Monday, October 3, 2016


I talk to my mom for about the same amount of time (and frequency) that I would like to be going to the gym every week. This is because I love the shit out of my mom and I've become rather complacent about lifting weights for the sake of looking sexy for strangers. Since moving out on my own, our relationship has moved beyond the Norman Rockwell ceramic plate titled "Mother & Son" and graduated into an actual friendship where we can be there for each other, talk about our insecurities, our evolution, our nightmares and that heavenly 3 ingredient peanut butter fudge recipe which validates my mother's recent obsession with minimal ingredient recipes.

A few weeks ago, while I was in rehearsal for Shakespeare in the Ruff's Romeo + Juliet I took my dinner break to sit at Timothy's in the Danforth, draw, eat a carrot muffin and talk with her.

Earlier that day, I'd experienced an overwhelming surge of not wanting to act anymore after my contract ended. I know this feeling had nothing to do with the production, as it was truly one of the best theatrical experiences I've ever had, but being part of that show forced me to look more critically at my position in life; who I am and what the motivations are behind my choices. Suddenly the passion I once had to act drained from me like blood from George C. Scott's face in A Christmas Carol when he sees Frank Finlay. Suddenly, I questioned: What am I trying to achieve? Who am I doing all of this for? 

My last post, over a year ago, had me declaring that I was "GOING PRO" which, as a reader had keenly pointed out, is a term from Steven Pressfield's incredibly motivating book The War of Art. A good friend had recommended this little gem to me during an All-You-Can-Eat sushi session. At which, of course, I ordered more than I could actually eat and ended up rolling my ill-chosen plate of mushroom rolls into a ball and, with enough stealth to give Evelyn Salt a run for her money, flushed them down the toilet.

Later that day, my friend sent me the PDF version of the book, which I zipped through at the rate of a 9-year-old brushing their teeth, and decided to follow Steven's advice by taking control of my destiny, which at the time translated to: DO AS MANY THINGS AS POSSIBLE. I began asking everyone, friends, strangers and the occasional pedestrian, to collaborate. I was submitting myself for anything I could get my hands on in an attempt to prove that I was not going to remain stagnant, I was determined to, at least on paper, look busy and productive and not rest on my laurels (i.e. Olympus).

If my life was an episode of Sesame Street, the word of the those delusional few months would've been: A-C-C-U-M-U-L-A-T-I-O-N.

In hindsight, which was very obvious to everyone but me at the time, the issue with accumulating for accumulation's sake is that instead of adding meaning to one's life, it simply adds stress. Unaware of how detrimental this would actual be to all of the projects I had so ambitiously taken on, I white-knuckled my way through in the hopes that something would pay off and make it all worth while. 

Looking back, I think, deep down, I just wanted the title on my resume, the Facebook post, the Instagram photo, not the actual experience, which is ironic considering that I'd articulated in my previous post that no one cares about what's on one's resume or social media feeds (unless you're a celebrity or a politician, but even they still beg the question), yet here I was, taking on more than I needed to in an attempt to impress them

After countless emotional breaks during this period, which I like to call The Insanity Months, (I also like to picture this phrase in the same SpongeBob meme as above) the final and biggest break, the largest needle associated with a camels back, if you will, happened during the opening performance of my solo show, LIONESS

Rewind: One day, when I was coming back from the gym, I ran into someone I deeply respect as both a creator and peer, we spoke about how each other were keeping up and they asked me, "Whatever happened to LIONESS?". I confessed that I'd continued to write material for the character since performing the show at the Solo-icious Festival in 2013 but hadn't really thought about doing anything else with it. They suggested I should because they loved it. 

I felt like Sally Field at the 1984 Academy Awards. 

Fast forward: After speaking with my Mom and a few friends, who equally loved the show (they'd seen it in Halifax 3 years earlier), I planned a 4-date tour in early 2016 for LIONESS: The Extended Version. Part of me taking this on was to prove to myself that I could write and perform an hour long solo piece, this idea scared the crap out of me, so obviously I had no choice but to do it. I also thought, "What a great way to showcase my progress to the communities that supported me as a young performer." 

Vain, vapid, and curiously motivated. 

