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Monday August 10, 2009

Lost On The Editing Room Floor

This past May I was asked to be a part of an article for FLARE magazine's 30th anniversary September issue. It was to be a profile of seven women across Canada who are turning 30 or have just turned 30 and their experiences and views on their 20s and the coming decade. In the end, for length or other reasons, the article became more of a collaboration of the voices of seven different women, at different places in our lives, but having similar feelings and views of the past and future. Having read the article for a second time this morning, I am flattered and humbled to have been a part of it. It has shown me on a much larger scale than I could have imagined that even though we are all different, we ARE all very much the same. I find myself inspired by the other women in the article, more, I must admit, than I expected to be by an article in a fashion magazine.

For my contribution to the article, I spent an afternoon sitting on my bedroom floor with a box of photos from rolls of film I had recently found in a pile of traveling stuff. I put away the modeling portfolio, printed out Yuki's questions for the article, and thought about my sisters (one of whom is just stepping into her 20s as I step out of mine), my friends all over the world, my family, and my good fortune to have lived the life that I have and to continue to live such a wonderful life. This is what I had to say: (minus the what's your birth date? where do you live?...)

1. Whatís the coolest thing about turning/being 30?
The coolest thing about turning thirty is the shock on people's faces when I tell them, and all the possibilities that the future holds.

2. Whatís the scariest thing about turning/being 30?
The scariest thing about turning thirty is hearing other people complain about their fears and expectations of what being thirty means, when they find out you're about to turn thirty. I'm blessed to be healthy and have lived another year and enjoyed life.

3. Will hitting your 30s affect your style-sensibility? How do you think it might change (or not)?
I think the biggest change has been that since I don't travel as much as I once did and don't live out of a suitcase for months at a time, I don't have to fit everything back into a suitcase. Now I have a larger selection of clothes to chose from and I don't have to worry about giving up an item or two in order to add pieces to my wardrobe. I love light summer skirts and dresses that flow in the breeze, and have a lot of them now.

4. How long have you been modeling for? Is turning 30 daunting for a model?
For the last 9 of the 10 years I have been a model, I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful agent, Marie Josee at Specs Model Management, who has become a mentor to me in my professional and personal life. Her wisdom and compassion as a business woman has inspired me through the years to continue to discover who I am and what I would like to do in the world. For this reason, I'm not sure 30 is as daunting as I thought 24 was. I turned 24 while I was traveling to Milan and had worried that I would be considered "too old" for an agency to take me on as a model. In the end, the numbers don't seem to actually mean much. I've learned to enjoy the ups and downs of the fashion industry and will continue to model for as long as it is something I want to pursue.

5. Youíre going back to school this fall to study mechanical engineering. Where? And what are your thoughts as you prepare to go back to school as a mature student?
This fall, I'll be in my second year of Mechanical Engineering at Concordia. I'm excited about it. I have always gone after the things I want. Engineering is something that has interested me since high school and I am fortunate to be able to take the time to study now. I enjoy the challenge and the reward that comes from solving a problem, figuring out things that stump me and knowing that I will carry that knowledge with me in my future endeavors.

6. Now that youíre 30 (or about to be), what would you say if you could talk to yourself at age 20? What wisdom would you impart to a younger you about being in your 20s?
To a 20 year old me, I would say:

  • *You are going to lose a lot of people that you love forever, your faith will be shaken, you will doubt yourself and hurt like you have never hurt before. You will cry. You will cry long distance, and it won't be easy. But trust me on this: you'll be fine! You will find within yourself what you are looking for.
  • *Leave the past alone, by the time you find the answers it's too late for them to be helpful.
  • *Don't worry about the future, it will always be there.
  • *Don't be afraid to make mistakes, ask for help or borrow money -- you'll be surprised how resourceful you are.
  • *Learn the words integrity and dignity -- you'll know what to do with them.
  • *Buy a good camera; you will see things that you couldn't have imagined and meet people who will live inside your heart forever. Those pictures will, quite literally, mean the world to you soon.
  • *Don't run from love, it won't let you down and always stays with you.
  • *Don't treat your mentors like parents, it's not the same relationship.
  • *Dwell on the good and keep laughing, it really is funny.
  • *Leave your baseball cap at home(sometimes), and call your dad more often -- he misses you.
  • *Listen to your heart and follow your instincts. You are going to love it!!

