For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Who's the bigger asshole?

We are currently residing in strange times. It's a world where the person who cares less, maintains all the power. Fuck being kind and loving and telling the truth and being honest. No. The trick is to show no mercy, no feelings, and absolutely, under no circumstance, shall any fucks be given.

In a commitment-phobe world where the online options seem endless, we've adopted a callous and disposable way of thinking about relationships. How we treat them, how we choose to honour or (dis)honour an ending, how nothing is ever good enough and how there's always the next best thing. The options are endless, like a smorgasbord of menu items and instead of your tummy being filled at an all you can eat buffet, our egos are never satisfied. The lines between reality and fantasy become blurred and the grass always seems greener on the other side. Except it never is. That rush of blood to the head dopamine that you feel when with the shiny and new partner, friend, thing, wears off quickly after the dark restaurants and romantic dates meld into real life and suddenly, the toilet seat is left up, real personalities are revealed and you're just stuck with someone else's ex, and all their problems and a bunch of shiny shit to fill your house that you don't really want or need.

I had a conversation with someone once very dear to me today about the demise of her relationship and how they both came to realize that the crux of the matter was during the height of their indulgence. A time when they had more money, more properties, better cars, and a flashier lifestyle. This was supposed to be everything they ever wanted.


Interesting thought, isn't it? Be seriously aware of what you wish for.

These are some considerably unsettling times. The word sorry seems to come in strange formats and seems to hold the connotation of shame and weakness. Sorry is rarely said. And in some cases, even if it is, does that make the initial hurt any better? Because someone had little to no regard for your feelings and later realizes or regrets it? Or what if they don't actually utter those words? What if you hear through the grapevine that someone is asking about you? Or your gaze meets theirs, and you can just tell by that old familiar look that there's an unspoken panging?

There's no shame in missing someone. And yet in modern day relationships, if there's a fallout, you don't dare be the first to ever admit such a thing. And if you do, and there's no response on the other end, you'll find a way to retract it. To try to erase it. To win. To have the power. To be the bigger asshole and care the least and to be the non affected human. If that's winning, then fuck it. I'll be the biggest loser.

We've all had fallouts where we've been the asshole, or to have been affected by an asshole. Personally, I can't sleep at night if I feel I've intentionally hurt someone. I just can't. I need to say my piece. Unfortunately, this always hasn't been the case for me. There's been years that have passed with an apology I've never received and it destroys the soul if you wait for it, because sometimes it will never happen. Because there's three sides to every story: yours, theirs and the truth. And then there are the moments that blow your mind, after years of wondering where things went wrong, and you find the answer. And things come full circle. And if it's real, you'll pick back up where you started, treading very very carefully of course and with a new and enlightened mindset.

And sometimes you just have to let it all go. Learn a lesson. Move on. Heal. Grow. Forgive. Or maybe not forgive. Maybe they don't deserve your forgiveness. Sometimes they aren't sorry. They simply don't care and probably never did. They played games with your heart. Let me be clear about this: anyone who plays games with your heart does not love you. Love is not mind games. Or pain. Or drama. Or unkindness. Don't pine for someone like this, but don't wish them harm either. Back away. Know better next time.  Be cautious yes, but always, go forth with a whole lot of heart and soul.

Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair. Act accordingly.

Love,

Wendy




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Choosing my confessions

I wouldn't say I'm religious, per se. I've always had some belief of a higher power, said my prayers in thanks and gratitude, not just when I'm asking for something and on occasion, gone to church.

Never one for commitment or sticking to routine, I was quite surprised to find a newfound love. A few times a week, I walk into the heated studio, breathe in the warm air and energy of those surrounding me, lay my mat down and bow my head in gratitude. Yoga is my new religion.

I may not be able to control the things that happen, or the constant thoughts that enter my mind, but for one hour a day, even when in that complicated head of mine, ideas and thoughts flit to and fro, I have committed myself to practice. They call it practice because it's exactly that; it is not easy to train your brain to turn everything off, to find your balance in body poses, to remember to focus on your breath and the present moment.  It's an added bonus that it seems everyone who'd been doing yoga for years has a rockin' body and an even better attitude of gratitude.

