Europe, My Love…

1120c225bef3d92a66a30a48945cbcc6.jpgRudesheim, Germany- Photo by Tio Ceho on the Fivehundredpx/Jose Plaza Photography

It is pictures like these that remind me that I am meant to live in Europe. How do I know it? I can just feel it. Whenever I see a photograph, hear a song, catch a phrase in a foreign language, my heart starts to beat faster. It is a dream so strong and so precious, that it physically hurts to not be living it. I lose myself in the possibility that, perhaps, this could become my reality.
So what do I do? I come back down to Earth, adjust my bearings, and fall in love and in purpose with Europe all over again.  I formulate my plan.
Now if that isn’t a sign then what is?
I don’t know when or where or how I am going to get there…but I will get there. One day. Some day. Soon.
LoveUntitled @_@

#The Sun Shines Differently in Florida#

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This past week a personal milestone was reached- my sister and I took our very first trip together!

The travel destination? Tampa Florida-a place I knew nothing about and, to be honest, had absolutely no interest in. Until now!

My sister was coming down for business and suggested I join her. “We can make an adventure out of it” she said as she perused flights. I readily agreed and, come Monday afternoon,  we had touched ground at Tampa International, pasty winter legs and fall coats in tow.

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Surprisingly, Tampa Florida is a lovely place, especially if you want to escape the rat race and slow down time.  The Riverwalk downtown offered some amazing restaurants to sip a cold one while taking in the hustle and bustle of Sail Point. My sister and I actually sat down face-to-face and had conversation…a rarity at home, as we don’t see eachother much.

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After two days we decided to explore the outskirts and headed over to Clearwater Beach. A truly spectacular spot, morning and evening are the best times to walk along the water and take in the soothing sensation of sand, sky and water. The crowds, concerts, eateries and boardwalk shopping make it a fun and lively scene for all ages. My sister was like a kid at the candy store! Splashing in the water, collecting seashells, sitting down to catch the sunset-it was a pleasure to experience it with her!

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And lastly, my favourite spot of the trip-Tarpon Springs! A small, quaint town off the coast, it’s a delightful place to grab some amazing Greek food, mouthwatering pastries and a great look at the beautiful local sponge harvesting and crafts. A very unique and enjoyable experience! We shopped and ate, and shopped some more, and ate some more…I have never been happier with these extra 5lbs haha. Worth every bite 🙂

Overall, Tampa Florida was a pleasant surprise, travel wise and personally, for I got to know and enjoy my sister all over again. A much needed getaway for the two of us! Can’t wait to plan the next adventure!

 

LoveUntiteld @_@

#A Dream Realized-Paris, France#

 

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Paris has always been an elusive city to me, a sort of beautiful dream. It was enchanting, alluring, romantic and captivating-but somehow, always a little out of reach for me and my bookseller/medical extern/research assistant budget.

But all that changed last fall, when my mother gave me the gift of a lifetime. I was going with her to Paris. Paris! The city of my dreams! I had talked up this fantasy with everyone for YEARS!; so much so that my name had become synonymous with Paris in my little circle of friends.

‘Paris? Oh! That must be for S.’

‘France? It’s definitely S you want to talk to. Go find her, she’ll tell you all about it’.

‘Geez! Can’t she just shut up about Paris already?!’ (lol)

Needless to say, it was a journey of a lifetime-and the complete opposite of what I had envisioned in my mind. The fairytale and the reality meshed together, creating a memory so humbling, soulful, eye-opening and utterly lovely that I don’t think I will ever recover from it.

And nor do I ever want to.

Stay tuned for my hilarious mother-daughter adventures in France, see you soon!   x

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#Me, The Holidays and A Boy Called Christmas#

Hello Friends! I recently started another blog devoted entirely to my obsession with books. It is a love affair that has spanned decades, with each and every book leaving it’s imprint on my life and my perspective of the world. I posted my first official post today, I hope you check it out!

Thank you!
LoveUntitled @_@

The Book In My Purse

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Every year, after the holiday has come and gone, I like to take a moment to just sit by my Christmas tree and reflect on how the season played out. Overall it was a nice Christmas and New Year-with moments of warm cheer, generosity and spirit, but also moments of loneliness, worry and solitude.

The holidays tend to be advertised as “the most wonderful time of the year”, but just like everyday life, it is an emotional rollercoaster, with its beautiful highs and lows amidst the softly falling snow.

While pondering these thoughts by the tree, the following book came to mind. “A Boy Called Christmas” by Matt Haig was gifted to me by the lovely Harper Collins Canada this season and it was wonderful, it completely mirrored my own Christmas spirit. Whenever those polarizing emotions  took over me, this book read like a favourite Aunt; empathizing with me…

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#None of that…but One#

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My friends and I were having a conversation the other day, and we realized that 2016 was coming to a close. A mere 10 days left of yet another year gone too quickly. I can’t say that 2016 was an extreme year for me; there were some great highs and some intense lows. But overall, it was a good year.

