Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas: the season of lights, pine, and spices.

And showing off your crafts.

Although I don't have much to show off (no Christmas cards this year), I did want to make a wreath for the first time. So, I invited my friend Linzie and we adventured out to forests to get a few "props" on a Saturday morning. We gathered what we could (not many pine trees in the neighbourhood), and spent the afternoon wiring branches together. (It's tougher than it seems.)

Leftover pieces used for the wall, of course.

And the gifts.

This Christmas is a simple and quiet one for me. But I like it that way.
I hope that whatever you create and however you spend this holiday, you do it in love.

Merry Christmas from me to you x

Friday, September 19, 2014

The night, the end.

When I was very young, I used to fear the night.
Not because of the dark, but because it meant 'the end'.
It was the end of a day, the end of a conversation. The sun would leave us, and so would my parents.
I was 2, and 3, and 4.
Maybe it had to do with time, or change, or maybe it was the closing of the eyes and not knowing where that would take me. Whatever it was, it marked me. This certain fear of transition, this feeling that comes with endings and the unknown of what is coming in the morning, that stayed with me.

Years passed, and I still fought the dark.
But it was there that I found Him. In the 'in between', in the transition, in this strange battle I found myself in at the end of the day. I found Him there, sitting on my bedside.

We'd talk about the day, about my friends and school, and about my questions. We talked about change. We talked about what I wanted to become, what I was afraid of, what I was proud of.

I became fond of the night.
I still wasn't sure what would come when I'd open my eyes.
But I knew He'd be there.
I asked Him to be there.

It's September, almost Fall, and I feel this fear again. Something is ending. And something else is beginning. I have to close my eyes, without knowing what the morning looks like. It's the end of a day, of a conversation. It's the transition, the 'in between'.

And I'm reminded of the night. Something about it is necessary. Something about it is important.
It was there that I found You. It was there that I fought, but also let go.

There is something about change. There is something about 'the end'. There is something about closing your eyes and waking up again.

And so, I find You here, too.

Friday, July 25, 2014

You, too, feel it and know.

When my heart is heavy, I like to listen to songs about heart ache.

There is just something about hearing the words of another one's feelings,
the sounds of someone else's pain
that makes it feel less heavy.
Maybe it's the way that it makes me feel less alone, like we're singing this song together, like you're telling me that you, too, feel it and know. You just know.

I'm not one to write about romance very much. I can't even put it into song.
I always struggle to find the fitting words and feel like what I'm about to say has already been said.
But lately, I've been thinking a lot about people and relationships and being alone.

I had forgotten what it was like to spend time with myself. I hadn't really done it for a while, there were always distractions. But I'm learning to be okay with it - with being on my own.
There is a lot of pressure, all around. Pressure to be, to speak up, to dress up, to do and create and succeed. Pressure to heal and forget, to fall in love and get it right (every time), and to make mistakes but not the same one next time. Pressure to know without asking but "ask questions" they'd always tell me.
But, I don't know.

I don't know what it means to be in love. I don't know who we're "meant to be" or if there's anything we're supposed to be. I don't know if there is one, or two, or five. If there is one before the One. Or one after the other. I don't know when I am being selfish, or foolish, and blind. I don't know if this is all that matters, or if this is a glimpse into a bigger story, where one - the One - is who matters. I don't know if "forever" is forever and if it'll last. I don't know very much.

But I do know that love is real. I know that we are loved and when we love back, something shakes. I know that love is strong and patient and kind. I know that it's okay to be alone. I know that I grow a lot when I'm on my own. I know that people will come into my life, and I'll hold on, and then I'll have to let go. I'll pour my heart into them, and sometimes it'll break in return. But that's okay. It's okay to love whole-heartedly. And break, too. I know that now. I know that it's okay to break, because I'll heal eventually.
We all do.

There is no shame in loving with all of your heart. Because in the end, this is what marks another -
just how much you've loved them.
And I am learning to be okay with the temporary. With each 'come and go', I learn to grow. And with each fall, I realize how much I've always needed You. And how much You need me.