In stark contrast to when I seemed to be losing my religion last year, by turning to darkness, drinking, partying, solitude, negativity, Yoga seems to encompass all things love and light. The mind and body connection seem to go hand in hand with the books I'm reading, my outlook on life and a higher state of consciousness.

It seems we are living in strange times that condition us to believe that external factors will fulfill a deep longing within for "something more." A material thing. To win. To have affections and attention romantically. To be the best. Most of the time, however, we find ourselves striving toward that which always seems to lie just beyond our reach. We are caught up in doing, rather than being, in yearning rather than awareness. It is difficult for us to picture a state of complete calmness and yet, in the quiet we reach a level of inner peace impossible to attain through outside means.

I won't be one of those ones who preach my newfound God. Or to get caught up in the cute name brand apparel that retails for ridiculous amounts of money to wear and be trendy. But I will say that when I enter that room, with likeminded bodies and souls around me, all sharing their energy and striving for the same purpose, I do feel like home. I feel right, good and at peace. I've practiced pilates and higher thinking for years, but never stuck to it.

I have a girlfriend who has been urging me to try this lifestyle for many years now. I often would chide her for being all hippie-like with her perceived witchery trickery hocus pocus hooplah. I now join her and likeminded friends for Yoga and we don't say a word to each other but are all there for the same purpose. It's not an instant or easy thing, changing your thinking. But when you really try, there is a definite shift. A shift maybe only noticeable to the very trained eye. But nevertheless, a shift. A shift in perspective, in conscious thinking and in being.

It's a good feeling. I would say Namaste, but that feels a little too cliche for a novice like me.

So for now, I'll leave you with, Peace.






Monday, February 8, 2016

On your terms

I've learned that you cannot make someone love you or care for you. Furthermore, you can't force people to feel for you or behave in the way that you do, would or expect.

When you let expectations go and accept people and situations for what they are, you save yourself so much heartache. Don't wish bad on anyone and just because a relationship didn't work out, you can still silently cheer them on in your own head.

Sometimes, things don't work. Shit falls apart. And you have to let it go. It is simply unhealthy, wasted time to have expectations because you will be constantly disappointed. I find myself wondering why people are the way they are. I ask myself why someone would do something cruel or behave in a certain way when I would never think to act like that. This does not mean that I am right or they are wrong; but simply that we are different.

Differences can make or break a relationship. They can compliment each other or tear you apart. If you can't see eye to eye, constantly have fallouts or feel like you're talking to a brick wall, it may be time to walk. It doesn't mean you have to have a blow out fight, retaliate or be nasty. Sometimes two people love each other and yet, sometimes love is not enough to sustain a relationship. And that's okay. Acknowledge the love, the memories, the lessons you have learned, and move on.

Close the chapter, surrender to however you feel, really feel the sting of it if you have to, use that pain to create something, art, writings, a plan, anything. Don't pretend to not care. What's the use in that? The Universe knows when you are lying to yourself. You're not truly over it until you're over it. And then there's no need to pretend anything. Because, you just are. And above all, don't give up.  Just because it didn't work, does not mean that you won't find someone who will get you. Who will compliment your soul. Where things are easy breezy and not always on someone else's terms.

Move forward, yes, heed warning to love cautiously, with the lessons learned in your back pocket and an open mind and heart. And do so on your terms.

Love madly, always with a full heart....even if you once found that same heart bruised or broken.

Find the courage and hope to put the pieces back together again. You've got to find a tribe who loves like you do. Or it's not going to work. Like, ever. Some of us love harder, deeper and genuinely feel more. We all cope differently. Some of us are fragile and it takes us time to heal.

Don't be bitter. Smile because it once was.

Love always,

Wendy xo


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Living the life of Riley

I agreed to condo-sit in midtown Toronto, for a friend who would be going away for a couple of months. The deal was, I would take care of his dog, and in return get a space to myself to catch up on work, edit and try and get my writing mojo back. At the last minute, I asked if he could bring the dog to his dad's house while I stayed alone. Afterall, at home I have responsibility, duties to walk my own mutt, clean up after it etc and I didn't feel too pumped about minding someone else's pooch.