So, amid all the chaos that my life had become; rehearsing for my first theatre gig in Toronto, finishing a leadership program, writing a short film, producing two short films, dramaturging a feature, acting in a feature, all while working my 3 Joe-jobs, I decided I was going to spend the remaining few hours of each day writing my first full-length solo show. 

Obviously overwhelmed, I completely neglected working on it until about a month and half before I was scheduled to open (ie. When terror kicked in). My life at this point became a sports movie montage, racing against the clock. I cried, I screamed, I rarely ate, I was in a constant state of dehydration, I yelled at my cats for sleeping, I consulted anyone who would listen, and took many late night walks along the boardwalk where I spoke to myself like I was featured on an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras. All I was missing was Eye of the Tiger consistently playing in the background; I had become a writer. I wanted this show to be my Viola Davis' snot scene in Doubt and I was determined to make it happen. 

About a week before I left for Nova Scotia, I was at a birthday dinner for a little girl I occasionally babysit and spoke with a performer I admire who was also in attendance. They asked me how things were going and I jabbered on about my upcoming solo show, which I had so diligently been writing. They responded with an anecdote about their first solo show where they walked off stage because their nerves got the best of them and their director had to come back stage and drag them out, kicking and screaming, to finish the show. I listened, looking like that smirking emoji, arrogantly thinking, "That would never happen to me." 

Oh, how wrong I was. 

LIONESS opened at the Marigold Cultural Centre in Truro, Nova Scotia, on January 15th, 2016. I had flown in 5 days prior, thinking that this would be an adequate amount of time to get on my feet and block the piece. Now, this would have been more than enough time if I knew the lines and had a director, both of which I didn't, because in my new found role as a writer I had completely forgotten that I had to perform the damn thing.


So, for the first 3 days I sat in an empty theatre trying to drill the lines and create new blocking for myself derived from my initial 15-minute version. To put it mildly, it didn't go very well. I left the theatre that day praying for a miracle. That miracle came, in the form of recent friend of mine, to whom I am eternally grateful, who was coincidentally in Halifax at the time. They offered to drive up and provide an outside eye for me in the 48 hours I had leading up to opening. 

The next two days were like the water pump scene from The Miracle Worker, my friend, Anne Bancroft and I, Patty Duke.

Jump to: 15 minutes to curtain I started to have a panic attack. I suddenly realized how much I'd taken on and unlike the aforementioned mushroom rolls; I couldn't just flush this moment down the toilet. Despite my friends' reassurance, I became manic and asked for my mom to be retrieved. She came in and I immediately started crying. My mom, the mom she is, preceded to talk me down from a ledge, reminding me that this was not Wayne's show. This was Maria's, and I needed to get out of the way and let her tell the story that she'd been waiting to tell for the last 3 years.

We walked the perimeter of the stage, both wearing leopard print, holding hands, making space for Maria to enter the room. After a few laps, I got myself under control and went back stage, my mother began guiding people in, and suddenly I had a surge of energy, similar to that of my cats after they’ve been sleeping all day, and was ready to jump in. 

The music started, the lights went up, and it began...

Everything was going seamlessly, I manipulated my nerves into the frantic energy I needed to start the show and after that first burst of laughter, I let the orgasmic feeling of ease wash over me. 

They were here with me. 

Then about 10 minutes in, I dried. I lost my line. I couldn't remember what came next. I stood there in the silence, my mind suddenly a giant Rolodex that I was riffling through at light speed, with an eternity passing before my eyes. 

I looked to my friend who was in the wings; they were trying to mouth the next line to me. I couldn't see them. They began to generously write it on a piece of paper but the lights continued to obscure my view. The room was dead silent, waiting for me to speak. 

I just sat there, deep in the shit. No escape, my terror building by each lethargic second. I looked down at my mom, who was in the front row, mouthing the words, “Breathe” to me. I looked back up. The lights shining in my face, their warmth, once a comfort, became my tomb. This was, without a doubt, the closest to death I'd ever experienced.  

My emotions finally boiling over, I looked back down at my mother, tears welling, and uttered a pitiful, "Mom..." 

She stood up quickly and pointed me offstage. 