7. How do you imagine being 30 in 2009 is probably different from being 30 in 1979, or some other earlier era?
I think there would have been more of a negative stigma attached to turning 30 in an earlier era. An idea that unless you were married with children and set on your life and career paths, you had done something wrong or that there was something wrong with you in general. Now it just seems to be another birthday to celebrate. A milestone of having made it through your twenties and maybe a hint of more respect from those younger than you.

8. Whatís next for you? What do you want to get done this decade?
My to do list this decade is fairly short. I'd like to become an engineer and maybe buy a house. I'd like to help some friends start a company and work with my agent on a project she is passionate about. I'm sure I'll find plenty of little projects along the way, but I don't usually set goals for myself based on age.

9. What are your top priorities at age 30?
My top priorities are pretty much school and enjoying life. It's not always an easy balance, but I have a great life and a supportive family I'd love to see more often.

As I reflect on my achievements in the last ten years, I also reflect on the people who have inspired me to be the person that I am and the person I am still becoming. Life is a journey and I try to appreciate all that I have and all that it means to me to be so fortunate during the good times and the more trying times.

When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be just like my older brother, Mike. As I have watched him grow to become the person he is: a brother, a husband, a friend, a father, a mentor, and a man, I have been touched by his authenticity. I believe that one of the hardest things a person can ever do is to make their own path in life and stand by it. I have watched him believe in his vision and make his dreams a reality through the disappointments and successes. I have found, in living my own life, that it is also one of the most rewarding. In his acceptance speech for the honorary degree bestowed to him by Seneca College last summer, two points stood out in my mind which I have repeated to friends as they change their paths or look for something more in their lives.
  • *Make a list of all the things you know how to do (bake a cake, change your car's oil, fix a lamp, write a web app...). Then go back over that list and put a star next to the things youíve learned in the last year or two. I have a second list of maybe 5 or 10 things things I'd like to do better or learn in the next year or two. It's simple when you think about it and genius when you see what you've got.
  • *His closing remarks to the graduates:"Remember to learn, remember to teach, and remember to do things that can fail, and you will be on a path to making a difference in the world around you. A bumpy path at times, a path with poor markings to be sure, but I believe the only path thatís worth being on."

As I leave you to return to my studying with finals a few days away, I thank you all for being a part of the life and the experiences that have made me the person I am. I'll see you in my 30s. XO

Thursday April 09, 2009

A Little Time To Reflect

With classes ending and time to all comes back.

Break ups are never easy. First, there's the breaking part, then the making up part, then the part where it's still broken and then the second guessing starts:"but is it really broken?". Then there's the getting back your stuff and giving back their stuff. It's the stuff that makes it harder. There's always another reason to talk, to meet, to second guess....and second guesses turn into making up, then breaking up all over again. It doesn't get any easier, it only hurts more. And before you know it, the respect you thought you shared with them, the maturity you had wanted to have through this, disperses like pollen from dying flowers.

This person you once walked hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm with, now just stands with you side-by-side as your paths diverge into the unknown. It's the time when you need them the most because no one knows you like they have, and you have to learn to find the things you relied on in them, in yourself. Letting this person you loved and will always love in one way or another, be loved by someone else, is not for the weak.

The hardest part is being strong. Getting on with it. Letting go of the past. Letting the world show you what it has in store for you with no reservations, no licking your wounds, no bitter resentment about what could have been, should have been, would have been...if only... No fears of missteps and wrong turns. The hardest part is being okay with the letting go, and finding in yourself the strength to not fall to your knees and give up on love all together.

