Reflections on life

The sun is going down, but I am going no where.

That is, I will be going no where if I don’t focus on what matters the most, if I don’t put effort and energy into my priorities and my life goals.

The sun is going down. Where am I going?

Up?

I’m not sure. I don’t even know where “up” is. I suppose forward is a better word.

Yes. Forward.

There is no place I would rather be. And perhaps I sometimes wish I was there faster than I should.

Rushing… always rushing. I wonder why that is.

Regardless, I have this feeling. This feeling that won’t go away. This feeling of hope, of anticipation, of elation.

I don’t know what the future holds, but what I do know is that I am on the right path in life, and it will guide me to where I am meant to be.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I think I believe in fate.

But I also believe in hard work, in patience, and in overcoming life’s obstacles.

Ups and downs. Day in, and day out. Every day of your life.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Happy Mother’s Day

Today being Mother’s Day, I thought it important to jot down some thoughts concerning the celebration and appreciation of mothers.

For those of you who don’t know, my parents split up when I was 10 years old. My brother and I grew up with my dad from then on, visiting my mom once a month on weekends. I don’t remember much about it, but one thing I do remember is my first thought every morning on mother’s day – dad.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and love my mom just as much as I love my dad. I do not feel any resentment whatsoever towards my mom, but the fact remains that my dad often had to fill in for both parents.

My dad cleans the house. My dad fixes the house. My dad cooks and bakes. My dad builds us not one, but two tree houses – and a bridge to connect them! My dad tucks me in. My dad screams at me to get up. My dad plays dress up with me. My dad takes me out four wheeling and camping. My dad helps me. My dad lets me help myself. My dad listens. My dad gives advice. My dad lets me cry on his shoulder. My dad tells me that life’s not always fair. My dad sets down rules. My dad spoils me. My dad encourages me. My dad supports me.

My dad was never my mom, but I can’t help but want to wish him a Happy Mother’s Day too. He did lots of mom things that he probably didn’t want to do, or didn’t feel comfortable doing. But he did them anyway.

I’m so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by amazing parents like mine. And even better, both my parents are now happily remarried, and I have twice as many moms!

I want to take the time to thank all of the amazing women in my life for contributing to my growth and development as a woman, to help me become who I am today.

To my mom:

Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for being there even when physically, you could not be there. Thank you for making tough decisions. Thank you for always being positive. Thank you for your laughter. Thank you for all the weird-ass habits, like pulling out our eyelashes. And thank you for always encouraging me to be myself.

To my step-mom:

Thank you for understanding. Thank you for never over-stepping. Thank you for being a good role model. Thank you for your wonderful children, whom I will always consider part of my siblings. And thank you for convincing my dad to get us the best cat in the world.

To my mother-in-law:

Thank you for raising your son to be such an incredible man. Thank you for sharing stories with me. Thank you for respecting me. Thank you for making me feel like I’m a part of the family. And thank you for being the only mom I can bring to tears! 😉

To all mothers, wives, and Mr. Moms, I hope your day was filled with love and gratitude from all those who surround you. You deserve it.

Time to start filming!

I JUST GOT MY NEW MICS IN THE MAIL!! It’s officially time to start filming!!

You probably have a million questions rattling through your brain – What kind of mics? What for? How much did you pay? Where did you get them from? What’s a mic?

Well I’m here to answer all those questions and more!

Just last week I put an order on Amazon to get a Lavaliere Wireless Clip-On Microphone, as well as a Rode Shotgun Light-Weight On-Camera Microphone! It was a bit pricey (total $160 CAD) but I’m hoping it will be well worth it to get the quality we’re looking for.

IMG_3764

I suppose I should answer the last and most important question – what for?! If you haven’t read my previous blog post about the Big Decisions, then you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised to hear that Max and I have made the decision to build a Tiny House! More than that, we’ve decided to dedicate ourselves to documenting the project to promote and advocate the Tiny House Movement, specifically in the East Coast of Canada. So the reason we purchased the above-mentioned microphones is because we want to put out quality content for our (future) viewers.

We plan on filming with my Nikon D5500 – another hefty purchase that I made earlier this year before my trip to Australia. The videos will be varied, from construction, to interviews, and everything in between. We’ll be posting weekly videos on YouTube, even more videos on Patreon, and lots of other content on our website that we hope to launch very soon!