"I'm starting to feel like this isn't going to work out." The deal was with Riley. I obliged.

Panic stricken, I pulled into the condo feeling that familiar anxiety that creeps in when change presents itself to me. Where do I park? How do I operate this fob key? Where will I get my morning coffee? How do I work this convection oven?

"What happened to you?" my friend asked, almost puzzled. "It's like moving to the sticks has made you completely unconfident in how to do things."

He wasn't wrong. Besides, I was reminded at any time that I could go home. I wasn't stuck here. But I didn't want to go home when scared. I wanted to stick it out. With grit and determination and proving to myself that I could do it solo. And Riley was the perfect excuse to not be able to pack it in when things felt slightly uncomfortable. Do things that scare you. Trust me. There's no other satisfaction like it.

It's a strange feeling being taken care of but wanting your own autonomy to do things independently. After I got locked into the parking garage (my spot is 25 winding turns to the destination) and got honked at and yelled at by a resident, I got my inner guts back. I opened the car door, walked up to his car, tapped on the window and in Carrie Bradshaw fashion yelled "You're SOOOO Busy!"

He then apologized and showed me what I was doing wrong, to the detriment of the lined up cars behind us trying to get out of the retail parking they paid for.

That felt good.

I then hesitantly put Riley's leash on. My own dog bites at any given chance and has made me fearful of other dogs. Even though it's owner says it would never turn, you just never know with nature's wild. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and gave my hand a sloppy kiss, as if to let me know that he would cause me no harm.

Riley is three times the size of my dog. He's an Irish wheaten terrier so I half expected him to pull my arm off at the sight of a tree. I walked by the front desk where the security guard started asking questions about the dog. He handed him some treats from behind the desk and I would then find out that he was a Veterinarian back in Iran and performed hundreds of surgeries on smaller animals. He took the security guard job because of the flexibility it allowed him to study to take the equivalency test here.

They say Toronto is unfriendly. Maybe people just need a reason to make eye contact, or a four legged friend to start up conversation. Everyone loves Riley.

Christmas at my parents had me packing the car and bringing the dog in tow. He sat in the front seat like an angel and didn't so much as make a sound. My own dog gets put in a crate for the entirety at our parents because he goes to the washroom in the house and is a complete mental case. Riley pranced in slowly, let everyone get accustomed to him and he didn't leave my side. He was a great comic relief in certain needed moments and really just had love to give. Sometimes there is strength and comfort in quiet and calm. He doesn't say much, but you know he's there.

I can tend to hibernate in this season. Taking care of a dog reminds you that you must get up and take care of them, even if you don't feel like it. It means you don't open your backyard door, because it's a condo so up and down you go whenever he needs to go. I realize that most of you reading this are parents, and that you are probably rolling your eyes at me. But it's important for me to get my sense of responsibility back. To care for something other than myself. My job. My house. My spouse. My own dog won't let me care for him the way I want to.

They say that the grass isn't always greener on the other side...but sometimes it is. Sometimes you have to trust another, even if something in your past has bitten you hard. Afterall, he's giving his trust in me, a total stranger, left and expected to feed and care for it.

I came to Toronto to get inspired by the city.  Instead I found it in a dog.

Love is, a four legged word.

xo



























Friday, May 22, 2015

Push and pull

It's been a while, old friend. There's been a lot going on and yet at the same time, a quiet and unfamiliar stagnant. I've packed my past five years so tightly with shoots, meetings, work, editing, training, mentoring and striving to be better than ever, that I realized along the way...I sort of lost myself. I had a huge ass chip on my shoulder and an ode to prove something to the world.

A funny thing happens when you stop living for everyone else and quiet your mind. When you ask yourself what really matters, what really makes your heart soar and at the same time ache. When you question if you're really happy or just kind of comfortable.

I lost my way. I stopped being inspired. I couldn't write. I became uninterested in my craft. I lied to myself. I tricked myself into believing I was happy. Because I didn't allow myself the free time to even doubt that so called life for even a millisecond. If I saw an empty square on my calendar, I almost panicked. What would I do with my free time?

