On not climbing Mt Everest
I decided that if I’m going to spend anytime online, I may as well try to focus some attention on this blog and writing rather than watching youtube and wasting time. I haven’t touched this blog for a long while, but I don’t care. I’ve had no reason not to write. There’s no reason to write and no reason not to write. So what to do?
Today I was walking my dog and started to have a small panic attack because I could not handle the cold wind and snow blowing in my face anymore. For some reason this winter has seemed extraordinarily long and it’s really getting to me. Everything has been covered in ice for so long I actually can’t stand it. I wish I had a dog who hated the cold and who just wanted to go out, do his business, and get back in as soon as possible. But no. I have a tiny dog who loves snow and who will still demand an hour walk even when the temperature outside is mimicking that of the death zone on Mount Everest. Speaking of Mt. Everest. I recently became pretty infatuated with the idea of climbing it. (Did you know that there’s a sherpa (Kami Rita) who has summited Everest 22 times?) I was reading about what goes on up there and it all sounds really awful and yet, kind of enticing. Then I go outside for 30 minutes when it’s winter and snowing and I remember how much I hate being cold and snap myself back to reality. I’ll just say it in writing so I can get over it… I’ll never climb Mount Everest. If I tried I honestly believe I would die 100% for sure.
Here’s the view from my apartment balcony
Doesn’t it look dismal?
Anyways so that’s an update on me. It’s cold here and I haven’t climbed Mt. Everest.
What’s new with you?
On happiness and letting go
Please forgive the rambling nature of this post, I’m just really interested in this sort of thing these days! 🙂
Last night I found myself in an overwhelming state of hopelessness– brought on by severely trivial things. I was failing hard at guitar hero (if anyone remembers that game) and then proceeded to move on to fail even more miserably at chess. Normally I’d just laugh my failures off but for whatever reason my failures on this particular night triggered some sort of emotional shit storm and I suddenly felt volcanically useless.
Do any of you know what I mean?
Those times where you just question everything you’re doing in your life, your purpose and direction, and you wonder how you’ll ever manage to navigate your way back to competence. If you know what I’m talking about, you know how utterly hopeless it feels. At times like these, it feels like the sweeping self doubt will never pass. For whatever reason we seem to convince ourselves that sadness and misery are here to stay forever which, of course, they aren’t. A few deep breaths and a good night’s sleep can help to clarify that.
These extreme emotions on the negative end of the feelings spectrum aren’t something we seek to achieve, they just kind of happen upon us. But for whatever reason, when it comes to the opposite– happiness — we are far more likely to look at it as some kind of epitome of emotional accomplishment and seek it out as something to achieve, rather than letting it be something we simply experience. And the consequence of this is that when happiness does come upon us, we often regard it as fleeting, something that is impossible to hold onto, and that, in turn, makes us even sadder.
We need to accept that happiness, like everything else we feel, comes in waves. It comes and goes. By trying to grasp some kind of permanent feeling of happiness we are actually doing ourselves a great disservice. People will sometimes ask one another, “are you happy with your life?” Which as an absolutely absurd and loaded question. I think it’s far better to strive for contentment, don’t you? If we strive for contentment then we can better appreciate happiness when it comes. Letting go of the idea that we should be ‘obtaining happiness’ and instead just live our lives and give ourselves permission to feel accepting of whatever emotions life throws at us will probably lead us in a more peaceful direction.
The demand for permanence in every area of our existence is the cause of human misery.
That quote comes from U.G. Krishnamurti. I guess all of these thoughts are coming from a series of audio recordings of his that I’ve been listening to of late, along with a whole lot of Alan Watts.
I’ll share one recording which has left a particularly strong impression on me…
So what do you guys think? I’d love to get some discussion going and hear some of your thoughts. Please feel free to share them if you’re so inclined. If not, then I’ll just say thanks for reading and I hope you have a great night/afternoon/morning wherever you are.
Some things never change
A photo from one of the days in the 1900s …
You may or may not be able to tell, but the little girl in the middle of this photo is me. On one side of me there is a stranger (unidentified little girl in pants), and then there is the girl on the right. The girl who was, is, and has always been, my best friend.
