Stuck.

I recently went to connect with someone who I admire, someone who I appreciate seeing on my facebook timeline, and who I am amazed at her strength and sheer determination. It has taken me awhile to sum up the courage to make a deeper connection, a friendship, a real friendship, maybe.

And for the life of me, I cannot find her on my friends list, or on Facebook, for that matter. Assuming she has deleted her facebook, I go to her blog, “From A Cabin Up North” and see that she hasn’t posted since January, and with that post, she outlines similar feelings to what I feel.

The feeling of being, simply ‘Stuck’.

I myself, have been feeling stuck. A different kind of stuck, for I feel it is the ropes that bind my inner being that hold me back. Of course finances play a role in this as well, but something inside me if full of fear, full hesitation, full of question. Here I sit, beside the dog I am watching until Wednesday, feeling the anxiety start to pour in, like sand, slowly filling my body with dread. In the Klondike, in the Yukon, people are slowly becoming readjusted to the light, to the people, and to the need for money. It’s time to start thinking about how I am going to survive another winter up here. I look around and compare, compare with my brother, compare with my boyfriend, compare with my fellow 20 somethings out there who seem to be, well, just plunking along, either in school, or otherwise. And I wonder, “How do they do it?”

I have been told before, that I will have to do jobs that I may not exactly like, or enjoy, to pay the bills. I understand that, but how does one do a ‘shit’ job, when one struggles with convincing herself somedays that her life is worth living another day? Mental Illness can be a strength, but can also be an anchor that weighs down any sense of drive or desire. I have no desire to work a job that makes me miserable, as I feel that I was not put on this planet to simply pay bills. I have no drive to sacrifice the quality of my mental health to scrub toilets, deal with chaotic employers, just to then spend the few hours of the day that I have left counting my pennies and hiding beneath the sheets until the next time that I have to leave the house. Time that could be spent exercising, creating, yoga.

What I want is a healthy blend. A blend of work, art, and self-love. I know it is achievable, but HOW?

How does one do, create, and strive towards something that they believe is what they were put on this earth to do… A job, a career, a lifestyle, that you look forward to everyday (or 90% of the time). I am not asking for instant gratification, I am asking, how does one keep striving toward a goal without being discouraged by life itself?

I was SO excited to venture up north to attend art school. I had studied at schools in Vancouver, (Emily Carr, & Capilano), I worked hard to present a portfolio full of skill and desire to learn. And what I got from “art school” in the Yukon was not desire.

It was disappointment.

Disappointment in the school, in myself, in the curriculum, in the director, and in the direction that my mind and thoughts were going. I had let myself fall to pieces, my confidence sifting to the bottom, while anger, sadness, and exhaustion floated to the top.

I then proceeded to spend the following summer fighting with myself, willing myself, to create, to allow myself to create and to let go of the ideas and values that were placed on me at school, the critiques, the theories, the ignorance, I still am battling with the confusion I gained in the first year of Art School. I am still bitter at the money, the scholarships and bursaries, that were put towards a program that left me raging with anger rather than burning with desire to carry on with my education – They are gone. All gone. I spent countless hours sitting in the class studio fuming internally, observing the lack of organization, communication, and skill set being offered.  I came to school to learn, to practice, to create. What I found myself doing was stumbling into politics, anxiety attacks, and a feeling of despair. There was no discipline, no guidance offered in the 2D, 3D, and 4D courses. Myself, like others, felt like they deteriorated rather than grew, while at this institution.

So does one give up after a bad experience? No.

I truly do see that I need to make peace with my experience at Yukon School of Visual Arts.

Do I carry on, and apply to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts?

Yukon School of Visual Arts has darkened my view of a career in the “Art World” – Do I really want to commit myself to endless hours of rejection, ramen noodles, and conceptual theory? And let’s be honest, hours of infuriating Bullshit?

Do I change my path, and follow other interests, such a wildlife management, first nations history and government, or archaeology?

When will I let the bitter taste leave my mouth, and allow myself to try again, stepping past the fear of failure and disappointment?

