Hurricane of Anxiety

With Hurricane Sandy almost upon us in Ontario I... am freaking the hell out. Ahh the joys of anxiety. Nothing is quite as much fun as irrational thinking brought on by current events.

Despite the fact that I'm still cracking jokes and sitting calmly on my couch (Not boarding over windows and high tailing it to somewhere I think is "safe"), my stomach is turning and I'm fighting back tears. This is why I don't watch the news, read papers, and selectively read posts on the internet. I am not a person who deals well with things out of my control, I really don't deal well with severe weather.

I'm horribly worried about my friends in the direct line of Hurricane Sandy. I'm horribly worried about my daughter and if I should be taking her to school tomorrow. I'm horribly worried about my mum who lives in a modular home in the country. I'm just horribly worried. Horribly, horribly worried.

My stomach is absolutely in knots. I'm not panicking. I'm not freaking out. I'm just watching TV, not the news, just some true crime show I ran across. I am however watching twitter and facebook and my friends updates.

Every part of me wants to curl up with my baby, where I know exactly where she is and what shes doing at every moment. I want to make my mum come to my house where I can keep her safe, or at least keeps us together. I want to gather supplies and turn my windowless bathroom into a bunker and hide out until the storm is over.

I know I'm thinking irrationally. I know that my home is built soundly and we're almost guaranteed our safety here. I know my friends are all taking proper precautions to ensure their safety. It doesn't matter. My brain won't shut off. I'm worried. Terribly terribly worried. Completely unable to rationalize the situation.

For the first time in months I am seriously contemplating taking one of my "panic pills" aka lorazapam so I can sleep tonight.

Can I just say... I. Fucking. Hate. My. Anxiety. Disorder.



I wish I had answers.

I always do.

Truth is, I don't have a clue.

Chemical imbalance, illness, emotions.

They're all just words. You can find them all in a dictionary or on google. You can seek their definitions and be able to recite them word for word.

Unfortunately mental illness changes from person to person. There isn't one clear meaning or reaction. No matter what the internet, doctors and dictionaries say.

We all spiral differently.

There are shades of darkness.

Some of us fight the darkness with substances.

Some of us fight the darkness with self harm.

Some of us don't fight the darkness, but embrace it like an old friend.

If we hurt other people, we're hurting ourselves twice, three times, four times more.

I am still in my break down.

The start, the middle, the end, I don't know.

I still wake up every morning wishing I hadn't.

Take that as you will.

My life is not my own, it belongs to a curly haired little girl who loves me more than I think anyone ever has.

I don't have choices of my own.

Right now my choices belong to my daughter and my illness.

They want very different things.

My illness tells me I don't care. My illness tells me sleep. My illness tells me everything and everyone can fuck off.

My daughter tells me she loves me. Tells me to play. Tells me to read. Tells me to live.

I will never have answers, I can only hope for solutions.

If it takes 18 hours of sleep a day to spend 6 with my Monkey, I accept that for the moment.

I feel safe in the darkness. Like a warm blanket on a cold night.

I don't know what will or is happening. I know I fight in my own way. You may not see it, you may not like it, you may not accept it but this is the control my illness has.


The Clock Strikes Midnight

Seems like such a short time ago I gave myself a year, a year to do what I felt was my calling and make something of myself.

I dreamt of stages, music, enlightenment, education, awareness and changing the world. I dreamt of never eating ramen noodles as a meal, buying new mattresses and a back yard for my daughter. I dreamt of bills that were paid, cars that ran and a mind that was happy and focused.

That was a year ago.

This year has been full of indescribable things. I flew alone to NYC. I made amazing friends. I saw great loves come together, I saw great loves fall apart. I had my heart broken. I sang on stage to an audience in New York City. I had blue hair. I spoke candidly about my life with mental illness. I sent my daughter to kindergarten. I saw the best of humanity. I saw the worst of humanity. I learned that sometimes words are useless but other times they will save lives. I've had 3 cars. I was hurt by people I thought would never hurt me. I hurt people I'm sure. I co-orchestrated a fully sponsored Christmas for a shelter. I gave away hundreds of dollars. I learned, a lot. I laughed. I cried. I yelled. I smiled. I hugged, a lot.

In a little over 11 hours I turn 29.

My chariot returns to its former pumpkin glory. My gown to rags. My horses to mice.

