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I found my Self-Care guide: Something I could’ve used in 2016

The other day, I found a self-care package (pdf) that I created for an overworked friend back in 2012. At the time, I had returned to university and studied something I had been passionate about since I was a kid (psychology, with a focus on research). However, I had an “adult life” before returning to school and had friends in the “real-world” still working in “real jobs” that were making them “real sick”.

My friend had reached out to me about his struggle with burn out. I understood, since I’d had been dealing with burn-out prior to returning to university (part of my 1st re-birth, totally separate story – quick summary: I did what I wanted, even when other’s warned me not to. I did it, loved it, succeeded on my terms, and came out a stronger and better human).


“I had an “adult life” before returning to school and had friends in the “real-world” still working in “real jobs” that were making them “real sick”.”


In 2012, I created a quick and very draft self-care guide for my friend and he really loved it. I remember that I sent it out to other over-worked friends for use and feedback. The draft remained, because the people who used it like it as is and I didn’t have time to update anything. Then, I forgot. In 2013, I was finishing my thesis and started working full-time again. I forgot everything for a while. In retrospect, that was probably my first mistake, I should’ve trusted my new life instead of going back with the intent of money and security.

Fast forward 2017…

I’m de-cluttering and cleaning-up my life, home, and computer files. During my clean-up, I found my self-care guide and read through it. I was surprised by how helpful it was, even in it’s very raw form. I realise that I should keep a copy of this guide with me always – I could’ve used this in 2016, when work was running me down.


“Maybe this time, I’ll trust following my bliss, otherwise, I’ll be doomed to repeat past mistakes.”


Forgetting my path and my self-care guide – That’s probably why I burnt out and got sick in 2016. Since then, I had the opportunity to recover fully (thankfully) and have another re-birth. Maybe this time, I’ll trust following my bliss, otherwise, I’ll be doomed to repeat past mistakes.

This year, I’m going back for graduate work in research…maybe I can clean up the self-care guide from 2012 with current research. Maybe I can fix this self-care guide to be potentially beneficial to many more people (beyond my stressed-out friends). I don’t know, but I think I found my package at the right time.

I don’t know how or when, but I will expand this self-care package -It’s easy to use and read, because I created it for already stressed people. I knew the state of mind people are in when burnt out or during the decent (been there, done that). Again, hopefully, I can help even more people, those that I think the world ignores (functioning adults just holding on). That might be a nice contribution, even if it’s a volunteer thing, we will see what happens…

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Recovery – A Blast of Words

There are no words to express the feeling of simplicity, love, and connection that was felt. There were, are, paths to the one uniting us. The uplifting euphoria when I was given a gift in the form of you. In you, my spirit which already connected, was uplifted in ways I had not even dreamt about. In you, I saw your light. Understanding. Love. After all I had been through, I did not understand why – until I found you. Many have written before me, write now, and will continue to write about how being blessed with someone you truly connect with, true love, feels like a gift from the universe.

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Online Dating: Don’t lie about who you are, people will notice!

So, this was my first ever online meet-up experience. In this case, I did exchange pictures and talk to him over the phone. A bit about him: he claimed to have immigrated to Canada when he was 2 years old, was 5’11’’, fit, and successful at his job.

“…we met at a local coffee shop on a nice sunny summer day. When I got there, the only problem was that I did not recognize him.”

Well, we met at a local coffee shop on a nice sunny summer day. When I got there, the only problem was that I did not recognize him.

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Online Dating: Please, Avoid Brownies on the First-Date

What do I mean when I say “avoid brownies on the first-date”? Why wouldn’t anyone want a nice, warm, and delicious treat to enjoy? Especially, a lovely treat while partaking in some fascinating first-date conversation pieces, such as, “what’s your favourite colour?” or the timeless “So, do you like your job and what exactly do you do for a living?”

I was about 23 at the time and did something daring (for me) – I agreed to meet a guy for coffee and a movie in downtown Toronto (I live in the suburbs and usually met people there or half-way). I was a bit smart though, I made sure we met near one of my good friend’s apartments, in case of emergency. Also, I say daring for me at the time, because though I had been steadily dating men, I had very little online dating experience and did not fully get a good look at the guy before agreeing to meet with him (bad idea, not shallow – you can somewhat assess a person).

