On not having a plan

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.

2017 life

Hey guys do any of you remember when I said I was going to blog part 2 about my trip to New Zealand? Yeah, neither do I.

I feel like it’s time for some changes around here. I really miss writing on this blog regularly. I miss reading everyone’s work and everyone’s comments and all that jazz. The truth is I haven’t been writing too much poetry lately, nor reading it. It’s funny because when I moved to Toronto a while back I didn’t think my life would change that much other than I’d just be in a new location. Wow, was I wrong.

New location, new jobs, new living situation, new people, new friends, new hobbies, new weather. All of these things force massive change on you whether you’re noticing or not. Old habits are ripped out from under your feet and replaced with new ones. Moving here was the best decision I ever made but I definitely left a few pieces of myself behind, and they are pieces that I miss. I really want to get back into writing and sharing my poetry this year. I’ve heard a lot of talk from people saying 2016 was a terrible year and they were glad when it was over, but to me 2016 was one of the best. I faced some of the most intense challenges of my life. I grew so much.

I’m starting a new job this year, one much more in line with my authentic self and I’m excited about it. I want to learn more, do more, grow more… make a contribution, you know? 2017 feels like a very important year for some reason. More so than previous years. It’s just a feeling, of course, but I’m rolling with it.

Okay before I get too into 2017 I do want to share one particular 2016 highlight with all of you…

skydive2016-11-24-at-11-46-02-pm

I went sky diving!! That’s me! 16 500 feet in the air! I never ever in a million years ever thought I’d be brave enough to go skydiving, but look! There. I did it. Like it ain’t no thang.

Hope you’re all well and enjoying 2017 so far! 🙂 Here’s to a great year.

xoxo

 

 

I know, art isn’t always pain.

I never know what to write here. Sometimes I open up a new draft and sit down and at worst it’s like my brain got drunk and passed out. At best I’m the airport attendant who issues you your boarding pass and checks your bags, only no one is in line and there aren’t any flights going anywhere, so what am I to do? Just twiddle my thumbs and imagine all the trips I’d love to take.

It’s not just writer’s block or a lack of ideas. I think there’s plenty in my life that would be interesting to write about. I think that’s the case for most of us even though we struggle with the words. I recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert at the behest of one of my favourite co workers. She’s someone who really gets me and could pretty much be me we are so in synch. When she recommended I read it, I bumped it in line ahead of 5 other booked recently lent to me to read and plowed through it in 2 days.  Not because I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert (I only read the first 100 pages of Eat, Pray, Love, although I do mean to finish it), but because it seemed like a pretty relevant book to me at this point in my life. She talks a lot about creative living, inspiring the reader to create, create, create like it’s our birthright… because it is. I remember when I started this blog I felt like it was a major channel for my own creative living. I basically rediscovered my love of poetry because I decided to open a wordpress account one day. A lot of my poems exist because I suddenly had this empty canvas to put them on. This blog, though monstrously neglected, means a lot to me because I know it’s here, waiting for me. My own little universe of creative living.

I think one of the biggest things I took from the book is that your art doesn’t have to come at the cost of your happiness. You don’t have to be pained to be an artist, although it sure fuels a lot of creative work. When I think about it, though, when you’re happy, you’re happy, right? You have all this happiness energy that you exude and pour out into the world, to the people around you, and it’s a joy to do. Happiness energy is readily accepted by those around you, it amps up the happiness energy in others and everyone falls into this trap of idiotic bliss where everything is possible, so why not conquer the world? But when you’re hurt, you have to try to contain it somehow. You have to go to work, to the store, and unless you’re an asshole you have to do your best to contain the pain inside yourself so that it doesn’t taint others. And that’s where the art comes in. Since we can’t let the pain loose like we can with happiness we have to put it somewhere, right? Something has to diffuse it or it’ll destroy you. At least that’s why I think I put so much of it into poetry, and the rest of it I just dance or yoga out. After channeling all my hurt into a poem at least I can look at it and say it was all for something.

I’m not saying I only enjoy writing and creating when I’m miserable, I love creating all the time, it’s just that it feels more necessary and potent at times when I’m at critical breaking point, you know?