There's no Prince Charming though. No one to find my glass slipper. No one will tell me I don't belong in the pumpkin world, that I have a castle waiting.

It's time to face the truth. Social media does a wonderful job of masking reality. Of telling you how special you are. How much potential you have. How amazing your life will be if you just put some work in to it and believe.

Like someone sprinkled a fine mist of Disney dust on everything. Bad things will happen but, if you...

Love with all your heart
Believe with all your soul
Work will all your might

... everything will end, Happily Ever After.

Truth be told, some of us arn't destined for a Disney ending. We've made too many mistakes. Missed too many opportunities. Just arn't bright enough, to make something wonderful happen in our lives. We must come to terms with our averageness. It's not a bad thing, it's just reality.

Not everyone can be great, or we wouldn't know the ones who are.

Thank you to those who took this amazing journey with me the past year. I will never forget the things I've learned, experienced or felt. It's all because of each and every one of you I got this far.

And with that I'm off to find something to replace this glass slippers. Their time is nearly up.

Bibbity Boppidy Boo


Beyond The 140: Part 5

Leaving the stage I felt different. Something in me had changed.

I walked back into the greenroom to smiles and high fives. I sat down to compose myself and try and start breathing again. I could vaguely hear Mark (Horvath) giving his talk on the live stream to the greenroom. I don't remember much. Everything was moving in slow motion and fast forward at the same time. Walking out of the greenroom every 2 steps I was stopped. Hugs, kind words, tears, thank yous, smiles... To be honest, I was overwhelmed. I smiled and returned hugs and kind words but desperately needed a few minutes to gather my thoughts, I also needed food. I loved being able to affect people, to hug people, hear their words but I am also a girl who needs processing time, and who is easily overwhelmed.

Then Kat found me.

All I remember saying is "Its taken me 45 minutes to get across the room, I need out". She grabbed my hand, told me "head down" and made for the exit. I muttered thanks yous and smiled and Kat had me outside in minutes. Still being stopped, but outside I felt much better, breathing easier. Jacki and Gord found me outside on their way to lunch, I knew leaving wasn't really an option but asked them to bring me back something to eat.

 (At this point I have to say, looking back, had I not been there with friends, old and new, I don't know that my experience would have been so amazing. My beautiful family of men and women, young, old, rich, poor, tall, short, made 140 what it was for me. Leaving NYC, I wasn't just leaving a city, I was leaving a group of people I knew had changed my life. People who were there for me. People who look out for me. I am grateful.)

Sitting outside with Kat, she looks at me and says "Remember when you told me you didn't know how you were going to be able to talk between Carlos Delgado and Mark Horvath? You did it, and YOU got the standing ovation. Not them, you." It was a moment of realization for me, I COULD do anything, and I could do it well if I put my head in the game. Including speaking between two of my heros. So lunch wasn't really lunch (but I did get a fantastic slice of pizza thanks to Jacki and Gord) and already it was time to head back in to the conference and be inspired some more.

Have you ever seen a new side of a friend that you really wern't expecting? An amazing thing happened on day one. I got to see Jeff with his family. I met his beautiful mother, sister and nephew(who stopped me after my talk for a hug, I now know where Jeff learned to hug so well) as well as his wonderful Uncle Jerry, who I will talk about more a little later on. I also got to see Jeff introduce his twin 18 year old sons Dylan and Jake. The pride on his face even just saying his sons names will stay with me forever. There's something about a proud papa that just makes people smile.

Now Jake and Dylan are Sneakerheads (I hope I got that right, seriously I wear Walmart flip flops in the summer and ballet flats in the winter, I fail at shoes) and they took the stage with friends and designer/businessmen Jeff Staple (stapledesign.com) and Ronnie Fieg (ronniefieg.com). The talk had a great feel of guys just sitting around chatting. I learned a little something about shoes and a little something more about how annoying it can be when people don't read photo captions before commenting or asking questions. I've been trying to be a little more aware of that now, yup, I got schooled lol.

It was clear passion would be a huge part of the afternoon as well as education. Greg Corbin with the Philly Youth Poetry Movement brought two unbelievable young people with him to perform their original writings, Sinnea Douglass and Seff Al-Afriqi. These kids, really, honestly people, we don't give our youth enough credit. These kids were amazing. Educated, articulate, passionate. I have so much more faith in the generation after mine than I do in the one I grew up in. The apathy generation is over, keep your eyes on the kids, they're going to save the world. Sinnea and Seff were brilliant and I would bet they bleed talent.

