open. I really like that about you. I hope the memory of our conversations will travel through time nestled deep in your belly like they will mine. 

This writing is terrible, and it’s not giving our weird little friendship the description it deserves. I can’t seem to type words out that convey how you made me feel about myself. Maybe because I can’t remember details exactly, I just remember being really overwhelmed by you. I had mistaken this feeling as love at first sight, but I don’t think I ever loved you. It had just been my conscience knowing that the moment I realized I needed to be near you marked the point where I knew I wasn’t in love with my then-boyfriend any longer. You taught me that I’m really beautiful the way I am and that I deserved to be told so over and over again. No one had ever flattered me so genuinely.

I think about how you might be a bigger part of my life if I wasn’t so eager to make you a big part of my life. 

I know if I texted you now you would respond, but I’m not in a place where I need you anymore. Maybe one day we’ll meet in the street and catch a beer and enjoy each other’s company all over again. I’d like to hear you sing again one day. 

I’ve thought about you a lot lately and hope you’re doing okay. 

Creativity and Writing: 5 motivators for me, and maybe for you.

Clearly, I’ve hit a slump in my writing.

Unless you’re someone who follows along with my somewhat acceptable blogging (hi mom), you won’t know that my goal was to write a blog post every day. Needless to say, I’ve failed at that.

There are a couple of strategies I’m going to use from here on out that I’ve unintentionally picked up through my regular inspiration channels, and I’m going to share them here in order to:

  • Use this list as a blog post in and of itself (two birds, one stone).
  • Have it here for me to refer to when I’m feeling particularly uninspired or unmotivated.
  • Give someone who may be reading this some good resources and introduce them to new influencers or brilliant minds.

Come To Terms With Your Own Crappy Content

I read Medium a lot. There are lots of good articles that cover literally everything you might be interested in, written by a wide variety of people who love to write just for fun. Just like me.

One of the best articles I’ve come across is about how to keep yourself creating. It acknowledges that people are scared to start doing something that other people will judge or hate. It keeps us in a state of paralyzing analyzation and has us sitting for too long on ideas that are just going to a) come out anyway b) have the potential to be great but just waste away in their lack of materialization.

Everyone is a beginner, so we have to come to terms with the fact that in the first stages of doing something new, we’re probably going to be really bad at it. The only way to get better is to keep doing it over and over. You can’t evolve something if you’re not moving forward with it.

Once you wrap your head around the idea that writing crappy words is an unavoidable part of the process, you’ll write more.

Ayodeji Awosika, on Medium

You’re supposed to suck as a beginner, and everyone starts as one.

Do it every day.

This is always the advice people who talk about creativity and inspiration give, but for good reason.

I watch a popular travel photographer and self-proclaimed “Advanced Selfie Queen”, Sorelle Amour. This girl is crazy. Crazy inspiring, crazy creative, crazy weird. It’s awesome.

She recently made a video where she tried living like Casey Neistat for a week. He has a famously strict schedule that includes a shitload of running, extremely early mornings, and a highly efficient work schedule. I must admit I had fun watching her struggle and was proud when she completed a 10k run every morning (Casey actually runs 30 miles which is NUTS), but the big thing I took away from it? She was forced to make a video every day just like Casey.

She said,

I legitimately thought I was struggling creating two videos a week, and now I was forced to do seven. But I’m so re-inspired and I’m loving it and I’m capable of creating so much, which I never thought I was going to be able to do. The amount of videos that [I was] sitting on, the amount of ideas that I had to create these videos, but I was always coming up with some sort of excuse; maybe people wouldn’t like it, maybe it’s not the right topic, this is kind of boring, no one wants to watch it… but when you’re so busy and you have a scedule, you just have to do it. You don’t have time to overthink so you just create.

And that’s what the goal should be, right? To just create.

Take someone else’s idea, and put your own twist on it.

Did you really enjoy that inspirational article you read? Did you enjoy the vibe of the short story someone posted? The style of a video? The look of a painting?

Use that inclination towards things you like to make it your own. You’re going to feel more motivated if you’re producing something you already know you like, and it’s going to go faster and be more enjoyable if you already have an idea of what the end result will look like.

BUT, don’t replicate! Besides the fact that this can lead to plagiarism (biiiig no no), you won’t ever be someone else other than yourself, and nor should you want to be. In order to produce something in the same realm as the product or the person that inspired you, you’ll need to challenge your skills and evolve your creativity to make it your own. That’s where the magic happens, baby.

When in doubt, write poetry.