So we began to go around the table, stating resolutions and promises for the new year to come, and when it came to me I said, “None of that..but One”.

“What?” they exclaimed. “You the eternal optimist? The resolution maker? The goal achiever? What does that even mean?”

“It means” I said “That this year, I am having none of that, but for One thing. And that thing is, I’m going to choose Me”.

This was met with a varied chorus of  ‘Good-for-yous’ and ‘Whatevers’-but to me, that was the only thing that popped into my head. For the first time in my life, when I think of the New Year-I see nothing. No goals, no plans, no resolutions, no outlines.  Just a blank, white space.

And I realized, it’s because I made the decision to put myself first and I know NOTHING about myself. I am so used to putting others before me, to living and thinking and being another’s version of myself, that when I actually think about Me objectively-It’s just a blank white space.

This year, I am choosing to get to know Me. And it’s pretty damn exciting!

For the first time in my life, the spotlight is on Me. I get to focus entirely on myself first. I get to meet myself, befriend myself, learn about how I work, what makes me tick, what are my weak spots, how my brain runs, how my heart beats. Its pretty cool and I encourage you to try it.

For 2017, Choose You. Take time for You. Look at You. Meet You. Discover You. Be with You. Learn about You. Like You. Share You. Protect You. Speak Up for You. Respect You. Love You.

This is not a selfish act. It is a generous act, because when you love and take care of You, you can love and take care of Others properly. It’s a ripple effect. Everyone wins.

So hears to the coming of a wonderful New Year! May 2017 be filled with all the love, happiness, health, wealth, success, safety and magic in the world for you.

Take care and talk soon.

LoveUntitled @_@

#Caught In A Loveship#

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Eight years ago, I fell in love with my friend. I didn’t realize it till much later, and then I was too scared to say anything, for fear of ruining our friendship. Time passed, we grew apart, but still kept in touch. On a trip to Paris however, everything changed. I confessed my present love, He confessed his past love, and we realized we were too late. We had lost our chance. The moments were gone and all I am left with now is the ‘what if’-which, to me is the most heart-breaking thing of all.

We’re caught in a Loveship. Neither love, nor friendship-but the something in between. In order to get over my heartbreak, I wrote down every memory I have of Him in my journal. It made me smile and cry. He is a wonderful man and I want to celebrate His moments in my life, celebrate Him so much that eventually I can let Him go with a smile-and genuinely mean it.

As a result, I thought I’d share my story here. With You. I chose art by illustrator Pascal Campion (www.pascalcampion.com/shop) to complement each post because I just love his work. To me, his illustrations personify Love in all it’s forms and I think, in this case at least, he captures my “Loveship” perfectly.

Wish me luck..

LoveUntitled @_@

#Depression-It’s Ok#

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Poet Nayyirah Waheed

 

I’ve always wanted to get into poetry, and just for that I have found it to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever undertaken. I’ve read a variety of poets but somehow I never felt a connection.

You know that feeling of sudden awareness when a word or phrase reflects perfectly your immediate state of being? And your eyes widen and your heart contracts almost painfully with the knowledge that someone out there gets you? That connection. I’ve had it with many authors but, scarcely, with poets. Until now.

Nayyirah Waheed gets me. Or I get her. Or it’s a mutual ‘I-get-you’, I don’t know. But when I first read this verse, my heart skipped a beat in recognition. I felt relief. I am not a freak, I am not crazy, I am not scary. I’m just sick-and that is ok.

I write a lot about Depression and Mental Illness and i worry sometimes that I am dragging my readers down. My blog is about expressing things I love, and I try to keep it upbeat and fun and positive and whimsical; but I also want to keep it authentic and true, and for me Mental Illness is real. I suffer from Chronic Depression and Esteem issues which have directed me to make bad choices for myself and have created the rut i find myself stuck in now. And so I write about it, with the hopes that people will find comfort, relief and inspiration to avoid my mistakes and be comfortable seeking help for themselves.

Sometimes I browse online for information and I only find the how-to’s and success stories of Depression, rarely the struggle-in-the-trenches ones, which makes me feel even more distant from achieving that success myself. So I figured If I share my own stories-the really dark, deep, painful, tearful, debilitating emotions I feel with each episode, maybe another patient out there will relate and feel less alone, less afraid and just…relieved. Relieved that someone else out there understands. Relieved that he/she doesn’t have to suffer alone in silence And relieved that one can talk about it openly and seek help.

I made my first appointment with a psychiatrist for August and I am nervous. How much should I reveal? What will she say? What if I just cry through the whole thing? What if I have to take medication? Nervous much? Yeah, I’m nervous. But I’m tired of trying to handle this alone. I need help. I am very relieved to just say that-I need help.

And as Nayyirah Waheed says, “It is okay to hold your hearts outside of your body…”. That’s how you Heal.

And so, I’m going to continue with that first step, my heart on my sleeve, and start to heal too.

 

LoveUntitled @_@

 

#Moving Beyond Fear#

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Hello and apologies! It has been a very long time since I have come on here to write and share things. It has been a rough few months for my Depression and Anxiety, and a lot of things got put off because of them.