Semi-related, but did you guys know there’s an awesome poetry community over on instagram? I’ve been posting a lot of smaller poems there, random thoughts that come into my head (even the happy ones!) If you guys are also on there leave your name in the comments so I can find you! You can find me over there as @taehreh.

Hope you all have a beautiful day!

tumbleweeds

letters strewn about like
tumbleweeds across the
bedroom floor. words I forgot
to say scooped up and hidden;
sealed in your back pocket.
my anxiety roaring up,
mouth wide and ready
to devour but suddenly
giving out just before
laundry time. wasn’t it
always tricky to coordinate
our timing?

you see the words didn’t
fall away, you only just
saw the ink bleeding
out when it was already
too late to make out
the meaning.

Not Just Another New Year

We’re a little ways through January, but it’s not too late for a 2015 year in review, right?

2015 was a pretty interesting one for me. I bought a house and moved into it with the man I thought would be my husband, had my heart broken and went through a transformative breakup- saying goodbye forever to the person who was the closest to me, sold said house, donated 80% of my stuff, moved across the country to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and into a little apartment, had a complete change in lifestyle, started a new job, started yoga teacher training, had some amazing auditions, danced a lot but not near enough, got thrown off a horse and broke my hand and my rib, went on too many dates, got drunk too many times, and had too many late nights. I’ve cried and felt more hopeless than I ever have, and I’ve laughed and felt more joy than I would have thought possible. I’ve experienced things I never thought I would. I’ve opened my mind up to possibilities that I never before considered. I’ve made amazing new friends who inspire me everyday and built some of the strongest, most important relationships I’ll ever know. I’ve fallen in love with a new life that I couldn’t have even imagined one year ago. I’ve become someone new, someone better, someone different.

I witnessed my old life crumble away under my feet and I jumped, trembling, onto a new path with no idea where it was headed. I didn’t look back.

Yeah… 2015 was a pretty exciting year, and I’m keen to see how 2016 will turn out. It’s amazing how drastically your life can change in the span of just one year. I’ve learned a lot of lessons, but I’m still far from figuring my life out. What I do know is that I’m heading into the new year more open, more loving, and more curious than I’ve ever been.

In all of this craziness I’ve really let my writing and this blog fall by the wayside, which is something I hope to turn around by recommitting myself to posting my work and reconnecting with everyone here.

familyportrait

Happy New Year to all of you, I’ve missed you guys. Here’s to another year of sharing our lives, our writing, and our hearts with each other.

xoxo taehreh

You know you’re lost when…

On one of my first nights in Toronto, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and vulnerable, I was wandering aimlessly up and down this busy downtown street near my sublet apartment like a stray cat. I was eyeing everyone and everything with suspicion, walking stupidly in and out of shops/bars and just generally hopping around from place to place like a little bird who just hit its head.

lost-or-very-lost

I was in one of those hopelessly pathetic post-breakup states where you are incapable of focusing on anything other than just how impossibly alone you are.  (It’s not just me, right? I have no idea.) Anyways, the streets were packed with people socializing, loitering on the corners, smoking outside of bars, and just generally enjoying the company of others. Another exciting night in downtown Toronto.

Not for me, though. I was busy clinging desperately to the enormous welling tears which I could feel ready and eager to claw their way out of my eyes and torrent down my face. I didn’t want to go back to my new apartment to cry awkwardly in front of my new roommate. Actually I didn’t want to cry, full stop. But it was inevitable and I knew it. I felt confused; empty. I had no one to talk to and had no where to go that I felt comfortable, so when I stumbled upon a sign that read “PSYCHIC READING, $20”, I thought okay.. what the hell? I will try anything right now to feel better.

psychic_readings_black_yard_sign

She lived above some bar on the main stretch and I had to make my way through a group of rather curious and rather drunk patrons to ring her doorbell. I waited at the bottom of the stairwell, surrounded by this group of men asking me why I needed a psychic, telling me what a scam I was in for, etc. Of course I know, of course I do, I’m not stupid. I’m well aware that I’m about to waste my money. I don’t care. 

