Still Wild At Heart

13 Feb


Something has happened to me and I didn’t see it coming.   If I analyzed each component of this realization individually I might not have come to the same conclusion.  It is the combination of all components which made me go ‘WOW’ something has happened.

Clue #1: I am currently sitting at the gate for my flight 2 hours early. I am actually at the gate.   That means I arrived at the airport 2 hours and 30 minutes before my flight.  I’ve never been one to stress greatly about time when it comes to getting to the airport – I like to get there in the shortest amount of time without being considered late.  One hour. I am not one for waiting around when waiting around isn’t necessary.  I am normally the last one getting on the plane as I want to spend the least amount of time possible jammed into my seat.  Although in recent times getting on the plane early has its merits since most everyone brings an excessive amount of checked luggage and if you don’t get on early there is no room left.   But let’ focus on me arriving early to the airport.

Clue #2: Practicality when it comes to fashion is not my jam. In spring, summer and fall my Carrie Bradshaw ways to do not cause any issues.  Enter winter.  In the past, I’ve been known to wear heels in a snow storm, and one winter, when I lived in Toronto, I survived with a jean jacket as I couldn’t find a winter jacket I liked enough.  I was willing to suffer through the cold all in the spirit of avoiding being ‘not-fashionable’.  I subjected myself to salt stains on shoes and frozen appendages by choice.   As I sit here at my gate 2 hours before my flight I can’t help but take account of what I am wearing.  I have a stylish winter jacket and on my feet… rubber boots.  Granted they are not regular rubber boots – they look like leather boots and they are a chic moto style.  It made me think even further – I did not even pack a pair of heels for this trip.  A pair of booties with a heel (but not heels).  Socks can be worn with the booties.

Clue #3: Last night (and most nights) before I went to bed I cleansed my face. I exfoliated.  I removed my eye make-up.  I moisturized.  I moisturized my neck.  When I woke up this morning I didn’t have yesterday on my face and red lipstick on my pillow.

Clue #4: Last Friday night when I arrived in Toronto I stayed with one of my girlfriends. Traditionally we could jump right into socializing and sleep very little.   I had a very busy week leading up to my departure and knew we had plans on Saturday night with a big group of girlfriends.  I found myself saying – I am fine to stay in and get a good sleep in order to be fresh for tomorrow.  What?  Did I actually say that?  Let’s stay in so we can be fresh for tomorrow.  I think most anyone who knows me would say I am a social creature who would rarely miss out on an opportunity to fraternize.  Especially when there could be hot men found.  ESPECIALLY when there could be hot men found.

Clue #5: Prior to my departure for this trip I had my laundry done a day early. I packed with strategy vs an eleventh hour throw together. I had cleaned out my fridge as I was leaving for 10 days.  I put the garbage and compost out.  I got my nails done the day before.  I left the key in the cupboard outside of my doorway in case someone needed to stay there was I was gone.  My departure was organized.

(I had to stop writing at this point as my flight was boarding)

On my flight home I had an older woman from Newfoundland seated beside me.  There were no TV screens on the plane to be distracted by andshe was up for some chatting, so we gabbed and laughed for most of the flight.  We covered a lot of subjects: travel, health, relationships, online dating, adoption, death and Trump (of course).  I roared at some of the funny things she said.  When talking about a friends daughter she said ‘Anna was looking for a man and let’s just say she wasn’t picky’.  At the end of the flight she said to me ‘Well, how lucky was I to sit by you.  What an interesting person you are and life you have.  You’re just so much fun – I haven’t laughed like that in awhile.’  And I said the same to her.

So when I put it all together: early to the airport, wearing appropriate clothing, a consistent skin care routine, choosing to be fresh over hunting for men and having my place perfectly organized prior to my departure. I have become sensible.  I need to find a better term for it – like some women who do not want to be called Grandma, being called sensible doesn’t resonate well with me.  Mature, grounded, evolved.    There is no sexy substitute for it.  I’ve resolved that just because I am on time, wearing waterproof shoes and feeling well rested does not mean that I am boring. I may have become more sensible in my ways, but as my seatmate recognized I’ve not lost my wild heart.