My work became my sole purpose in life. And that my friends, is a dangerous thing. Because like anything, the popularity rises and falls. A new 20 something comes in with bigger dreams, brighter eyes, a bushier tail and better talent. And just as you're riding the crest of success, it can feel that it's all crashing down on you and you're grasping through that swelling wave to catch your breath.

Sometimes, you just have to get away for awhile, alone. To question everything. To answer nothing. To cry your eyes out and not have anyone console you. To jump on your hotel room bed and mess up the perfectly made sheets. To order overpriced room service and drown in a bottle of wine. When even in the depths of your soul, you're not sure what's wrong, sometimes it feels good to take off the tightly adorned mask, and just let all the monkeys roll the fuck off your back.

"You're grey alright", I had a friend of a friend say to me in a discussion about personalities. "She's push and pull", the longtime male friend said to the handful of people in our presence.

Definition:
Push-Pull - A chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without appropriate cause or reason.


So I proceeded to delve into what that exactly meant. And why I'm so 50 shades of fucked up.
And their answer astonished me:

Stop thinking there's something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you.

And just like that, I questioned 38 years of my life....could it be in fact that there truly isn't anything tangibly wrong with me? That I constantly analyze every situation so deeply that I ruin living in the moment? That I thrive on drama and pain? That I so badly yearn for an extraordinary life and that automatically has to equate to strife and suffering?

I don't know what it all means. But I'm in an honest place right now. I do know that I had this same feeling five years ago, when I quit my great paying safe job with benefits and leapt in with two feet to a photography business I didn't even know I wanted, nevermind was capable of. And when people called me "brave", I never understood it. Because there was nothing calculated about it. I just went with my heart and let it guide me. I'm doing the same thing today.

I may not be what everyone wants at any given time. That part of me has changed. And I won't apologize for that. But I do know that I'm on a journey to the best chapter of my life. I am here on this Earth to accomplish astounding things. And I hope, even if I cut my hair, swear too much, answer your email a little less quick than breakneck speed or write more honestly, that you'll still love me for what I have to offer.


People change. Things fall apart. Shit happens. But the world keeps going round and round.

Growth and comfort do not co-exist. And things are about to get really uncomfortable. In a really epic way.  And not in a way that creates whispers or stories or assumptions. Not in a way you'll even notice. It's a shift of sort, internally. I hope you'll join me on this journey of mine. And in return, I can promise to offer you, a totally better version of myself. With an occasional fuck-up, I'm sure.

Love always,

Wendy

xo




Friday, March 20, 2015

Empty

She lifts her skirt up to her knees
Walks through the garden rows with her bare feet, laughing
And I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters

Walk on down the hill
Through grass grown tall and brown
And still it's hard somehow to let go of my pain
On past the busted back
of that old and rusted Cadillac
That sinks into this field collecting rain

Will I always feel this way ‒
So empty, so estranged?

And of these cut-throat busted sunsets,
these cold and damp white mornings
I have grown weary
If through my cracked and dusted dime-store lips
I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me?
Lay your blouse across the chair,
Let fall the flowers from your hair
And kiss me with that country mouth so plain.
Outside the rain is tapping on the leaves
To me it sounds like they're applauding us,
The quiet love we've made.

Will I always feel this way
So empty, so estranged?

Well, I looked my demons in the eyes
laid bare my chest, said "Do your best, destroy me.
You see, I've been to hell and back so many times,
I must admit you kind of bore me."
There's a lot of things that can kill a man
There's a lot of ways to die
Yes, and some already dead that walk beside me
There's a lot of things I don't understand
Why so many people lie
Well, it's the hurt I hide that fuels the fires inside me

Will I always feel this way
So empty, so estranged?

~ Ray Lamontagne ~

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When it counts

For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

It's been about five years since I started this little blog and finally am referencing the above, inspired by a double disk George Michael box set I bought in the 90's. One CD was all slow jams...for the heart, naturally; the other all beats....for the feet.

This got me to thinking about the different types of friendships we have in life.

