Tag Archives: inspiration

48 – 40

Hello, friend…

This time tomorrow, I will be out of a job and 48 hours from turning 40. I’m not entirely sure how all my upcoming bills will get paid. I’m not entirely sure who keeps stamping my pass to continue on being “an adult”, because I still don’t feel like an adult. Some days I feel like I’m still in the sandbox and playing and just enjoying what a day brings. And then I’m shaken from my castle making shenanigans when I get a call from Visa telling me a credit card bill is past due.

But strangely… I’m not all that concerned. Should I be? Should I be concerned that I’m not concerned? It’s not that I’m not focused, it’s not that I don’t have goals… I’m very ambitious, I’ve definitely got some lady-balls because hell, I walked from a rather lucrative TV career to waitress in my mid-30s! And doing that taught me the value of happiness. I wasn’t happy in what I was doing, so I changed that. I discovered that I was a storyteller- I knew it all along, really but I actually forgot that truth about myself somewhere along the way.

My 30 year old self couldn’t have foreseen my doing stand up. I think my 17 year old self could have predicted it, but then I got a job and I bought my first home at a young age and I was doing the things a young adult should do… and…. AAUUUGGHHH. Why does life do that?? Why did I have to become what people thought I should be, and not who I wanted to be? ANYWAY.  I’m making my wee little mark as a stand up, though… lots of shows coming in April, and I want to get down to the States this year to try my hand at some open mics.

I dunno. For whatever the reason, I knew in my bones it was time to make a change again. Tomorrow I’m making a change. I listened to my gut. And so… (deep breath) off I go. I’ll send updates from the field…

 

xo.

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My Top 5 Amazing Women of 2017

Hello, friends…

A lot of lists float around this time of year and I will happily add to the pile if you don’t mind. 😉

I know SO MANY AMAZING women and this is stupidly hard to chop down to only 5 to mention but… these are ladies you should know about & follow on the social media. Because they are awesome and I don’t know how I got so lucky to know them.

 

My Top 5 Amazing Women of 2017

  1. My niece, Charlotte … she’s kicking butt in the kitchens of Montreal and growing up into the coolest lady.  aaauuuggghh….  I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!!!! 
  2. Ashley Wittig…  co-owner of Bunner’s, teacher at Misfit Studio,  and just all around really really awesome lady (who I don’t see enough of really- must change that in 2018…). Follow her on Instagram @ashleyhalston
  3. The ladies of Baroness von Sketch… if you’ve not seen this show for some reason, please change that NOW.  I am blown away by what they’ve done and insanely proud of how my friends Jennifer Whalen & Aurora Browne have grown since I first met them many moons ago. Follow them on Twitter @BaronessShow
  4. Through making my documentary No Responders Left Behind, I have gotten to know some PHENOMENAL women… widows of 9/11 responders, sisters, wives of responders and responders themselves. So to ladies like Caryn, Taylor, Jennifer, Rebecca, Wendi, Marzena…. I marvel at you. And adore you. I won’t share each of their social media handles, but I will ask that you check out organizations that mean a lot to them:http://www.johnnymacfoundation.org/
    https://www.theraypfeiferfoundation.org/
    http://fealgoodfoundation.com/
  5. I have to give a LOT of love and thanks and gratitude to my editor at Hello GigglesRachel Sanoff because she is just the best. 🙂 Thanks to her, you get to read my essays and I get to share my stories with so many people. She is the best. And you should go check out Hello Giggles because it’s a great space to learn and share…  follow us on Twitter @hellogiggles

 

In truth, I could list 50 women on this… but it’s a small, amazing drop of the amazing people I know. My mom is up there, my sister and sister-in-law, my friend Jenny who’s starting her own wedding organization business, the wonderful women who run amazing comedy rooms in Toronto and invite me on… I cannot wait to see where we take things in 2018.

xo

the power of 2017

Hello, friend…

Winter is officially here. Christmas is a few sleeps away. 2017 is slowly coming to an end.