“Being tame is what we’re taught: … put the crayons back, stay in line, don’t talk too loud, keep your knees together, nice girls don’t…
As you might know, nice girls DO, and they like to feel wild and alive. Being tame feels safe, being wild, unsafe. Yet safety is an illusion anyway. We are not in control. No matter how dry and tame and nice we live, we will die. And we will suffer along the way. Living wild is its own reward.”  S.A.R.K.


Flying on your own

24 Dec


I went to Christmas Eve mass tonight in the small church where I was baptized and got my first communion.  Well actually, it is not the same church as a few years back the original building went up in flames and needed to be replaced.   It seems there was a local fire starter as that year 3 or 4 big buildings burnt to the ground in this small rural community.  Although no one was ever arrested in the words of my mother ‘something queer was going on.’  Most of the people in the church are related to me or I grew up with them.  It has always been a social sniff out – see who is home for Christmas, who brought a new  man/woman home, who had a baby, who looks better and who looks worse

Last year I wanted to go to church even less than I usually want to go as I had very recently broken up with my boyfriend who I lived with.  It was an absolute guarantee someone was going to ask me where he was or the real gassy ones might say ‘are you getting a diamond for Christmas?’  Nope, I gave him a different finger.  When you see someone you haven’t seen in a bit it is very standard to ask ‘what is new with you?  There are social norms for someone my age to respond with:

  1. I got engaged
  2. I got married
  3. I had a baby

When you have none of those things to report it feels so goddamn awkward.  It is kind of like the autopilot question ‘how are you’ to which we respond ‘good’.  No one actually wants to hear you say ‘my boyfriend and I just broke up, I don’t know where I am going to be living and I hope Mom and Dad give me a Christmas present.’  But that was a year ago and although that question still feels awkward I am completely confidant in reporting the fact that I am single and ready to mingle (if anyone reading knows a fabulous guy let a girl know).  My ever-so-thoughtful best friend is also home for Christmas.  She just had a baby so she has something to report this year. She was on a brain storm last night of who the guy for me might be and where I could meet him.  She said – tomorrow night in church look around and see if there is anyone there.  You never know who might be home or who might be single now.’  As much as I appreciate the gesture finding someone in church in Maryvale would be like having a sighting of The Lochness Monster or winning the lottery.  Very unlikely.

Tonight, in the middle of mass there was a commotion at the back of the church.  At first I thought it was the man of my dreams coming to find me.  Shit, my imagination got the better of me.    In reality someone fainted.   My Dad loves Rita MacNeil, a singer from Cape Breton.  She had a cleft pallet and was as wide as she was tall.  There were many Rita MacNeil jokes – she threw her underwear into the crowd at her concert and suffocated the first two rows. For a woman who outwardly looked like someone I would never relate to, her lyrics resonate with me.  I too love her songs.  If my dear friend Sacha is reading this she will be dying laughing at this point as she also is an in-the-closet Rita MacNeil lover. We have both increased the YouTube views of Rita’s songs. One song in particular is Flying On Your Own.  If Rita can do it so can I.

Think before you speak (and post)

16 Dec

hiding-computerI’ve always been a positive person.  I wake up feeling happy and look forward to seeing what the day is going to bring me (and what I will bring to it).  If someone ever gave me a set of pajamas that say ‘Don’t Talk To Me Until I Have My Coffee’ they wouldn’t know me well at all.  I like to think I am ‘realistically positive’.  Not the type of positive that you want to kick in the teeth.   There are things I find hard to be positive about –  winter for one. There is a whole lot of ugly commentary that goes on in my head surrounding winter. But then I am able to move on from it as my it is my choice to live in a part of the world where winter happens.   I remember going to my confirmation classes with our priest and one of the boys asked facetiously ‘Father, do I have to confess EVERY dirty thought I have?’ to which Father MacDonald replied ‘If you confessed you that you had 13 dirty thoughts today I would beat you and say I had 19’.  Kind of like dirty thoughts – everyone has negative thoughts.

