The last month has been difficult. We’ve faced some almost impossible challenges, had major setbacks, lost loved ones, and had days where we didn’t even think we could get out of bed. It’s been one bad thing after another and we’re both feeling burnt out and emotionally drained.

I tried really hard to push past all of that this week and turn it around. Will and I have been developing arts programs for some non profit organizations and it’s something I’ve been very excited about. The programs are made to help people with mental illness, people affected by homelessness, and those with disabilities. Because I struggle with depression and have a disability the work that we’re doing is important to me and I want it to be successful.

The thing about my disability is that it greatly affects my confidence. It’s not physical, so looking at me you’d never say anything was wrong. It’s my brain that doesn’t function like it should. In a normal conversation you’d never notice. It’s only certain things, sometimes information gets jumbled and I can’t remember how to do something I could do perfectly ten minutes ago. It’s mostly anything that involves numbers. I have to stay away from math and sciences, but I’ve always excelled at the arts. Sometimes my measurements are off, but art doesn’t always need to be precise so I make it work.

professionally, it’s been hell. There aren’t many jobs out there for me, working retail is pretty much out of the question, I’ve tried several times and it never goes well. There isn’t much else in Newfoundland at the moment so I keep taking jobs that I know I can’t do, hoping that this time it will be different, but I always end up failing and feeling stupid. I have a degree in visual arts but it hasn’t gotten me very far. This is why this program Will and I are doing means so much to me. It’s a chance for me to create a job for myself.

I’ve been struggling with feeling confident that I can do this. I’m so used to having bosses, supervisors, and people in my life talking down to me that I find it almost impossible to show them how awesome and smart I am. In this setting Will does most of the talking anyway so my awkwardness hasn’t really mattered. He takes care of the planning and handles all the difficult situations. My job is to help teach classes, come up with ideas, and get people inspired.

Spring is a great time for fresh starts and new beginnings so this week I was determined to stop worrying about coming off as a dumbass. I was going to be brave and confident. I wanted my personality to shine so people would see that I am great to work with and not and awkward mess. I guess I just wanted to be impressive.

That didn’t happen.

Instead someone made me thier emotional punching bag. Made me feel targeted, stupid and like my ideas were pointless. I hadn’t even done anything, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m not going to lie, I spent a few hours crying and asking myself why I even bother. I know my ideas are good and I’m great at teaching art, but this incident made me feel really low. With my depression being as bad as it is I really didn’t need this right now. All I can do is try to push past it. I did nothing wrong and if I don’t end up with a job out of this I won’t feel too badly, I know it’s not a good working environment.

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I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want (Hint: its chocolate)

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Matcha green tea flavoured Kit Kat bars have been on my radar for a very long time. I remember coming across a list of Japanese Kit Kat flavours during my early 20’s and wanting to try every single one of them, unfortunately I didn’t have any way of getting them. So I put that goal at the bottom of my list and continued on with my life.

Fast forward 10+ years to my mom casually mentioning that she saw some “green tea or something bars down at the Walmart” and about 20 minutes later they were mine.

As much as I wanted to rip one open and try it, I decided to wait a few weeks until Will got back from a school trip. I’ve never met a person who loves chocolate more than Will and felt it was almost mean to try it without him. Meanwhile, he had already spotted them a few days ago in Alberta and tried one, but forgot to mention it. The nerve. Anyway, A few weeks passed, Will was back and I finally got to cross a flavour off my list.

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I’m a big fan of matcha so I figured I’d enjoy this bar and I was mostly right. While I did find it to be a lot sweeter than I expected, it was still very good. It didn’t have that sort of bitter taste you get with actual matcha, it was more like a sweetened creamy green tea latte. Will noted that they weren’t quiet as earthy tasting as he had hoped, he thinks matcha tastes like dirt and grass, but in a good way. I love the muted pastel green color of the chocolate and you still get that crispy wafer on the inside like a standard milk chocolate Kit Kat.

 

Overall I’m not nearly as obsessed with this bar as I originally thought I would be. I’m not going to go out of my way to get one, but I wouldn’t say no to one either. As for what flavour I’d like to try next, purple sweet potato or sakura strawberry sound pretty good.

 

One Day at a Time

I’ve switched provinces twice since my last post. Our time in British Columbia came to an end just as summer was beginning. Will finished up his second semester of the art therapy program and we promptly packed up what little we had in our tiny apartment and headed back east.

 

After a very difficult (and expensive) year we decided that life in Nelson wasn’t working for us and so Will made the choice to continue his program as a distance student. We spent the summer in Quebec working our usual seasonal jobs and in September we packed up again and made our way back to Newfoundland. There was a lot of uncertainty about moving back to the island at first but as things started falling into place we knew it was the right thing to do.