Before I head off to a stand-up gig tonight, a few thoughts on this year. Now, at the start of the year with Trump being sworn in and the gong show that has continued on since… at the start of the year my overall impression of what I thought 2017 would have been like wasn’t a pleasant picture. I’m still devastated he’s in charge in the States, but what the past few months have given me is waaaaaay more hope than sadness.  And that has surprised me, to be honest.

But just the power of people coming together for common good has been good for the soul. I’m still concerned where things will go on this planet, I worry what the world will be like when my nephews and niece are my age BUT… for now… for now, I look back at this year and I’m happy.

Did I fall in love? Um, no. No, I still really suck at establishing a solid relationship.

BUT. Before you think “well, what else matters, really?” First off, shut up… secondly…

This year I became a contributor at Hello Giggles. My first story with them (insert shameless plug here)…

https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/money-career/left-entertainment-industry-became-a-waitress/

… well, that landed me an interview on CBC’s Radio’s Fresh Air program.

I started doing stand up in ANOTHER PROVINCE. The fact that my first gig outside of Toronto was in Gatineau, Quebec still bewilders me. That in January 2018 I’ll celebrate my 2 year standup-versary bewilders me. My stand-up career started at the tender age of 38. Amazing. 😉

My nephew turned 1 this July. The tiniest Zemnickis is just beginning his adventure and I marvel at simply watching him watch the world. This is all new to him. Hummus is new to him and the little man really loves hummus and making silly faces. I think he if he can hang onto that as he grows up, he’ll be set.

My documentary, No Responders Left Behind, my FIRST documentary with my friends Rob, Kristine & Jaime completed filming and was sent off to the Tribeca Film Festival for consideration for 2018. I am going to crap my pants if we get in.

I know, I know… I didn’t find love in 2017 but… the year isn’t over yet and truth be told… there was a LOT of love around me this year. On the good side, my friends Heather & Jeremy got married and invited me to their wedding. My friend Zane married his love, Willa. And people I loved so much, Ana-Alecia and Ray, well they lost their battle with Cancer but they left behind SO much love and light I hope their magic stays with me for always and always.

And the MeToo movement. MY god. What a beautiful thing that has been, because those of us who have been silent and hiding our scars… We can SPEAK UP and SPEAK UP and SPEAK UP. I just… I love it. Because those scars are heavy. And they need to gooooooooooo. And even if you can speak up, you know that you’re not alone and you’re loved and BELIEVED that it’s not and never was your fault.

Power is a good word for this year. Some have taken it in a bad direction, but I think the power of good is winning out. And we will Care Bear Stare the pants out of it as 2017 ends and 2018 begins.

 

 

xo.

 

funny / not funny

Hello, friend…

I’m about to dash off to work but I need to get something off my chest before I head off into the world today. Yesterday, on the ol’ Facebook, I spotted a cartoon someone shared making light of how many people seem to be coming out with their stories of sexual assault. There are a lot of people. I get it.

I just started at my computer, looking at this cartoon.

And my thought was simply “oh. boy.”

Here’s the thing. There’s power in numbers, right? If you see a lot of people speaking up, this beautiful domino effect occurs, you can tell you story at long last. Because the truth is, when you experience something utterly horrible like rape or sexual harassment you tend to feel like the person who did that to you will be believed before you will. Because most of the time, a lot of the time, that is the case. So you keep quiet.

And this thing bubbles inside of you for YEARS.

This will likely make ZERO sense if you’ve not had this happen to you.

Those of us who have not spoken up yet, or are doing so after 30+ years aren’t “jumping on the bandwagon”, this isn’t a sports team for fuck’s sake. It’s happening because we feel safe to speak out, well those who can and are able. Some are not. Some may never be. I had something happen to me when I was a teenager- I still cannot speak of it and I’m almost 40 for christ sake.  (That sentence is the MOST I have ever said aloud about it. Really.) I’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, taunted “because I wasn’t in on the joke” and called a bitch because I wasn’t being “one of the boys”.

Sure, I will acknowledge that some people lie and pretend they are in this shitty, shitty club for a moment of fame. I have no idea why, but people can be dumb. They make those who have actually experienced stuff really really scared to come out. You turtle back inside of your shell.

I love turtles, but. Anyway.

