Week 8: Social Eating & Knees

I had not 1, but 2, social eating events this week. Full stop, the events were both straight food related.

The first was a goodbye lunch for a colleague at a restaurant that I really enjoy. Craft tends to have awesome beers and pretty decent food, so it wasn’t bad. I did my research beforehand – that’s right, I’m that person – and had my meal picked before I even got there. 

And then the peer pressure and food craving happened. 

See, I’m a sucker for a good burger. The best one in the city, in my humble opinion, was at Eddie Shorts, a shit hole bar that is no longer. Eddie’s had this glorious burger, the perfect mix of beef and spice on a fresh bun and the perfect ratio of condiments. We were there so much that the owner knew us, and knew precisely how we liked our burgers. Holy Hannah – I miss Eddie’s (it’s since been replaced by Daravara, which is also delicious but the burgers aren’t nearly as awesome). So, since then, I’ve kinda kept my eye open for its replacement. 

So, I did my research. Had my lean and delicious meal all picked out… and then spotted a summer special. A burger that sounded rather delightful. As my team sat around me and ordered poutine, fries, onion rings and deep fried chicken burgers, and joked with me about my diet, I thought… “do I want to be this person?” And then I thought “I’ve been really good all week – I’m going to try this.” 

Spoiler: The burgers at Craft aren’t awesome. It wasn’t worth it. I felt like shit for the rest of the day. Literally, until I went to bed. 

My other little slip this week was my gym time. I was walking every lunch hour, and my knee was aching. Like, needed painkillers and an ice pack every night, kind of ache. I have had my shoes for awhile – longer than I likely should have. Fun fact, did you know that your shoes should be replaced every 500 kilometres? Truth. Guess how many I’ve been in mine? 

The other kicker about my running shoes is that I utterly DESTROYED my feet. Truly. I kept running on my damn knee even as it was all wrapped up, and I was engaging in some really not healthy behaviour that added about 15 to 25 pounds to my frame AS I was running with my banged up leg, and THEN I got stress fractures in my feet AND nerve damage… so my feet were fucked. FUUUUUUCKED. Hadn’t checked my gait in years, and it’s taken me years of practice (with physio help) to straighten up – literally.  I still make sure I’m standing straight and that my ribs are aligned every single day. 

So, with my penultimate round of icing hell (I hate ice on me. Hate hate hate hate), I decided to go get my gait checked, and get new shoes. I’ve had these bad boys for two workouts, and oh my god. Brooks, thank you for the Ghosts. My feet feel AMAZING! (My knee still aches, but more because I’ve managed to hit over 10,000 steps before 5 pm both days this work week). 

Oh, and I lost, again. BOOM. Over 12 pounds gone! Here are my new shoes to celebrate! 


Week 7: the mini vacation

So, summer is officially here. How do I know? 

Because my kitten has started making a mad dash for my air conditioned hallway as soon as my apartment door is open. It’s a little funny, only because when I get close to her to pick her up, she arches her back and does a funny little sideways shuffle right into my arms. 

“Hey Mom, you’re home! Come and get me! I’m so ferocious come and get me!” 

I also am aware of summer because I took an extended weekend. For the first time in years, I took multiple days off in a row (on purpose!) and ran away to sunshine. It was hot and glorious and my legs are almost a little tanned. Also, British Columbia is in full cherry season. And my brother turned 30. So, such an occasion needs to be celebrated with a motherfucking mini vacation. 

Since I’m also in the middle of a weight loss journey/lifestyle overhaul, I was mildly terrified. How can I manage to continue on the downward curve if I’m celebrating with my family and having a few drinks and snacking? Especially since my mother, brother, AND sister-in-law are amazing chefs? I was very worried, especially with the walking away from Jenny last week. Left to my own devices, I eat like shit. Full stop. Also, I’ve done this before – losing 5 or 10 pounds and then gaining it back. 