For the eyes....those that we roll with to public affairs. They make us look good. They know people. We rub elbows with them but certainly would never divulge our deepest secrets.

For the heart....those that make us feel warm and fuzzy. They do nice things like write sweet cards and offer us a feeling of safety and security.

For the ears...we listen to them, or they listen to us. We can sit inside in our comfiest clothes sans makeup or judgement and just pour our hearts out. We can talk about nothing or anything at all.

For the feet.....these friends make us feel happy being around them. They know how to whoop it up, drag our sorry butts out of the cold winter hibernation and make us glad that we did so to hit the dance floor. Double time.

For the soul....we may not see each other often but we always know they are there. Without them a part of us are missing. There's a reason they are the mate to your soul.

I've been privileged to have all sorts of relationships in my life and have learned through age, wisdom and maturity that people don't necessarily have to fit perfectly into one particular compartment. If we don't see eye to eye, it's not the end of the world. It doesn't mean we are finished. If we drift, we may find our way back, we may possibly not. If we are different, we can talk about it and accept each other for our unique personalities. If things change, it's okay. You may have kids and I may not. We may not have the same schedules, interests and activities but that's alright too. We may have lost touch from highschool, university or our workplace; promising to keep in touch and both knowing all the while we won't. You may have insisted your way into my life when I wasn't interested in meeting anyone new, and then left by choice. One chance meeting, email or run-in turned strangers into acquaintances into friends and then maybe strangers again.  I have a tendency to attract people in need. I stay with them until they are fixed and eventually, they always leave. It's okay, it's all okay. A purpose was served. Our time is complete. We may never and yet we may still find our way back to each other. Either way, there was a point in our lives when this person served a mutual purpose. Whether it was to get through a God awful class together, to laugh at inside work jokes, to paint the town red in our wild and shameless single years or to share childhood memories together, it all counts. It all matters.

Recently I had a very good friend from highschool ask me what happened to us.  We were inseparable, always dressed the same and even got matching tattoos. We sort of drifted but the truth is I thought she didn't care. I always felt a sting of pain when her name was mentioned; almost a waive of shame would wash over me for the failure or rather dissolution of the friendship. I once read in a book about girlfriends....The friend who got away...how odd it is for girlfriends' relationships to fall apart. We are the ones who are supposed to stick together and bash that mother fucker when he cheats on you. And yet it's a strange almost shameful feeling when the relationship fails. Almost an unspoken silence when their name is brought up in a mutual circle of friends. The book is fascinating to me because it tells the story from both sides of each party and you yourself can decide what the truth is. And when something is that painful, does the truth even matter?

While I genuinely feel more than most, my friend genuinely still feels...but in a different way. Her message to me, years later was astonishingly simple: I cared, I just show it differently. But I always cared , Wendy. She quipped that her mother in law often says that she will live until 100 because she can whip up a turkey dinner for 30 and not even break a sweat. And me? Dear God, we know what would happen in that situation. But then it dawned on me....it's really okay to have distinct personalities. We just have to work harder to understand each other.

And just like that I realized that we are all different with the same inherent qualities. We just cope and deal with things differently. We take everything way too personally.

Don't overanalyze relationships to the point that you ruin them. Not everyone is the same as you. If you find yourself thinking "I would never do that..." it's probably because you wouldn't. But is said personality trait a deal breaker? Or is it petty shit that in the long run or during a world crisis you would never even remember? Life is hard enough. We are all in this together and need each other. Stop pretending we don't.

At Christmas I had dinner with my very good friend. I brought a gift bag. She looked at me, knowing the way my brain works. She mused: you brought a gift bag. Because that's what you do. I'm picking up the tab for dinner. Because that's what I do.

And just like that we showed our love for each other differently. I write cards. She writes cheques. But at the end of the day, when it really counts....when life is down and out or you have a sick or ailing child or parent, when life crisis' hits...when it really counts...and you need someone, a sweet card....a shoulder to lean on...a listening ear...a night out to get your mind off things...a soothing hug...who cares what box they fit in or if they were indeed a reason, season or lifetime.

For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

It all counts.

xo

W.