Person who made that cartoon and those who shared it, please don’t be surprised SO many stories are coming to light. Be supportive that folks have the courage to speak up.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go to work and then prepare a roast chicken dinner party and then transcribe for a documentary. Because I got shit to do.

 

xo.

the listener

Hello, friend…

The rain in Toronto has stopped for the night (or so it seems) and I’ve got my tea and am in my favourite chair. A busy day has ended rather peacefully. My life seems to be settling down, though – blissfully- because with moving and transcripts and writing and documentary life and bakery I have been feeling as though I’ve not had time to breathe. Calmness has been a really cool idea, just not practical. But! As I say, I’m finding my balance again.

I had a moment at the bakery today though, which knocked me a bit. It was a private moment, nothing that happened with a customer, which in a way made it harder to deal with because no one around me would have understood. I’ve talked before about how I have this odd connection to the song “I Want You” by Savage Garden – it’s a song that would play whenever I was about to see my love James. When James passed, it’s now become a song I hear whenever I think about him or feel he’s around.

I feel pretty in-tune with myself, I listen closely and observe… I feel energies in rooms and around objects. I don’t think it’s all that unusual, really – but perhaps my willingness to talk about it is. So when I hear “our song” (I find it utterly ridiculous it’s a song by Savage Garden, but who am I to judge?!), I know that it’s James letting me know that yep, he’s there. He can’t speak to me directly, so I have to listen closely. I can still hear his voice, I remember his hands and how they felt holding mine… how he’d look at me. I get these reminders in this dumb pop song that I love SO much.

Didn’t hear that song today, but I did have a moment of knowing that James was there. And this is only something you can relate to if you’ve lost someone particularly close to you. This feeling that that person is there. You’re not sure where, but they’re there. I can equate it to a magnetic pull; I was there in the back, washing dishes and thought “James is here”. I felt it so strongly in my gut. So as I do, I just opened up and listened. Watched for a sign. Something.

And then “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey came on.

Here’s the thing about that song. And James. And I.

Grief is the funniest damned thing. It comes in waves. Crashing over you when you least expect it… ANYWAY…

When James was in the hospital, and things weren’t looking good at all, I summoned a couple friends to lip-sync and film themselves doing so to that song “Don’t Stop Believing”. I did it myself. And the plan was to edit them together and get it to James. But I had trouble contacting the lady who was taking care of him, and at this point James wasn’t able to speak and had limited social media time. And then we got word James had passed… he never saw the video. I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself for not getting it to him in time.

So I’m there in the bakery, knowing I feel his presence, and I hear this Journey song start and I froze.

But what did Jung call it? Synchronicity. A meaningful coincidence.

James promised me years earlier to always protect me. Always be there to guide me, and that I’m present enough to feel our connection despite his being gone… I’m so grateful to that but I also kind of hate that I’m connecting to someone who is no longer here. My friend Natasha mentioned twin flames tonight and it resonated with me… perhaps he really was my other half. And we talked tonight about how we connect so little with each other nowadays, really connect… we’re in our bubble and filter out what we don’t want to hear or see. It’s all customized.

Random conversations or random moments are rare. Being present is hard when it truly shouldn’t be!! I read once of how the singer Glen Hansard likes leaving his headphones off when roaming city streets so he can listen to those sounds.

I met James before email was a thing. When I got myself online I went by IrishLager as an inside joke to the night we went for Guinness and that lovely beverage hit me a bit too hard that night. I love that we met as we did, in the green room at Second City and got to know each other by phone calls and walks to the subway.

I’m still listening to him and learning.

I still see him at the College subway station.

He’s still adding music to my life.

xo.

 

graduation

Hello, friend…

This time tomorrow I’ll be in my new apartment. My stress level will be lower. Now, I’m someone who has moved A LOT but despite this, I cannot tell you how much I HATE moving. The process- the whole thing- it drives me insane. Up the wall, batty, insane. And I’m not only mad to be crowded in by boxes, I’m also mad that I have so much stuff.

Anyway. THAT being said. I’m looking forward to settling into my new space. I am! I’m hoping we will get along quite nicely.