The weekend was amazing, and I’m super proud that I made some pretty significant leaps and bounds. I definitely noticed a big change in myself – I stopped eating when I was full. I made it impossible to continue eating when I wanted to just keep eating. I drank a lot of water. I came home and did a lot of prep for the week – crestless quiche, chicken, easy salads – and then put it all into My Fitness Pal for the whole week. Will deal with cheats as I come to them, thank you very much. I even packed my gym bag with all the things I need for a day (today’s lesson- I need new shoes, a new sports bra, and leggings because good lord) so I had to take it rather than my backpack. 

That said – I avoided my scale. Like it stood me up on a date. Like it was a creep who’d sent a dick pic even when asked to stop. 

But, today, I decided to just get it over with. If I added a few pounds, I could deal with it. I really didn’t want to see that number, but it needed to happen, for sure. 

I lost again. Another .5 pounds gone. Whoop, WHOOP. 

Non-scale victories of the day: 

  • My gym leggings almost fell off today (it seems like a bad thing,  but we all know it’s a good thing)
  • I actually worked out for 50 minutes on my lunch break
  • There were zero cheats in the meal plan today

Small wins. They must be taken, because it’s a long road. And definitely one worth taking. I’m still not comfortable enough to take a full length photo (maybe when I hit the 170s), so here’s another of the escape artist. 

Week 6: 10 pounds down 

There are a lot of numbers flying around my life today. The most important, though, is 10.8. 

Yep. I’m officially 10.8 pounds lighter than I was 6 weeks ago. Boo yah. My pants are looser, so are my bras. My cheekbones are more prominent, my hair is even shiner.   

10.8 down, at least 29.2 to go. I am very happy, a little scared, but very determined. 

This wouldn’t be my geeky little blog, though, if there wasn’t a “however”. Isn’t there always a however? I did a little math yesterday. And I am not very good unless the numbers are laid out right in front of me… but this math was all receipts. I’ve saved every one from Jenny, and may I just say. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT. That was a high number. A big number! So, given that I’ve been out of work 2 times in the last year, money is a little tight for me. My savings are in shambles, but my work-my-ass-off attitude pays off. So I haven’t ever run out, but I decided this year that I’d budget. And my concert buddy helped me out. 

Moving back from that – I have a friend. We have been friends since kindergarten, and we keep running into one another in our lives randomly, which is a big deal when our lives are full of social media. She’s kind of a bad ass. Potty mouthed, music loving, and budget genius. She is one of my biggest supporters – when I adopted Nox, she was out there shopping with me and giving me advice about the best litter, the best wet food, and a scratch her cats stopped using. When we date, we check in with one another and then swap war stories. When I needed help creating a budget, even though I was deeply, deeply shamed… she was here. 

She puts up with my “WTF AM I GOING TO DO”, my “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS” and my “PLEASE HELP ME I AM SO LOST” text messages. She came over one afternoon to meet Nox and to help me set up a spreadsheet. She got baby cuddles, did addition, and helped me put every single number from my bank account into a spreadsheet that does the math for me (and good thing). 

So, last night I was doing my budget, because I have one set up and I was wearing my big girl panties. And then the number from Jenny…. kinda threw a wrench into my budget. I meditated on it, and did some research into some other weight loss tools that are a little cheaper than Jenny. 

And then tonight, I walked into my weight in (did I mention that I have lost over 10.8 pounds? CAUSE I DID!) and walked black out with a month to myself. I told my consultant all of the worries I had – the money, the preservatives – and she let me take a month to figure out what my next steps are, with the following caveats:

  • If my weight moves up more than a pound, I am to call her
  • I am to monitor my intake of food, maintaining my 1,200 daily caloric intake. 
  • I come back to her in a month, and decide whether or not to stay with Jenny. 

I downloaded My Fitness Pal tonight, and had my last Jenny dinner (for now, maybe). I have a vanilla cupcake in the freezer for dessert. 10,000 steps today, and planning to do the same over my (super long!) weekend. Gym on Tuesday. 

Onto the next 10 pounds! 

Oh, and here is the weekly Nox update. She’s totally and utterly miserable (I’m saying this with ALL SARCASM because this is how I woke her up the other day). 

F you, sugar addiction (or, Week 5)

I like sugar. 

