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

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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Asian Salad and Immaturity.

Enough is enough.

I am very disappointed in the hypocrites tonight.

There are days when I miss when I was in highschool… 

Just kidding. 

What I learned whilst becoming a yoga instructor has taught me many things- I won’t go all  preacher on your asses tonight.

(Just letting my inner Peer Counsellor have a few words tonight…)

 I am becoming more and more intolerant of the lack of maturity and just plain rudeness that I come across daily. 

Especially on social media sites.

It makes me cringe at how nasty and cruel people can be- especially those who look down upon someone for “bullying” people. 

Harassment, insults, etc. 

I shake my head at this- for really if you have an issue; there are people to talk too… 

But yet I do know the feeling of being alone and unheard; reaching out to anybody who will support me. But that doesn’t mean I support people bashing others- its amazing many of these people behind these statuses would never utter these words for example in front of a whole soccer team, a teacher, or a coach. 

But shockingly, I come across many hurtful people who wouldn’t even think twice about shouting it out over the radio. 

As I became more comfortable with my journey in connecting my values with Ashtanga Yoga values- I became more and more sensitive to the negativity that suffocates my life. I became over stimulated with society, and all the hatred and hypocrites. 

But I also found compassion for the humans behind the hateful words and actions. 

It really makes my head spin when I see the battles that take part over twitter, facebook, blogs, etc. 

During my journey in becoming a Yoga Instructor I have also learned about letting go of the need for defence. 

I highly respect someone who stands up for their values- But I do not support “fighting fire with fire”

To put a fire out- you simply give it no fuel to survive. 

No oxygen. 

Fire Blanket. 

No response to the hatred. 

You get what I mean. 

The people who read this blog will probably not be the ones who I am so disappointed in. 

But that’s okay- 

The people who find themselves constantly defending themselves, their decisions, or people they respect….

Those are the people that I am hoping will read this blog. 

As hard as it is- let this sour taste wash away like the hawaiian surf. 

Let the hard done by be hard done by, for if they really wanted to make change they live in a country where you can speak your mind and make change. 

and for pete’s sakes don’t even dare say you don’t know how. If you have a beating heart you know how to make change, for better or for worse. 

I understand your frustration- but spouting out on facebook, creating an army of negative energy will get you no farther than before the thought was conceived in your mind. 

Tap into love, tap into gratitude for what you have already, and make plans to reach the goals you want to accomplish. 

I am not trying to smack every negative nelly on the wrist with a ruler- I am just writing a blog post about what I have observed tonight, and how thankful I am that I am not swimming in the pool of acid that I once called high school anymore, that I do not have to face these people, that I have a choice to socialize with healthy people with healthy values, and no need to bring others down to make a point. 

Tell me if I am correct here: Is it bullying when you make fun of someone’s disabilities? 

Yes. 

Is it bullying when you post a status- targeting a sports team, coach, or specific teacher just because you are unhappy you did not get something that maybe they got? 

I believe so. 

I witnessed on my facebook tonight as I scrolled down- Someone had posted “I wish [Specific gym teacher/coach] would let us go to Hawaii instead of being so god damn weird.”

-This is the kerosene that many people decided to soak facebook with. 

This may be a harmless little temper tantrum- but what it gives birth too I strongly think is bullying. 

This opens up a cesspool- if one person opens up a wound, everyone else begins tearing off their deepest, crustiest scabs…

Including this comment: “or maybe if [gym teacher/coach] wasnt half jew”

The firewood. 

and there are many other comments to follow that make this into a whole forest of negativity. 

I’m sorry. Did this facebook user just use the term “Jew” as a put down? 

So disgusted in humanity right now, and I am not even Jewish. 

Let’s hope you will not become a member of parliament, or even worse, the Prime Minister in our future.

So what if the faculty member in question is Jewish. ( I don’t know, neither do you, it’s really none of our business ) 

We don’t diss people by calling them Christians do we? 

How about Catholics, 

Mormons,

Buddhists, 

Atheists, 

 

remind me what century we are in? 

Maybe this is the feminist in me- but this was also targeting a soccer team of talented young women. 

Majority of the hateful comments were from young men. 

Jealously perhaps? 

Of course. They have something that the very angry young man doesn’t. 

What I find highly frustrating, especially in the teenage culture is that when something is out of reach- many decide to bitch and complain. While the few who are above that decide to make things happen, sidestepping the need for venting on Facebook. 

So unhappy young man- if you so happen to come across this here is what I propose to you. 

Sure you stand up for some people. 

Sure you are not playing soccer in Hawaii right now. 

Here is what you could be doing. 