Now I haven’t had much time to fiddle around with the microphone yet but we got the chance to record Max doing a little bit of work outside with the Node Shotgun Microphone, and we also recorded some test clips in the kitchen. We didn’t actually set up the Lavaliere clip-on mic because Max thinks the attachment for my camera will cause damage without an extension so we’ll go look at that tomorrow. On the bright side, at least we know the really expensive microphone is living up to expectations. Despite it being pretty windy outside, it was capturing every sound very clearly – even the squeak of Max’s welding mask!

Soon enough, I’ll post some clips so you can understand what I’m talking about.

Until then, do you have any tips or tricks we should keep in mind to film with these microphones? Leave us a comment below; we’d love to hear from you!

Summer Plans – Tiny House Festival

You must be thinking, “Did I read that correctly?” Well yes, yes you did. Apparently, this year is the third annual Tiny House Festival. The event is happening August 12th & 13th in Old Port, Montreal. Oh… AND IT’S FREE.

I’ve been looking around for workshops/meet ups/conferences – anything you can think of that has to do with the Tiny House Movement. Finally, I stumbled upon this.

Fingers crossed that I can get the full weekend off of work to be able to make it there, because it seems like a pretty cool event.

SIDE NOTE: If this is something that interests you and you’d like to drive up from New Brunswick with me, leave me a comment so I can contact you and therefor save myself lots of money on gas by bringing you with me. 

From what I could read on the website, the festival grounds will permit attendees to visit Tiny Houses models that are on site, listen to inspirational speakers on various subjects about Tiny House living and self-sufficiency, attend workshops about construction/finances/alternate energy sources, and much more.

The festival’s mission is outlined as follows: to promote an eco-friendly, affordable and healthy lifestyle which allows for increased self-sufficiency and independence. They also hope that by creating awareness about the Tiny House Movement, an increased amount of municipalities will accept the creation of Tiny Houses and/or will amend their laws to allow Tiny Houses in their region.

To be quite honest, I’m super pumped about attending this event, and I hope you’ll consider going too!

If you’re not convinced, you definitely need to check out this video.

And this one!

Everything is as it should be

Yesterday I got upset. Really upset. I made plans to attend a really special event out of town, and I was so excited for Max to come with me and meet some of my friends for the first time -they live in Africa, so it’s not an every day occurrence!

Then, just as I was about to finish work and head home to pack the car, I receive a text.

Turns out I’m working tomorrow.

You wanna know how to hurt my feelings? Make plans with me and then cancel at the last minute. It kills me, every single time. Even when I know it’s going to happen, I can’t avoid the disappointment and heart-sinking feeling. Every. Single. Time.

But as upset as it makes me, I know there is no one to blame. Things happen. Work happens. And the fact is, my significant other works an on-call job, so this is bound to happen anytime of the year. And yet here I am, feeling the exact same way as if it were happening for the first time.

Because there is no one to blame, I can’t help but feel like my emotions are unjustified. Why am I upset? Why can’t I accept that this is our reality, that not everything is going to go according to plan? And worst of all, why do I feel like dumping all of my anger out on the person I love the most?

Apparently, it’s a thing – getting mad at someone you care about because you can’t think rationally about what’s actually bothering you. Or you don’t want to admit it.

It’s called displaced aggression.

For the past little while, I’ve been working on being more conscious about why I feel a certain way, especially when it’s a negative feeling. I try my best to get to the root of the problem, to talk about that, to not assign blame, to listen and understand the other person’s point of view. I am continuously working on becoming the best version of myself that I can be, primarily in regards to my relationships.
I feel like there’s been definitive progress, because just a few years ago, every time I would get upset, I couldn’t figure out how to calm down, how to talk rationally, and most importantly how to fix things. I’m getting to know myself better and becoming aware of what I need/when I need it. Sometimes I need alone time. Sometimes I really need someone’s support. And sometimes the thing that I need most isn’t what my significant other needs, so there’s the whole added aspect of respecting that other people have important needs too, and sometimes those needs to be a priority even when I’m upset.

That was a hard lesson to learn.