There was an interesting break in the inspiration with the Music Artists and the Real Time Web panel. A panel moderator with no control and a panellist showing up late really over shadowed where the light should have been on the panel, Dash. I had really been looking forward to this panel, as a vocalist with no stinkin clue how to break in to the music industry I was hoping for some insight. Which I started to get as Dash spoke about people approaching him and calling him the Pauly D guy. His easy smile and laid back demeanour I could see why people would approach him. And enter Charlamagne, late, who from what I understood is a morning show host on NYC radio. Despite the attempt to stay on track the panel spiralled until it ended in a debate about whether or not Kim Kardashian was a cold fish in bed. It was overly obvious they had no clue what kind of conference they were at and Leslie was not the one to control these personalities on stage. Dash was the light on this panel, but otherwise, I was sadly disappointed.

It was time for our boys (and girl) Kedre, Jessey and Anne-Marie to bring us back. Now Kedre and Jessey already had a history of making me cry. As the artists behind the We Are Visible murals I already knew how special they were. Having seen the unveiling in Toronto and been brought to tears, I couldn't wait to see the boys talk about their art. What I wasn't expecting was the touching story from Jessey about a kid he gave a chance to when he didn't have to. Anne-Marie was quiet, but her presence wasn't missed by anyone. This small woman is a force to contend with on the streets. As an outreach nurse, Anne-Marie's job involves a backpack of supplies and the street. The people that are avoided on the streets are the ones that Anne-Marie goes to first. I have nothing but respect for this woman. And nothing but respect for Kedre and Jessey for their work in the community and internationally to help shine a light on homelessness.

I needed a break... It was time for me to slip away for the day and get some food and quiet time. I was tired, drained and hungry.

After much debate and fun poking in the lobby Taylor, Krystal, Liz and I took off to locate food before the Twittementary screening later that night. I thought the emotional part of my day was over... I had no idea.
To Be Continued...


Beyond The 140: Part 4 (My Talk)

I should have known.

I should have known that Jeff Pulver introducing me would yank my heart out before I even stepped out on stage. My beautiful friend could not have honoured me more with his introduction, I felt like he was introducing me to a friend, not a room full of people and an internet full of strangers. Warmth, love, heart radiated, sounding like a proud big brother he said;

"Who's here from Canada? Not that I pick favorite speakers, ever, but when I was in Kitchener-Waterloo, KW, the reason I came back to KW again and again was for the next speaker. There's something amazing about this woman who is just so real. Whose story is hard but she makes a difference in what she does, and she matters, a lot. And I'm really happy to be able to call Jodi a friend of mine, and I'm even more happy that   she's going to come on stage and share something very special."

I was floored. Not even on stage and already floored. I believe my "welcome to the stage hug" included me whispering "how am I supposed to live up to that?". I didn't have time to think before it was just me and a spotlight. The air was heavy in my lungs, the floor was hard under my feet, the people were watching and waiting...

"Hi, my name is Jodi, and I don't know who I am."

The air changed. I could feel the curiosity in the room. I had their attention.

To be honest, I dont remember what I said. I know my message got across, I know I cracked some jokes, I know there was real emotion from me and I know real emotion came back from the audience. I remember holding out my hand to the people and watching it shake uncontrollably. I remember telling myself "this is your chance" and stripping down the fronts to tell it like it is. I told the world I wasn't perfect, I was far from it. I told them I was a mental health thriver. That I was ok with it.  I was more than ok with it. I am not ashamed of my mental illness and that no one should be. I remember talking about my tattoo and what it meant to me. That "Let It Be" wasn't just a lyric from a Beatles song. It was a way of life.

I remember doing something I've dreamt of doing my whole life.

Terrified and shaking... I sang.

Anyone who knows me knows my two dreams. To advocate for those of us with mental illness and to sing. Jeff had given me a platform to do both and maybe start a life based on these two passions.

Grateful, humbled, amazed, in shock, I watched the audience get to their feet.

It didn't register at first. This standing ovation was for me.

The standing ovation was for me.

To be continued...