I’ve noticed something lately though and it is eating at my positive self. Media and social media has caused our society to become this cesspool of negativity.   Trump consumed people for months and the media/people posted every awful thing he said or did. It was as if the world was ending. Post after post of hysteria.   Police officers, drivers, developers, healthcare – no one is safe from this online judgement.  Where I live there is the threat of a teachers strike right now.  There is work to rule action in place – meaning that teachers are only doing what their contract binds them to do.  It seems every other person is posting some awful accusation or critical viewpoint of teachers or the government.  It is as if social media has given all of those ugly inner thoughts we have a place to be displayed and confessed.  In the past it meant going over to someone’s house to talk or writing a letter to the paper or going to a public political meeting.  It takes balls to get up in front of a group to speak publically about a criticism you may have and it takes skill to write a well crafted letter which the paper will print.  It doesn’t take much courage or skill to post negative/critical comments online.  In fact, any donkey or educated person (who statistically are actually the most critical) with an internet connection can do it.  Just like the earlier mentioned dirty thoughts – not every thought you have needs to be confessed.

It is the holiday season.  A time when we are historically especially stressed. And we all know what stress does: it brings those ugly-inner-critical-of-others-thoughts closer to the surface.   We are rushing around searching for presents, getting groceries, travelling.  Here are a few facts: it is going to be busy.  The parking lot is going to be full.  There are going to be lines.   And if you’re travelling the airlines might lose your luggage.  But what we must remember is that we are choosing to do whatever it is that we are doing. Set yourself up for success.  Have a drink before you go.  Go for a run.  Get laid.  Whatever it takes to get you into a good frame of mind.  Don’t go to Costco at 2 pm on a Saturday.

Before you go take a minute (or rather 4:23) to watch this video

I hope reading this has encouraged you to think before you speak, post or share.  The fact is: teachers are people who also have children, politicians are people we voted into power, you’ve been the person who didn’t see the light turn green and should remember how jarring it is to have someone blare their horn at you, you’ve been helped by a police officer before and our healthcare system has saved the life of someone you love.  I know you’re better than that.  Come on team let’s look on the bright side of things.  You’re alive.  Use your input in a more powerful way.


T: is it true?

H: is it helpful?

I: is it inspiring

N: is it necessary?

K: it is kind?


Do It. Now.

5 Dec


I deal with loss on a regular basis through my work – I meet women who I get to know well, become friends with and often times they die.  This past weekend someone especially impactful died.  She was funny.  She was feisty.  She was smart. She was independent.  She was strong. She was 39.  She died from ovarian cancer.   Her death was a stark reminder that being gifted with a long and healthy life is not a guarantee.

Our society has somehow been fooled into having bigger houses, more stuff, more debt and needing to work more (and longer) to pay for all of it. Yet when faced with death the most common things people say is that:

  1. They wish they worked less
  2. They wish they spent more time with family and friends
  3. They wish they expressed their feelings more
  4. They wish they had worked on being happy / being themselves
  5. They wish they did the things they wanted to do

Everyone is always so incredibly ‘busy’.  Research shows that smartphones have increased our work days by 2 hours per day.  2 hours per day!!  That is 10 hours per week.  That is an entire work day (and then some) we are not getting paid anything extra for or given time in lieu for.  On the weekend one of my brothers and I were talking about political parties.  Steve said – if the PC’s and NDP’s took the time they spent pointing fingers at the Liberals and replaced it with thoughtful contributions, can you imagine how much more productive they would be?  Can you imagine if you freed up 10 hours of your week by working less what you could do with that time? That is a full work week per month.  That is 3 months of freed up time per year!  You could spend time with friends and family, you could learn something new, you could sleep, you could exercise, you could read… doesn’t that sound oddly like the things people wished they did before dying?