Specifically, I really like these

Or semi stale 5 cent candies (don’t judge me, I like ’em a little chewy, okay?). Or Dino Sours. Blue Whales. Jujubes. I’m not picky when it comes to my horrible for me, refined sugar bits of deliciousness. A bag of Cherries doesn’t last longer than a day in my house. 

I might trade my hair for a bag of those right now. Also, anyone still wondering why I’m struggling to lose weight? Goddamn. 

Week 5 has me facing down this stupid addiction in full force, clearly. The food has finally gotten me down – while it’s super varied and mostly palatable, it’s also VERY not what I’m used to. I haven’t even had frozen meals, unless you count the healthy meals I used to make and freeze (confession – I did this a LOT more when I wasn’t single, because I had someone to share with. Way easier not to get sick of things that way). I don’t eat a lot of pre-packaged foods, and I never have – even growing up, my parents made everything from scratch. Hell. I even make my own salad dressings to avoid processed food. 

So, 6 meals a day for the last 5 weeks and it’s all processed. Some of it can sit in the pantry without being kept cold and it freaks me out (think Hearty Beef and Potatoes-and no freezing). Is that chemicals I’m tasting? Sodium? Or just the preservatives? Why can’t I have a patio beer and poutine rather than weird tasting Mexican? 

The thing that’s throwing me right off this week is this bitch of a sugar addiction. It’s like a howling demon after every single meal – JUST ONE I WILL BE GOOD IF I GET JUST ONE BITE OF A CHERRY I PROMISE I WILL BE GOOD. And it’s really, really hard. I’ve starting eating my dessert really early because I need to quiet the demon down. It is dying, which is positive – I know from experience that if I quit cold turkey, the withdrawal will really knock me out. so this slow walk away is good. 

Another good thing – I lost again this week, and I’m officially in the 180s. I am trying to pump myself up to take a progress photo, but I’m still so self conscious (don’t worry, I still feel like a babe). 

So, in lieu of a full body shot… here’s my murderous love muffin. She makes me so super happy. And, even though she is a kitten who meows through her meals (Nox Minerva, don’t talk with your mouth full!), it’s really nice to have a dinner companion. 

Week 4 of Operation Please Don’t Cut My Leg Open 

I’m pleased to announce that it’s Week 3, and I haven’t killed anyone yet. 

It’s been tough. Seriously tough sometimes. There have been tears and lots of cravings. The first week was really easy – lots of movement, lots of defeating the random addiction craving (specifically, caffeine and refined sugar), and I really liked the food. Week 2 and 3 were less easy. People ask me about my diet all the time. I have been told many times that I don’t need to lose any weight. I have been spending a lot of time being intensely lonely, and then realized that I tend to eat poorly when I’m lonely. But, let’s focus on the wins. 

Big shifts with Operation Please Don’t Cut My Leg Open: 

  • I’ve lost over 7 pounds so far
  • I’ve been averaging over 59,000 steps a week – still less than 10,000 a day
  • I’m joining the gym at my new office so I can work out at lunch rather than do what I have been doing (i.e. Working through my lunch) 
  • I’ve lost 5 inches from off my waist, hips, and bust collectively

There are two other big things that happened in the last 3 weeks. 

First. 

I left my part time job. It was terrifying and sudden and I only have one job now. For the first time in a year. Actually, the first time in 2 years that I will have every single day of the week to myself. I am looking forward to it, but I’m also walking away from my sanctuary. It’s the first time I won’t have my safety net, and it feels like I’m losing part of my family. Excited and scared, definitely. 

Second. 

I adopted a kitten.  And she’s really freaking adorable. 


And now I’m not as lonely anymore. We are also experiencing a jingle ball shortage in my house. And her name is definitely a Harry Potter reference. 

Overall. It’s been good. I’m looking forward to breaking into the 180s next week. I think I’ll be posting photos of progress with every 10 pounds lost, and definitely will be putting numbers out when I get further away from my starting point. Because I’m still afraid of that starting number. 

The Whole Knee Thing

One of the most painful, enlightening things about my 30s (so far) has been my knee injury. 