Clearly we go back a long way. Further back than this photo would suggest if you can believe it. You see, our parents happened to become neighbours while our moms were pregnant with us. I was born, and then I had to wait as a lonely little baby for 6 agonizing best friendless months until Pam was ready to join me. But join me she did, and from there we shared a crib and began getting to know each other even before we had any command over the english language. It was the beginning of our lifelong friendship, and we ran with it. Our parents had no idea they were setting up the greatest set of best friends ever created in the history of this earth.
That’s not an exaggeration, either. I’m just stating the facts as I know them, okay?
When Pam shared this photo with me today I started feeling a little extra nostalgic and not just for how much better I styled my hair then than now, but because, as of this past December, my best friend is officially engaged. Getting married! Tying the knot. Sealing the deal with her soulmate. (Can’t believe she has the audacity to do it before me I mean I was born first after all isn’t there a sort of code of conduct about this sort of thing? .. rude. But whatever.)
I feel like I could write this whole snivelling post about her and everything she means to me, but maybe I’ll save that for my wedding speech and spare you all, haha.
It’s nice to know that however much time passes, however grown up we become, one thing will never change– we will always be best friends.
Okay end of sentimental blog post. It’s ova. Get outta here.
Hope you all have a great Saturday! 🙂
On not having a plan
When I moved to Toronto to pursue acting two years ago I was wildly optimistic. I envisioned talk show interviews, red carpets, sparkly lights, glam dresses, set life— actually wait a minute, HAHAHA. No I didn’t. I’m a dreamer, but also a realist… which is maybe a bit contradictory. I didn’t imagine being the next insert-actor-name-here, that’s never been my goal. I did, however, imagine being able to support myself a little more comfortably with the help of the odd job here and there. I did imagine booking real acting roles with substance that were both fun and challenging to perform. I imagined that the arts culture here would help me to discover and shape my craft.
Some of these visions have come true, and others not so much. Most of my circle is comprised of like-minded souls who are in the arts community in some form or another. Lots of actors, musicians, dancers, artists, writers. We’re all here for the same reason— for the opportunity to share our stories and our talents with a community that cares. We’re here to be discovered, to create, and to have a voice.
The past few months have been very introspective for me. To be perfectly honest they’ve been a bit of a struggle. I only have myself to blame, I mean, who goes galavanting around Europe for two months knowing they’d be coming home broke and stressed and still goes anyway? I have no regrets. But it does mean that I’m looking objectively at my life choice of pursuing acting and what that means for me in terms of being able to actually support myself— while ideally maintaining some form of sanity. Not to mention trying to maintain my creative charge. Life can be pretty difficult in this concrete jungle which is one of the most expensive cities in Canada. On the plus side, one of the great things about being an actor is that when you do book jobs they pay very well. I have paid an entire month’s rent based off of one commercial booking which was just a day’s work. Print jobs are nothing to shake your head at either. The reality, unfortunately, is that most of the time I’m not working. Acting jobs are not something you can count on. And in that sense, a large part of this career that I’m after is totally out of my control. Yes, I can work on my own projects and hone the craft without a booking. But I’m talking straight up just surviving in the city without losing my mind.
It feels like the plan to be an actor translates into not having a plan at all.
A lot of us turn to restaurant jobs to pull us through. I did that for my first year here, but not again. It wasn’t for me. Each day I could feel my soul abandoning my body due to the sheer monotony. I said goodbye to that job and started something else, another pursuit which also didn’t work out. I stressed so much about what to do. Then 2018 rolled in and I made a promise to myself that no matter what I wouldn’t spend any time in a job that didn’t in some way satisfy my soul. If I wasn’t working as an actor, then I would be working in the field of some of my other interests.
I decided to start my own business. It’s very slow and not bringing in much more than pennies at the moment, but I hope that with my dedication and hard work I can see it grow throughout 2018. I’m also going back to my roots this year— teaching yoga and dance— and as an added bonus, as I mentioned in the previous post, I’m also starting a few photography projects.
Where will it all lead? I have no idea. But I feel a lot better now in not having a plan and instead having many plans. Because, why not? Life is not a cookie cutter event, it’s in our own hands and in our own power to mold into whatever cookie shape we want. When times are tough, I can still smile. When times aren’t tough, I’ll appreciate it more.