Firstly, I would like to say that I wore my last pair of disposable contacts, something I regret to this day – what a waste of good hair, makeup, and contacts lol. Then again, it’s not like I am lament over shaving my legs for something useless, which is another story I’m sure many can relate to. For my brownie experience, at least I have a story for my friends who have laughed at me for years; well; at least my adventures bring joy to their lives. I am doing the Lord’s work that way I guess.

I met the guy at Yonge Dundas square, a safe and open environment, and the first thing he did was stare at my chest, openly. Now, at the time my chest was not really exposed nor was it that large (I was pushing A, maybe borderline B). I ignored it, because I didn’t understand what he was looking at with such fervor. I will say this, he was not my type physically and behaviourally, it was as if I was the first female he had ever seen in life. I didn’t want to be shallow, plus I already put in those darn contacts – So, we did go to the coffee shop, where I ordered a simple coffee while he had coffee and a brownie.


“at least I have a story for my friends who have laughed at me for years; well; at least my adventures bring joy to their lives. I am doing the Lord’s work that way I guess.”


We sat down for a bit of conversation and coffee. He proceeded to just act geeky, but not dangerous, so I was not scared and decided to give him a chance. However, I really do think that I was the first female he had ever seen, because he couldn’t really contain himself. It got worse; he decided to enjoy his pastry and proceeded to maul his brownie. He didn’t eat the whole thing, but most of it. That wasn’t the bad part; it was him then talking with his mouth full of brownie with the sexiest residue of brownie jammed onto his teeth.

Brownie Teeth

I didn’t know what to do, because I was younger and in shock, so I continued to listen while probably giving a traumatized look. He proceeded to have a lovely conversation with “full on” brownie all over his teeth – Later, when I told a friend about this incident, she said “well, that’s just rude” and that he shouldn’t be carrying on a conversation with a mouth full of brownie with brownie stains on his teeth. By the way, it looks worse than it sounds, you had to be there. I only advise people, please, if you are on a date, ever, do not eat a brownie – If you must enjoy a brownie, be mindful of possible brownie on the teeth stains. It is not a sexy look, believe me. It’s like he brushed his teeth with $h!t.

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Online Dating: Everyone has a “Calamari Story”

Talking to a friend:

A friend asks me about my online dating experience and how it is going. I lament that it isn’t the best, but not the worst either. With everyone leading busy lives, it is harder to meet people the “natural way”, especially in a chaotic city. I do add that online dating isn’t my only mode, because I have some champions in my life who are determined to set me up with a great guy, one way or another. Side bar: I started dating later in life, as it was not culturally accepted and harder for me when I was younger. However, I grew up and embraced my rebelliousness and openly discussed my discontent for anything arranged (unless it was a simple meeting, where parents then leave us alone – that’s a set-up and fine by me). Anyways, I digress…

So I asked my friend how her city dating experience was going. Like many other singles that I know, she is a hard-working professional and a decent person. We may work a lot, but we are good people. She vents about meeting “weirdos” and stalkers or the non-committal kind. I understand, but add that the online forum welcomes all kinds and we do not have the luxury of assessing their body language and mannerisms up front (like we would in person). I do add that there are some basics that we should look at when dating online, I mean look out for what to avoid – For example, if the man is top-less in his profile picture he may just want a hook-up. Side bar: I say similar things to avoid to my male and female single friends – I tend to be a savant for their love lives, but consistently learning with my own (to put it positively). I should cover “what to avoid” in another blog entry, because I want to focus on the “calamari story” here (stay tuned though…).

…you don’t want to date when you are feeling “icky” or weak or low, because you will attract vultures.

Some sage advice:

I tell her that we will both be ok, because every time we meet someone wrong we learn more about ourselves and what we want in a partner ( that is, what we want vs what we don’t want vs what we are willing to compromise on). If you burn out dating-wise, take some time away for yourself and do some self-care. I mean, you don’t want to date when you are feeling “icky” or weak or low, because you will attract vultures.

My “calamari story”:

Like I do many times, I tell her about some of my dating stories…the funny or disastrous ones what have a message at the end (like a 90’s sitcom). I tell her, before I met my ex-bf; I went on a ton of dates and opened up my mind and heart, with reason/instinct/self-respect in-hand. That being said, I met and started talking to a gentleman from England. We would talk and enjoy one another, because he had a fun sense of humour and I tend to have an English-Canadian/”Gay man” sense of humour (side note: I’m stealing that phrase from one of my favourite stand-up comics, Miss. Kathy Griffin. It means that I can take a joke and the comedian can “go there” without me being offended too easily. I love the art of stand-up and can decipher the difference between mean-spiritedness and a thought-provoking joke).