Creating, brainstorming, stepping up to the plate, and if this is your graduating year, then creating a legacy for ones younger than you. 

Go talk to the principal. 

Got funding issues? 

Hold a meeting with PAC. 

Hold a meeting with District of Fort St. James. 

Be mature, and be open to the most likely possibility of working your knuckles to the god damn bone to get what you are fighting for. 

Sure the senior girl’s team went on an extravagant trip this year. 

BUT.

I am sure they did not sit on their butts, just waiting for someone else to pick up the pieces and fly them all to the land of sunshine. I would love to interview the coach, interview the team captains, interview the parents. They worked hard. 

I was also on sports teams that worked their asses off fundraising- including other groups, not just sports….

Is it the lazy male teenager personality to blame? 

Who knows. 

But I do know it makes me very unsettled when I see shit like this on my timeline.

 

  • (Soccer Player) Maybe if you guys could keep a team and win a few games you could go to an actual tournament?
    Okay- you’re defending your team and coach and everything you have worked for. 
    (Fellow soccer players liked this comment)
  •  
    (Facebook User who started this all with the status) Or he didn’t cancel our teams and actually put an effort towards help funding. (Really? You are going to blame the gym teacher, when the reason you cancel a team is when there is lack of commitment coming from the players… P.S. hmm funding comes from the community- not the gym teacher/head of athletic dept….)
  •  
     
    (yet another young man) HA because you guys win games. We all know why you’re in hawii.
    (Oh tell me, facebook user, why are the girls in Hawaii?, maybe because they want to be… right? Because they are young, and having fun… I could be completely wrong. But I do know this isn’t the Fifa world cup mister. Who cares if they win or lose a few games. Remember this is high school… I don’t see anyone calling the travel club a bunch of Jews… the kids paid their way. End of story.)

And if that means a soccer team for boys well then- you better look back at your teammates, and put some of your time spent on calling the coach a weird jew into more productive things. 

Have you thought about why you goal has been difficult to reach? 

Do you have to be reminded that even with lots of money spent- if no one shows up to practice- the way some teams contemplate skipping their own prom and graduation for provincials, then there will be no team. 

Fort St. James is dominated by male hockey players. 

Boy’s soccer season clashes with Boy’s hockey season. 

So really- you needed to target your fellow teammates rather than pinning your hatred and negative energy on the opposite sex – who’s soccer season is the opposite of hockey season. 

Need I say more? 

And for the young women defending their territory on facebook. 

You are simply the match to this Forest Fire- and I am sure I am not the only Smokey Bear rolling their eyes and counting my lucky stars that I survived high school and made it out alive only with a few scars and a couple months of therapy. 

Let this go. 

Both of you. 

For this will resolve NOTHING. 

 

Om Shanti Om Peace- show each other compassion and love. 

Have empathy for the ones who have less than you, and have gratitude for the things you have. 

If you did this in the first place, my blog post would of been about how my favourite meal is Asian Salad at the moment. 

Did I mention how glad I am that I survived my time in hell? 

So much nicer being graduated. 

It’s like being taken off the butcher hook and put back out into the green pasture- to find new friends to frolic with that won’t destroy me and my self respect, values, or brain cells… 

Love is all you need. 

 

 

One thing I love about myself: My sense of empathy and compassion, but also my intolerance to bullshit. 

 

Goodnight lovelies 

xx 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Horses and Yogis. (Or Yoginis, in my case)

Sorry my dear audience. For I have not made your mailbox ‘ding’ in the past few days… 

Here; 

Let me catch up..

One thing I love about myself today is: (March 14, 2013) I can’t really remember if anything really stuck out for me- Oh yes actually… I gave my bank account a good right hook at Opus. I fed my Silkscreen curiosity by buying special inks. Now I am one step closer to turning my bedroom/studio into a SILKSCREEN GENIUS FACTORY. 

One thing I love about myself today is: (March 15, 2013) Totally love how my butt looks in my blue yoga capris. I truly do feel beautiful working up a sweat at the yoga studio. I must remind myself that leggings are more flattering than sweatpants… Daily. 

One thing I love about myself today is: (March 16, 2013) I survived a morning Hot Core Yoga class… the instructor had abs you grate cheese off of, and chose to play Led Zepplin. Not sure if she noticed my lack of ab strength as I drowned in my sweat. Every time I looked between my legs whilst in  downward facing dog I got a glimpse of this middle aged man just rocking every asana as if it was peanuts; he then added a headstand or two, because you know, that’s what people do on Saturday mornings. Almost did a face plant during downward facing dog from all the sweat I was producing. (ahem, any man who is cringing- women have sweat glands too) BUT I DID NOT GIVE UP.