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO thrilled to be living in the Yukon, to have my darling apartment on the Dome Road, and to be surrounded by such inspiring people I have met since I have moved here. But how do I gain job security, knowledge, and desire once again?

I need/want a career.

Enough with the spring panic.

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To Shake Violently.

The word “concussion” derives from the Latin concussus, which means to shake violently.

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To live with a history of 7-8 Concussions, all gathered like easter eggs in one wonderful, but very fragile basket (a.k.a my skull cavity) all accumulated during the ages of 13-19, leaves one to wonder just what the heck is really going on up there.

At this point in time, I prefer not to go to the hospital when I happen to have sport/life related head injuries. Because frankly- Is there anything that they do besides shine a flashlight in my eyes, look at my chart, see that I’m a “chronic offender” and simply treat me like a hypo-chrondriac? That seemed to be the case last night. And when the doctor pulled the mental illness card. Saying, “I could be experiencing other symptoms due to my other problems” I knew I had to leave. I was not going to receive any help from this Doctor.

Yes anti-depressants can cause symptoms similar to concussions, but the severity of head pain due to pressure and the overwhelming memory loss and slow functioning, I know this is not just some  “side effects” – those side effects are something that I deal with everyday. What I am experiencing is getting worse, not better, and is limiting what I am able to do. After having an antique wooden door fall, and crack me on the back of the head on May 1st, then 2-3 weeks later, having a soccer ball almost knock my lights out, the month of May has been full of concussion symptom observation. What I am finding a little uneasy is that I am finding it harder to “bounce back”. Trust me. I think I know myself after all the mental health shenaneghans I’ve had to deal with before the age of 20. It seems that unless you see a brain surgeon, or a neuroscientist, post-concussion symptoms are not recognized to be much of a big deal. And since I did not come in unconscious, puking, or in a vegetable-like state, I was pretty much told “we can’t help you” and sent on my way.

It’s true, they can’t help me. Unfortunately medical care has not ventured into the treatment of brain injuries, and the problems one may experience afterwards. Help like that doesn’t seem to be implemented in an everyday hospital. After being told that they “cannot prescribe magic” I literally begged for a cat-scan. But was told “it would not change anything”.

Thanks for thinking I am a 6 year old, I know it won’t change anything. I want to be aware if there is anything that is being ignored, or that could explain any of my problems that lately, I am finding very hard to cope with. And the treatment and unprofessional remarks I received from this doctor? – not impressed at all.

It seems I have hit many a wall in regards to trying to find a better quality of mental health. Is it really so hard? More often than not I come home and begin to doubt myself, thinking that yes, I do complain too much. But then again, all I am looking for is to be able to actually enjoy living. And having the fear that yes, there may be something happening in my head unawares, does affect my ability to achieve a day without worry.

So even though it frightens me, and causes me to worry,  I’ll keep reading articles, papers, whatever I can to find help, since I have yet to find a doctor that will acknowledge my worries about permanent damage.

The only “advice” I received last night was “to avoid getting hit in the head again”.

Thanks, like I didn’t know that already…

http://www.bcmj.org/article/current-concepts-concussion-diagnosis-and-management-sports-clinical-review

I Suppose You’re Wondering…

And to be frank,

So am I.

I too, wonder, what am I doing. What should I be doing. Where should I be. Where should I go. Why am I here. Why am I not there. Who am I. Who will I be. Am I supposed to be worrying about this. Why am I so worried about this. What do I do, now that I am nearly twenty, mentally ill, and feeling completely confused on what to do next. Yes, I am an artist. But will that pay the bills. Will that give me freedom to educate myself further. Will I forever be dependent on my parents for not only moral support but also financial. How do people do it. Show me how. Not how to settle with mediocre, show me how to find this thing called happiness. Contentment. Joy. Whatever you call it. I want to find it. The world is my oyster you say, but why does that seem so frightening. Oh don’t be so cliché, you cluck at the computer.