She could probably read the desperation on my face from a mile away. We locked eyes through the door for a moment before she buzzed me in. I turned the knob and made my way up her ominous stairwell with a good dose of trepidation… no turning back now. I sat down cautiously and observed her room. It was exactly what you’d expect from such a place: dim lighting, tarot cards and signs, granite palm figures on the desk, incense burning, curtains dangling around us, candles burning everywhere, and some testimonials framed on the wall describing how marvellously she changed her client’s lives and how amazing she was. Comforting.

I was still fighting to keep it together when she took her seat across from me. We sat in a bizarre moment of silence that seemed to drag on and on before she finally asked me how I was doing. I just stared meekly in her general direction. I knew the next sounds coming from me would not be pretty and so I responded with a haphazard shrug.

“You’re hurting,” she said lamely. And I say lamely because anyone could have looked at me and seen that I was on the cusp of a compete breakdown. Leave it to a psychic to state the obvious.

No shit, I thought, and then it was over.

I sat across from this woman whose name I didn’t know, in her strange apartment, in a new city, feeling desperately lost and alone, and cried like an idiot. I cried and I couldn’t help myself. Too much had happened in too short a time and the finality of it all was catching up with me. I’m sure she saw a dollar sign for every tear that rolled down my cheek. She had hit the jackpot with me.

I started to tell her everything that had happened in the last month between my (ex) partner and I. She listened so sweetly while I spewed all the frivolous thoughts in my head about how confused I was, how lost. But of course, crying is therapy and more I let out, the better I felt until finally I was able to think with some semblance of rationality again. (It seemed to slip away so easily for a while…) When I finally finished my sob story she took me by the hand and stared intently into my eyes.

“I want to be more than your psychic,” she said, “I want to be your spiritual advisor.”

Well actually.. you haven’t really done much psychic-ing up to now,  if I’m honest. But I didn’t mention that.

She started to explain that she could help me. She knew what had to be done and she could get my partner and I back together in two months tops. (Guaranteed!) Relief was mine if I wanted it, she’d carry the burden from now on. She would give me her number and be at my beck and call whenever I needed her. Anytime of the day or night, all I had to do was call or text and everything would be alright. All I had to do was trust in her to do her work.

Oh, and dish out 800 dollars for a special candle.

Uhh…. what’s that now?

Yes, you read right, eight hundred dollars… for a candle.  

I explained to her that that was impossible as I couldn’t even afford the twenty dollars I paid for the sheer pleasure of crying in her company. But she continued…

“I’m so worried for you. If you don’t do this, you’re going to become more and more upset. The crying will never stop. You will be more alone than ever.”

A bit harsh, I know, but she was only doing her job. In any case, I needed to shut this perceived avenue of revenue down for her ASAP. I mean I know I looked desperate, but there was ZERO chance I was willing to give her 800 dollars to burn a candle in the hopes of rekindling my relationship with my ex.

The interesting thing was that as I sat there listening to her try to convince me otherwise, I started thinking… What if I’m not supposed to get back with him, though? I’ve just moved across the country to start this new life, I can’t turn back now. I can’t dilute my energy like that. Isn’t there a reason why I’m here and not there right now? Why can’t you be telling me that there are great things ahead for me HERE?

These thoughts took me a bit off guard. I mean, hadn’t I been crying over my ex for the last twenty minutes because I missed him so much? Wasn’t I so upset because our life together was over? And then I realized that no, that wasn’t it. Not to say that I didn’t miss him in that moment, because I did, but it wasn’t him that was leaving me crying in a stranger’s house at 1130 at night. I was just overwhelmed that so much was happening all at once. I was in a free fall with no idea where I was going to land, and I was scared. Of course I was. Nothing wrong with that.

Suddenly it seemed entirely silly to be sat there, crying over my ex with a strange woman, when I had so much to look forward to. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to get out of the encounter. Some guidance, I suppose. A hint that I’m on the right path. Truth be told all I really needed was a friend with a shoulder, and to her credit she gave that to me and I’m grateful for it.

Crying is like writing sometimes, you just need to get it out in order to make sense of things. I thanked her for her time, she gave me her card, and I left. I left having gained everything I needed to in that moment. Just a little clarity, a little piece of mind. And she gave that to me in the exact opposite way I imagined she would.

If you guys haven’t been to see a psychic yet, I highly recommend doing so. It can be quite the experience.