Over these past few months, I’ve been up and down. Successful and failed. Hopeful and defeated. Positive and in the depths of despair. And while I’ve always known why I am so emotionally volatile, I think I have finally wrung up the nerve to confront the reason out loud.

Fear.

Fear has been a constant force in my life- like the undercurrent of a river, directing every turn and every decision thus far. Fear of judgement, fear of mistakes, fear of failure, fear of everything falling apart (again!), fear of shame, guilt, regret, fear of being not good enough, fear of ugliness, fear of being too fat, fear of being laughed at,fear of being discovered, fear of poverty, fear of mediocrity, fear of being too loud, too quiet, too short, too honest, too meek, too different, too opinionated, too offensive, too conformist, too dark, too light, too fake, too real….the list goes on and on. And looking at it on the page, I realize that really, it’s a very silly list because it encompasses everything. It should really just say Fear of Life. Fear of Existence.

Well, two weeks ago after a meeting with the bank, this undercurrent of Fear overcame me, rising up into a full-on emotional tsunami and pulling me under hard. I was left distraught, sick with worry and anxiety and confined to my bed. Thoughts flashed through my mind like lightening:

What are you doing? How are you going to survive? What if you don’t make it? Why didn’t you work harder? What if I make the wrong decision again? Should I just quit? What if people find out I’m a failure? Why were you so stupid? Why is this happening to me? Do you have a right to even have dreams anymore? How will you get out of debt? Will you ever meet someone? Do you deserve anything good in life at all?

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

I was scared and depressed and stressed and anxious and at a total loss as to how to fix my life.

But fortunately, there was a silver lining amidst the turmoil. My friends, my lovely, sweet, attentive, caring friends. They noticed something was wrong. And one of them stopped by, and we talked and she told me something that made me think. She said, “I used to be exactly like you; worrying about the future, worrying about living paycheck to paycheck, stressing, crying, sick with fear. And then one day I woke up in the morning and just said ‘Fuck It’. I decided to stop coddling the fear and worry and stress and all I heard was this-You Go Through Things For A Reason and It Will All Work Out. In it’s own space and time, It Will Happen. And so now I only believe in these three things. I focus on them, I pray on them, I visualize them, I talk on them, I dream on them and, most importantly,  I live them out. And the Fear? It’s still there. I’m human so I do pick it up from time to time. But I absolutely don’t believe in it anymore. I refuse to let it obstruct me from Life anymore.  And so I put it back down, and I just keep going.” -(S.P-)

Wow. Now isn’t that something?

It really got me thinking, not only about Fear in my life, but of my reaction to Fear itself and the importance I give to it ( I even write it with a capital, surely that says something!). Looking back I realized that Fear has taken almost 30 years of time and energy spent denying myself and the right to live life on my own terms. That thought went straight to the heart and I cried. After acknowledging and grieving that loss, I thought back to my friend’s words.

Is it really possible to just kick Fear to the curb like that? Is that realistic or just another form of denial? Is there really a reason for everything that happens to you? What if, for 1 year, I chose to put Fear aside and instead lived as if everything were going to work out? As if things are coming together, at that right space and in that right time, and everything will turn out beautifully. What would that year look like?

And then another thought hit me, so suddenly I felt my heart constrict.

‘You have nothing to lose, give it a go’.

As I got dressed the next morning, I realized  that for the first time ever, I actually heard my own intuition speak to me. And I really did want to give it a try and find out myself what a year beyond Fear would look like.

So I made an appointment with a professional therapist ( I realized I can’t do this alone) and headed out to meet my friend for coffee (my BFF therapist), and seriously, for the first time in weeks, I felt light again.

 

LoveUntitled @_@

 

 

 

 

#The Beauty of The Storm#

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It’s amazing how Nature can mirror one’s soul at a single moment in time. I found this photograph on Pinterest and was struck at how much I resonated with it right now. There’s a storm brewing in my life. The wind is picking me up, blowing me nowhere in every direction. The rain has started, beating down steadily, unflinchingly, until I’m reduced to a crawl. It is hard, scary and difficult.

However, there is beauty in the storm as well. While it is wild and frightening, it is also temporary. And in this fleeting moment, it presents the opportunity to breakdown and face the fears, doubts, insecurities, anger, frustrations and tears that built up the storm in the first place. The process is not easy; on the contrary, it’s hurtful and shameful and remorseful and all types of pain personified, but it is also hopeful, and for that I keep going. One step at a time,  I trudge through each and every feeling until eventually, the storm stops. The skies clear and the storm calms and in a strong voice full of pride and and warmth, it says to me ‘Congratulations, you made it through. You looked it in the eye and you let it all go. Now you can start anew’.

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In this day and age where people are expected to display only the fun, bright, exciting sides of life, this is actually a beautiful gift.The opportunity to breakdown and rebuild oneself-therein lies the beauty of the storm.

LoveUntitled @_@