 

Happy St. Patty’s day – as a ginger- I actually did not get pigeoned-holed into irish jokes- first time in a long time I must say. I even wore green to my yoga class- nobody knew it was my sleep shirt… it wasn’t that obvious. 

All my other green clothing- including the green underwear I usually save for this specific day- was in the laundry basket. 

Today was Vinyasa Flow class- and lets just say- these past few days of yoga are catching up to my quads. The class started out pretty strong- I was confident- until it came to the deep warrior two lunge. I usually do these no problem but today – I exhaled going deeper into the lunge then all of the sudden. 

CHARLIE HORSE. 

not just a “he he he I just punched you in the leg” 

no 

it was a 

MAN DOWN MAN DOWN MAN DOWWWWN 

MEDDDDDDIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC. 

I was frozen in pain, trying not to fall over and swear while rolling into a ball. 

I slowly came out of the pose- trying to look all composed while really inside all that I could process was…

JESUS MURPHY. 

no

really it was FUCK. 

But if you imagine a ginger screaming “JESUS MURPHY” in an irish accent; it really is entertaining. 

it was a series of asanas- so from the lunge we then bent even deeper, resting our upper bodies on the floor while in the lunge- then slipped arm under leg and then do this twisty thing and become a magical pretzel.

I should know the sanskrit term- but I was so focused on the silent screams my legs where emulating my mind was not functioning correctly. 

I recovered

eventually. 

the class went well- though my left quad reminded me throughout the rest of the session to not push it. 

Even as I sit on my bed typing on my laptop- my quad is growling at me. 

like a very very very pissed off cat. 

Tomorrow is my last class of Silkscreen at ECUAD. *sad face* 

One thing I love about myself today is: I love how I feel when I take care of my body and mind. IBS and Depression side effects seem to go away when I step onto my yoga mat. The studio has now become my Oasis. 

 

Goodnight Lovelies xx 

 

 

Stepping out of my comfort zone- one sweat droplet at a time.

More wet grey downpour.
Chiropractor appointment.
Referral to physiotherapy.
Breakfast.
Nap.

Lay in bed kicking myself for being so useless. (I do this every time I end up napping mid day)

Pay admission fees for university application.
Realize I have only until the end of March to complete any old assignments as well as get my first aid.
Mild panic attack.

Inspirational phone call from mom.

Find myself booking a hot yoga class at Yogapod.

Did I mention I had a fear of hot yoga?
I needed to get six more community classes under my belt before the end if March- for yoga teacher training; this assignment was put on hold because of my back injury until recently and this hot yoga class popped up.
Being double jointed I had a fear of hyper extending something in a room of high temperatures, and I had heard that hot yoga wasn’t the best for IBS.
I kept putting off trying hot yoga because of these, and many other fears. But tonight I decided to screw the comfort zone and throw myself into this sweaty, muscle burning adventure to escape the dreary grey days of Pineapple Express- Vancouver style.
I must say I enjoyed the class, I felt the instructor created a safe space, and even though I was intimidated by the advanced yogis surrounding me-I did what I could, listening to my recovering back injury.
It was nice really, to do yoga even though it was for homework – I was able to tap back into yoga without anxiety, away from the classroom setting.
The only thing I didn’t really prepare for was the amount of sweat – amazing what the body can do, but it made my yoga mat more of a slip n’ slide, making downward facing dog more challenging than usual.
I left the class feeling amazing, energized and refreshed.
I definitely will be doing another hot yoga class soon.

One thing I love about myself today is: I stepped out of my comfort zone when I was ready – today I learned I liked something completely new- and I wouldn’t of known that unless I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone.
I’m pleased with myself.

Goodnight lovelies xx

Tulips and Sunshine- great excuse for some outdoor exercise

Namaste 

Today I went for a walk because I could not resist but bathe in the sunlight North Vancouver was offering today.

(Fully sun-screened mind you) 

I bought a huge bouquet of tulips- in celebration of my last yoga class of my 6 week series that I had to do for my yoga practicum. 

I am very happy that I have completed it, but also sad- I really did enjoy teaching yoga, and enjoyed getting to know my students. I hope my students keep in touch- Hopefully they enjoyed my classes enough to come back to take more classes from me. 

I also completed 7 small watercolour notecards- as a thank you to my students for making the time and effort to come and spend their friday evenings on the yoga mat rather then on the couch watching netflicks. 

Tomorrow is Life Drawing class- which I have not fully completed the homework for yet… So I will up be up tomorrow quite early- hopefully early enough to slip in a brisk walk or some yoga before I head to class. 