Previously recorded by my friend Greg Bisch and I (On an iPhone lol) - Let It Be

**As soon as the individual videos are posted I will post my talk here**


Beyond The 140: Part 3

It was almost time to leave the audience and hit the green room to get ready... I had time for one more talk before I left though.

Andy and his wonderful wife Linda. Let me tell you, Andy looks like a teddy bear, his mild manner and friendly disposition did not prepare me for his talk. You see Andy is a felon. Honestly, the word itself kind of scares me, felon. There arn't many people that can say they hear the word felon and don't flinch a little inside. As their talk went on I realized that we all make mistakes, the gravity of these mistakes varies. I listened to them passionately talk about how we were dooming children by seeing them through their family history, especially those who had incarcerated family members. How people (including me) were guilty of felonism (a term Linda and Andy coined). It definitely made me think, a lot. Especially with my brother and his history. Has my mind changed about him? No. I do however see that not every ex-con is my brother.

Time to leave my seat.

Wave to Jacki and Gord.

And walk away from the stage of the 92nd street Y, knowing the next time I saw it, it would be underfoot.

Surprisingly calm I found the amazing (and fabulously organized) Melissa Pierce, who took me back to the greenroom. On our way there I got to see Jeff Pulver for the first time that day. I was wrapped in a loving hug and asked if I was ready. I told him I was as ready as I was going to be, he reassured me I would rock and I continued into the back.

My first thought entering the greenroom? "It's actually green". My second thought? "Oh good, Andrea and Joe are here." Andrea I had met months before at a 140 get together in Toronto. We instantly connected and I was lucky enough to have been a guest on a taping of her documentary for OWN Canada. Joe I met the night before at the hotel but immediately took a shine to. A sweet quiet woman from a small Kansas city. Minutes after I walked in it was Joe's turn to take the stage to talk about surviving incest in a small town, I was honoured to be able to be the one to tell her she was going to kill it and give her a hug before she hit the stage. Unfortunately due to the commotion in the greenroom I missed hearing both her and Andreas talks (I will be going back to watch, promise!). I knew they were both going to be amazing.

In a incredibly surreal moment Andrea and I started chatting, small talk, conference talk, neither of us showing the nerves I'm sure we were both feeling. People came and went in the room, Lil Jaxe (a 13 year old rapper out of Toronto) and Eric Alper (A music producer (Producer? Eric? Right? CRAP! Dude I just like YOU, havn't paid attention to your title lol) and friend also from Toronto). And then, as I'm putting on my makeup, in walks Carlos Delgado. Andrea beside me leans over and says "I don't ever do this but for my dad I need to ask for a picture with him.". The fact that Andrea, a celebrity in her own right, was having a humble moment for her father made me smile.

I looked up into the mirror, ready to put on mascara and caught Mr. Delgados eye. We gave each other warm smiles before he was distracted by another person and I went back to my face. Yup... in this surreal bubble I was living in for the moment I was putting on make up and smiling at Carlos Delgado. Never in a million years did I think this would be my life.

I hugged Joe as she came back in from her talk and then was called over by the mic guy, Anthony. Now, I suppose I should get used to getting mic-ed, but I still find it amusing to have a mans hand down my back fiddling with my bra for a reason unrelated to removing it. Andrea returned to the greenroom, signalling me that I had 10 minutes. 10 minutes until the stage was mine... and I had to pee. OMG I suddenly had to pee worse than I had ever had to pee in my life, and I was attached to a microphone. Someone asked if I was ready, all I could say was "I have to pee". Thank god for Andrea, who looked at me and said "I've pee-d while mic-ed a hundred times. Don't worry about it, just go." So I pee-d... and then it was my time...

I walked backstage, shaky and wiping sweat from my brow, and into another hug from Jeff. Terrified but confident, I was ready...

I was ready.

To Be Continued...


Beyond the 140: Part 2

My first tears of the conference came during Dan Lewis's talk about Sesame Street and finding the mystery Gordon from a pilot episode of Sesame Street. He showed a clip and Jacki and I went to pieces. Having grown up on Sesame Street, we were both heartbroken when Mr. Hooper passed on, and then there he was. On a screen that brought him to life again. This may have been the first moment of tears, but it was far from the last.