Someone once told me that if my life were easy, then I probably wasn’t on my own path. Well, things aren’t easy. So I guess that means I’m headed in the right direction.
If you have any thoughts on the subject I’d be interested in hearing them.
As always, thank you for reading.
bright blue hue
Today the sky decided to cooperate for once. Rather than showing us its usual grey and dank disposition it decided to show off with it’s brightest blue. I decided to celebrate the sky with a little walk and thought I’d better take some photos while I was at it.
Another new year is here and to mark the occasion that is 2018, I decided to pick up a couple of new hobbies. One of those is photography and the other is water colour painting. I’m not sure why I decided on the latter because I have never really had any artistic talent (which has been made evident by my first few attempts), but I figure I don’t have anything to lose and it’s something I’ve often wanted to try, so… why not?
I’ve also toyed with the idea of deleting this blog lately because I neglect it so much. Most often it manifests in my life as a source of confusion and guilt. Guilt because I’ve never been able to find the passion for it that I once had, and confusion because I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of it despite never updating it.
Where do you guys find the motivation to write and share? Is blogging dead? Should we all just start youtube channels? What is life?
Please leave your answers in the comments, especially for that last one because I so often wonder 😉
And oh yes, Happy belated new year wordpress fam ❤
Rescuing a bunny
A few weeks ago I got in touch with my local rabbit rescue about fostering a bunny in need. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but with being away for traveling and working like crazy, it was just never the right time. But then the time is never right, is it?
There are always valid reasons not to do something, but none so valid as the reason for doing the thing… if that makes sense. I was sitting in my tiny apartment thinking about how little room there was for a rabbit (there already isn’t much room for the stuff that’s in there now), and imagining a bunny on top of it all seemed a little cramped. But then it dawned on me…. So what? Who cares if the area becomes cramped if it means that I can rescue a rabbit. I was sure the rabbit wouldn’t mind. So I made my mind up to go ahead and fill out my application to become a foster.
A little history on the topic of Heather and bunnies: When I was a teenager I very much wanted a rabbit. Specifically I wanted a little holland lop rabbit which is more or less the most adorable type of bunny you can get (in my opinion). I remember getting really close to adopting this little lop named Bambi who looked something like this:
If your insides are screaming from the cuteness, you are not alone. I was obsessed with the idea of bringing Bambi home until I finally voiced the idea to my mother who kindly reminded me that our dogs would give him a heart attack if he was lucky enough not to be eaten by them first.
Ohhhh yeah… okay probably not the best idea after all. So little Bambi hopped out his life with someone else and the idea faded away, although never completely. Fast forward to present day and getting a bunny still seems like a bad idea. BUT, a foster bunny, that’s totally doable.
So I filled out the application, waited around a few days, did a phone interview, waited a bit more, and then at last I got approved! It was time to get a bunny. I wanted to request a lop, like the one I always wanted as a teenager, thus fulfilling a long standing childhood dream. The rescue worker I was in touch with said she did have some lops available, but that there was another bunny who they were trying to place more quickly, she sent me some photos…
It was this guy…
This is the photo originally sent by his owner who was surrendering him. His name was Hubble, and he’d spent most of his life living in his tiny rabbit cage. He wasn’t being given attention, nor treats, nor vegetables, nor time outside his cage. Hubble’s owner knew that he wasn’t giving Hubble the life he deserved. It was a sad story, the man’s wife had died a few years ago, and Hubble was her rabbit. I think in Hubble’s early life he must have been well loved and cared for, but after the wife’s passing there just wasn’t time for him anymore. His owner was not a bad person, it was just a really unfortunate circumstance. He took Hubble out of his cage for a few more photos:
The night I received that email I just stared at these photos of Hubble. He was not the adorable tiny lop rabbit of my childhood dreams, and yet none of that mattered because he was the bunny who needed me. Bunnies are just like us, born how they are born. People generally want the most obviously cute rabbit (as I said, I’m no exception), but perspective was slapping me in the face: fostering was about helping a rabbit, not about helping the cutest rabbit. DUH. That was that. I started to fall in love with Hubble. I wanted to bring him home as soon as possible and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about him. Knowing that he was out there somewhere, in his cage, all alone… no treats, no play, no fun. It killed me. I told the rescue I didn’t need to see any other bunnies, Hubble was the foster for me.