One thing I love about myself today is: 

My belly laugh. 

Goodnight Lovelies. 

xx

How many letters in the alphabet? – Self love and mirrors.

Greetings- 

I have a confession to make… 

So my driver’s license says I am a mere 110 pounds. 

I giggle at this because when I registered for my license I was asked how much I weighed, and frankly I had no clue- I’ve never had a scale, and the last time I was weighed while at the doctor’s I remember blocking out the number. 

I knew I was not 110 pounds thats for sure. 

I remember the kind smile the lady gave me, chirping “you don’t look over 110 pounds!”

Sure, lets put 110 pounds on my license.

I would like to say weight has never been an issue in my life, but that would be lying, and of course I am not a lier. Right?

Just don’t look at my license.

I have always found it stupid to obsess over a number. Who cares what the scale says if you’re healthy, fit, and happy? 

Well- here is the kid who never weighs herself- struggling with health, fitness and happiness. 

Go figure. 

Since graduating from high school and moving to Vancouver, I have struggled with my weight. Here is a few reasons I think why, well how about an alphabet of reasons why…

A. Everything is expensive as fuck in Vancouver. – $20 dollar yoga class- WHAT?

B. I am not that talented that I can qualify for a college/university/rec sports team- anybody who says otherwise just be quiet- I know this. I would be beaten alive on a college basketball court. Don’t try and be nice while I’m having an honest moment with myself.

C. Fast Food. NOM NOM NOM. – even if it is just an “occasional french fry” it adds up…

D. North Vancouver is pretty much one big hill- not the greatest motivation for knee/back injury…

E. My landlord and roommate are very kind people who make me cookies, squares, and cook very high carb, high fat. -I grew up with vegetables from the neighbour’s garden…So I think my metabolism went into shock after the first sunday of fried eggs and bacon.

F. Anti-depressants and Birth control are known to contribute to weight gain. 

E. I don’t have a dog to run with. 😦 

F. All these Lululemon tight assed women jogging on the seawall are downright intimidating. There. I said it. 

G. Running in a city- so not my forte. 

H. My workout clothes now make me look down right ghastly. 

I. Concussions and hyper mobility really hold me back from trying new sports.

J. I can be lazy- somedays my lunch will include cookies with apricot jam. I like apricot jam okay?

K. Depression really makes it hard to motivate yourself at times. 

L. IBS attacks during yoga class- embarrassing and awkward. Not to mention panic attack inducing when the only bathrooms there are public ones with no privacy.

M. Can I blame the winter season? Sure. Why not. That rain was very discouraging.

N. Men found me attractive, – weight not as big a deal when hitting on women as it was in High school it seems? Who knows. Maybe I just met mature gentlemen in Vancouver, who like curvy women.

O. I didn’t realize how much weight I gained until it was too late- yoga school added with constantly wearing yoga pants makes you think you look FINE. 

P. Lemon Squares

Q. Baggy Tops- my shield from my self criticism about my muffin top.

R. Only having evening classes – no routine – 3 am bedtimes, etc.

S. Corn chips. Damn bastards.

T. Eating the same amount as when I was training for half marathons… And not training for half marathons… Oops.

U. Being a lazy teenager.

V. Reassuring myself that yoga was enough. 

W. Blaming my tummy fat on bloating from IBS. (most likely is both)

X. Not getting a monthly wax – I can’t afford it anymore now that I live in the city… But it was a real confidence booster- no matter how painful it was. -anyone who gets waxed will understand!

Y. I’m not as stressed or depressed as I was, which means I am eating more.

Z. I keep comparing myself to myself a few years ago- a very sick, unhappy girl who struggled with eating anything. I thought I was fat then! Jesus. 

Even with this whole boat load of excuses- I still want to try to get back in shape. 

About a month ago I injured my back- inflamed disc and sciatica. 

Once again I had to be weighed- and oh dear god I did not like the number that popped up on the scale. 

For months I kept telling myself- I’ll start tomorrow. 

Hah, of course that never happened. 

It is March now- and I am at the point where I am sick of the sight of my body.

It is like one big “to-do list” that well, has been put off.

Your body is your temple right? 

Well- this temple had been on the back burner for way too long. Now it has weak beams, dull wallpaper, dirty dishes, and a thicker middle. 

I have recently finished my Yoga teacher training- and while I am happy I have completed that adventure- I feel I am left like a bit of a poser. 

I try to teach my students self acceptance when I myself struggle with the concept. 