Go ahead and cluck. I am a walking cliché. Full of my generation’s struggles and expectations. Full of false hope. Full of hoping that my hope is not false, but something that could possibly become true. Becoming an artist seemed so right when I was a child. This is what I’ve learned. I can’t become an artist. I am an artist. An artist who is, trying to find a purpose for herself. Trying to find who she is. Trying to find who she was. Before I knew what mental illness felt like.

Can I be the person I was before mental illness filtered through me, making the windows of my perception darkened. Who was I. The photographs can only speak so much, and leave so much to be questioned. Do I even want to be that person again. I was merely a child. Can I be both. Can I feel the happiness. Experience the emotion. But also have the strength gained from all the scars I carry. Is it too much to ask.

It seems with everyday comes more self-reflection. More questioning. More fear. But also, more hope. Hope that I won’t have to question what happiness is. Hope that I won’t have to feel guilty for existing some days. Hope that as an artist, I can enjoy the search for who I am. Who I will be. And become inspired by what I experience. Hope that I won’t feel obligated to worry about things I can’t change, foresee, or control.

With everyday there is more hope in my life,

that everything is going to be okay.

And even if I don’t believe there is hope- I will keep telling myself until it rings true, because right now- I am not sure what else to do.

xx

Community Project: Dawson City Hospital

Think about it.

When admitted to hospital, having doctors and nurses keeping watch over you, providing a calm and safe place for you to heal… Do you stop to say how truly grateful you are for them?

Do you acknowledge that these people, in the health and helping sector also have lives, their own people to take care of, and also have themselves to nurture?

All the countless hours of helping strangers, in all sorts of stages of life and health, at any time of day or night- being ready to not only provide medical care, but also a kind and thoughtful approach to you and your health.

Yes, I know, it is their job. But still- shouldn’t we still voice our gratitude once in a while?

IMG_6993I really like this photo of my Doctor’s Office. I sneaked a photo when I was waiting for her to come back from checking on some paperwork.

Recently spending time in the hospital, I spent two nights in the new Dawson City Hospital- and I must say, what a beautiful centre as a brand new building, but also as a community of doctors, therapists, nurses, and pharmacist.

IMG_6841Late night trip to the ER- I really do hate hospital gowns.

Gone were the fears of strange hospitals, with cracking paint and scuffed floors, and that awful lysol/sickly smell of unwell people. What I found were beautiful murals, spacious rooms, and wonderful staff. Because of my situation- I had to have an eye kept on me, so I got to know some of the nurses quite well- (on a patient/nurse kind of terms I guess) 

IMG_7112My nurse let me pick out some tea once I got settled in- David’s Tea at that! How special- 🙂 

IMG_7109Yes, I was painting the closet. After they gave me a dose of my anti-anxiety meds. I just felt so chill and all I could really focus on was the closet- Soon fell asleep after the third closet.

The genuine humour, laughter, and interest they had shown in both myself and my artwork was so wonderful. I immediately felt safe, calm, and content in my room. It is amazing how your environment and mental state can affect your quality of sleep. – even sleeping on a hospital bed- (a.k.a. – a bit like sleeping on a block of wood)  I slept like a rock, and woke up in a calm, almost meditative manner. What a wonderful change to the not-so-good nights I had been having previously.

So- To thank all these wonderful people. I decided to create my Community Project into something that would acknowledge all the special people at the Dawson City Hospital. (At least- the ones that I was lucky enough to have as providers of care for me) 

How I did this was I began to knit.

I love knitting- and have always found it very therapeutic. Lately, I have been making these little pouches, “Marsupial-satchels” I call them. To carry special things that one may find dear to their heart.

IMG_7046                     Here is one I made for a dear friend of mine for her little mouse named Candlelight.