And this is the beauty of relationship, the "I need you" and "you need me". Not about age or place or beauty. Not about the venue or the music or the amount of words and lack of. Not about who replies back or who fell asleep, instead. But rather the way that this is in each of us; a push and pull to one another, a song that we are singing together, where you, too, feel it and know. It is the "I'll carry you" being said over and over and over again, expecting nothing in return.

So, whether I find one to hold onto, or if my heart aches and breaks and heals again; whether I am alone - or with another, I know that I am a part of a story - one that tells of longing and being longed for, of finding rest in the mysteries, and of holding on only to gracefully let go.

We hold on, only to gracefully let go.

...We hold on,
only to gracefully let go.

Monday, June 16, 2014

April and May: Here's to you, West Coast.








I just spent two months in Vancouver, British Columbia. It wasn't spontaneous, but it wasn't planned either. And I liked it better that way.

Let me back up.

I'm a person of plans, and when things don't go the way I had hoped for, I cringe, and break, and eventually cry. I have a hard time letting go. And more importantly, I have a hard time letting things simply "be".

But I needed a change of scenery. And a challenge.
I wanted to know that I could be okay even in the midst of uncertainty, I wanted to move away from the stable and familiar just so I could depend on the One I cannot see, I wanted to be uncomfortable just so I could grow, I wanted to face the ocean and the mountains and throw my old flesh away.
I wanted to break the routine and breathe all over again. To simply be. Without justifying.

Alongside Gabriela, we faded west. We climbed cliffs and waterfalls, gazed at the sea and sky and its sunsets, and ate a whole lot of donuts. But no matter how beautiful the ocean or how majestic the mountains, it was you who made it worth it. You and you and you and all who we met.
It was the community.
A community of the kindest hearts and the most inviting souls.
You took us in and became home to us. You made it easier - easier to let go, to breathe, and to be.
Your stories and your longings and your creations inspired us.
And for that, I thank you. I thank you for growing with me, for your genuine hearts, for the way you honor and value each other, for your conversations and your generosity.

I've come to realize that this is what matters after all.
Meeting Love in the faces of strangers who then become some of your closest friends,
sharing the things that make you joyous, the struggles that bring you pain, and the future that you dream of; doing life together, this is what makes you come alive.
So, here's to less plans and more surprises, to more being and less doing.
And here's to you, West Coasters. I'll see you soon. x

Monday, March 24, 2014

And so we hope to be surprised.

I've been told that I'm good at being honest, and that I have a way with words. But it's 1 in the morning and I am struggling to find the words to write.
My heart is longing and rejoicing and aching, too, in my many questions, and all I know is that it is beating and I am alive. I am alone, but I can hear You sing that Your love is strong and that You alone are worth the fight. Tonight, this is all I know, and I am letting it be enough.

There was a time when words and vulnerability frightened me more than anything, when the weight in my heart and my mind were too heavy for me to carry.

I was once told that nothing is impossible and that if I believed, I could move mountains. The child inside of me found no reason to doubt. I was 11, or maybe 12.
And I held onto those words with everything inside of me.

Until Fear creeped in.
I began to battle wars I couldn't win on my own. I was ashamed of being, of speaking up - I believed my voice didn't matter and that my words held no value. It took me hours before I could fall asleep, and I don't believe my mind ever found rest. I went over every conversation, every class presentation, my every action and response - over and over and over again - in my head.
I had become my own enemy.
I was 13.
I was 14, and 15, and 16, too.

And yet, I could still hear the words I had once heard and chose to hold close to my chest.
They trembled in me when I worried. They would echo and shake and fight the fights with me when I was weak and broken. They were with me. Those restless nights, those questions and cry-outs. They were with me. The desperation, the need, and the push-and-pulls. They were with me.
You were with me. You had always been with me.

And, one night, we faced them together. The fears, the worries, the monsters. You reminded me what I once believed - that I was valuable, that my voice mattered, that You were strong and You were with me, that I wasn't alone, and that I had a story worth telling.
You reminded me that nothing is impossible,
with You,
and together, we broke down walls.
It was 2007, and we had just moved to Ontario.