We no longer need to grow the garden to have food, to raise the cow to have meat, to sew the dress so we have something to wear.  Nor do we have to wash the dishes and clothing by hand so we have dishes to eat off and clean clothes to wear.  Nope. We have so many modern conveniences that allow us to free up time.  We have fewer kids. We have more choice. Yet, I most commonly hear people say they are so ‘busy’.  We’ve managed to fill our days being busy and being overcommitted doing things we choose to do.   Isn’t that ironic?  A birthday party used to be a bunch of kids playing, eating hotdogs and chowing down on ice cream cake from the DQ. Now it is an Oscar like production with Pinterest inspired treat bags and cake, pictures for social media and really what is it for?  I am guessing kids might have more fun running around, eating hotdogs and chowing down on ice cream cake.

I make a concerted effort to do things I enjoy and make time for people I love.  I try to limit stress and up my fun factor daily.  Granted, I am single and do not have children, but hopefully I will be able to keep up my habits if I ever have a partner and children to manage. Thankfully up until now I’ve been blessed with good health. Often times people need a big fat slap in the face to jump off the treadmill so many are on. A cancer diagnosis, a heart attack, the end of a relationship, the death of someone we love (who we feel guilty for not spending more time with) or the realization that it has been months since you picked up the phone to talk to a friend.

So whoever you are reading this… get your shit together and DO IT.  NOW.  Don’t wait.  Work less.  Give the gift of presence.  I mean really who wants their obituary to say that you were such a great employee – he/she worked more than we paid him for?   Sleep more.  Exercise More. Spend more time with your parents.  With your kids.  With your siblings.  With your friends.  Book the trip.  Buy the shoes.  Ask someone you like out.  Forgive.  Go on a date with your partner.  Sign up for a class.  Get out of that relationship that is bringing you down.

Because if tomorrow never comes…







For the love of travel…

9 Nov


There are few things that excite me more than checking in for a flight.  I love getting out of dodge, hitting the skies and landing somewhere different than where I live.  I literally equate most costs I am considering down to the value of a plane ticket.  I currently do not have a car as every time I consider the cost I quickly do some math.  2 months worth of a payment/insurance and gas adds up to the price of a plane ticket to say Munich.  4 months adds up to the total cost of a trip to Munich where I could get to visit my sweet nieces.  For now I am willing to walk, take taxis, shuttles or rent cars in an effort to keep my cash conserved for taking off.  Being single and childless my vacation and time use is up to me.   I choose to spend my moola and time on travel.  Tomorrow evening I am heading to London for a little f-u-n (and hopefully get away from all of this atrocious Trump talk) with a girlfriend

I wouldn’t even be able to count the amount of flights I’ve taken over the years.  Definitely 100’s of flight segments.  You know how they say the more you do something the easier it gets.  The more practice you have the more skillful you become.  I am not sure where my brain is when it comes to packing for travel, but it always seems like it is somewhere else.   It is kind of like getting your period.  I got mine when I was 12.  I am now 36.  That is 24 years.  Since I’ve never had a baby  that is 12 times a year for 24 years.  That is 288 periods.  I’ve had 288 practices and I still don’t have suave skills. Only in recent years have I kind of finally gotten it together around my period.  As one of my girlfriends said – one of the greatest challenges of my month is getting to my underwear before my period does.   Why do I feel so abnormally tired I will be thinking?  Why is my lower back sore I will be thinking?   I mean my phone can manage my period if I wanted it to, but that isn’t my style.  Success with your period is having all of the right stuff in the right place at the right time.  Just like what is in your suitcase when you are traveling.  All the right things need to be there for success.  Even though I’ve packed 100’s of times I just never seem to get it right.