I hurriedly exited the desk, once thought to be my coffin, and ran back stage, doing what I had arrogantly told myself I wouldn’t do. As soon as I broke the curtains I collapsed on the ground and began to sob, flanked by my friend, who at this point I was sure regretted their decision to help me, and my coach of a mom. 

I left my body, like a cartoon character squashed by an anvil, and seeing myself there on the ground remembered the viral video of Tyra Banks yelling at Tiffany, one of the Cycle 4 contestants on America's Next Top Model.

Upon first viewing, I admittedly paid more attention to the reactions of the other girls in the video than what Tyra was actually saying, the entertainment value rivalling that of a terrible car crash. Not far off from what was currently happening in my life.

You see, I'd recently re-watched the video while researching for LIONESS, but in this moment, looking down at myself, I finally made sense of what Tyra was saying. 

As an actor, I'd been Tiffany for quite a while now; I'd become disillusioned by my achievements and felt when it came to performance, I had the cat in the bag. Over the years I'd started to rely on the concept that everything would come together when the lights went up and ultimately stopped putting the work in where it was needed. I realized that I'd been coasting on my abilities to "turn it on" in the moment, but that was becoming more and more unreliable, especially now.

As I re-entered my emotion-ridden body, my mother knelt next to me and told me that I'd come too far to give up; Maria had a story to tell, and I was being selfish by robbing her of that chance. She told me to get over myself and whatever ego driven blockade was stopping me from going out there and finishing the show like a pro. She also reminded me that the whole point of coming home to perform was that these people were here to support me, no matter what I did. She then wiped my mascara with a smile and headed back out across the stage to her seat, accompanied with uproarious applause. 

My friend, privy to all this, graciously offered to be on book for the rest of the show. I obliged and with my ideal performance now demolished, Maria was able to take centre stage. She walked out and confidently sat at the desk. Looking out at the audience she thanked them for their patience, apologized for the muck up (classy as ever) and informed them that things would be a little rough as this was the first time she was telling this story. She felt it was more important for them to hear, rather then it be perfect and polished.

Met with applause, her show began.

Maria fought to keep her words alive and each time she had to call line her energy surged. It was the most cathartic work I’ve ever done, raw, and real and openly honest. I've never cried so hard as I did at the end of that performance. Walking out into the lobby as Wayne and meeting each an every person who generously paid to watch me work, to watch me take responsibility for myself, humbled me.

Flying out of Nova Scotia, having finished my rather rocky tour, I remembered this quote of Tom Hardy's: "Surviving is one thing. You can get through, you can white-knuckle. You can do the bare minimum. But there comes a time where life stops rewarding potential. If you want to participate at a certain level in anything, you cannot just turn up and be respected." A few days ago, I had done just that; white knuckled and survived, but I swore to myself that it would never happen again. 

Upon returning to Toronto, I was met with an overwhelming surge of regret from those who wished they could have seen LIONESS. I appreciated the support, but felt some major PTSD surrounding the idea of mounting it again. I decided that it was best to put the show away for a few months.

Then, while decompressing with my friend who had helped me in Nova Scotia, they acknowledged that as scary as it was, there’d be a major benefit to performing the show under better conditions and suggested I mount another performance, here in Toronto. After much humming and haaa-ing I decided I would give it another go, as a one-night-only workshop presentation, and brought them on as the director.

There was one day in rehearsal where I found myself unable to focus. I had become so preoccupied with the challenge that I’d given myself; the ultimate fourth wall (speaking to 2 invisible characters for the duration of the piece, unable to interact with the audience), and kept plying my director with the question “Why did I do this to myself?” To which they answered, “I don’t know, but you did.”

A few days later we invited one of our mutual friends, a fellow creator and incredible writer, to come watch a rehearsal run and provide some structural feedback. It was great to have them there, and afterwards I asked, “Did you like it?” to which they responded, “Yeah, it’s great, but it doesn’t really matter if I like it. Do you like it?” This answer bothered me because the idea of creating for oneself, at the time, seemed so self-serving. I argued that the whole reason I was doing the show was for the audience, because people loved Maria and I wanted to give them something they enjoyed.