I fell and blew out my knee a month after I asked my long-term partner to move out of our home. My brilliant plan was to train to run a half marathon as he moved out. That way, I wouldn’t have to watch him pack and leave, that way I wouldn’t need to bear witness to my heart breaking over and over again. 

Yeh. 

I watched that shit from the couch with my knee elevated and an ice pack. That was just…. epic. Since then, it’s gotten worse, gotten better, gotten re-injured, and pretty much ended my running career. It’s caused other injuries, taught me patience, and pretty much become a focus on my meditation. 

I’ve been thinking about this injury a lot. Especially lately. I was getting ready to start physio, in order to start running again, and I slipped and fell. Tore my jeans, landed on my bad knee, and totally screwed it up. Again. Thankfully, I had already made the doctor’s appointment, so I was able to talk about it with my doctor about it. 

Which brings me to my point of this whole thing (as my knee starts to ache). 

I started this blog without a theme in mind, and I generally have kicked my ass for it ever since. A lot of my inspiration comes when I’m lonely or sad or angry. Wanna know how bloody well how hard it is to write when those are the drivers? I bounce all over the place here, and I can go months without writing because it’s all… over the place. And these are the days where I think – whelp. A theme would be nice. 

And, since there is currently a theme in my life, I’ve decided that it’s time for a GD theme for this blog. 

Because my knee was injured again, and I was going to my doctor, I confided that I wanted to start running again. As she inspected my knee, I told her that my goal for the visit was to get a note for physio so I could take the first steps towards healing enough to run. She looked up at me, and in her very gentle manner said… 

“I want to be clear on this. You’re beautiful, and your heart is totally fine – but you can’t participate in high impact sports anymore. If you want to ever run again, and if you want me to not highly, HIGHLY recommend surgery and heal your knee that way – you need to lose weight. A lot of weight.” 

Boom. 

I’m not unaware that I’m a little bigger. I also, as mentioned on this blog a bunch of times, feel stunning in my skin. I eat pretty clean – think green smoothies and salads during the day – but as the years have gone on I’ve slowed down. I hate that I’m so busy, because it makes eating well very, very difficult. Since last summer, I’ve either been on the move, at work, or trying to sleep. I eat when I can, and usually it’s not great food. In addition to all of this, I hate cooking for one. I HATE IT. I hate meal prepping, I hate eating the same thing for four meals at a time. So I eat the shit that’s fast and easy. 

And now I have to lose my “I’m so busy, I’m so lonely” weight. To be precise, I want to lose 40 to 60 pounds of that weight. Because I carry it well, but Jesus Christ. 

So, I took the first steps. Because I’m so bad at this on my own, I recruited help. Like, real professional help with this. So, I went to Jenny Craig. 

And then my heart almost exploded with the number. Literally. Stepped on the scale and I almost died. I was mortified, and almost in tears immediately. It didn’t help that they wanted to ask about my relationship with food, or what I’d tried before. I am devastated that I am here. I cried when I talked about wanting to run again, I cried when I said I was too lonely to cook for myself.

So. I have signed a contract. I’m no longer in charge of making my own food. I’m committed to moving an hour a day, and eating 6 meals a day. Because I’m so done with this. These shoes were made for walking. And those steps aren’t great, but it will get better. 


Gratitude at 34

The thing about hitting rock bottom and being able to stand back up is that you become aware that there isn’t a lot that you can’t survive. 

This past summer I found the bottom of a lot of things. I found the bottom of a few Irish whiskey bottles. I found the bottom of my soul. I found the bottom of the deepest, scariest pits in my mind. I found the bottom of my tear ducts, and the emptiness of my stomach, and the truest desires and fears of my heart. I mean it whenever I say that I didn’t think I was going to survive. I hit my bottom of my well, and I crawled out of it with the love and help of my friends and family. I found the darkness, I struck the match that eradicated the black, and I made it get better. Something about being forced into submission, something about being brought to your knees, turns that action into prayer. I came out of the fire even stronger than I could have imagined.