Using beautiful yarn my mother had sent me in a care-package, I began to knit and crochet thinking of all the caring people who I had met when I was at the hospital. With every stitch, I silently said thank you, with every little detail, I silently reminded myself how grateful I was to have crossed paths with them. It was a very healing and meditative experience to create these little pouches. I knitted eleven pouches. And then included a little letter within each one. Here is a quote from the letter:

“Just wanted to say thank you for all of your help and patience over these past few weeks. To be able to have a safe place to go to when on cannot provide that for herself is a blessing. Therefore ~ Thank you, for being YOU! As part of my Community project for SOVA, I would very much appreciate any comments, feedback, etc. on what you think of your homemade marsupial-satchels. I wanted to give a token of appreciation, ~ you may keep, give away, switch, as you like with these little pouches. Just wanted to show in my own little way, how thankful I am for crossing paths with you ~ as you have made it a more positive one to walk.”

IMG_7224A photo showing all the little pouches with letters inside~ ready to be dropped off at the hospital! 

IMG_7225A close up- I hand wrote the letter, and made photocopies, providing my email and blog address for people to check out this article, and maybe even leave some feedback about what they thought about it all! 

IMG_7226Here I am wearing one – to show size and where they would approx. rest on the body. – This pouch was made for one of the amazing doctors I am lucky enough to see once a week to help me through this all. 

So far, I have not heard back from any of the medical staff on what they thought about their little marsupial-satchels. I hope to hear via email, or face to face, what they thought about it. Even if I don’t hear a peep from anyone- I know that I myself felt love and joy making and giving these away to those that had helped me, so hopefully, that loving energy will be passed along with these pouches to the 11 gentle souls who made my life a little easier to cope with this past month.

And that is my Community Project.

 

Fire Engine Red

Somehow while in the midst of a storm- the sun breaks through the clouds to remind me that there is hope.

And by hope, I mean knowing that come summer, I will have:

  1. A cabin of my very own – With a PINK outhouse! – Not to mention fabulous studio space
  2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I am so thankful for Yukon Healthcare)
  3. Mountain Bike as transportation, and fingers crossed- maybe my darling of a Chevy, Ol’ Blue-  will make the trip up the Alaska Highway from B.C. with me behind the wheel (Spring road trip in the making? Possibly)
  4. AND – As of tonight- I have a job lined up for the summer being the Museum Manager for the Dawson City Firefighters Museum

Now to just survive the final days of school, holding on tight to the last bits of sanity that I have.

Here is one of the vehicles I saw in the museum today!


 

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ELMER GAUNDREAU WITH THE CLAPP AND JONES FIRE STEAM PUMPER

1897 Clapp and Jones Fire Steam Pumper

– Put into service with the Dawson Fire Department in 1900, this was the second engine to be purchased by the city. Capable of pumping 500 gallons a minute, the double engine meant that one pump was always running, thus resulting in a near constant stream of water. The steamer had two suction and discharge openings, allowing either side to be connected for use. The frame of the steamer rests on springs, which would have helped it to run smoothly on the rough roads of early Dawson.

For more information on Firefighting and it’s history in Dawson City : Click here

 

 

Improvising. Like The True Small Town Girl That I Am.

Hello !

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Here I am beside the Yukon River, with not my snowmobile- but the Doctor’s snowmobile. (I was on my own for the month of January, with a broken down skidoo- so he graciously lent me his Bravo so I could get to school and back in the cold temperatures- “my contribution to your education” he calls it. Very thankful for all the helping hands in Dawson City)

For school – we are to write about our experiences and art created at Yukon School of Visual Arts. Well, as some of you may know- My experiences at SOVA have not been of a quality that I am willing to post about on my blog. Challenges are good, yes, but this circumstance has become more of a burden than an enjoyment. More of a heavily medicated experience than an invigorating one. I don’t work in the studios unless I have too. I don’t spend time at that school unless I absolutely have too. Believe me when I say I try to enjoy every shred that I can while floating through the semester on anti-anxiety meds. Definitely not what I thought Art School was going to be like, but hey, what can I say- this is just a bump in the road, I will learn something from this (I have already learned many things while overcoming this) and I will keep on producing art. Preferably in a less medicated manner, as I do not like this whole icky, floaty, strange feeling. (But it was that or super depressed/panic mode – so I had to prioritize)

So like any small town kid would- I looked to my family, friends, and community (both Fort St. James and Dawson City) for help when times got lonely, confusing, and stressful.