A couple days passed by with me just wondering when they would bring him to me. In the meantime I was learning everything I could about rabbit care, watching rabbit youtube videos, and just generally obsessing. Then I got a phone call- Hubble lived quite far away. Like a 2 1/2 hr drive… they wouldn’t be able to get him to me for quite a while.
I thought about having to wait that long, actually mostly I thought about Hubble having to wait that long, and decided that was totally unacceptable. They said if I wanted and was willing to drive then I could go get him myself, and so that’s exactly what I did. His owner and I got in touch and agreed to meet halfway. So on Saturday morning my boyfriend and I woke up, got in the car, and got on the highway. An hour or so of driving later, there he was: scared little Hubble with no idea what was happening or how much his life was about to change. His owner said goodbye and we transferred him to my car and then drove him home where his life was about to be turned upside down.
When we finally got him into the apartment he was too terrified to even move. We went very easy on him. I just opened the door to his cage expecting that he would hop out. He didn’t. I sat on the floor opposite him, just waiting. I offered him some banana and a carrot and a bowl of greens and he didn’t so much as sneak out to sniff them or anything. He just stayed perfectly still, pretending to be invisible.
After about an hour and a half I wanted to show him that he could hop around, that he wasn’t confined to his cage anymore, and so I took the top off. Now he was sitting there like this…
“Okay they can’t see me if I just stay still. They can’t see me if I just stay still.”
I read that rabbits need a lot of patience and that if you want to earn their trust you need to get on their level. I spent hours on Saturday just lying on the kitchen floor across from his cage. A couple times he poked his head out but he didn’t dare to actually hop out. That night we left him and went to bed hoping that without interference he would feel bold enough to venture out. When I woke up the next day he was in the exact same position and there were no shavings whatsoever on the floor to indicate that he had traveled at all. I spent another long while just waiting patiently, but to no avail.
I thought it was time to make a move. I wanted to clean out his box and get him sorted in his new space and so we decided to make the big decision for him. We picked him up out of his box and put him on the floor. I took his box away and got to work scrubbing it clean and replacing his hay and litter. This seemed to be the impetus he needed to start adjusting to his new life. With no choice in the matter, Hubble started hopping around and exploring the strange new area which was his new home. I left him a cardboard box to have some shelter in, and a bunch of toys (which he couldn’t make heads or tails of) and I prepared his area.
And to my supreme happiness and joy, Hubble has quickly been coming out of his shell and showing us his personality. He’s a really cool little bunny! I think he’s a bit overwhelmed with all the attention he’s getting, so I’m trying to leave him to his bunny time… but it’s amazing to see how quickly he’s adjusting and how brave he really is. He’s very sweet and friendly and loves to hop right up to my face and give me a sniff. He’s already become used to my pats and seems to love being scratched between the ears and having his fur stroked.
It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done and such a joy to see him hopping around, playing, and discovering. I’m completely in love with this little bunny and it feels so good to be able to give this kind of life to him.
Do any of you guys have experience with rabbits? Or rescue animals in general? What was it like for you?
I’ll end this with a few photos of him curled up in his favourite spot.
And of course, because I’m a huge nerd, I also started an instagram page for him. If any of you guys are interested (I don’t know why you wouldn’t be) you can follow him @hubblethebunny!
Okay that’s it for today. Hoppy Tuesday everyone!
(don’t mind the bunny pun)
Dreamy short film
I’m very late to this party, but last night I was watching a few short films when I stumbled across this captivating little animation “Out of Sight”. It was published on YouTube in 2010 and has been viewed more than 5 million times so I’m sure some of you have already seen it, but if you somehow missed this one like I did, you should take 5 minutes to watch it because it is completely charming and lovely.
I always hear from artists the importance of absorbing and seeking out all types of creative work for inspiration. Writers must read, film makers must watch, musicians must listen, artists must observe… I definitely drew some inspiration from this short film. I love its dreamlike quality and imagination. I hope you all love it, too.
Highlining… sort of
The first time I tried highlining I became a butterfly.
When I say that I don’t mean I bloomed into this beautiful creature that went soaring to new and wondrous heights. No, no.