So, when it happened again, a restructure that wiped out the whole marketing/communications department (or, just me. Because I was all of that), there wasn’t a bottom. There wasn’t a night where I crawled into the whiskey bottle. While there were definitely tears, often I was laughing until I cried. The blackness that consumed me in the summer didn’t return, even though it certainly tried at night. It turns out that this session of unemployment has truly taught me the meaning of gratitude. 

I am so infinitely grateful. 

I am grateful that I have a part time job at my favourite place in the city. I am able to go there whenever I need to be grounded, whenever I need to stretch, whenever I need to submit myself to my yoga mat. At least twice a week, I’m surrounded by people who make me laugh, hug me hard when I’m about to cry, and who encourage me to try harder. 

I am grateful for my family. I couldn’t imagine better parents – both of them constantly push me to be a better, stronger, kinder human. On my hardest, most foul day over the last 6 weeks, they were here – and, rather than stick to their plans, they stayed another night so that I didn’t need to be alone in my terror and panic. I am grateful for my brother and sister in law, too. Amazingly supportive, stubborn as I am, and just as determined. Who could have better cheerleaders? 

I am also grateful for my amazing tribe. They say your vibe attracts your tribe, and oh man. My tribe is fierce, and never to be fucked with. I cannot believe the support I have. From job recommendations to references, to random McDonald lunches and spinning, to supportive messages and road trips for nephew cuddles, to dinner or drinks, to laughs and tears at yoga, to live music and cold beers… I have warriors as friends. As dark as the night may become, and as rocky as it may be, I am never alone. My gratitude cannot be overstated. 

I truly don’t think that I’d be here without the people in my life. Today, on a day that is seeing some pretty big changes happening… thank you. Thank you for being here, thanks for reading. Just… thank you. 

The Tetris Lesson in real time

When I was in high school, I had the best shirt ever.

Black, short-sleeved, with an angry fairy on the front. Eat My Dust. It fit me perfectly (both physically and otherwise). Short spiked hair, blazing a trail as an active martial artist and truly not giving a fuck who thought what of me. I was fearless and fierce, and I loved that shirt.

I loved that shirt. I have no idea what happened to it, but I wish I still had it. I’d make a pillow out of it.

Because. Ridiculously.

I’m being bullied again.

I have to face a pack of bullies. Every. Single. Day.

And I’m sitting here, with tears held in my throat, ignoring the bullies. Like I always have. These tears won’t leave until I get home (edit: They left on my drive home. Crying in traffic sucks.) I won’t give them the satisfaction of seeing the effect they are having on me. I find it slightly ironic that it’s been a full 20 years since this all happened. Like, are you all fucking kidding me? Don’t you have something better to do than NOT invite me to things? Or pretending that you can’t hear me when I’m speaking to you? Or sitting with your back to me so that I’m physically excluded from a group conversation?

Truthfully, all I really want to do is go home, have a glass of wine, watch a sad movie, and cry myself to sleep. I really want that right now. I want someone to rub my back as I cry, and I just want to cry until my makeup is gone and I’m empty so I can be brave and make myself face it again tomorrow. Even as I’m sitting here. Safe on my couch. I just want to cry.

However. As Mick said, you can’t always get what you want. And I have a curling game tonight so. There will be no crying. There’s no crying in curling. I’m sure I read that rule somewhere.

On days like today, days where my banged-up little heart just wants to be loved and accepted, I try to remind myself that I’m fabulous. That I might not fit everywhere, but I have the ability to move (because I am not a tree!!) and I can move as far and as often as I like. True, this can be seen as “wherever you go, there you are”, but it also serves a higher purpose.

Mainly, I like being happy, and being actively bullied makes me very sad. If I have the ability to remove the things or people that are making me sad, I’m going to do so. I get to choose. And, even though it makes me very sad, I’m still going to try to Because, let’s be real.

tetris

I’m trying my very hardest to rise over this. I’m trying to remember that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d rather be someone’s shot of tequila. I’m trying to focus on the fact that I am a kind person by nature, and my kindness won’t go anywhere, and that I’ll always strive to be kind to everyone. That I’m unusual and varied and sweet and have moments of darkness and longing for acceptance and love, but I’m not ever going to fit in everywhere (but where I do fit in, boy do I fit!). And today (no matter how much I’d like to not be on the receiving end of bullying and that I’d definitely love a glass of wine and a huge cry and cuddles) I’m very sad… but tomorrow is a better day. 