Sure you could say that SOVA brought me to Dawson City- But the people who call Dawson home, that is what has really made this whole crazy first year of art school experience really worth it.

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The VICTORS – Snowshoe Baseball team that I was lucky enough to be apart of!

So thank you, everyone who has held out a hand and let me grasp it and really, well, pick your brains and gain such rich and inspiring knowledge that has influenced my art and myself not only as an artist, but also as a well-rounded, strong young woman on the journey to self-healing through the practice of making art.

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At the Traditional Feast- gifting a painting I created at a painting workshop at Myth and Medium to a very inspiring and talented Nunavut Artist- Mathew Nuqingaq

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I have worked very hard to be successful at art school. Knowing that I learn best in a one-on-one teaching environment – I took advantage of any opportunity that presented itself. Including when my father stopped by from driving down from Tuktoyatuk, where I got to spend a weekend with one of my favourite people, being tutored to help me with a difficult project, I spent that day learning about gears, motors, and general mechanic knowledge that became very helpful for me to create my kinetic sculpture.

Hopefully- I will get the marks saved for posts regarding SOVA put towards posts that showcase the fabulous people and resources that have been available to me in Dawson City, outside of school. My fighting argument is well- if a student is struggling in Math class, he/she is allowed, even encouraged to get a tutor. So when an Art student is struggling in Art school, and feeling that her expectations are not being met, what is so wrong about turning to her newfound community for assistance? Here are a few events, places, and people who have been such amazing resources for me during my school year.

  • Myth and Medium 2014
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community
  • Dawson CIty Community
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department
  • KIAC
  • Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre
  • Robert Service School
  • Mayor of Dawson City
  • The countless people I’ve interviewed for my short documentary
  • My family in British Columbia
  • My close family friends in Whitehorse, Yukon
  • Elder Victor Henry, as well as many other Elders of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in community
  • My inspirational roommate
  • My supportive friends
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department Library
  • Community Library
  • Dawson City Medical Clinic and their wonderful staff
  • Visiting artists as well as local artists
  • My Sweat Lodge family
  • My Yoga Community down in Vancouver
  • My pen pals
  • My neighbours on the Old Dome Road

So you see, I would not have moved to Dawson City if I knew that school was going to be such a brutal experience, but then, I would not have discovered that an organic approach to gaining a well-rounded education of not only the required “foundation year” curriculum, but also the land, community, and local artistic practices does not start in the classroom, it starts with the first hand you shake, the first time you acknowledge whose lands your lucky enough to live on, and the first time you get the wool pulled over your eyes by a cheeky elder. SOVA is a young school- I have hope that they will adapt and evolve to recognize and include such experiences and opportunities for future students, I know they will, change takes time. We all know that. This experience has given me a lot to think about and a lot to smile about, and it simply reminds me that yes, it does have to get pretty dark to be able to see the beauty of the stars that the universe has gifted you to see. And the stars I have found! Oh how thankful I am.

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I am also a Canine Companion and Dog Walker- this is Ziggy. Who helps me by providing smiles, howls, and laughter every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Thank you, Musi Cho, Namaste

Jeff Lemire – Graphic Novel Shenanigans

essexcountysoftcover_lg

Currently- I am reading Essex County by Jeff Lemire for my English Class at Yukon School of Visual Arts. As you can tell by my forced formality- This is a homework post. So far- I have read book one: Tales from the Farm, and started into book two: Ghost Stories. And so far- I have just not been reeled into the story. No biscuit. No cheese. Nada. I absolutely LOVE the illustrations, truly, illustration ENVY. I was also intrigued by the cover art and choice of colours. Feeling like I was missing the boat on something, since it seemed like everyone else was enjoying the graphic novel ~ I did a little research via CBC. And here is what CBC had to say:

http://www.cbc.ca/books/booksandauthors/2010/10/essex-county.html

“Jeff Lemire’s Essex County is composed of three interconnected graphic novels — Tales from the FarmGhost Stories and The Country Nurse. Winner of several major awards in the world of comics, including a Joe Shuster Award, it was hailed by reviewers as “the comics medium at its best” (Booklist) and “a quiet, somber, haunting masterpiece” (The Oregonian). The minimalistic though intensely emotional trilogy gives form to the author’s inspired vision of what it means to live, work, dream and even die in a Southwestern Ontario rural community.