I mean my belly was full of butterflies… in the “I’m so nervous I could pee” kind of way. As I was shimmying my way out onto the line, butterflies stacked on top of butterflies in the pit of my stomach until eventually my whole body was taken over and I was just a rigid sack of human nerves. An overwrought human butterfly, but without the wings or grace.
What I’m trying to say is that I was terrified. So, so nervous. And scared. And wondering what I was doing and why I was doing it. I’m afraid of heights, despite having a skydive under my belt, but that’s not even the number one reason to be anxious. The biggest reason is failing to be able to pull myself up to the line and thus being stranded and in need of rescue. You see, when you suck at highlining as much as I do, you fall a lot. And that means spending a lot of time dangling under the line. The transition from line to dangle is the fall, aka the fun part. I don’t mind falling. Honestly it’s pretty fun. The height doesn’t bother me too much, either.
The anxiety inducing/worrying/scary bit is the idea that after I fall, I’ll be trapped under the line because I won’t be strong enough to get back up. See, when you’re dangling from your leash you have no choice but to muscle your way back up over that line. Let me tell you… that shit ain’t easy. Climbing that leash like I didn’t almost fail gym semester after semester in school was not something I was looking forward to. So now you understand the butterfly reference.
The first time I sat on the line my breath was frozen in my throat, my legs dangling in the open air like two planks of wood, my eyes fixated on the impossible task in front of me: stand up. That’s it. That’s the only goal. Sounds SO easy, right? On land, when I’m just slacklining in the park, I can manage alright. I’m not walking monstrously long lines yet, but I can walk a decent one. Forwards and backwards. With much focus and effort, of course, but I can do it. Up that high in the air it’s harder. A lot harder. The line itself is heavier, it moves more, it’s a lot longer and takes a lot more skill to master. Did I do it? Not a chance.
I couldn’t stand up. I could hardly even get into position to try to stand up. I just fell and hung dangling in the air over and over. But miraculously, to my total and utter surprise, I could pull myself back up to the line. Muscles that I didn’t even know were there banded together to help me and I managed the whole day without needing a rescue.
It was exhilarating, something wholly new and different. It was challenging and exciting and it was filling me with energy. So I went back a second time. I still couldn’t stand up. But slowly I was making progress. Fine tuning my body position and reading the line a bit better with each attempt.
The third time I went back, magic happened.
I stood on the line. For like, a couple full seconds. It was bewildering. I remember as soon as I was up I thought oh my god it’s happening. I’m up! I’m up! I can’t believe it! This is amazing! Look at me everyone, I’m standing!! A miracle has happened, the most amazing thi- and then before I knew it I was down again. But let me tell you, that moment, though so painfully brief, was glorious. One of my shiniest moments to date.
If you want to see the moment in all it’s real time glory, I invite you over to my instagram where I posted the video that my beautiful wondrous friend somehow managed to capture for me.
Now I’m hooked. I am busting with excitement at the idea of actually taking a few steps on that thing. Highlining is going to be more and more a part of my life, I know.
So that’s it. An account of my first highlining adventures.
As always, much love to you all! Happy hump day!
And thank you for reading 🙂
Conversations with strangers: Adam
You know when you have an experience and it feels somehow like the universe conspired to put you in that specific place at that specific time? That’s happened to me often in life. Maybe it’s just because I like the idea that somehow and for some reason the universe is attempting to show me some sort of direction. Maybe it’s because there have been times where I’ve felt so lost that the second anything aligns in any sort of interesting way I’m ready to pounce like a starving cat about to sink its teeth into its prey. Or I’m just a bit of a hippy. Who knows.
I often find myself having some very interesting conversations with strangers. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes a little strange, sometimes funny. Last week I had one of the more impactful of these conversations.