Enter Kevin Honeycutt. The man commanded attention with his personality, humour and iPad? Kevin showed us the amazing things that iPhones and iPads could be doing for children, especially musically. This is where I got choked up. I have always wanted to play the guitar, as a vocalist being able to accompany myself would be a major boost. However, my right side and left side do not naturally work independently of each other. I can't drive a manual car because my feet want to work together, guitar has been the same with my hands. Kevin pulled out his iPad, velcro-ed it to a paperjams guitar, and played. If I had had a teacher with that kind of passion and willingness to innovate, I don't think I would have dropped out of school. Suddenly in front of me this man was playing the guitar, with one hand. Kevin opened my eyes to the fact that this piece of tech would finally allow me to learn to play the guitar maybe not traditionally, but what do I ever do traditionally? I was overcome by this realization. On the edge of my seat, tears flowing. When I tracked Kevin down later I couldn't thank him enough. While crying, I explained how badly I wanted to play and how I just couldn't. How his presentation was going to change my life. I'm now saving up for an iPad, I know it's going to take a long time to save but still less time then reconfiguring my brain.

It was a morning full of Sesame Street love as my dear friend Heather Hamilton took the stage to tell us about her son Zack. His life, his love, his legacy. I had heard Heather talk about Zack and her mission for Zacks Dream Room before, but something was different. Heather was beautifully calm. The pain was still there but it was outshone by something I can't put my finger on. Purpose? Acceptance? I just can't decide. It was almost as if she had realized how much Zacks short life meant to so many people and that he had a life purpose bigger than any of us. I was lucky enough to see Heather later that night after she had been to THE Sesame Street. She was glowing, like a proud mama should be. I just hugged her and felt the joy flowing through her, she had kept her promises to Zackie and all I wanted to do was hug her until she exploded. I was so proud, so happy for her. She lived through hell and came out on the other side.

We were roughly an hour from my talk... I could feel my anxiety creeping in. I took some deep breaths and looked around at my friends. I was ready for this, I had waited almost a year plus a lifetime for this moment.

It was almost time...

To be continued...


Beyond the 140: Part 1

I've been sitting on this all weekend. How do I explain something so amazing that I'm not sure it really happened. How do I tell you I spend 4 days falling in love with strangers. How do I express the feeling of bottled magic. I'm going to try. I will not do it justice but hopefully I can at least acknowledge those who touched my soul.

This will not be a 1 part post... It will take me days to wrestle through the emotions this post will take.

And with that said, I'll start with my Knight In Shining Armour, Lyndon. We met up at the airport unexpectedly on our way to New York. He was on the earlier flight, but I got there early and we had some time to talk. After finding out I was super nervous to get from the airport to the hotel he offered to wait for an hour on the other end and travel with me. This was only the start of Lyndons chivalry. Waiting places for me,  taking in a room mate he had never met because I asked him to, coming back to the airport, sleep and family deprived to drive me home. This is just what he did, it doesn't even get into how just his presence kept me calm and his voice made me smile.

I say I fell madly in love with strangers, and I did, none more so than Matteo. From the moment we were in the same room the first time I knew my life was better because he was in it. We connected. I wanted him in our world, involved in our fun. I wanted to experience 140 with him. We had so many sparkling moments, not big moments, but important ones. It was like we had been friends for our entire lives. I ran like a crazy person to make his talk Wednesday morning and to see him come so alive on stage brought tears to my eyes. I was lucky enough to get to connect with his partner Pheobe online and realized that the awesome ran through this family like a waterfall. Proof that true beauty finds its mirror image.

Just writing about these 2 amazing men has brought on the tears. I went through so many kleenexes the past week that I should probably be out planting trees. I spent 4 days in New York and saw none of the city, but I saw world changers, dream makers, I saw magic with my own two eyes.

Going into day 1 only hours from my talk I spoke to my dear friend Kat. My nerves were frazzled and my anxiety through the roof. I told her I had no idea how I was going to speak between my childhood hero, Carlos Delgado, and a man who inspires me every single day, Mark Horvath. I didn't know how I could possibly come up to their level. She looked at me and told me I could do it, I would do it and I would be great. I stopped and breathed in the air around me, then put it out of my mind. To think about it would spiral me into anxiety. People asked if I was ready, if I had my talk together, I laughed and said I wouldn't know until I hit the stage. How true this was, no one actually knew. I had nothing when I got to New York, absolutely nothing prepared. I woke up at 6am that day, realizing I had another hour or so to sleep I curled up and closed my eyes.