Our lives are handed to us and left in our control. We make our own decisions of how to live them, what we need, how we will treat the people in our lives, how we will treat those who walk out of our lives, and how we will carry ourselves forward through the obstacles we encounter. Life is beautiful, when you let it in. Life is wonderful when you open your eyes to the possibility the future holds. Love the one you're with like it's forever, the world has a lot in store for each of us, so if it doesn't work out, be happy when they find forever with someone, even someone else. We can't ask anything more for the people we love than that they be truly happy. xx

Montreal, QC

Thursday March 26, 2009

Three is Better Than Two

Once upon a time I thought that everyone was just one person. One person to take care of ourselves, one person to take care of our responsibilities, and one person still as we grew up and followed our path in this world. While the logic in this doesn't evade me today, I now understand how one person can be so much more than one person, by doing less than one person would.

I discovered a few years ago(with great awe), as I looked around and saw my brother and sister-in-law coupled up and my friends beginning to couple up, that two people working together in life can somehow accomplish more by doing the same as they would do for one. It only takes one person to make dinner, but two can eat. (I can't cook for one, I've tried, I can barely cook for less than four at a time) It only takes one to clean an apartment, but two can enjoy the space. It seemed to me that, just like the milk commercial, "two is better than one".

Today, as I was fighting off writers block and a mild addiction to the smiley faces of text messaging, it occurred to me that we are three in the apartment and can manage to get an awful lot done while still having time for eachother and lives outside the apartment. I had been working on a moderately annoying proposal for school; and by working I mean reading research papers, online magazines (about my subject, the word "magazine" is far more exciting than the contents), and operational manuals. I spent hours rethinking my proposal, my subject, my reasoning behind it, and in general my decision for taking this class altogether (mandatory). Over the course of a chat with my roommate I began explaining what turned out to be the first 1200 words of my proposal, and all that had seemed insurmountable this morning as I stared languidly at the words chained together into sentences that formed the paragraphs of the endless reading material--no inspiration in sight.

I got more done today, spending less time doing it, than I have in a long time. And when it comes to responsibilities and obligations involving the apartment, there are three of us to take care of one apartment. It just seems silly that it should be any other way.
Three is better than two!!

One of my sisters once told me that it's hard to study at home when you live with your best friends. It 's true, but sometimes, it's just so good to have them there.
Three BFFs on video chat is pretty perfect, too!!

Montreal, QC

Thursday November 22, 2007

The Delusion

People are only as genuine as we ask them to be. They may provide us with what we are able to convey to them we need, we want, we cannot have less than, but rarely more than that.

I used to believe that people wouldn't change, couldn't change even when asked ever so politely. I believed that what I got in life was what I deserved to get and not limited by my ability to ask for what I needed or wanted. I spent much too long following a path that I believed I should follow, not because it was my path but because other people desired that I follow it. I can't say that I was happy. I can't say that I was satisfied, and worst, of all, I can't say that it brought me anything but pain, frustration, and disappointment. I wasted four years trying to fall in line, be what I thought I should be, and settling for what I thought should be enough for someone in this life. What I wanted to do, what I wanted to feel, and who I wanted to be, ignored.

The truths to the questions I was too scared to ask are being laid out before me like the pages of an accordion book tilted just a little too far to one side. It comes as no surprise. My life unfolds to me only as fast as I let it; if I don't open it myself, it will be opened for me in time....way too much time after it should have been seen, understood, and lived. My delusions of what I believed to be enough for the life I thought I should live, put aside. The present that I wasted in the hopes of a future of something I never had to begin with, gone.

Although, the truths of others can hurt when seen for the first time, it is our own truths which heal us and bring us, scars hidden, to where we need to be. As I take in the truths of the people around me, and begin to understand how love can be different from one person to the next, I admire their strength and hold them not to the person I believe they can be but to the person they are.

I continue to remind myself of the 3 things that kept me going years ago:
1. Sometimes it's hard to see *how* you love someone because of *how much* you love them.
2. You can only find in someone what you are ready to see.
3. If you sell your soul, ask for a lot; in the end, it's never enough.