My roommate used to laugh at how I would gently bring my students into a deep meditation, using positive affirmations, always repeating the need for loving yourself. 

This cool, calm, self loving yogini who is flexible yadda yadda yadda- yeah my Roommate saw right through that. 

There are things I love about me, of course there is. 

My tummy- is not one of them. 

Everybody has there hangups- so really I don’t expect this post to get many views, 

I expect it to get the occasional scroll down, a sniff, and then back to youtubing cat videos. 

But that is not the reason I chose to write this. I am experimenting. Maybe if I document my progress- it will be easier to stay on track? 

We will see. 

Tonight I made a “Fitspiration” board on Pinterest- it is still in the works- but I read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine about how detrimental this new trend of “thinspiration” boards really is. That unachievable image of thigh gaps, collarbones, and huge knockers. 

I want my students to know that i am human, personable, and not egotisical. But really- couldn’t I be a little bit more of a better person than I already am? 

Like- Can I be able to wear all of my jeans? Not just my fat pant jeans? 

I want to become a role model for my students- and honestly it wouldn’t feel right to campaign for self love when I furrow my brows every morning at the full length mirror when I step into the shower. -Note to self. Don’t install a mirror at that angle- very unflattering if you’re not in shape. 

I struggle with negative thoughts. So really this could not be as big of a deal as it seems to be, but for me it is a big deal at the moment, because when my confidence level is up- my depression level goes down, my ibs symptoms go down, and my happiness becomes an everyday event. That would be a nice thing. 

To the jeans that now sit ever so lonely in the back of my closet. Waiting for me to get my ass in gear and do something, I will be wearing you eventually- because I can’t afford to buy bigger clothes. I’m too cheap and stubborn to do that.

I’ve also been saving my gift cards from friends and family I got during the Christmas holidays because I would keep telling myself- You can buy new lingerie when you’ve lost a few pounds. 

Well, I would like to have new underwear by my next birthday. Go ahead and laugh- but when you’re rocking beautiful awesome underwear- not to mention matching- You feel pretty damn special.

Was that TMI? 

Too bad. 

So I don’t have a diet plan, I don’t have a fitness plan, at least not one that is written on some website or found in a running magazine. 

I plan to: 

eat right

exercise more

and begin to love myself a little more every day- every single flaw included! 

This is not just another attempt to lose weight- it is more. To live the life I want to live- I have to learn how to love myself, and accept what the universe has given me in this lifetime. – That does not mean I will quit shaving my armpits or tattoo a third eye on my forehead. Friends and family- do not worry. I am just trying to become the best possible me I can be. 🙂 

That’s my plan. 

So. 

One thing that I love about myself today is: 

I completed an “extreme” level sudoku today. 

Actually I completed three of them. 

I love my smart moments.

 

Goodnight lovelies, 

 

P.S. here is my Fitspiration page on Pinterest!

http://pinterest.com/anniesgirl/fitspiration/

and my Fitness page for workouts and more inspiration- 

http://pinterest.com/anniesgirl/fitness/

 

xx

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Grumpy Cats Like Afghans.

I live with Depression and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Let me define those for you:

Depression –  Taken from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175

“Depression is a medical illness that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression can cause physical symptoms, too.

Also called major depression, major depressive disorder and clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. Depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or other treatment.”

I have been working hard- with the support of family, friends, and my doctor to manage my depression. Some days I truly feel like maybe I have beaten the monster.
Today, the monster fought tooth and nail, left me defenseless and infuriated, and won.
But wait,
it gets better-
here is my other monster

“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects your large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea and constipation. Despite these uncomfortable signs and symptoms, IBS doesn’t cause permanent damage to your colon.

Most people with IBS find that symptoms improve as they learn to control their condition. Only a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome have disabling signs and symptoms.

Fortunately, unlike more-serious intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t cause inflammation or changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer. In many cases, you can control irritable bowel syndrome by managing your diet, lifestyle and stress.”

This isn’t new to my life, but I am getting so worn down and my confidence honestly has seen better days. I am frustrated with myself mostly, disappointed, and just plain confused. There are days where being in my body is hell. Being in yoga school is simply magical, but not when you’re running to the staff bathroom constantly [staff bathroom is just one toilet with a door, room spray, and a lock. A blessing in my eyes] and wincing in pain when you spend all day sitting on the floor and doing asanas. I have the kind of IBS where it is both diarrhea and Constipation, alternating as my body wishes.

Some days are a real struggle for me between the IBS pain and embarrassment, and the stress and depressed thoughts. I can really be a pathetic excuse for a youthful glowing 18-year-old.