This is definitely more geared towards myself, but I find it much easier to produce writing if I don’t force myself to put out 800 words or find a topic that I can talk at length about.

My poetry is always short and vague. It helps me when I’m feeling a certain way or want to convey a feeling but only have words that allude to a situation or a vibe. It makes me look at different types of words different ways and forces me to think about metaphors and similes and adjectives in a whole new light. Words can mean so much and when you use them sparingly, you are forced to choose the right ones.

Show up for someone, most of all yourself.

In the same article I read about coming to terms with sucking at something, Ayodeji Awosika mentions that he focuses on other people. And while I feel this can be a powerful motivator, I think it’s more important to stick with something for yourself first.

You should only be doing something if it makes you feel good to produce it. While it might not always feel good to force yourself to do it, as long as it consistently makes you feel good to create it, you know you’re on the right track.

Iceland, the intro.

So big surprise, I haven’t been able to write a blog post every day. Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t. It doesn’t really matter.

It’s been a big lesson for me this year that some things are just out of my control. That as long as I keep making an effort to simply do my best with what I’ve got and the time I have, then I feel just as fulfilled with what I’ve already done and less inclined to give up on the things I want to do.

On Thursday, we leave for Iceland.

This trip is big on many levels, but I would say the number one thing that makes this an important trip is that I’ve never left the country before. I’ve never even been on a plane.

It’s kind of embarrassing for me to admit, as this lack of experience makes me feel less like an adult the older I get. I’ve had a hard time watching my friends travel the world while I worked on my career.

I very enviously watched as one friend taught English in Japan, another in Korea, and a handful of others going abroad for post-secondary or just satiating their need for wanderlust on what seemed like a whim.

I have a good friend who lived and taught in the Yukon and has basically traveled the world and now she lives with her husband and new baby in frickin’ Norway. Upon her return home last month with both, we were all joking about how large her sweet baby boy is in comparison to her own teeny frame. Her husband looked at me with a huge smile, pointed enthusiastically to the baby and offered me one word: “Viking!”

Both of my closest friends got to rip their way through South-East Asia hand-in-hand. I’ll never get the experience of being in my early 20s with them, binge drinking on beaches, partaking in general tomfoolery, meeting cool people and barely surviving the balmy heat by napping all day or enjoying a $10 massage.

I’ve been very, very jealous of all of this, feeling less worldly and immature because my decisions in my adult life up until now haven’t led me to all corners of the planet.

But here’s the thing I kept having to remind myself. I worked on my career. Some of the people my age haven’t acquired skills I have because they chose to spend their time on other things. I know what I’m capable of, and I know I can teach myself to do pretty much anything if I need to.

This thinking never used to help me when I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere because I wasn’t physically doing so.

Here’s where it came full circle for me – I’ll re-state:

Some things are just out of my control. As long as I keep making an effort to simply do my best with what I’ve got and the time I have, then I feel just as fulfilled and less inclined to give up on things I want to do. 

And now, on Thursday, I get to start doing the stuff I want to do. Working through the jealousy and the wanderlust got me here with a plane ticket and a trip I’ve already fully paid for without going into debt.

I’ll be blogging it, but probably not every day.

And I’m so grateful and excited.

 

 

October 22

If my cup of coffee was a tree, then the rings inside of it would mark how many years I’ve been sitting at this table,

Each sip traces the mouthful I’ve tried to write,

and the darkness of each line whispers about the amount of attention I forgot to give it.

Its lip wears the shade of the season – a deep red,

collected in smatterings around its breadth, at random.

If I drink all of it,

perhaps I can build a poem with its remains.

Normalcy

I see a lot of blogs and YouTube channels and articles about how people went from having a mundane life to a job they love and now they’re telling you how to do it.

Ah yes, lifestyle bloggers. Pinterest boards, Instagram fame, Podcast hosts.

I admit I read, listen and watch content like all the time because I do find it inspirational, but I don’t really find anything I can relate to. I think part of the draw is that I’m hoping that I’ll feel like the person on the other side is just like me.

Yeah, these people started on my level and have made it to their dream jobs and sometimes they give me the kick in the pants I need to improve or to reach higher. But they’re doing it by trying to sell me shit I don’t need and trying to make all of us believe they’ve figured it out for us. Nah, they’ve figured it out for them. And that’s great. But they can’t get on our level because they’re not anymore.

Here’s the thing. There’s not a popular spot on the internet where you see an “influencer” slugging away at something for a long time, just being a “normal person”. And writing about it so that people can relate and find some sort of comfort in knowing they’re not alone in the world because they’re not the ultimate version of themselves. 

They try.