The population of Lemire’s fictional landscape is represented from childhood to old age through the characters of Lester, Lou and Anne. Their external world is rendered in stark black-and-white lines. The vividness of their interior lives, however, is what gives the graphic novel its colour and vitality.

After the death of his mother, 10-year-old Lester, the central character of Tales from the Farm, is sent to live with his Uncle Ken, a rural bachelor and a man of few words. For the sensitive boy, comic books and superheroes are a welcome distraction from the painful circumstances of his life.

Lou LeBeuf, protagonist of Ghost Stories, is an aged hockey player living out his last days alone at his farm. Isolated and full of regret, he replays the turning points of his life once again.

Anne Quenneville is the focus of The Country Nurse. A travelling nurse in Essex County, she has seen her share of suffering. Perhaps that’s what makes her such a force for good. Through Anne, the trilogy finds resolution and its heartbreaking characters find much-needed connection.”

I caught myself thinking something was wrong with me to not be enjoying this book. But then again- what I am reviewing is how I am engaging with the image and text, rather than the creator’s work. And to be frank- where I am at with my depression and anxiety, I feel like I just cannot and will not allow myself to absorb any more suffering if I can help it. Enough already- the thoughts in my mind do not need inspiration for regret and suffering. Even if it isn’t relevant to life events that I have gone through- depressing stuff just adds to the ever-growing laundry pile of anxiety triggers and a feeling of being uncomfortable. Sort of like sitting in a bath too long. Not my idea of enjoyment. I would not have read this if I had a choice, at least at this particular time in my life. I am sure that there is possibility to enjoy it, but not in the situation that I have found myself in right now.  It was the same with the other books assigned in class- full of heart wrenching  psychological ponderings, uncomfortable periods of self loathing, and a sense of negativity but also a cryptic secret commentary on politics, society, you name it. And I just could not focus, I tried, but there is nothing worse than trying to write an educated blog post on a graphic novel that you feel not so sparkly about, let alone an essay on a final exam. But I am not the kind of human to give up, so I will keep reading, and try to step into the world of Jeff Lemire.  Where are the positive books? Okay Okay, I don’t expect cotton candy and happily ever afters. Hell- Where is David Sedaris? Now there’s an author I admire. (Don’t get me wrong, I like reading books that have an edge of darkness to them, but it depends on how the author communicates it to the reader. And so far with Essex County, no cheese. I like a Humorist’s approach to dark matters)  Where are the authors who delve into less dark matters? [Would that be considered Grey matter?]  This is an improvement from Beautiful Losers, but I still find myself knitting my eyebrows together when asked to “make a comment”. So I conclude: I liked the illustrations. And like any other homework assignment which makes pulling fingernails off with pliers look like spa treatment- I will carry on. Maybe my opinion will change once I finish this book- who knows.

David-Sedaris-005

Photo of David Sedaris 

 

My Experience: A Photo Essay about Depression

For this photo essay project, I photographed a series of objects that connect directly to terms and experiences I encounter on a daily basis while coping with a mental illness. My photographs will talk about the process of accepting depression and learning how to live and move forward while making the best of my life.  Depression is a common affliction in society today for many reasons, may it be environmental, internal or inherited. How people acknowledge their mental illness is unique in its own way as everybody has different coping strategies. I want to challenge myself to find new avenues toward healing, coping, and renewal through art and the creative process. Mental health issues cannot be shelved or put on the back burner, so I want to take the opportunity to explore my world in a true holistic sense. In this photo essay, I capture my experience with depression, and the symbols and meanings I connect to. This series of photographs  provide a sense of release and awareness, not just for myself, but for others who may connect to what I have to say, whilst finding a beauty in the deep and dark mundane aspects of my life.

trigger shot Sally

Trigger – Anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.

homework

Stress – A reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.

pills pills sally

Anti-Depressants – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

paranoia  copy Sally

Paranoia– An unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions. Paranoid individuals constantly suspect the motives of those around them, and believe that certain individuals, or people in general, are “out to get them.”

self depricating Sally

Self-Depricating Thoughts – the act of belittling or undervaluing oneself

This is my experience.