Montreal, QC

Wednesday October 17, 2007

The Aunts Go Marching One By One.

Last night at 10:30ish EST, four Ontario residents, one England resident, and one Quebec resident became Aunts to Claire Madeline Shaver. At 6lbs 14oz and less than 1 day old, she has already managed a feat thought to be impossible by Physics Professors and Sir Issac Newton himself, she has wrapped a 6ft4in man around her little finger, by all accounts only millimeters wide.

Montreal, QC

Sunday September 16, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like.......sick time.

It must be fall. I have my seasonal sore throat, which turns into a sinus infection and earache as I try to clean all the germs out of my apartment and pump vitamins and rest into my body. There are no good cures. No matter what I do or don't do, it lasts just short of a week. Feeling worse as I get better.

I wage war against the onslaught of germs coming from my classmates, fellow bus patrons, and anyone, really, I am confined to a small space with for any length of time. The weather drops, my windows stay closed for longer amounts of time, and hot beverages become the drink of choice.

Fresh ginger and mint tea in the largest of glass jars I can find, keeps me company on my desk as I try to get my brain to work and my assignments done, although it may be reason enough to be sick all season long.

Montreal, QC

Thursday May 24, 2007

Just Another Reason To Run Around In My Underwear....

Last summer my mother told me about a fundraising event that she thought was interesting. It's called the Underwear Affair and pretty much involves walking or running in your underwear to raise money for cancer "below the belt". The event was being held in Vancouver. I told my roommate at the time about the event and how funny I thought it was, he agreed. Funny translates to "I would totally do that".

Earlier this year, this same former-roommate informed me that he had heard on the radio that an Underwear Affair was going to be held in Montreal this summer, and gave me the website to check out.

Having moved in to my new apartment a whole 8 days ago and counting my days off since then at 1, I figured, why not start a team, aptly named St.Urbain Sweeties, and see if I can raise $4,000 in the next 7 days to help try to find a cure for cancers "below the belt". If you would like to help find a cure or just encourage my efforts to run around in underwear, you can make donations online HERE.

One of my new roommates has joined the team, making us 2 strong. We are going to see how many of our friends we can wrangle up in the next week to join the team and who knows, should we reach our goal of $4,000, we may even be encouraged to do it again next year, with a little more forethought and planning!

Montreal, QC

Tuesday May 01, 2007

Applying Myself

I have not-so-recently realized that I am the epitome of "bad at keeping in touch". I have slightly-more-recently realized that working too much and not taking care of myself is a great way to waste a precious life and stay distant from my loved ones, whom I am fortunate enough to still have in my life despite my awful communication skills. I have rather-recently decided that the future is now. So, with my textbooks packed away, my new apartment found, and the packing begun, I will take this time to find new ways to stay in touch with my loved ones and to update my priorities. But it doesn't end there; as I was finalizing my applications to McGill Faculty of Engineering(!!), I realized that I was incredibly hard to get a hold of, as well.

I had to wait for someone to call me back with the information I was looking for, but I was at work so I had no access to a fax machine, the internet, nor my cell phone. Due to the May 1st deadline for my application, I was becoming rather frantic trying to get a hold of someone at McGill who had the information I needed, and waiting on hold for extended periods of time while still doing my job as receptionist at a hair salon proved to be more than trying and by the end of the day, approaching exhausting.

Fortunately, my Dov-ely roommate was home when I got in. We went out for dinner with his brother where I was able to let go of the stress that had been mounting in my body over the last week or so and enjoy some good 'ol Bayou cuisine. It's good to get out of the work-and-study-all-the-time mindset, and just let go...

Currently, I am FACEBOOKed, MSNed, GOOGLE TALKed, and checking my e-mails ALL the time.

Montreal, QC

Monday October 30, 2006

Procrastination-- (trust me, it's a verb!)

Procrastination- verb. The fine art of housecleaning while textbooks glare and whisper the count-down to exams and assignment due dates.