I just had my mid term exams for my Anatomy and Physiology class, I am at the point that I have IBS flare ups after I eat anything no matter how gluten-free dairy free etc. you can get it.

It seems my body likes the snowball effect.

I get stress/anxiety attack/sad/etc.-I get depressed I get ill- I get depressed because I am ill- more illness- more depression.

My depression and my IBS stems from stress often. So I saw this challenge on the horizon when I enrolled for this college course.

But no matter how prepared I was- with my colon relaxing drugs, strict diet, sleeping pills etc. It still feels like you’ve been thrown against a brick wall, face first, the bricks are sharp, skin tearing, cold, and unforgiving.

Running into “brick walls” happens often.

I am not saying no one else suffers from stress, but I just feel like I should be able to handle this by now. I was diagnosed with the IBS when I was 16, and the depression is being hog tied by the antidepressants. My TMJ headaches I have a pill for that, My Acid reflux- pill for that too, and I take a probiotic just to make my cocktail a larger handful every evening, don’t forget Birth control to help control my IBS and anxiety around that whole situation. God. My night table is a pharmacy.

I started my elimination diet up again. As my body confidence level is a joke. I never was a stick, I resembled more of a stump when I was in that awkward childhood fat stage. Not that I want to be super skinny, but when you feel heavy, dense, bloated, and just disgusted at your own body you want to have some control back. I respect my body, but I am at the point where I stare at myself in a full length mirror, this IBS, this bloated pain, is just so apparent. Its ugly, its distorting, it’s not sexy. I have begun to hate my body for it. I am self conscious, and it’s not like you can take off your abdomen, its permanent, its right there, up front and centre. So when I am having a sick day (which is almost everyday these days) walking by any form of a mirror is avoided. I never set up my mat near the wall mirrors in the yoga studio if I can help it. Putting on jeans is avoided, the pain in my lower large intestine sometimes makes wearing jeans difficult. IBS makes being feminine and sexy difficult. IBS, makes functioning in general difficult.

I just don’t want to be in pain constantly.

So when I was beginning to cry during pranayama practice this morning because of the discomfort, I really felt ashamed.

You can manage IBS, and obviously I haven’t found out how to do that yet.

I was pissed at myself, because I don’t want to miss out on anything because of my health issues.

I felt frustrated, let down, and embarrassed by myself.

I wanted to go home, crawl into bed, and disappear from this world. Maybe dream of an alternate world, where Sally didn’t have to take 7+ pills a day, where Sally didn’t have to constantly remind herself that depressed thoughts are a no no. I am guessing that is where I will also ride unicorns, drink beer, and eat as much cheesy pasta as I want.

Meaning- that will never happen.

I told my instructor that I needed to go home, but she insisted I stay.

I understand the whole bucking up and dealing with it to get my education. But frankly- I knew where I needed to be, and that was home, in bed, hidden from life’s stresses.

How am I supposed to concentrate when in the midst of a lecture, sitting is a no-go because my colon has decided to have a spasm. Nature doesn’t call in this situation. Nature shows up unexpected, giving no fucks whether you double over dry heaving while your colon literally feels like it’s being shredded. If you have ever looked inside a Pike’s mouth, see all those teeth? Okay, turn the pike inside out and then drag if back and forth inside your intestines.

Feels like hell; Doesn’t it?

I am blessed that IBS isn’t ruining my colon- I’ve got the colonoscopy, done the research, etc.

IBS is just ruining me, thats all.

So when I was laying there on my mat, crying in silence and begging my colon to hang in there, I began looking at the clock.

8 hours to go…

7 hours 45 minutes to go…

7 hours to go…

when I got to 6 hours to go- it reminded me of high school, counting down the hours, just wanting to get the hell out of there.

I did not pay good money to do that in a class.

For god’s sake how old am I ?

Self deprecating thoughts come flooding in.

I hate when I feel weak.

I hate giving up.

I hate this.

4th panicked bathroom visit I noticed someone else is in the staff washroom.

Yep.

I’m screwed.

So I got back to my mat, tenderly sat down, and by this time I have no extra energy to plaster a smile on my face anymore.

For years, I have been told “listen to your body”

well – it was time to go home.

I found it hard to approach my instructors. I found I felt ashamed, and undeserving of getting the “permission” that I needed to be excused from class. I had never missed a weekend class in this course. Ever.

I missed one evening Thursday class when I was recovering from my wisdom teeth extractions. But from September to December- that is it.

Maybe it’s just the depression masking how I interpret things but I walked away from that situation feeling like my instructors doubted my dedication, and really were sick and tired of my “whinings”

I myself doubted my actions.