And today, I’m reminded of all the hard work I’ve put into myself.

I just finished doing a video of Yoga with Adriene called Practice Peace. I had a hard time concentrating, and I had no cat to cuddle with as I am not home. But as the video went on, I did my best to focus on my breathe, be aware of my how my body is feeling, and respect my body’s limits. The video was almost over when I finally found myself in a good state of mind. At that precise moment, Adriene repeats the mantra of this practice.

Everything is as it should be.

Yesterday, I got upset. Really upset. But today is a new day, and I will learn and grow from every experience, and for that, I am thankful.

Big Decisions

Do you like oxymorons? Because that is exactly what the title is all about.

We’re building a tiny house. 

Can you believe it?! We are so incredibly excited!

Ok, ok. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. This is a long and arduous project, and I know that this is just the beginning. So what better way to enjoy it than to share it with all of you!

Max and I have been talking about the idea for a long time now. I can’t even remember who brought it up first, but we both had the same vision – to live in a tiny house built to meet all our needs.

This whole project has really sparked some ideas in my mind, but most importantly, I think it gave me the motivation I needed to finally get my own website up and running! It’s still in the works, but soon enough I will start documenting every aspect of our Tiny House Project and everything it entails. I met up with the person who will be hosting and designing the website today, and I am already on the edge of my seat – too many ideas flowing through my mind, I just can’t wait to write them all down and get them published on my very own domain!

You must be wondering what kind of name we will be giving to our project. Well, let me tell you that it was quite the brain storm, but we finally agreed on something we both loved.

TINY ADVENTURES

We hope to have our website live within the next month or so, and to start working on some video content to put on youtube. We’re setting up a Facebook Page, and definitely an Instagram account too.

In regards to the physical aspect of the project, we bought a welder – yes, Max wants to build the trailer himself!! We also started talking about the specifics of the tiny house layout (model still to be made) and started looking at purchasing some land – my favourite part.

But for now, it’s still the beginning phase so I’ll leave it at that for now. If you have any interest in this project or have any questions, leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you.

xo

Growth

I did a thing today.

Not only did I go to to the gym, but I did a thing – a good thing.

I often find myself thinking about things I should say or do, but then I don’t, because I know what kind of person I am, and I need to start accepting that even though I wish I were the kind of person who said or did certain things, that that’s not a part of who I am – at least not right now. But today was different.

Today, after my gym class at the YMCA, I thought about the young woman in the back row who was struggling to keep up but who stayed for the entirety of the class anyway. I thought to myself, ‘This must be her first time.’ I also thought about my first time, and how much harder it must be for her because I had had a support system to take me to my first class, to explain how things work, and the class I took was a lot less complicated than the one she just walked into. I wanted to urge myself to go up to her and talk to her, reassure her, compliment her on her efforts. But I know myself, and I’m not like that. Except out of nowhere, I suddenly was.

I went to the storage room when class was done to put all my things away. This class requires a lot of equipment so I had to walk there twice. On my second entry into the storage room, I saw her there putting some things away, and before I could even think, my mouth opened.

“Hey, was it your first time attending this class?” I asked

“Yeah…” she said timidly.

“I know how complicated it can seem the first time. But you did a really great job!”

She smiled and thanked me.

I don’t know why, but that made me feel so good about myself, and proud that I had actually been able to step out of my comfort zone and talk to/give encouragement to someone I didn’t even know.

To some people it might not seem like much, but that is the beginning of – or rather the continuation – of growth.

Today, I’m not OK. 

Everybody has bad days, and for me, today is a bad day. I got some good news, but from my current point of view, it means making a hard decision, which kind of turns it into bad news. And it’s one of those situations where both options lead to a good thing, but also a bad thing.

Let me be more precise. One of my previous employers in New Brunswick sent me an e-mail this morning to say there would be a job opening (full time) and that she had me in mind for the position. She was aware that I was out of province, but she wanted to let me know about the possibility of employment in case it was something that interested me.
So here’s the problem. If I take the job, I have to move back East. If I move back East, I have to leave my boyfriend and go back to being in a long distance relationship. But if I stay in Alberta, I still have no job, which means no income, and I have no leads on any full time position either. I am torn.