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Online Dating: Scary-A$$ Tinder Date in Ontario, Canada April 2017

So, this story thankfully did not happen to me. Instead, it happened to someone that my friend’s colleague knows. I know it sounds funny. Seriously, my good friend heard it and immediately left us a voice message in our group chat on WhatsApp. My friend is a nurse in Toronto and his colleague had just told him what happened to someone she knows regarding her Tinder date.

Now, before I begin, I must say that I Googled to try and find this story online – But, nothing so far. Also, I know the truth tends to be stranger than fiction. So, I am taking this story seriously in case anyone gets less vigilant using dating apps. However, it also seems too unbelievable to be true. But, just in case, I am sharing! I mean it’s a scary world out there, be careful! I know we are not in America, but Canada can be a scary place too. Update: Another friend found a similar story online, which took place in Boston USA.

Ok, my friend was working the night-shift at the hospital and he immediately left us a voice message. It was a story his colleague told him about someone she knew – So, she was talking to this guy on Tinder for over a month. They hit it off and went on a date last Friday.


“he was a good looking guy, early 30’s, intelligent, successful business guy, blah blah blah…”


Tinder Scare
Photography Credit PEXELS, free stock photo

During the date, they got along and hit it off even more so– My friend didn’t see a picture of the guy the girl went out with, but was told that “he was a good looking guy, early 30’s, intelligent, successful business guy, blah blah blah, whatever. Anyway, they were on the date and ended up kissing and making out. After their date, he offers to drive her home, but she obviously declines because this is the first time she has met this guy in person, on top of that she was going to be house-sitting for her parents.”

After the date, they say their goodbyes and she gets home safely, no issues (her parent’s house). She proceeds to start getting ready for bed, following her usual routine. When, all of a sudden she hears this strange noise coming from the basement. Apparently, her parent’s furnace had been acting up and she thought that was it. However, just in case she called her dad and tells him that there is something going on with the furnace. Her dad told her no that is absolutely impossible, because they just installed a brand new furnace and there shouldn’t be any strange noise. Well, the noise stops and she didn’t think anything of it. So, she gets into bed and falls asleep. Suddenly, the phone rings. She wakes up and rolls over to pick it up. It was the police. They tell her to get out of the house immediately and quietly, because her neighbours just called them when they saw a man breaking into her basement. They said they would be there ASAP.

Continue reading “Online Dating: Scary-A$$ Tinder Date in Ontario, Canada April 2017”

When I Fall In Love…

Select Poetry from days gone by. I have moved forward, but found some old poems that I received. I read somewhere once that you should keep your old love letters. I didn’t understand, until I found these. It’s a sweet memory, forever etched in time. Though life has changed and I’ve forgotten, the words are a reminder of a love…which is eternal.

Flower2

When I was looking for happiness, I found it in your eyes. As I was searching for peace within my mind, I found it when I first heard your heart beating next to me.

The universe’s light shines each time a smile is sketched on your face. The wind changes its direction, when you move from place to place (about); obeying your command and vanishing in your hands as you hold them out towards me, to hold me close to you.

In your eyes I see my glory and future. On your lips, I am growing to be the man that I want to be. And once your breath touches my skin, and then I know that I am alive. I thank God for you being in my life.

Far from heaven, an angel fell to the earth. She sketched beauty into our sun, to shine all over the land. Her purpose was to cure an ill soul. That’s how God sent her to brighten my world.

Continue reading “When I Fall In Love…”

Creativity in the air…Finally!

Creativity

My new adventure is about rediscovering my love of art. I am no longer the bystander, appreciating other courageous people create. Instead, I am now going back to basics. As a human, we all love to create.

My inner child is reawakening, my inner child is happy that I am going back to my roots. As a child I would draw, paint, design (really, I designed my dream house and built a doll house out of a giant cardboard box – guess, it pays to be “deprived”, you just get resourceful, creative, and grateful for the little things). As I grew up, I got better at drawing and designing, but suddenly stopped. I was told that girls don’t design and that art was a nice hobby, but not something you can use in real life. I was told to focus on a serious career and be a teacher, to be safe. I was too young and confused, I believed what I was told, because the advice came from a parent. However, I still loved art, so I took classes in high school in conjunction of my love and focus on science. However, after 1 year, I stopped taking art, when people started hating on me for being able to do both science and art. I let other people’s non-sense and constant nagging get to me – I let them block out a big chunk of my soul. I was a teenager, maybe it was the hormones? The insecurity? I don’t know, but I do know that I stopped drawing and taking classes, instead I kept on writing at least (in secret, of course).