The day of the show, I woke up with a Christmas morning level of excitement. I walked the very same boardwalk where 6 months earlier I cried and pep talked myself into finishing the script that I could now confidently run the lines of. I felt the effects of being able to give each aspect of this performance its time and was stoked for the incredible night that lay ahead. My director picked me up that afternoon and amid the traffic we sang along to One Dance by Drake and concluded that this excitement, this anticipation, was surely the reason why we do what we do.

That night, we played to an oversold house, quite a feat in the middle of the Toronto Fringe Festival. Despite a few minor hiccups, as well as it being both an opening and closing night performance, I don’t think it could've gone better. I was Maria that night, and I'll never forget it. 

While out for congratulatory drinks with friends, amid my Mill Street Organic and a basket of Dirty Chips, this strange calmness came over me; things felt complete, but the moment of revelation was missing. It felt similar to when I had sex for the first time, it was fun and cool and I felt like I was doing something so grown up, but afterwards, the next day, I felt exactly the same, as if it never happened. A friend of mine asked what was next for the piece, and almost immediately I said, "I don't know. I kind of want to do something completely different." 

I looked over the list of those who'd come and to my surprise most of them had never seen me perform, or heard anything I'd written (in some cases both). This meant that everyone that was there was because of me and my relationship with them, they weren't there because of the content, they were there because they wanted to support me doing something I loved. Despite my intentions of making it for them, the show actually ended up being for me. I had done exactly what set out to do; create a positive experience surrounding the creation and performance of my first solo show. Showcase it to my friends and peers, challenge people's views of me as a creator and performer, and earned the respect of some of those peers whom I admire. 

What more was there to do? 


So there I was, talking with my mom, my coloured pencils strewn about, my muffin wrapper crumpled, my right ear warm from my phone, and it dawned on me: I've continued to perform because people tell me I'm good at it, because they like my work. They tell me they do, through their laughter, their tears, their attentive silences. I admit; it feels good to be good at something and have people tell you so.

But after LIONESS this feeling had gotten to a place similar to that of when an older family member tells you your handsome or pretty. It’s a compliment, sure, but it’s not the same as when you see those attributes in yourself.

Then it hit me deeper, I've continued to perform because it provided an immediate connection with my mother; the woman who taught me how to be creative; how to listen, how to draw, how to dream, how to imitate, how to work hard for what I want. I realized that I’ve continued to pursue this life, created specific work, as a way to be closer to her; to take everything she showed me and share it with others.

I told her this and she replied, "Wayne, I don't give a shit what you do. I'm proud of you no matter what. As long as you are happy and healthy, I'm happy." She then confessed to me that she felt the same way about my grandfather when he was alive; she had spent so long trying to make him proud, even though he already was. She didn’t want that for me. I’d heard my mom say this to me my entire life but in this moment, it released me. I felt like I’d just shaved my head and everything was suddenly lighter.

We then took account for all the achievements I’d accumulated in the last few years and acknowledged that I’ve been given more opportunities than most people will in a lifetime. I realized, I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone anymore, I had my mom’s approval and that’s all I ever really needed. 

She then suggested that perhaps my not wanting to act might be my body telling me it was ready to explore something else and I should take the time to find out what that is. I knew that I didn’t want to leave performance forever, but I agreed in that I felt a strong pull to step away from the industry. I wanted to find the most personally authentic place to hustle from.

As my contract with Shakespeare in the Ruff ended I decided that I was going to take until Christmas to explore myself creatively for a concentrated period of time. I’ve since established, what I’m calling, a personal residency for myself. The goal of this residency is to identify my personal values as a creator, as a performer and as a person. This is a time of exploration and recalibration. I’m exhausted with having to define myself by my current projects and how if they aren’t in line with what I took a student loan out for then I’m somehow failing. Right now, I’m interested in learning what makes my heart sing, how I want to optimally express myself and how that correlates to the rest of the world because that's actually what people wanna see, my truth. 

So if you are curious about what I'm up to, I’m entering the unknown and I’ve never been more excited.

My mother sent me this video a few months ago and I cannot think of a better way to end this post. 