I began to take courage. I began to take risks, despite the fears. I began to speak up. I began to let go.
Even in the pain, I learned to be okay with feeling. I learned to be okay with the process of growing.
I learned to be okay with being human. And together, we awoke and You showed me what it meant to be alive. Together, we learned to breathe.

I became inspired by the people who surrounded me - the very people who continue to inspire and challenge me today, and I consider my best friends. I also found the story behind To Write Love On Her Arms. A story of pain, but also of hope and healing. A story of redemption. And a wake-up call. I realized that we were broken and hurting, and that the wars I had fought alone were being fought by other people, too. I realized we needed to be more honest and that our conversations needed to matter more. That the words I had once heard had to be shared.

It is out of this yearning that grew more honest relationships. It is out of that same heart that once carried the weight of every fear that grew the courage to be vulnerable. It is there that grew the desire to speak up and bring change, and out of that, grew a week of awareness and of hope, led by a group of us broken and growing and willing teenagers in high school.
It is out of this that this blog became. I started this blog to be honest with you and to be honest with myself.

I started this blog to tell the story of my healing and to remind myself that "nothing is impossible".
I started this blog to tell the story of Love and redemption.

7 years later, and I am asked to design a shirt for TWLOHA.

"And so we hope to be surprised."

It is 3 in the morning, you're singing "bring me back to the beginning again",
and being alive never looked this beautiful.

(Find the shirt here, with a few words here)

Monday, February 3, 2014

We're together in that, too.

Originally, I wanted to talk about culture. About magazines and perfection. And how we aren't perfect. 
Originally, I wanted to talk about the media. About how we are easily fooled. And how we fool back.

But tonight, I write about something that hurts my heart. Over and over again. About something that moves me - a shaking in my bones - and somehow in the pain, brings every inch inside of me to life.
Tonight, I write about loss, about the addictions and the monsters we hold too dearly to our chests
that leave us silent and alone, and about the very things I barely know how to write about.

Tonight, I write about the names we know and the names we don't. About the famous, but also about the invisible. This is for him.
This is for her.
And for them.
For the millions unheard and unspoken of: this is for you.

I break at the mention of overdose. Addiction or suicide. Depression, self-harm, or eating disorder.

The big screen. High school classrooms. Award ceremonies. Parties and sleepovers and graduations. Cafeterias. Dinners. And Christmas. Arenas. Sold out shows. Bedrooms, kitchens, "home". The elevators and the subways. Noise and crowds.

And the silence.

The left unsaid.
The fear to speak.

I have found myself here, where the people are many and the sounds are too loud, where the spotlight is on and where the attention is on the gold, the victories and successes. I have found myself here. Finding it hard to breathe. Pretending. Unable to be
true and honest. A mess in disguise.
And I think somewhere in here, you can find yourself, too.

But, how?
Just how can it be that we've become so numb to ourselves,
and to each other,

to him
and to her
and to them?

How have we grown so apart
so alone

It's okay to be honest. It's okay to hurt. Because I hurt, too. It's okay to be broken. We're together in that, too. Speak up. Break the silence in the noise. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your voice matters. You deserve to be alive. Your story is important.

We're human
telling a story of pain and of hope and redemption, too.

(And this may just have been what I originally intended to write
all along)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Letter Project

Sometime last year, I started 'The Letter Project' on Instagram, a project where I challenged myself to use different material to create the letters of the alphabet, each word representing one of my favorite things. On one hand to experiment with typography, and on the other to have something to complete, this project was a way for viewers to discover something new about me - of which I am the guiltiest.
Though created for others to see, I think I may have been the one to have learned the most about,

I learned this: my strengths are with the branches, the leaves and the flowers, I can go many, many days uninspired, it takes time to complete something, and zeal truly is my favorite word.

arbre ('tree' in french), birds, community, dreams, eyes, feuille ('leaf'/'paper' in french),
grapefruit, honey, ink, journals, kinfolk, lions, mornings, nutella,
ocean, (acoustic) pianos, quirk(y), rest, sunshine, teal, (the) unseen, vulnerability,
white, xulon, Yahweh, zeal

branches / leaves

dry petals

carved wood

thread sewn into fabric

dead branch / chalkboard

So, do something unexpected. See where it takes you, without knowing the final result.