 

 

Heading North.

Hello dedicated blog subscribers – and to the innocent reader that stumbles upon my blog.

I’m sorry.

A lot has happened since last time I sat down to write.

So let’s have a quick re-cap. (In the most non-naracisstic way)

My summer was spent in Fort St. James – My homeland.

I left Vancouver with mixed feelings.

Knowing that it will be a while before I call the rainforest home again – (if ever) – I left with a tinge of sadness, mixed with the excitement of knowing I’ll be charting unknown waters in the months to come.

At this point- I had no idea what or where or how or why or when. I did not know what the universe had in store for me come September.

All I knew was that I was coming home. And it was a beautiful and frightening feeling.

Gone are the Vancouver supermarkets and chaos,

to be replaced with the Vegetable gardens I grew up in and my silly puppies greeting me with wet noses and waggy tales.

I had put out a question to my friends and family in the Fort.

“Would you attend yoga classes if I was to teach?”

The response was amazing.

The interest in yoga blossomed in little Fort- and I was so thankful to be able to share the gift of a gentle, holistic Hatha yoga to those who had come searching for it at the gym, the classroom at the Enterprise Centre, the health unit, or at Kwah hall and at the tale end, the beach. My goal was to make yoga accessible to my community and what an adventure that was.

This was exciting and anxiety triggering – I loved the feeling of stepping out of my comfort zone, and stepping on to the instructor’s mat at the front of the room. But could I do it? Were my students happy? Was I skilled enough? Can I do this?

Yes. I can do this.

and by the end of the summer- I wished I was teaching yoga full-time (in a perfect universe this would make enough funds to get me through Art school…) as I had such an amazing and enlightening time with my students. It was as if every time I stepped onto my mat to teach, I myself walked away with a new lesson learned.

This little community I discovered by teaching yoga really opened my eyes to the beauty of Fort St. James.

If you have been, you will have seen the lake, trees, mountains, snow, wildlife, etc.

But that is not the beauty I am talking about.

The beauty I found was within all my students. Every single one- even if they just did one class- they helped me open my eyes to all the amazing people I was surrounded by. It gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

Every class I taught- I felt more and more whole. Working with your community does that.

*I just can’t help but get all mushy – it’s what I feel and what drew me into the life of a yoga teacher… ALL THIS LOVE!

Teaching 5 yoga classes a week as well as working as a Customer Service Representative at Hub International (Insurance Office/ICBC mini branch) was a big commitment. But in both jobs- I learned so much and worked with amazing people.

I was very busy- the summer went by too fast it seemed.

Summer seems to always slip through my fingers- I’m sure you can agree with me on this.

The weekends where I could simply lounge in a hammock and read my novel, whilst indulging in the sweet breeze drifting off the neighbour’s field were few.

But that does not mean the Summer was meaningless.

The quality time spent with my family, friends, puppies, co-workers, and students made this summer something out of this world. No, I did not lose enough weight to prance around in a bikini, but I was able to plan and execute an Art Show, Apply and be accepted to Yukon School of Visual Arts, and run a mini nomadic yoga business while learning how be a good employee at Barton’s. Mixed with family dinners, laughter, bonding with brothers, meeting the older brother’s lovely girlfriend, campfires, sweat lodge ceremonies, and a healthy dose of dog walking. Somehow looking at it that way- I don’t think I would of had the time to “prance” around in a bikini because life had handed me a plate full of responsibilities. And I took it with Gusto. I also learned that one piece bathing suits are PERFECTLY FINE.