She's also decided to start charging me consulting fees.


Monday, June 8, 2015


Honestly, I've been trying to write this post for the last 4 months but I haven't been able to find the words. Despite a lot of things changing around me, I've yet to actually shift. My last few posts have been comprised of all the things I needed to do, was going to do, but had yet to actually incorporate into my daily life. I've been talking a really good talk. Sure, there was the occasional day where I did what all those self-help books have been telling me for almost a year, but overall I was failing at actually living the life I could be. Instead, to make myself feel better, I'd give wonderful and positive advice to others by regurgitating quotations and making myself sound impressive or "enlightened" but realistically I was failing to live by example, which is a major problem. 

The reason that I've refused to change, to take my own advice and really live for me, is out of fear. Fear that I could actually make positive changes, fear that I could actually help and inspire people and what that responsibility entails. Fear of failing myself -- again. It's easier for me to just stand on the sidelines and judge than jump in and get my hands dirty. It's terrible, but it's the rut I have been in for sometime now. 

There is an incredible amount of pressure placed on young people, perhaps some of it self made, to succeed right out of the gate; "I have my education, now where's all the work?" For some it happens right away, they don't have to worry about much because their families have their backs financially or they end up landing their dream job immediately, setting them up financially for the long haul.  For the rest of us it's a constant uphill battle, pushing a boulder, with a tiny elf, named Student Loans, sitting on our back calling us weaklings everyday and reminding us to keep pushing or we will roll back down the hill and have to start all over again. I've had a few glorious breaks heading up the mountain this year, but that's all they were -- breaks -- a stop for air, a swig of water, a stretch, before I felt the crack of the elf's whip and needed to get back to pushing. I've put an incredible amount of pressure on myself by feeling that if I didn't make it to the top of the mountain this year I would be considered a failure. There's that word again, failure. The reality is, it takes years and years and years to get to the top, and for some, they never make it. 

So then why do they do it? Is someone at the top of the mountain with a trip to Cuba or some other equally awesome incentive? What's the point of all this pushing if there isn't anything there? 

Last year I got a significant break from pushing my boulder, 4 months to be exact, that break was Olympus. For those of you who may not know, I'm currently starring as a lead character on an international television show playing in Ireland, London, Germany, the United States and Canada. But despite the reach of the show and my role within it (one that I'm very proud of), my life has remained unchanged. When I booked the role, only one person, a mentor of mine, was honest with me. She said, "This project is simply a wave and it does not guarantee anything." Although I heard what she'd said, and tried to view it as simply that, I too often entertained the idea of this project being a game changer for me, and it quickly went to my head. 

After Olympus premiered I vainly and naively expected a massive amount of attention.  I had built up the show up in my mind (and on my social media feeds) to God like proportions, pun intended. I have a great character, with an incredible arc and some pretty decent scenes, which all ended up falling on mostly deaf ears, due to some unsightly promotional issues and lack of budget. My ego was shattered. Without the world’s validation that my performance was award winning, or at the very least -- good, I became depressed. I lost sight of myself because I had spent, seriously, every spare moment of my time preparing and editing my "image" for the spotlight.  I majorly anticipated and was disappointed. I, for those 6 months leading up to the premiere, needed the world’s approval and, big surprise; it has yet to come and might never. 

Each time I auditioned after the premiere of Olympus the casting director, or artistic directors, would ask me what I was working on to which I would reply, "I'm currently a series lead on a new SyFy show called Olympus." And they would look at me like I spoke another language, "Oh cool, never heard of it." It was during these interactions I realized that my biggest job to date was essentially moot. They didn't care. They hadn't seen it or had any intention of watching it. The saying, "you are only as good as your last job" didn't work in literally any situation for me. Instead, "you're only as good as the work you're currently doing" was more truthful.

Being a series lead on one of the many TV shows this year does not guarantee a career for me, it does not guarantee a career for anyone, it was simply an incredible experience for a young actor to be on set for 4 months, right out of theatre school, working with talented people and being surrounded by the British Columbian landscape --which is gorgeous. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. Until I saw the episodes in their entirety all I had was the memories of conversations, dances, jokes, laughter, loves, lessons, challenges and food. Oh God, the food. These are what made my time incredible and life changing, not the product and what people think of it, because watching the show you don't see any of the memories that were created. It made me realize that no matter how hard one might work, no matter how incredible the artists and visionaries around you are, sometimes things just don't commercially work out. No matter how much heart goes into it. And that's perfectly okay. 