Do I think places have feelings? Yes. I do. And I know it’s a strange thing to say, but when I moved in to where I am now… I had a feeling, in one part of the apartment in particular, that someone had been really sad in there once. I recall painting the walls and just feeling a heaviness. It was strange, but this turned out to be the one part of the apartment where my internet wasn’t great and a lamp frequently turned itself on.

So… mull on that for a bit.

I felt a lot of stress in here at first. But when I was 18 years old I moved out on my own for the first time, a few blocks away from where I am tonight. I only lived there for a year and I recall leaving that apartment, walking towards the subway, SO upset that I had to go. But I said to myself that I’d move back as soon as I could. It took 19 years, but I kept my promise to myself! I feel as though living here was needed, necessary to even out things from my past… does that make sense? I don’t know. Perhaps coming back to this area unearthed emotions I’d left deep inside. (My stomach was a wreck for the first little while of living here, for the second time.)

In two years of living here though, with my mom as my roomie – see my Hello Giggles piece on that here-

http://hellogiggles.com/love-sex/relationships/my-mom-is-my-roommate/

… in those two years, my life changed here. It changed. Big time. I learned I’d be an Aunt again here, I made a connection with someone on Twitter that led to my co-producing my first documentary, I made my TMZ Live debut here, I had lovely lovely romances here, I learned my neighbour Anne once worked with Charlie CHAPLIN!! SO much goodness came living within these walls. But it was not without a heaviness of heart, either. Where boxes are piled high right now, I stood and learned my James had died. In the bathroom was where I sat on the floor and cried with him weeks before, as we said our goodbyes on the phone.

Not every space we live in will do things for us, some experiences in places you’ll want to run so quickly from you won’t even hear the door slam behind you. But I’m truly grateful for whatever magic lived here. Or still lives here.

The air is different here, it’s lighter… I hope the family that moves in here Saturday will add more love and magic.

I feel tonight like I’m packing up, having finished college and am moving on to see what life has in store for me next. I’m ready! It’s time to see what is beyond these walls, yo. 😉

xo.

eeyore is my spirit animal

Hello, friend…

Despite all that is going on in my life these days, and there is a fair bit to keep me busy, as I said to a friend tonight- I’ve been feeling like Eeyore has been my spirit animal of late.

I’ve been feeling a bit sad, a bit stuck and I can’t really pin point why this has been so. It just has been.

As I occasionally do my terrible check list in my head of things I haven’t done yet (i.e Get Married! Establish a diverse banking portfolio! Learn to like Apple Cider Vinegar!), I put aside what I have done and AM doing and focus on things that haven’t come my way for one reason or another. I’ve also been blue because I’m moving soon, and with leaving this place I’m leaving an apartment where I learned I was going to become an aunt again & where I’d have my final conversation ever with my late James. And it’s like I’m losing him all over again, which is just a very heavy feeling. But good memories or not-so-good memories aside, I do know that moving won’t change that these things happened.  I guess I’m simply aware that I feel a bit out of sorts, and am trying not to judge myself too much for that.

Yes, there are a lot of good things in my life right now and yes, my heart feels heavy. And there’s been a part of myself that has been super-judgey of this paradox. How can you feel down? You have no reason to feel down!! So today when my boss asked if I was feeling okay, I told her that I’ve not been feeling like myself actually… and by admitting that out loud allowed a small weight to float off my shoulder. At a BBQ tonight, I confessed to a few more friends that I’ve been a bit stuck… and another weight floated upwards.

No one told me I was crazy or an idiot for feeling down, if anything there was compassion offered and permission given to let me vent. It silenced my inner critic enough that when I got home, it wasn’t there to bark at me that I’m not doing good enough at being an adult. Likely because I acknowledged it… I found it hiding and called out “tag, you’re it!”

The truth is, I may not ever know if I’m doing this right. Finding balance can take a lot of time.

And that’s okay.

I think the more I look to improve my balance, and like ALL the parts of myself (not just the ones that do stand up & write, but the ones that can admit to thinking that Bee Gee’s song More Than A Woman was called Four Letter Woman)… then it’ll just help me ride out the bumps.

After all, I do wear a tattoo that reminds me daily that I am braver than I believe, and stronger than I seem and am smarter than I think.

xo.