Being home again has had it’s ups and downs. A lot has changed and sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here anymore. I’m sure I’ve changed as well. I experienced a lot of new things in B.C (both good and bad) and my time there certainly left it’s mark on me. St. John’s feels familiar and comforting, which is something I desperately needed after my year away, but it doesn’t exactly feel like home anymore. I live here, but I’m not truly living here, if that makes sense. Will finishes school in a few months and I’m hoping once we settle down and start doing regular life stuff that feeling will fade. I haven’t been able to settle in and get comfortable anywhere in the last 5 years, we’ve always been on the move. Putting down some roots here will be a welcomed change.

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Right now we’re trying to take things slowly. I’ve taken some time off work to deal with a health problem and focus on my art and Will is busy writing his thesis. I’m not entirely sure what the future holds so I’m doing my best to focus on the present and enjoy everything around me.

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BC Wildlife Park

One of the cute things about Will and I is that our birthdays are a day apart. He was born on September 1st and I was born on September 3rd! (although a few years before him) So every year we plan a few days of birthday activities and make a big celebration out of it. This usually this involves going to our favourite restaurants and places in either the Gatineau/Ottawa area or in Newfoundland. This year we’ve moved to entirely new town where we haven’t discovered any new favourites yet. With Will starting school in a few days we figured we’d go on one last little trip before he gets bogged down with work.

We packed up our stuff and headed to Kamloops to check our The BC Wildlife Park.

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The park is a non-profit that takes in injured or rescued animals and either fixes them up and releases them back into the wild, or if the animal can’t be released, the park gives them a permanent home. We’ve also visited The Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden BC, as well as Boo the grizzly bear at Kicking Horse. The staff in both places explained that there is a big need for these types of places in British Columbia. It was only $15 per adult as well which is very good for all the things you can see and do there.

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The BC Wildlife Park is much like Parc Omega in Quebec, and Salmonier Nature Park park in Newfoundland. Animals have large enclosures which mimic the habitats they’re usually found in, they can pretty much do everything they’d do in the wild, except hunt. One of the staff members explained that they try really hard to hide food around their enclosures to make it challenging for them, like it would be in the wild. While we were they we watched a porcupine climb all over its space to get at the goodies and got to see grizzly bears flip over giant logs to get at the food hidden underneath!

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As for the kinds of animals we saw, there was a lot.  From farm animals like miniature donkeys, sheep, goats, and chickens, to some familiar Canadian residents such as bears, bison, mountain goats, and moose. There were also some animals you definitely wouldn’t find out in the wild here, like Patagonian mara as well a bactrian camels. One animal we were very excited to see was the kermode bear, or spirit bear, which is a rare white black bear.

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Another favourite were the owls and birds of prey. The park educates the public about Canadian wildlife as well. We were invited to see special information session with a snowy owl as well as a little demonstration of how owls hear. There was also an interactive element for kids if they wanted to participate.

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Burrowing Owl

I really liked the educational aspect of the park, this is a great place to take children who are interested in animals. It was also great for adults as well, we really enjoyed the walking trails, which were nice after a day of driving. Also, since bears seem to be incredibly common here it was nice to learn more about them and get to really see them, gigantic claws and all, in a safe way.

Overall we had a pretty good birthday this year. We’ve discovered that camping in BC is the worst, but that’s a story for another time.

Click the eagle to see the rest of my photos. 

BC Wildlife Park

What I Wore: in the Past

Here are the previous What I Wore posts from my old blog. I also found some photos of the outfits as well.

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This was one of my favourite outfits, I probably wore it at least once a week.

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Going back through these images makes me sad because with the exception of the orange cardigan, a lot of these pieces are no longer hanging in my closet. Most of them formed holes that couldn’t be repaired or I donated them to be loved by someone else.

What I Wore: When I Gave UP

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Its been a very long time since I’ve done one of these outfit drawings. The intent was always there, but because of several changes to my life, I didn’t have the drive to sit down and draw.

Some people in my life know that I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for several years. It’s not really something I like talking about though so it might be news to a lot of you. I’ve had some very good times and some very very bad times. One way I’ve learned to cope with all the awful feelings in my head is to focus on keeping the rest of my body happy. Keeping myself healthy and putting effort into looking good (to myself, because I’m not great at following trends) does wonders for me on a bad day. I’m also very big on routines and scheduling my time. Waking up early, getting work done, making sure I have time for exercise, seeing friends, and whatever else comes at me. This way of life kept me functioning as a person and usually stopped me from hiding under a bunch of blankets until a couple of years ago when I decided to make some big changes. I ended up in a drastically different situation than I had been in before. I haven’t spent more than 6 months in the same city and as soon as I find myself settling in, I have to pack up and move again. Some people would hate living like that, however it doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s actually pretty exciting for me and I’ve gotten used to living with the essentials, I don’t even own a TV!