There is no protocol it seems when it comes to have a chronic illness not to mention a mental illness that has a risk of interfering in one’s schooling.

Is it a disability? I don’t know.

I was asked for a doctor’s note if I am going to keep missing classes.

Fine.

I can do that, and I can get excused absences for the 2 classes I have missed.

actually one and a half. since I stayed until noon today.

But I left feeling as if I did something wrong, which caused more stress, more pain, I am pretty sure my face was in a attractive grimace as I sat on the bus, putting my bag on the seat beside me, because frankly bus etiquette was not my top priority at the moment.

I am pretty sure I looked like a grumpy cat…

Grumpy-Cat

I don’t want this to define me, I don’t want this to impact my life in a negative way, I want to win this struggle, I want to conquor.

I descended from fucking bad ass vikings- it’s not in my blood to be labeled as weak.

You never heard of weak vikings, never heard of a viking who whined and complained when all they wanted to do was roll into the fetal position on their yoga mat, you know what they did? they powered through, and got shit done.

Why can’t I do that?

Usually I can grin and bear it- but today I just felt…

different,

I don’t know, emotional? extra depressed? Who knows.

Vikings also raped a lot of women and destroyed a lot of stuff. But right now if I viking was to take a yoga class, I am guessing they wouldn’t hijack and burn the yoga studio down…

I would like to say “no fucks were given today”

But I didn’t really feel that until I was in bed with my blanket over my head, blocking out reality.

Once I finally comforted and cooed my mind- reassuring myself that yes, health first, education second, I could finally doze off and forget about the pain temporarily.

I never liked “giving up” but in today’s situation I have to keep reminding myself that taking care of myself is not giving up.

I am still figuring this out, maybe I am missing some important pieces to my puzzle, but this is my journey.

Just happens to be that my journey includes a lot of bathroom breaks.

xx

Denying homesickness only makes it worse.

I once felt sheer hatred towards this town.

I once felt so alone in this town.

I once felt I was slowly dying in this town.

I once felt that I would never, ever, come back.

The thing with depression. When you hit rock bottom, you feel like you are at the bottom of a dark, damp and cold pit crawling on your hands and knees, stumbling blindly amongst your worst fears and thoughts that reside in the darkness, and to make it worse you are chilled to the bone, your naked and shaking, with a heavy sopping wet wool blanket engulfing you. It’s scratchy, smells like wet dog, and is the only thing you can find in that pit to keep you comfort. The blanket makes it hard to move forward, for you keep stumbling, scraping the palms of your hands raw on the unforgiving rocks, slowly scraping away your sanity, your strength, your soul.

That is what depression feels like when you are truly at your worst.

For me, I felt like an injured fox, cornered in a dirty cage unable to fight back, fight for my life, when I was stuck in this town.

And when I say “stuck” I mean I was still attending High School.

Even though my family surrounded me with love, support, and fought for me to see the best doctors that little voice in my head, like a knife slicing through innocent soft skin, kept reminding me.

You are alone.

Some people don’t understand how this mental illness works.

You slowly surrender to this voice in your head, could be more than one voice, could be just a feeling, but you’re hostage in your own body.

The person you used to be slowly fades into just a faint memory, while your body slowly shuts down.

It is downright scary to be a witness to your own mental breakdown.

And I can only imagine what my family went through as I slowly slipped into a very very deep pit.

I can never repay my family for what they did.

They never shunned me,

never stopped trying,

never gave up on me,

even when I felt like that was the only option.

My younger brother used to see me curled up on the couch crying, and he would bring his colourful blankets from his bedroom to keep me warm as I zoned out watching tv.

My mother and father never left me- wether it be checking in on me, taking me to the hospital, dealing with a suicidal daughter, or forcing me to eat when I refused to eat.

My older brother was away at university for the worst of my depression- but when he came home- his hugs-still on my list of favourite things.

My family accepted my weakness, and slowly brought me back to life with the help of multiple counsellors, drugs and doctors.

My family made me realize; this weakness, that I had hidden for so long.

Was one of my biggest strengths.

When I moved away from this town- I felt liberated.

It was a major step in my therapy to leave what I thought was sucking the life out of me.

I felt like a bird, a bird breaking free from the cold metal cage, shattering the locks and bolts, and never looking back.

North Vancouver, where I live now has many positives.

Art class is going well,

Yoga school is life changing,

But a month or two ago I began to feel homesick.

As soon as the sadness hit me I boot stomped that emotion deep down inside me.

Me? Miss Fort?

NEVER!

But day after day,

each struggle became harder,

and slowly I realized what homesickness really was.