Do I choose to stay here and be with my boyfriend, but struggle financially? Or do I move back East for a job that I know I will like, but feel the ever present heart-ache of willingly having chosen to be 5000kms away from my significant other?

Can we just pause time so I can play every possible scenario in my head before I decide? I can’t decide. I don’t know which one will make me happier. Both decisions stress me out, because there’s going to be something missing in my life. And today, I’m not OK with that.

But I have to be OK – and I will be ok –  because life isn’t perfect, and it works in mysterious ways. Now if only I could figure out where it’s trying to lead me.

I think I’ve gone and lost myself

I have a great life, don’t get me wrong. I have a wonderful, loving boyfriend whom I am currently living with. I am surrounded by amazing family and friends who are supportive of all the artsy projects I invest myself in. I have a roof over my head, I have a bed in which I can lay, I have a healthy body, and I have the means to take care of this body. I look at this body every day and I never think about it. And I mean really think about it. Do I feel beautiful? Yes! Do I love the body I was given? Yes! Do I feel like I’m taking good care of my body, that I am treating it right? Hell yes! But today I just realized that I don’t know if I recognize myself inside that body.

I used to be unhappy, and it took me a long time to realize why. Hell, I’m still not actually sure why, although I have a good idea. I was settling. I told myself I would never settle for less than what I deserved. But sometimes it’s hard to recognize that you’re settling, that where you are now isn’t where you should be. It’s hard to look at yourself, to look at your life, and answer the question ‘Am I happy?’ Sometimes the lines are all blurry because life happens, and it’s not always rainbows and sunshine. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is. And it’s so beautiful when moments like that happen. They should be cherished. But there’s always negativity to compensate for the positivity in life. I’m not saying that pessimistically, but rather I’m saying that realistically. For every action, there is an equal opposite reaction. I believe that to be true of happiness and sadness, positive and negative. It’s like yin and yang, when you get right down to it. Except I guess they aren’t equal; not always. Sometimes life is unbalanced, and that can be scary. But it can also be exhilarating.

One question I’ve been asking myself is whether or not – or rather, to what degree – we control our reaction to life’s ups and downs. We have a great array of choices. For example, we can choose to look at things in a positive light. Some people are like that, always seeing the best of every situation. Others, however, will choose to see the negativity of every circumstance and bring that to the forefront. And then there’s the third option of simply not choosing.

My whole life, I’ve thought of myself as a go-getter, as someone who thrives for greatness and nothing less. I am able and capable of accomplishing great things and my hard work and dedication are what drive me to continuously better myself. But what if all I’m doing is simply occupying my time with meaningless things? What if, deep down, I’m keeping busy so that I don’t have to choose? And that thought scares me.

But today is the day that I’m choosing not to be scared. Today is a day of awakening. Today I see myself for who I am. Today I look at my life with eyes wide open and I am aware of everything around me, of all the possibilities and especially of all the opportunities. Today I choose happiness.

Busy being busy

As you could probably tell, I have (surprisingly) been busy lately; so busy, in fact, that I haven’t published any blog posts in almost two weeks! So I told myself I needed to get down to business and get er done.

An ideal blog post at this point in time would probably be one that describes what it is I have been up to that’s been keeping me so busy these days. Well here’s a great answer to that question: music. Yes, music! It surrounds me, it greets me every day with a warm hug, and it remains as a constant that has me overcome with joy. This is how I know music is my true passion.

It began exactly a week ago when I applied to be a volunteer for Festival (506), previously Music NB Week. My band is a member of Musique NB and we had applied to showcase in this festival, but unfortunately we didn’t make the cut this year. So I thought to myself, “How else can I get involved? How can I make sure that I’m still trying to get my band’s name out there, and meet people who could have a huge impact on my career?” Short answer: volunteering.

Volunteering is probably the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I always wondered why people said that, because it sounded so pretentious and self-glorified, and as Phoebe Buffay proved to us all, there is no such thing as a self-less good deed. And I was always so focused on the reason behind why people decided to do volunteer work. I mean, you’re basically just working, but for free. And then I decided to try it out for myself ten years ago and realized that by giving someone your time, you’re giving them something that they can’t get from anything else, even from employees. You’re giving them a part of your life, willingly and through no obligation whatsoever. By volunteering, you are in some way, shape, or form, helping someone out. You are impacting someone’s life, even if it’s not directly, and that will stay with them forever.