The only downside to my life at the moment is that my routine has been thrown out the window, I don’t really feel much like wearing makeup anymore, and the clothing that used to make me feel great about my body no longer suits my lifestyle. I’ve also adapted some of my boyfriend’s eating habits, and while he can eat a steady diet of junk food and still maintain the body of a greek statue, I cannot. I’ve gradually become less healthy, which has caused changes in my skin as well as thinning hair. My self-esteem has been slowly vanishing and despite trying really hard to ignore it, I’m definitely depressed.

In short, I’m a mess.

Yesterday it all sort of came to a boiling point. I threw my pleather jacket on over my hoodie and headed out the door to run some errands with my mom. I caught my reflection in a glass window and was like “oh, oh no, this is not good, why do I look and feel so awful all the time?” I spent the night in deep reflection, trying to figure out how I got to this point and why looking good was so important to me. I realized it isn’t so much about looking good as it is about how I make myself feel good. It never occurred to me that giving up on my routine was basically giving up on myself.

So now that I’ve figured out why I feel bad, I have to figure out how to fix it.

Scheduling my time and coming up with a routine is going to be hard, especially since I share my time Will now and in a couple of months we could be moving again. I think its definitely going to be a work in progress until we settle in again, especially since the next move we make will hopefully be for at least two years.

I’m going to try to put effort into looking good and feeling comfortable with myself again. A few weeks ago I did that whole “minimalist wardrobe” thing were you purge all your useless stuff and keep only the things you love and have worn over the last 6 months. This is a bit of an extra challenge for me because every 6 months I switch between cities with drastically different weather. So I ended up keeping some extra things that I love, but don’t get to wear very often because they are too warm for Quebec in the summer. The minimalist wardrobe purge did say that the process would help you figure out your personal style, but I kind of just ended up with a bunch of things that I wear out of necessity and I honestly wasn’t thrilled about putting on every day. So I went out and raided the sale rack at my favourite store for some new things that look good on my body and will fit with my lifestyle. I’m also trying to put more effort into caring for my skin and putting pretty colors on my face more often.

As for getting back to a healthy place again, that is definitely going to take a lot of effort. I’ve been trying to eat better for the last few weeks but I keep getting distracted by chocolate and bubble waffles.

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Will’s face though.

I have to crack down on my diet and I’m going to try to pick up running again, even though it makes me feel tired and awful the next day. It gets better eventually, right? hopefully a change in diet and less stress from being sad will also make my hair happy again.

Its going to take a lot of effort but I’m really hoping I can get both my mental and physical self back to where it was again.

 

 

Reset

Its hard to form any kind of routine when you’re always in the process of relocating from one place to another. Habits, both good and bad are formed and after a year or so you get used to a kind of normal that would seem intolerable to others. While I’ve managed to get used to living in two drastically different places, sometimes the stress of it all starts wearing me down. Right now we’re in the process of waiting to see where the next move will be and as much as I love St. John’s I can’t wait to start a new adventure, especially one that involves staying put for a couple of years.

Back to the whole stress bit, lately I’ve been feeling super tired and irritable. I haven’t been eating or sleeping properly, my creativity seems to have disappeared, and all I want to do is camp out on the couch under a blanket while marathoning Parks and Recreation. In an effort to focus on the positive and be less distracted, I decided to get off Facebook and Instagram, at least for a little while. I wanted to start this blog up again so I could have a space to write my thoughts, reflect, and share the best aspects of my life.

One thing I’m doing to help get myself get back on track is changing my diet up a bit.

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Will and the little bread bear

I definitely overindulged in sweeties over the holidays and now my body is getting the slow sluggish feeling that comes from depriving it of healthy foods. Thankfully Will and I enjoy cooking so a goal for this year is to try some new recipes that will make our bellies happy and healthy.

I had the craving for something sweet today so I decided to make some cookie dough bites. These are great because they’re quick to throw together, don’t require an oven, and you get protein, vitamins, and minerals. Awesome.

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The recipe can be found here. I used blackcurrant flavoured maple syrup instead of regular, which brings an exciting flavour to the cookie party. I also used cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips because I like their crunchiness and they have a nice chocolaty taste without being sweet.

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I’ve found that sometimes the dough turns out sort of sticky, which makes it hard to form it into balls. Greasing your hands up with some coconut oil solves that problem.

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I hope to have some more recipe tests, travel tales, and pictures of projects I’m working on up here in the future. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping that leaving facebook will drive me to be more creative and go outside more.