I was out and about on my bike in the downtown core, casually pedalling my way through the usual hustle and bustle of Toronto: the impatient cars attempting to run me off the road, the incessant construction, the death-defying pigeons. I arrived at my destination just in time to witness the fpotd, or freakout-person-of-the-day. I may have just made that up. But I usually see at least one person having a bit of a freak out on the daily around here. I mean there are a lot of us crammed into Toronto’s downtown core so it’s only natural that at least one of us is going to snap…
This time he was a man in his late 30s, yelling brusquely about how much everyone sucks and challenging every man walking by him to a fight. Quite aggressively, too. He was getting right up in their faces demanding a punch. The hobble in his step gave away his drunkenness if the slurred yelling hadn’t already. He was quite close to me as I was locking up my bike and it was then that our eyes met for the first time. I knew in that moment that he and I were going to have an interaction. I could feel it. I stood there with some mild nerves, trivially attempting to avert my gaze from all the ruckus he was causing. I watched him try once more to provoke a fight from a passerby, and when that failed he staggered his way over to me, looking me in the eyes, and yelling:
“What’s the point? What’s the point?”
I just stood dumbly at my bike as he came closer to me…
“Why am I waking up every morning?“
I could have wrapped my arms around him our proximity was so uncomfortably close. With our eyes locked intimately he admitted, almost at a whisper,
“I don’t want to wake up anymore.”
My heart pounded in my chest as we stood there together with that knowledge. It was just raw, honest, and painful. The way he said it was so matter-of-fact it broke my heart. And this from stranger whose name I didn’t even know.
What do I do? How can I help? I’m not qualified to deal with this raving man on the street and my own life is out-of-sorts at the best of times. I don’t have anything to offer him.
Such were my thoughts as I stood there. But for some odd reason I felt like I had been given this great responsibility from the universe to offer something to this man, however small or feeble or unhelpful it may appear to be. So instead of shying away from him, I started talking to him. I asked him for his name.
Adam and I ended up spending the afternoon together in the park. We talked about life, people, ambitions, and the “point”. Here are a few things I learned about Adam in our afternoon together.
He’s spent most of the last 7 years living as a hermit trying to deal with a kind of PTSD I never found out about.
He loves dogs.
He has a mother nearby who he loves, but doesn’t see much. And he credits her for his plugging along this far in life.
He hates materialism, but he has a thing for motorcycles.
He’s very articulate.
He finds the park very peaceful and likes to spend his afternoons under the trees.
He’s given up on people and tends to dwell on the bad nature of others.
He’s possibly dealing with some mental health issues.
He’s a bit of an alcoholic.
He has very beautiful eyes and wild curly hair.
Most importantly, he has the capacity to be very kind, generous, and outgoing.
He’s a real person with a complicated backstory. Along for this ride with the rest of us.
As we walked around together we got quite a few dubious looks from strangers. Adam was pretty drunk if you recall and so good at drawing attention to us, but it didn’t bother me. I tried to get to the bottom of why he was picking fights with people on the street. Apparently dealing with physical pain is a good distraction from dealing with mental pain, hence the provocations. He wanted bruises. He invited physical pain. I guess I can understand the immediate logic in that. It’s somehow simpler, isn’t it? Our minds are a difficult thing to master or even understand minutely. But even acknowledging that I still had to argue how unfair it was to the poor random people he was challenging. Nobody wants to be provoked into a fight on a sunny afternoon, or even a rainy afternoon for that matter. I just told him what he already knew, that it wouldn’t solve anything going on inside him, and that he’d have to make up his mind to deal with it another way.
But mostly, I just listened. I listened to whatever he wanted to tell me and offered whatever I could. I opened up to him about some of my own struggles which I thought he might relate to. It was a very mutual exchange. We were just two humans in a park talking about life.
For a man who had admittedly “given up on people”, he was certainly very kind to me. Which, to my mind, just shows he needs a helping hand to remind him that he can still become the best version of himself. Maybe with a little encouragement from a stranger. A little acknowledgement. A smile. Eye contact. An ear or two to hear what he has to say and take it seriously. Did I really help him? I don’t know. But I think he was grateful for the interaction just as I was.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be homeless, it makes me sad to see so many people struggling without a roof over their head on the daily. It’s a bit hard to admit, but when I was younger I used to walk by homeless people and pretend not to see them. You always hear how giving money doesn’t help them/increases the problem/whatever. But whatever the truth is to that doesn’t excuse the purposeful act of looking away from another person who is reaching out for help. A smile, or a brief glance, or a hello… these things can go a long way. People feel invisible because others treat them so.
Let’s always treat each other kindly, please.
Just rambling… thanks for reading.