Then I had a dream... A dream featuring another new friend, Tiffany. I was giving my talk just to her. Her stunning smile was the only thing I saw. I woke up and knew. I knew exactly what I was going to say, how I was going to say it... I knew I was about to bare my soul and I knew it was going to be worth it. The nerves and anxiety never went away, but from the moment I opened my eyes after that dream I was in control. I was prepared to take on the world. It was my time to stand up and sparkle.

I was ready...

To be continued...


I am the Phoenix

Ive been trying to write about my #140conf12 experience, and I will, but first I need to get something out there.

I miss my family.

My #140conf family.

Leaving New York has been a painful heart wrenching experience.

I'm sad that my life only has moments as life changing and inspiring as 140. I'm grieving the loss of support and love that I felt all week. I'm angry that I can't seem to connect dot A to dot B to make something amazing out of my life. That I have to come home to a life that involves counting quarters to buy milk for my baby girl. I can spend 4 days changing lives, inspiring people, standing in a city of light and love and singing my heart out. Hundreds of people were involved in my moment of musical heaven and now? Now?

I'm sitting in my government housing apartment full of crap wondering which bill gets paid this month.

And no, its not about money. Its about being capable of greatness and waiting in mediocrity. Its about not being able to give the most beautiful girl in the world the same experiences I'm having. Its about knowing I have the power to change lives through words and music and be shouting them out into the wind that just takes them and blows them away from me.

My sweet little girl deserves better than this. Dammit I deserve better than this.


The post conference fallout is so painful. I'm still getting amazing messages from people inspired by me, people I've just met but fallen madly in love with and yet I can't shake this feeling. I want to wake up in the morning and be scooped up in hugs and kind words and giggles. I want to make people feel. I want to inspire every day. I want to change the world.

I don't want to drive by a dream, be so close, but never know if I'm going to make it there.

I want people to know it is ok to have a mental illness and you can succeed in life with one.

I want the world to see you don't need "traditional" beauty to BE someone.

Selfishly I want to be able to eat everyday without worrying. I want to know I can see friends without running out of gas. I want to not have to think about buying a treat and if its going to make it so I cant have a phone. I want to travel. I want a car that I can trust. I want a computer that works every time I turn it on. I want more.


I can change the worlds opinions about those with mental illness so why... why can't I make my own life better.

I know people are going to look at this and say "You just had a free trip to New York. Spoke and sang on a beautiful stage. You have a roof over your head. What the fuck is wrong with you?"

Please trust me when I say I am in awe of how far I've come and all the blessings and people I have the privilege of calling friends. Every time the key goes in the door, the fork goes in my mouth, the phone vibrates... I thank the universe for having just one more day to enjoy it. But I am worth so much more than this. I will never stop fighting to be more than this. To be the woman people think I can be. To break the cycle.

The phoenix doesn't float on the surface of redemption... it rises from the ashes.

I am the Phoenix.


Vibrating: NYC


3 more sleeps until New York City!!

I'm dying! Nerves have made me jittery and anxious but so so excited!

I can't even tell you how happy I am that Jacki, Krystal and Gord will be there with me. For so many reasons. It's not very often that a girl gets to live out a dream with some of her best friends beside her. And by beside me I mean, keeping me from falling over and making sure there are kleenexs available at all times.

Is my talk ready? Well define "ready". It changes, daily, hourly, by the minute. I have so much I want to say. So much to tell the world. So much of myself I want to give. The encouragement I have been getting just makes me want to give more, do more, be better.

On top of all of that, there is talk about #140karaoke in NYC. Did you hear that? Probably not since it was me, unable to catch my breath. I've mentioned before my dream of singing to finance my mental health projects. Singing in NYC would just blow my mind... BLOW. MY. MIND. The experience would be stellar, killer, amazing... pretty much any word you can find in the thesaurus under "incredible".

This whole trip is going to be incredible.

I'm trying to figure out how to download my brain so I can have space to fill with all the new memories I'm going to make. Another reason I am so glad I'm going to have friends with me, to remind me of what the hell happened!

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to be able to thank Jeff Pulver and the 140 family for making this happen.

3 sleeps.

Well 3 nights, I don't know how much sleep I'm going to get.