Fuck bullies. 

Love letters 

Many years ago, I sat on the edge of a cement wall next to the Sydney Opera House and wrote a postcard to myself.

To step back – I left Canada with a very banged up, very scared little heart. My boyfriend of 1.5 years had been cheating on me for over a year. I had never traveled alone before. I had never carried a backpack as far as I was going to. I was afraid of a lot – heights, water, sharks, big bugs, being let down after over 15 years of planning – but I did what my parents taught me to do and packed my bags and did it anyway.

It ended up being one of the most important things I’ve ever done. It still doesn’t feel like it’s been (spoiler, holy fuck time flies) 10 years since I moved back to Canada. I remember the utter terror and excitement of landing in Auckland, and I remember feeling elated when I extended the trip by moving to Perth. I got over my fear of heights by being tied to a bridge and leaping off, I got over my fear of bugs by swagging in the desert, I conquered my fear of sharks and water at the same time by learning to dive. Suffice to say that my coming back to Canada made me feel like a completely different person – one that I became genuinely afraid to lose.

I didn’t want to be the scared girl in the corner any longer. I wanted to remember the feeling of being able to conquer anything I set my mind to, the true joy of being a brave person. So, on the last day of my journey, I wrote a letter to myself, reminding me of what I had accomplished and how powerful I really was.

To honour that, and to say goodbye to the shit year that was 2016, and to joyously welcome 2017….

Dear N.

You beautiful, wonderful, astounding creature.

You made it. You’re officially on the other side of the worst year of your life. There were moments where you laid down, little girl, and you almost didn’t (or couldn’t) get back up. There were moments where you thought it was over – when the failures and the broken heart and the turmoil almost broke you forever. When you raised your voice and started screaming to wound the people closest to you. When you cried until your eyes swelled shut and you didn’t have tears anymore but you kept crying anyway.

Baby, you made it.

And not only did you make it, you made it healthier than you have been in YEARS. You have learned more about yourself this year than any year before – how to deal with your emotions, how to meditate best for you, what you need to keep yourself healthy – and you have healed so many of the hurts. After finally turning to see yourself, you saw what needed fixing. And you fixed it. You’re still a bit of a chubby panda, but you finally even fell in love with those curves and accepted every single inch. 

Hell. You didn’t even see the freckles under your eyes until this year. How lovely is that? You can hold crazy yoga poses and walk forever and lift weights and rock climb- maybe you aren’t the beauty specific, but you’re a smoke show, traffic stopping babe nevertheless. You even stopped believing in love for awhile- how crazy is it that the best, sexiest, and most fulfilling relationship you’ve ever had is with your beautiful self? Even crazier- why did it take you so long? 

There is a lot of mystery surrounding your life right now. Things are in a holding pattern right now, and you are usually way more prepared (ahem, you anal planner you, ahem) than this. But you know what? You fell down HARD this summer. You failed the worst you literally ever have. But you know what, babe? You’ve been into the darkness. You can’t be afraid anymore, because you’ve seen the other side. So embrace this mystery, the unknown. Your path is leading you precisely where you need to go. Keep loving fiercely and keep volunteering and keep laughing and drinking green smoothies. Keep crying at movies and keep praying and meditating and working your ass off. 

You have everything you need. 

Keep moving forward, you stunning goddess. 

With so much love and joy and respect,

N

I need your help.

Mahatma Gandi apparently said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”. Cheesy, I know. Also misquoted (hilarious, especially coming from someone who thinks misquoting and taking things out of context is funny – I’m looking at you, anyone with a “To thine own self be true” tattoo). However cheesy and misquoted it is, it’s one of my guiding principles. I try to be good to my fellow humans because I think that kindness is important and something that the world needs. I volunteer my time and energy out to the world because who knows what will change the world. Today, though, I have an idea. A hope, a wish, a crazy Christmas thought.