“Hey, I’m over here just sitting on my couch in my housecoat trying to write my book and finish the final edits before I take my trip to Ibiza on Monday.”

You just don’t see it your friend Brittany’s sister out there filming a video about how she went to work and ate a lunch she brought and how she felt about her day and what inspiration she found out there for herself.

You know why? It’s not glamorous.

But you know what? It doesn’t need to be.

I’m not writing this to show you how I’m doing something awesome or to help you make a decision or to inspire you to get where I am.

I’m writing this because I am where you are. We are the same. We’re both working at jobs, probably for other people.

We both grocery shop weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, and if we can’t get our acts together, every day for a little something.

We both try to stay active but get busy or tired so it doesn’t happen as much as it should.

We drink coffee in the morning and fall asleep on the couch in the afternoons on occasion.

We have a million unfinished projects and are probably pretty unorganized in some areas of our life.

I see you. I can’t support you or teach you because I’m busy over here supporting and teaching myself.

But I can write about it and throw it out there in your general direction in case it helps you to know someone is here with you, on your level.

I didn’t bring my lunch to work, and I felt pretty good about my day. It was normal. But I can still do something good with that fact.

 

October 19

One of my favourite parts of working for a small, local business is being involved in creating community and connecting with other small businesses.

Ever seen a latte art competition? Ever seen one where you have to pour into weird objects?

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This is Little Victories Coffee Roasters, and tonight they held a latte art competition with a twist. Everyone from cafes all over the city came together to get weird.

I took some photos, enjoy.

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The Weekend

No, not the critically acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer. I’m talking about that blank space that happens between the chaotic days when your job is in charge.

This post is in honour of today, Wednesday. Classically portrayed enemy of the weekend.

You may or may not get a weekend. If you’ve played your cards right, you get a couple of days. If you’re lucky, you get them together. If you’re really lucky, you don’t have to live your life waiting for them.

I have days where I don’t want to go on doing what I’m doing. Everyone does. I’m trying to find a way to enjoy what I’m doing while I’m doing it so my weekend and my work week don’t feel like different entities entirely. So that I’m not dragging myself through work days just to get to the weekend.

The mistake I’ve made is to be constantly working. Yeah, this makes my weekend not feel different than my work week, but it sucks. I can’t turn it off now. It’s stressful and unhealthy and no one’s fault but my own. Really, I take full responsibility. No one has asked this of me.

I’ve gone as far as to finally seek therapy for it. I have a problem saying no, with setting boundaries, with feeling like I’m going to get in trouble for not getting everything done quickly, correctly and to the best of my ability. I didn’t realize this was the source of so much of my emotional distress until I sat down and started picking it apart.

And this doesn’t just apply to my job. I feel responsible for not being a slob at home, staying active, keeping plans, being a good friend and partner. I get really upset when I feel like I’m not doing a good job of balancing it all. Even thinking about it makes my throat ache and tears well up in my eyes.

Why am I like this? No idea. Just trying to figure that out. I’m also hell-bent on succeeding at that.

Hell-bent on. Hell Benton. Ha.

In the grand scheme of things, I feel pressure. I put in a lot of effort to not live up to the cliche that has been given to my generation (holla if you’re a millennial):

You can’t deny that we’ve received the short end of the stick as of late, as a number of less-than-flattering stereotypes follow us everywhere we go. Like what, you ask? Well, let’s start with how millennials are lazy and have no work ethic. Or how we’re vain, self-centered, and don’t value relationships, largely because we’re too busy valuing Instagram likes. (Bustle)

I’ve realized that by being a diligent, reliable, loyal and hardworking employee, friend and partner, I’m ironically daydreaming about a way out from a job that could give me a really happy, fulfilling life. I’m not trying to shift the blame here. I just feel like I’m trying so hard to prove this idea wrong, that I’m burning out.

I’ve considered flipping the bird to our one bedroom apartment, burning my furniture in some sort of pagan sacrificial ceremony (we’d really be burning my sanity), and camping out in my parents’ basement for the winter. There would be lots of ketchup pringles and sleeping involved. And my boyfriend would definitely not come with. The cat definitely would. 

But I can’t do that. Because it’s unhealthy and I’m trying to be an adult here. Also, I’m pretty attached to the boyfriend.

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far into my pretty pointless story about more crying and burn-out, stay tuned for more insights which could possibly be helpful to more people than just me. I’m positive the insights are coming, whether you want them or not.

Keep on that grind (whoever you are… hi mom?), practice mindfulness, and enjoy your upcoming weekend – whatever that means for you.