I missed the safety, the sacred space, the nest I had up north filled with unconditional love, and mom’s cooking.

My letters and phone calls home made it apparent I missed my family.

A lot.

My Mother and Father’s encouragement trickling through the phone as I broke down in tears helped me through the last few weeks.

After my wisdom tooth episode, my body decided it was time to heal

But as usual it made a big fuss about it and it wasn’t until I got home that I truly felt better.

Funny how subconsciously my body knew where it was meant to be.

Sunday night after class I took the skytrain to the airport

Ever since my mom had booked me a flight home, my heart warmed at the thought of being in an arm’s reach of my mother, father, brother, and family friends.

I made it through the mid-term exam, the anatomy quiz, the workshops, the lectures, and before I knew it I was speed walking toward the skytrain station. I would have ran, but my bags filled with yoga homework, clothes for cold weather and sugar cookies I had made the day before for my family weighed me down.

I was going home.

For the first time since I moved away.

I was going to see my two dogs who last time I saw was in the rear view mirror driving away at a kennel when I drove down to Vancouver with my mother in the summer.

I was going to sleep in my bed, stay in my room, shower in my shower,

be surrounded with familiarity.

My soul healed just at the thought of this.

As I tugged off my muk luks and emptied my pockets at security I became more and more excited.

What was the first thing I was going to do when I got home?

Raid the fridge?

Fall into bed?

Snuggle my puppies?

Sitting at my gate I chatted with the gentlemen sitting near me

We were all heading up north

All for different reasons

All from different backgrounds

Fort St. James, Burns Lake, or Vanderhoof,

We all knew where each other was going

That first feeling of community,

from two strangers.

I smiled to myself as I boarded,

I pulled out my mittens and adjusted my poppy,

turned off my cell phone, and buckled in to my window seat.

Said goodbye to the city lights of the night

and for the first time in a very long time I was happy to be on the plane, I wasn’t fantasizing about missing my flight, hiding in the bathroom as they announced my name over the sound system, or closing my eyes and trying to get this over with as soon as possible.

For the whole 50 to 60 minutes I chatted with one of the gentlemen from the gate

We soon became friends.

It was a nice way to start off my time home.

Arriving at the Prince George airport I could see my parents pressed up against the glass of the windows waving, I couldn’t help but smile.

I didn’t get far into the airport before I was engulfed in a mom hug then soon a dad hug and was ushered out to the car- to some yummy dinner!

The two-hour drive home was filled with chit-chat, laughter, and catching up.

It felt different,

I don’t know how to explain it exactly-  I was “visiting”

Something I had been wondering what it would be like for so long- to visit my parents, like my parents do with their own.

First thing I did when I got home was drop my bags and bear hug my two dogs Boo and Humphrey. It felt so good to hold them, the feel of their wet noses sniff and nuzzle my face, their tails wagging, their bodies leaning into me so eventually I was flat on the ground in puppy heaven.

Best. Anti-Depressant. Ever.

I then got a tour of the fridge.

Mother had gone shopping for her IBS daughter- gluten dairy free glory cluttered the shelves of the fridge. The fridge was practically a treasure chest of sally proof food.

Walking into my bedroom I noticed my room had been cleaned, flannel sheets had been put on my bed, and extra blankets lay folded at the foot of the bed.

Mom had lotions, shampoo, conditioner, a towel, and cozy sweaters for me to borrow while I’m here.

Even wool socks sat neatly in a pile in my room.

As I went to look for a toothbrush- I turned around and found what else mom had put into my room for my arrival.

Let’s just say…My family-

loves Halloween.

My mom knew I was sad to have missed celebrating with her, so she decided to leave some of the decorations up for me to see.

Of course she put the shrieking midget that pulls its face off to reveal its skull and bulging eyeballs in my room. I giggled to myself as it howled with pain and grumbled about brains as I pressed what I thought was the off button.

Little did I know that when I reentered the room- that I didn’t turn off the creature, so when it shrieked for a second time- it really did get me.

This was about 1am in the morning…

I dragged the monster up to mom’s bedroom begging her to turn it off.

You got me I admit, and for good reasons I haven’t looked under my bed yet.

Once the adrenaline worn down to a mellow whisper, I peeled back the soft sheets and slipped into  my bed.

I had forgotten how comfy this bed was, how plush and magical it seemed compared to my bed back in the city.

I slept until 1 in the afternoon that day.

I woke up with a smile, and have been doing so since that Monday morning.

This is what I was “homesick” for.

It truly should be called “familysick”

But it just doesn’t have the same jingle.

This is one of the views from my home.

xx