But let’s not forget that volunteering also helps you out! Yes, it’s true, there are many benefits to being a volunteer. The most obvious one is the gratification of knowing that you accomplished something, that you helped someone, and that you can create change. On top of that, most organisations will show appreciation to their volunteers by either holding a banquet, sending out thank you cards, giving gifts or promotional items to thank the volunteers for all their hard work. Of course, this shouldn’t be the motivational turning point for you to start volunteering, but more of an acknowledgement of your accomplishments and that, in turn, should motivate you to keep going, to work harder, and to persevere in doing good deeds to help create a positive change in someone’s life.

As we say in french, “Let’s get back to our sheep…” (Side note: this is meant to be humorous as it is simply a direct translation from the French expression “Revenons à nos moutons,” meaning “Let’s get back to the subject at hand.”) What was I initially talking about? Oh, yes – Festival (506)! Great experience volunteering there, and it all started last Thursday. The first event was the awards ceremony – and yes, they decided to do things their own way and start the festival off with the awards ceremony instead of having it at the end. Conclusion: it was phenomenal. I was working at the door, checking the guest list and making sure everything was in order with the invitees. I got the chance to meet a crap load of musicians, some of which I already knew, others whom I was just meeting then and there. I also got to work closely with other volunteers, as well as the staff from Music NB, all of whom were great people to be working with.

During my volunteering, I also came to the realization that my leadership skills must be very evident while I work. I say that because a lot of other volunteers would come up to me and ask me questions, and let me know if they were going somewhere, as if I held a position of responsibility.

Volunteer: “I just wanted to let you know I’m going to go help backstage.”

My thoughts: *Ok, you should probably tell one of the employees because I have no say whatsoever on whether or not you should actually be doing that…*

(Not based on a real conversation. Don’t worry, I didn’t let some random dude just strut into the green room and raid the artists’ snacks and drinks.)

The following day, I was volunteering at the reception to hand out the artists’ festival passes so that they could participate freely to all the music-related activities. Obviously, I was a bit envious of my musician friends who were able to profit from all the amazing workshops and meetings that would be taking place all weekend, but I knew I couldn’t attend anyway since I was volunteering at the zoo all weekend. I did, however, ask one of the organizers if it was possible to purchase a day pass for some of the workshops because I figured it would be great if one of my bandmates could make an appearance. And I don’t know if this is Karma being on my side – which has actually been happening a lot lately, just saying – but the lady said I could have one for free if I was looking to get one. I made sure to mention that it was for my bandmate, and she said it was no problem, and bam, my bandmate was all set to get some much needed information on how to advance in your career as a musician here in New-Brunswick.
After the weekend was done – OK, technically Sunday night still counts as the weekend, but who are we kidding? You’re not gonna get shit done on Sunday night, your weekend is over – we had a band practice and had a long discussion about our bands future and what are the next big steps we want to be taking. Fortunately, we are all on the same page and are getting into high gear to get the ball rolling. We made a to-do list and we’ve already started working on some of our goals, short term and long term. And of course, we already have our EP recording lined up for next weekend, so hopefully that will bring many new opportunities for us as well.

And aside all of that, I wrote a new instrumental song for our band today, which will be appearing on our EP as an intro song. For anyone who is interested, we will be revealing this new song at our next gig, on Wednesday, October 28th at Plan b lounge. Following our band will be the incredibly talented Jack & Ally, an acoustic duo who have been touring the Maritimes for some time now. Not to be missed! As for the EP itself, we’re in the planning stages of the release dates (online date + physical CD release date), and I will definitely be keeping you all posted on that. Just as a heads up, we will also be launching a Go Fund Me page to help cover manufacturing costs, and you will actually be able to pre-order the CD and get rewards depending on how much you want to pledge toward the cause; more info on that to come!

So that about sums up, in a very detailed fashion, why I have been so busy lately. And I have to say that I’m incredibly grateful to be able to be this occupied, to feel accomplished doing things that I love, and most of all, knowing that I get to embrace all of these wonderful moments and experiences without having to spend a dime.

Hashtag: My Life Is Amazing.