I've never formally studied this art but am becoming incredibly well versed in its subtleties, intricacies, complexities... and other words I've recently googled between sweeping and mopping. With 3 hours remaining before my midterm, late birthday presents wrapped with matching tissue paper, ribbon, and wrapping paper, it looks like my toe nails need painting.

Montreal, QC

Wednesday September 06, 2006

The Thought Process

The doorbell rang and I thought: who could that be?....It's September 6th... must be my birthday present....

I signed for the package and thought: it looks like cds....interesting...

I opened the package, saw some gold cloth and thought: she is awesome with the wrapping....

I read the card and thought: so sweet, (and scratchy with the writing, he must have written it himself) "catch up on your reading" ....must be an oddly shaped book?...

I saw Sephora on the gold cloth and thought: a book of makeup?....

I opened the bag of gold cloth, saw a black box and thought: a nicely designed black book-like box.... of unusual.....

I opened the book-like black box and said: SHUT UP!?!....SHUT UP?!... SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP ......SERIOUSLY....SHUT UP!

I got a nano in the mail and thought: SHUT UP!

....and THANK YOU.....seriously though, shut up!

Montreal, QC

Wednesday August 16, 2006

"Because I said So....."

It's my birthday and I'll tell you what to do if I want to...

I'd like to introduce you to your tribe and our tribe. It only takes a few seconds and might just make your day. It'll definitely make mine...(and for those of you not paying attention, it is MY DAY.)

Step1: hug a relative (or call and remind them that you love them). This is the tribe you were given.

Step2: hug a friend (or call...same as above). This is the tribe you have made.

Pay attention: this is your tribe.

Step3: do something nice for someone who isn't a card-carrying member of your tribe.

Again, pay attention, it's almost over: now you have helped a member of our tribe, who may or may not be a member of one of your member's tribe.....sound familiar?

Go forth and do this, because it's my birthday, and (just like the title says) I said so.

Montreal, QC

Friday July 14, 2006 mind can make things happen

I was walking through my apartment after work and having stopped at the dep to pick up a six-pack, and I thought to myself, "the way this week has been going, it would be just my luck if the beers were all empty". The next best thing happened. As I was putting them in the fridge, sure enough, one was broken and filled with mold. So I went back to the dep and got a new six-pack. I learned a very valuable lesson: THINKING IS BAD. I plan on doing as little thinking as possible for the next few days. I'm sure a beer tonight will help that along nicely.

Montreal, QC

Friday June 30, 2006

The Epitome Of My Hero

I would have liked this to be an ode to my hero, but I'm no good at poems. My hero is a man who anyone could pass on the street not knowing that they are in the presence of greatness. He has all of the qualities one would associate with a movie star hero. He is strong and powerful although he most likely wouldn't admit it. He is successful and warm and charming. He has a heart of gold and the ability to see the good in people. My hero is human and he is more likely to admit his faults than take credit for his strengths. He is a man that I have admired for a long time. When I met him I think I must have known that he was a good man, but I can't say that I can remember that far back. The thing about heroes is that they are just a person that you know and there is no actual moment in time when they become heroes; when you look back it seems that they have always been there and they have always had those qualities that you think are awe-worthy. So, my hero was just a kid at some point and now he is someone that I look up to. Someone who is as excited about my achievements, no matter how small, as I am and sometimes more. My hero doesn't judge my mistakes and knows my strengths better than I know them myself. My hero likes people that do good for other people. My hero does good for other people. My hero makes me cry with his warm words of love and understanding and support. My hero is awesome. My hero is my brother and we should all be so fortunate as to know him.

Montreal, QC

Tuesday June 06, 2006


life is good, work is good. My jobs are keeping me super busy. I got involved in a "good people doing good" kind of thing that I'll tell you about later but for now just know that I'm loving life. My jobs are keeping me busy and my roommates are making me laugh when I don't wake up just happy to be me and my secret little projects are going well. When they come to fruition, I'll be sure to announce it! I hope all of you are doing well and that you have atleast a few minutes to remember that 'LIFE IS GOOD!'

Montreal, QC

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