Which brings me back to the boulder metaphor. If there can be so much love, care and artistry piled into a project that when it finally comes to fruition and seemingly no one cares, why do we do it? 

For the experiences. For the memories. For the people. For the conversations it might evoke. 

There is no getting ahead, no corporate ladder to climb, no benchmarks that guarantee a career in this life -- the life of an artist -- so the only real thing to pursue is the aforementioned. Those are what create a full life. Those are what make a better more inspiring and relatable artist. Having an impressive resume doesn't get you into heaven; it doesn't make you a better parent, or cook, or lover or friend. It's a just a piece of paper with words on it telling people about your past. 

It's like an obituary. 

Right now I have the power to define myself, to validate myself, to take pleasure in being with my boulder. To stop pushing and simply roll. I've never dreamed of fame, despite being disillusioned by it, I've only dreamt of notoriety; having a solid reputation to build upon, consistent work. That's my personal definition of success. The only way that I can achieve my dream is to stop walking around with my hand out and start creating with what I have. 

These last 4 months have been made up of late night feedings brought on by unhappiness, Austin Powers marathons and getting unnecessarily wrapped up in the politics of my Joe job, brushing my cats and dreaming of living in a perpetual shower, mediating once and then being afraid because of what it brought to the surface, reading incredible books yet refusing to apply what I learned, spending countless hours on on-line dating apps trying to find someone who will listen to my problems and validate my feelings of remorse for depriving myself of the things I enjoy, buying clothes to make myself seem like I have it together on the outside, eating out and blowing through my money because I want to seem successful rather than being economic and healthy, putting off things that need my attention to spend a ridiculous amount of time refreshing my news feeds to see who comments on my witty posts rather than learning what's going on in the world. I'm writing this no further ahead at accomplishing my dream than I was 4 months ago. I went down the wrong rabbit hole. 

Standing on the other side I realize that this was necessary. These 4 months have showed me that this is not who I am, this is who I was and could be if I didn't take charge of my life.

My next step is to actually work hard in silence and let my success be my noise. Implement all that I've spoken about doing for the last year. Listen to learn and respond to understand instead of listening to be rewarded with the opportunity to speak. 

Today I go pro. 

Today I will be bolder. 


P.S. Big shout out to all my new fans who have made me feel extra special during this transition. Much love. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


Over the last month, I've been dealing with a lot of things, speaking to a lot of people, writing a lot, reading a lot and restarting my search for balance.


I keep being told things like, "As always, slow down" or "chill out". "This is your life; it's a marathon, not a sprint to the finish."At first, I was getting rather frustrated with this advice, I felt like everyone was asking me to squelch my drive, to become less ambitious. Turns out, it was just the opposite.

A mentor of mine used this metaphor with me the other night, "You're like a Lamborghini, who's stuck in traffic, in a 30 zone. You're a well oiled, well made machine; ready to take off, but there's no clear passage for you. Rev all you want, until the road's clear, you simply have to be patient and go at the pace being dictated by the surrounding vehicles." It's a frustrating idea to accept, but he's right; There's absolutely nothing I can do, but develop my capacity for patience. Then, when an opening appears, I can show what I was built for.

This idea of "chilling out", or "relaxing into where I am, right now" doesn't mean sleep all day and become unmotivated. It means, for me, to stop muscling through my life and be present. It's like working out, if all I do is lift weights, never dedicating any time to flexibility or stamina, I might be able to lift a few heavy things but I will have no sustainability.

In my "muscling it" mind-frame, I've been trying to get involved with as much as possible in an attempt to find a community, to keep busy, to prove that I'm not simply resting on my "laurels" (NTS, Olympus). All this is doing is making me look like a frustrated gardener running around planting seeds. Instead of taking the time to water, nurture and watch each of them grow, I keep planting more and more and more for fear of losing the farm; never giving any of them the time they deserve.