My parents live in a rural community.  I’ve been known to show up at home for the weekend with a leather dress, high heels, a pair of jeans, no tops, no flats… you get the picture.  Not only is the mix not at all practical, but it is hard to even make an outfit from it (pants but no shirts).  Let’s focus on that word practical.   In its dictionary meaning it is: inclined toward or fitted for actual use.  Here is the thing, when I pack I think my mind wanders to — what COULD happen and that gets me distracted.  Like, what if something fun comes up while I am at Mom and Dad’s?  Therefore I should have a leather dress and heels with me.  So could you say that I am practical in that I think to pack things which are of use for non-practical things which might happen?   I can stack wood in my pj’s but if a date or event in a town of 20,000 came up unexpectedly I couldn’t wear lulu’s – I am prepared for the unexpected (although the unexpected is extremely unlikely – as in it never happens).  As I mentioned above I am willing to walk (usually in heels of some sort) instead of having a car… so I do have a somewhat practical nature just not when it comes to clothing.

Earlier this year I spent 5 weeks in Australia.  Packing for 30 degree weather made it easier, but this little over dresser successfully left home with a backpack and that is it.  I shocked myself.  I’ve managed to cut down what I pack in an effort to avoid those atrocious airline baggage fees.  I can pack at least the weight of my 6 year old niece into an airline approved carry on.  But then folks there is the way back.  If I buy even a pair of socks I don’t have room to put them in my carry on as every square inch of it is already occupied.  I usually end up with some awkward shopping bag strapped over the handle of my roller.  The bag usually flips off or rips.  Which usually results in me cursing.

On this trip things are going to be different folks.  I am going to change my ‘non practical bad packer’ habits.  I promise you (and myself) that I am going to be light and lean.  My footwear is going to be sturdy, my outerwear meant for the elements, my lipstick stock limited to 2 and my sequin count zero – but my pants will be leather and my jewelry not so subtle.   It is London after all, if I need to buy something juicy it is a great place to do that and I will have room in my suitcase to take it home.

All dogs go to heaven

24 Oct


I’ve always been a dog lover.  As a kid I had a Dogs Annual Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds and  I literally memorized most of them.  My soft spot for dogs is similar to chocolate for some or football for others.

We had some great dogs growing up and after  years of wanting my own dog the time was finally right and so six years ago I got Millie a West Highland Terrier.   She is very cute, athletic, loves to watch TV (and bark at every dog and horse who dare come into our living room), follows me everywhere I go (she only sleeps if I am sitting still), extremely smart, territorial with certain dogs and is 100% obsessed with me (and squirrels).  Other than me going away or doing social things she can’t come to – we literally spend 24 hours a day together as she comes to work with me, sleeps with me and goes to parties, visiting, etc.  My cousin nicknamed her ‘The Diana Ross of Dogs’ as she is a bit of a diva.   When I got Millie I started to take her to a school yard around the corner from where I lived as I heard there was a group a people who congregate there at 7 am with their K9 sidekicks.  Every morning, Monday to Friday for the 3 years I lived in that neighbourhood in the sun/wind/snow or rain I would stand on the field with my dog friends.   There was a real mish mash of young, middle aged, older, men, women, weirdo’s and normal (somewhat) folks.  Not as extreme as Best in Show.  We had a lot of solid laughs over the years as we stood there freezing our butts off, picking up dog poop and chatting about what was happening in each others lives.  John would make fun of Ray and Judy who were neurotic about their dog.  I would tell them ferocious tales of dating and travelling the world.  One friend I made was Simon and his dog Roo- the two of them had a very evident bond.  Roo was never on a leash as the only thing he was interested in was following Simon around.    Roo was kind of a complicated dog and so we nicknamed him Jimmy Melvin (Jimmy Melvin is a local notorious criminal).  For any of you reading this who grew up watching Canadian television Roo reminded me a lot of  The Littlest Hobo.  He would mostly only let Simon touch him (but after about a year he started to trust me and would let me give him a pat).   Simon is also quite a character and so the two of them were a match made in heaven.  I’ve heard Simon speak to Roo just like he was a human buddy trotting along beside him.  It seems they were both just what the other one needed.  My brother and family got a puppy this summer and so my sister-in-law brings him to the same school yard I used to go to.  She has gotten to know some of my old pals  She told me Roo wasn’t feeling well last week and so Simon has been on my mind.  As I mentioned I take Millie to work with me and now that Preston is part of the family I walk to my brothers house and take him to work with us – Simon and Roo live a few blocks from them.  I have a route I take, but this morning I decided to change it up and along the way ran into Simon (this kind of stuff happens to me all the time).  I haven’t run into Simon on the street in months and months and if I had taken my normal way I wouldn’t have run into him.  Of course I asked him straight away how Roo was and he sadly told me Roo had to be put down on Saturday.  We had a moment on Vernon Street. Completely heartbreaking.  I’ve been thinking about them all day.