Fast forward MANY years…

I try to draw again. I even buy a sketch book and a “how-to” book, but it didn’t take. I buy a painting set, sketch pencils, the works…still, doesn’t take. I focus on work, my bf, and continued education.

A few more years…

I say to myself: “Screw it, I want to paint. BUT, I’m scared. Why? I have to be perfect and everything has to be beautiful, otherwise it’s not worth doing.” OK, I realise my ever-present anxiety and perfectionism is keeping me down and making me miserable. I want to start, but my over-thinking is keeping me from actually doing it.

A few months later…

My friend who is always fearless asks “Hey, do you want to go to paint nite? We can use a Groupon! Let’s pick the Cherry Blossom’s one.”… “Absolutely, I’ve been trying to start painting, this is the perfect opportunity. Plus, Cherry Blossoms are pretty.” I reply. The actual event was in downtown Toronto, so I took the subway from the suburbs (park and ride) to conquer my painting/art demons.

The location was fun and airy, but it turned out that I went with the best friend for this particular event. He is so fearless and doesn’t care what other people think of him, while I am the total opposite. Through him, I learned to let go and be free – I just went for it and painted to my heart’s content. I was so free and felt like a kid again. The art instructor was nice and going at a steady pace – It gave us a good time to drink, chat, and have fun painting our version of what the instructor did.

At one point, we look around and realise that everyone else is following the instructor’s painting/guidelines, like to a tee, they followed so meticulously and with anxious precision. I noticed the anxious precision, because I could overhear them freaking themselves out, afraid to make a mistake – this behaviour combined with the very familiar anxious look on their faces. I realised, wow, I’m not alone here with an art scar. What happened to us? Why are we afraid to let go and just friggen paint? It’s a social painting event, have fun!

I realise again, my luck in going with my friend. Had I not gone with him, I am pretty sure I would be as anxious and hard on myself as the people around us were. I mean their creations were nice, all the same, but pretty and full of angst (it showed). My fearless friend’s painting was totally a work in itself, he just went nuts and hated it – I thought it was fine and kept it. However, my painting was similarly different, but had something else contained within it. My painting had release and playful freedom. I had conquered my art scar and slayed the demon! Not that it matters (yet helped with my journey), but the art instructor actually came by my out-of-the-box creation and complimented the beauty of it.

PicsArt_03-05-11.19.27

My friend said it was nice and reminded him of ‘American Beauty’- I think it was a representation of a creative person actually letting go and playing with the art that they love. I credit my friend for helping me become free and unleash my inner child. When I got home that night, I took out my old acrylic paints and brushes and re-created what I learned that day well into the early morning.

A few days later…

I love the freedom of painting, even if I’m not the best, I don’t care. I just love painting and drawing – If it’s too ugly, I’ll paint over it, not the end of the world! Conquering and not caring is a huge thing. Another step forward.

At this point, I want to paint, but not pay for classes in case I only paint for a few months (like I did in the past). OK, in this case I chose to use YouTube to learn. Gotta love YouTube, it has everything. So, I bought more supplies from Dollarama and Walmart, watched a few videos, and went for it.

A year later…

I have had a few friends come over and compliment the paintings that I have in my living room. I told them that I painted those and they are a bit surprised. I’m surprised that they actually like them, because my art is a work in progress (I’m still hard on myself at times). My friends are surprised, because I kept my painting a secret. I was afraid that I’d be nagged at for not being good enough or exposed for being able to do both science and art (again).

I do not (have never) see a distinction between science and art, it is all interrelated and beautiful. I think that we are all creative beings, no matter what we try and do. At this moment, I realise that I still have a ways to go, but I am on the right track of being completely free artistically…creatively.

Present…

I am free and openly discuss my painting and art projects (for fun). I do not post or share anything on social media, because I’m not that brave yet. I will however share the painting that released my inner child again (from paint nite) on this blog. This painting may not be the best, but it was the release that I needed to re-start something that I loved.

paintbrushes

Also, after discussing my love of art for months at my book club events, my book club friends encourage me to take a class (they know I’ve been wanting to take an actual class for YEARS (over 10), but was afraid). After all this time, I just went for it, I breathed and just signed up for a class and start next week. Who knows what the next adventure will bring? If anything, my soul will sing.