The first time I volunteered, I was about 8 or 9. Maybe 10.

My mom and I went to Santas Anonymous to fill hampers. I spent the morning in a warehouse with a tinny radio, carefully following a checklist so each basket had the right gifts for the right age group. I also had to check if each basket had the right food – Kraft Dinner, instant mashed potatoes, that kind of thing. The people were nice, it made my heart happy, and it was one morning in late November.

The next year, I was on the ground crew. Rather than pack the hampers, we delivered them. Now, as some people might know, my little hometown is full of drugs – specifically, meth. So that was harder – my little heart broke at some of the places we visited. We got to be Santa for these people – some of whom I recognized from school. I remember feeling super grateful for my parents at that moment – grateful that we had a house and food every night, grateful for my baby brother and for our Christmas mornings, grateful for my two kick-ass amazing parents who remain amazing and kickass.

My parents taught me how lucky I was, and that we had so much that we owed our communities to give back. I always have. Since that period at Santas Anonymous, I have had quite the volunteer log. Much to my failing memory, here’s the list so far:

  • Walked dogs and cuddled cats at the Hinton SPCA
  • Did media relations for the Canadian Breast Cancer CIBC Run for the Cure
  • Became the Run Director for the same run
  • Organized a charity breakfast for 800
  • Taught taekwon do (yes, part of my black belt training, but definitely something I would have done otherwise)
  • Taught illiterate addicts to read and write (hey, did you know that 42% of Canadian adults have low-literacy levels?!)
  • Joined an arts board in support of mental health
  • Joined the Freewill Shakespeare Board (after 6 years volunteering before that)
  • Became a karma yogi at Noorish
  • Joined an awesome crew for Edmonton Folk Music Fest
  • Flew to Africa to teach communications and advocacy strategy at a childs rights organization

And my memory fails me – as Yul Brenner once said “Etc, etc, etc!” There is more. I have more events that I can count – times where I leaned in and carried water or food and pushed and created and joined. Because I believe that I can help make the world a better place (not alone, mind you. Maybe I can start a ripple that becomes a tsunami of change).

To that – at one point in my career, I began working with the homeless. Not directly with (I’m not a social worker), but as the communications pro telling the story. I was told in my interview that people working for this not-for-profit (and generally in this sector overall) had an 18-month shelf life. I made a year and 4 months – 2 months shy of 18. My heart, while has capacity to grow and change and adapt, was far too soft to handle this work. After my second Homeless Connect, for example, I ended up in my shower for an hour sobbing. I had talked to a girl – she was 14, LBGTQ, and her parents had thrown her out. She couldn’t find a home, because who wants to rent to a kid, so was selling herself to supply her drug habit. My heart broke a thousand times over in the 14 months I was working there – I still have friends working in this sector, and I am in awe of them. Their amazing selves and amazing work do so much good for our world.

Recently, sadly, I became aware of the death of one of our cities’ homeless – a sad tale of freezing to death behind a dumpster. Even more sadly – he’s one of 1,752 homeless in Edmonton. The numbers are down (thanks to our amazing agencies and hardworking front-line workers!!) but we still have over 1,700 people without a roof over their heads. And, suddenly, in all its Canadian-ness – winter has arrived in Edmonton, with temperatures forecasted to be -20 ish all week (and the wind making it feel like -30), and winter will be here for awhile. I’ve been thinking about this since Saturday, and now – I’m asking you to help me.

Every single front-line agency in the city needs help. They need mittens and jackets and warm socks and long johns and blankets because winter is HERE and death due to exposure is a real thing. I’m starting to collect these items – I’m planning on starting a collection at my workplace as well – but I will be collecting these things personally as well to be delivered in a week or two.

Help me with this. Send me new socks and mittens and whatever gently used or new items you can manage. I’m happy to meet you, or give you my address – hell, I’m even happy to wash your gently used items before I deliver this stuff! – but I can’t not be involved any longer. Neither can you – 1,750 people need us.