The friendship you have with your dog is so special.  Who else is excited to see you after you’ve only been gone for 4.5 minutes.  Who else can come put their head on your lap while you are on the toilet?  Who else goes to bed when you do and wakes up when you do?  Who else wants to go everywhere you go?  Who else wants to protect you from any threat (even if it is a 8lb Yorkie wearing a pink jacket)?   Who else wants to watch you fold laundry?  Who else wants likes whatever you like on TV?  Who else forgives you within minutes after scolding them?  Who else never criticizes you?  Who else likes your taste in music all the time?   Who else gets sad every-single-time you go away?  As they say, not every person knows how to love a dog, but every dog knows how to love a person.

The only problem with having a dog is that it is very likely that you will outlive them.  Millie promised me that she would live to at least 15 and we shook her paw on it.  A few weeks back I was at my Mom and Dads house and made the fatal error of watching Marley and Me (I’ve read the book but never saw the movie in its entirety).  I was a sobbing mess which caused Millie and my parents dog to come running to me wondering what was wrong – I had one laying on top of me and one staring at me as I sniffed away.  As Simon said this morning he can’t even think of getting another dog anytime soon as Roo was his solid companion and he was so unique that he will never find another dog like him.

Having a dog not only brings you the friendship you have with your dog, but it brings so many other people into your life.  Over the course of the 6 years I’ve had Millie I’ve made many friends through her.  Babies and dogs make it socially acceptable to chat with a complete stranger.  Simon, my friend,  I am glad Roo brought you to the dog park and I got to know the both of you.

All that we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we have deeply loved becomes part of us –  Helen Keller.

Authenticity: the courage to be yourself

21 Oct


Earlier this week I attended a women’s empowerment/networking event and directly after that I scooted over to a fundraiser where a famous Canadian cook book author was speaking.  I didn’t think the two events would collide topic wise but they did.  The author didn’t speak about creating recipes or testing them – she focussed on talking about loving yourself, believing in yourself, following your instincts and having a sense of humor along the way.  She continued to talk about the psychology of getting skinny/being skinny – it is a whole lot harder to do when you have negative thoughts in your head about yourself and you’re hanging onto things that happened to you in the past.

I was born with a very large mole on the side of my face.  Not just a flat one, but a raised one with hair and a nice brown ring around it which made it even bigger.  Awesome, just what you want on your cheek.   I had a very special grandfather – he was a big gentle giant type and even though he passed away suddenly when I was 7,  I can still clearly remember him.  He would tell me that my mole was my beauty mark and it made me different from others.  I believed him.  I also have 3 older brothers who loved to, ummm, what words should I use, mentally torture me when we were kids.  After Grandpa passed away I only recall hearing them say I had shit on the side of my face and a rat was going to come gnaw it off when I was sleeping.  Kids would point in the grocery store and ask their parents ‘What is on her face?’  The parents would say ‘shhhh’ and awkwardly steer their finger pointing kid away.  I ended up having the mole taken off when I was 13 as it presented quite a risk for skin cancer  (and I hated it).  As much as I hated that mole it helped me develop a thick skin at a young age and also feel empathy towards others who looked a little different.   I hit puberty pretty early and when it hit I got big boobs and some blubber overnight.  That blubber has not been easy to lose.  I love food – I get great JOY from a delicious meal shared with others.  My metabolism isn’t the same as some of my girlfriends who can seemingly eat whatever they want, not exercise a whole lot and still be a size 4.  A few years ago when I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro I lost 5 pounds.  Yup.  Everyone else was like ‘oh my god I can barely keep my pants up with the training and then 6 days on the mountain’.  I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to others who are not like me.  I walk at least 8 km a day: if I wanted to be a size 4 and not an 8,  I would have to run 20 km a day, only eat air or maybe get a tape worm.  But then I wouldn’t have big boobs and would probably wish I had bigger ones as it seems girls who are flat want some.  So you know what, I still have a scar on my face from that mole,  I have big boobs and a bit of a muffin top, but I try to love what I got and work with it.  There are so many other more important things to think about.  And honestly, I always find girls who are overly concerned with what they eat and what they look like… boring and not all that much fun anyway.