This is the reason I never played FarmVille.

I'm aware that my impatience comes out of fear; of falling to the waste side, of losing touch with people who inspire me, of being a flash in a pan and a whole list of other things. The only way to deal with these fears is to nullify their effect, by having patience with myself. Working at my own pace, rather than the pace I think I need to be at, or what the manual says.


I'm reaching a point of independence I've never experienced before. Although I've been living on my own for six years, I've always had deadlines, graduations; end dates. And it's only been in the last few weeks that I've really started to accept that this is my life. There are no more people looking over my shoulder, holding me accountable for my actions. There are no more assignments, or projects that have to be completed within a certain time limit, there is simply my desires and how I deal with the results of those desires.

I have to become my own life coach. It's really easy to motivate someone else, but how do I do that for myself?  Hold myself accountable. I think the answer for me, right now, is: experiencing. I've been muscling for so long that I've skipped past, potentially, incredible experiences. Now that I'm in this wide open pasture, (not to be confused with the Lamborghini metaphor), I'm free to act and do anything I want, it's through this trial and error that I'll discover what I don't like. Once I eliminate those things, it will be easier to focus on the positive.

I've reached a point where I'm tired of listening to people's advice, I've just heard so much of it and I really want to just lay it all out on the floor and look at it, rather than accumulate more. I want to stop trying to be the perfect student of life. I want to mess up and make mistakes, live and learn, because that's what will make me better. If I continue to move through life monitoring every single situation and dwelling on how I could have done it better, personally or artistically, then I'll burn myself out. I want to receive pleasure from living, not just have a perfect score card at the end of my life.

As time goes on, I realize that no one actually has it all figured out, they've simply spent more time with these thoughts and, potentially, have a clearer idea what it means for them.


I felt a lot of this during the summer. At the time, my life felt like a dream and so being grateful for even the smallest thing, was easy. Being back in Toronto, going on 4 months with nothing prospective on the horizon, except debt, I find myself sinking into bouts of negativity and angst. These negative feelings only build into my feeling of want, rather than focusing on what I have, which is a lot. It doesn't matter how many goals I set and accomplish, how many projects, or groups, I get involved in, if I can't step back and see what I've done then I'll inevitably become jaded and pessimistic because nothing is filling "the void".

Comparison truly is the thief of joy. And gratitude is the antidote to misery.

Noticing how entitled and privileged I'd started to become, I've begun volunteering at a hospice, performing respite care, as a way to give back and be of service to humanity, to re-develop compassion and remind me of my blessings.

During a training session recently, a woman spoke about how her and her husband dealt with him being diagnosed with ALS. He was once a handsome, young, fit landscaper and one day, while he was lifting wights he suddenly lost his strength, dropping the weight. Over the next few months he started to become completely immobile. Here was this man, who, at one time, a successful landscaper, lifting weights regularly, and the picture of health, diagnosed with this life altering disease, losing his mobility entirely. Yet, despite all this, he maintained a smile, completed his masters degree in Horticulture, raised two kids and was extremely upbeat and positive until the day he passed away.

Listening to their story, watching the video they made, showing how much assistance he needed daily, humbled and reminded me of how petty my issues really are. Honestly, if the biggest problems in my life are getting a joe job, and developing some patience, then I'm doing alright. Watching this man, the love he and his wife had for one another, inspired me. Although he needed constant assistance, he found ways of maintaining his independence and continuing to live the fullest life he could; it was remarkable.

It made me think about how limitations are only what we make them. There are certain things we inevitably have no control over, but that doesn't mean we can't find a way around them, or at the very least, occupy ourselves until the traffic breaks up.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Like the age old story of the Tortoise and the Hare, I have to take my time, enjoy what's around me, and be grateful for simply being part of the race. Only when I find my rhythm, discover how to capitalize on my strengths and FREAKIN' have fun, will I come out on top. I've tried so hard to make things stay on a certain level; how it felt in the best of times. When realistically, everyday my energy is sitting in a new place, I have to assess how I feel that day, that moment, and be the best I can be.

While I continue to contemplate balance, here is photo of me in a chicken suit.


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