Just have to make sure you stay away from the frumpy ones.

So yes- in mid summer or so I learned that my next journey in life would be heading north.

Dawson City.

So with the help of family and friends I packed up all my things, said my goodbyes and thankyous, and gave each of my dogs a big, long, teary emotional hug. (Just thinking about them makes me tear up right now. My little darlings. I miss them so much.)

Mom, Dad, Daniel (younger brother) and I then hit the road- It was a fantastic road trip. I am so glad I was able to drive there instead of fly- as it was a great adventure for all of us.

That trip deserves a post of it’s own –

When we rolled into Dawson City- we hunkered down at Klondike Kate’s in a little cabin. The next few days were spent touring around my new town- since the tourist season was winding down- we caught some of the last tours of the season.

Time once again went by too fast. And soon I found myself moving into a little cabin by the Yukon river and saying goodbye to my family.

Once again the tears, turning into sobbing and consoling each other and those hugs where you don’t want to let go of each other ensued – That was my mother and I. I may or may not have seen dad shed a tear, as I was completely immersed in a bear hug surrounded by dad’s soft flannel work shirt. I then really broke down into a teary, snotty mess when hugging Daniel. The youngest of the family is also the tallest and broadest of shoulder, so once again I felt completely surrounded by his hug. Being siblings and being a teenage boy- getting a hug from Daniel is a very special, rare thing. So I made sure to get the most I could while I had him there. Which also meant he climbed back into the pickup truck with a rather soggy, snot covered shoulder. I could tell he was completely grossed out- as now he would have to drive back to Whitehorse with his older sister’s snot on his shirt. Oops.

I am not a glamorous cryer.

It did not matter how many times I hugged my family goodbye. It felt like I needed another hug, another kiss, another confirmation that yes, I could do this. I can do this. I will do this. All that fear of being on my own hit me like a in the gut. And I think my family could see this. So the hugs continued. More kleenexes were handed out. And more kisses were given.

When the pickup pulled out of the driveway, and drove down front street, I watched it until my family disappeared into the horizon.

Back to B.C.

Taking a deep breath in – the fear parted like ripples in water to allow my excitement to come out of it’s little hiding spot.

I may be scared, but I CAN do this I thought to myself.

Once in my little cabin, I unpacked my pink afghan, sat on my bed, and looked out my window.

That’s when I realized my cabin slightly tilted to the left.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Most buildings in the Yukon that are built on permafrost have a quirky tilt.

I slipped off my sandals and snuggled up under my pink afghan, looking up at the ceiling.

Before drifting off to sleep (saying goodbye to the most important people in your life is a tiring ordeal) – I could hear the Australians next door start to play the guitar and sing.

With I smile, I let myself relax.

I could hear the chugging of the Dawson Ferry cutting through the strong current of the Yukon River.

My eyelids began to close, the chugging ferry becoming a purr, the yodeling of the Aussie next door turning into a soft murmur.

Another deep breath in, and the little smile turns into a toothy grin.

“Welcome to the Yukon” I thought to myself as I let go of my fear and slipped into a little afternoon nap.

xx

Photo below: Boo and I 🙂

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Love is all you need; along with some business skills…

Namaste lovely audience

Today was my last sculpture class at Capilano University. 

Even though I am sad that it had to come to an end, it is also one step closer to my journey of being a yoga instructor up in the big wild north. 

Scary really- there are so many little decisions that need to be made- hopefully I make the correct ones, so that I will be coming back to Vancouver in the fall with a happier bank account so I don’t have to eat rice crackers and apricot jam everyday while I attend art school, that is if I even get accepted. 

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My brain is full of anxiety. 

a good night’s rest and a morning class of yoga shall help unravel things a bit for me tomorrow. 

I have been in contact with people up north- trying to make the magic happen. 

Sending good vibes to my higher self tonight, no matter what happens, I will make things work… Someway – I am hoping my summer will be prosperous and positive. 

One thing I love about myself tonight is: I am living my dream. 🙂 

 

Om Shanti, Om Peace 

 

xx