I also have a very loud voice.  My parents, in fact, thought I was deaf when I was kid and took me to get my hearing tested.  Nope, I clearly heard all of the buzzes and beeps that the audiologist tested me with.  My hearing is fine.  My voice is just loud or as teachers would put it nicely ‘it projects well’.  In grade 3 we had an old Battle-axe substitute teacher for a few weeks as Mrs MacDoanld (our oh so lovely teacher) had a pneumonia.  This was just before our Christmas concert which was such an enormously exciting night for someone like me – getting up on a stage was my jam.  We had to rehearse our songs with the mentioned Battle-axe.  So we got into our spots and started to sing.  She stopped everyone and pulled me out.  She had my class continue to sing without me.  At the end she said something like ‘that is how the songs are supposed to sound.  You are too loud and you’re ruining it’.  Just as I can recall my Grandpa making me feel so special – I can also recall clearly how small and completely embarrassed she made me feel.  But ya’ want to know what… I shook it off because even at that young age I recognized that her opinion was not one I respected and my Mom/Dad would have told me to just go and be yourself – she doesn’t matter.   I went to that Christmas concert in a dress that I loved (I’ve always had a love for fashion) and I sang my bloody heart out.

I’ve always loved to talk. I have a fascination with other people and love learning new things.  As a kid I was told to be quiet.  A lot.  You know that old rule about children should be seen and not heard.  That rule stinks. I used to love going visiting with my Mom as I got to hear and participate in adult conversations.  In fact, I did a speech for 4-H when I was maybe 12 called Born to Talk and that speech won me a provincial championship.   It seems my loud voice (which projects well) is great for public speaking and my love of talking is too.  Yeah baby!   When I feel my most authentic self it is when I am connecting with others and having great conversation.  I am not quiet and being quiet doesn’t bring me contentment.

I really enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert.  Not the Eat, Prey, Love stuff (I didn’t even get through the eating end of things), but some of her guest articles and blog entries really get me jazzed.  One in particular had me nodding while I was reading it.  Life isn’t about what happens to you. Life is about how you perceive and react to what happens to you.  A lot of the things which I was criticized for as a kid are my greatest assets as an adult.  I generally care little about what others think about me – after all what you think of yourself is far more important than what others think about you.   I choose to spend time with people who like to build others up (that includes my brothers – they don’t mentally torture me anymore) and not the types who tell people what they ‘should be like’.  Unsolicited advice from people who are not inspiring is never beneficial.   Yesterday the CEO of the organization I work for (who is someone I greatly admire for always being true to who she is) posted a great quote and it reminded me of a quote I love by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul. She is beautiful.”

So ladies and gentlemen (that’s right this isn’t just for women).   The last page of O Magazine is always a column by Oprah called What I Know For Sure.  I will close this in Oprah Style.  What I know for sure is: that we all have insecurities, we all have body bits which we don’t love and we’ve all had cruddy things happen to us.  But we all have amazing and unique bits about us, we all have totally gorgeous parts of us and we’ve all had wonderful things happen to us.  The more you focus on your talents, what you like about yourself and the positive things in your life – the more confident you will feel, the sexier you will look and I can guarantee amazing things will continue to happen to you.  As I was told so many times before- just be yourself. If you have kids hammer that into their heads.  Your life is your story.  Make it one others want to read.