The Fear of Opportunity

So my last post I talked about the amazing opportunity that #140conf is going to be for me. I am vibrating with excitement, fear, amazement and nerves. Getting to see and talk to Jeff this week was even more uplifting. Knowing what is coming in the future settled my brain a bit. Plus Jeff radiates magic and I can't help but learn from him and be in awe when he is around.

Now here is my fear.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing. For 8 months my life has been focused on 140 in NYC, now it's here and then what? What do I do next? This is supposed to be my big break but I don't know how to grab it. I don't know who to talk to, who to work with, who to grab by the arm and hold on to.

What do I do?

Like I've said, in a perfect world I would be singing. This would actually support my family and allow me to finance projects to help end the stigma of mental illness. But that's a perfect world. Right now I'm scared my life will never move beyond a minimum wage. That I won't be able to support my daughter like she deserves. That I won't be able to reach the people who need me to be their voice when they can't be. What if I have built this up so much in my head that I have made the pedestal too high.

The last few weeks my confidence has been super high. I know what I have to offer and I know that I can and will be an asset to this world. Right now though, I'm like a toddler. I see blocks, I see a tower, but I have no idea how to make those blocks into a tower. I am missing that crucial middle piece that tells me how to take the raw potential I have and turn it into something great.

How do I do it?

Do you know? Can you help me? What do I do at the starting line to get me to the finish?

I have seen miracles. I have worked hard. I am ready to be the person I dream of being. I just need to know how.


Ten Minutes (#140conf)

I wish I could just open up my brain and let you see whats going on inside of it. To try and put it on paper is proving to be a more difficult than I thought it would be.

I have so much going on right now.

I'm going to focus on the State Of Now (aka #140conf) conference in New York City coming up in less than 2 weeks. An amazing man who I have been lucky enough to become friends with over the past year, Jeff Pulver, invited me last September to speak at his conference in NYC. At the time I didn't know much about 140 or Jeff but I knew New York City and immediately said yes. Now? Well the more I learn about Jeff, the conference and my fellow speakers the more nervous I'm getting.

It's anxiety, but its good anxiety. It's nerves. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. A global stage. A global stage in a room full of people who inspire, support, and amaze daily. I am lucky enough to be speaking with some of my dearest friends, Jacki Yovanoff, Heather Hamilton, Taylor Jones. And some people who inspire me greatly, Wes Prankard, Mark Horvath, and the man himself, Jeff Pulver. This certainly is helping with the nerves, knowing i'll be surrounded by friends. However knowing i'll also be surrounded by people such as Deepak Chopra, Carlos Delgado and other amazing people, sky rockets the nerves again. I know people are just people, but my god... Just... my god.

I have two major passions in my life. Educating and advocating for those living with mental health issues and in poverty and singing. My dream would be to sing as a career, make enough money and gain enough popularity to be able to make a viable impact on the stigmas surrounding mental illness and poverty. To be able to say to people, "I have a mental illness and I lived in poverty, but I never gave up dreaming. Now I'm living my dream and not hiding in the shadows". I would totally be happy doing just one or the other. I need a platform though. I need a mentor, a guide, a plan. I think #140conf is where I am finally going to be able to meet people to show me my path and influence how I continue to move through life.

But at the moment, my heart is in my throat. How in ten minutes do I explain to the world who I am. My failures, my successes, the miracles I have seen, felt and been a part of? That my world is full of beautiful, amazing, awe inspiring people. That I have been to rock bottom and been lifted back up from the bottom by people who I have never met or met through social media alone. That I've been able to provide things to my daughter that I would never have been able to provide alone. That I've been given strength and support I have only dreamed of. That even in my darkest days of mental illness, I have never felt completely alone.

Ten minutes to explain my history and reach out and grab a hold of my future.

Ten minutes.


JLo, Oprah and the $10 Tattoo

Fireworks. All I can say about this week is, Fireworks. It's been a beautiful, shocking, stunning week and it's only Tuesday!

~ Picture drawn by me today in art therapy

Anyone can read about yesterdays fantastic CAS news on my post yesterday, its all gone up from there. 

This morning I headed out to an appointment I made quite awhile ago for a tattoo when things were a bit better financially. I had a gift card that had been travelling around in my wallet and thought "Well, I may as well go and hope for the best. Worst that happens is I do the outline and no shading and go back". Turns out the best was great! Watching the clock the whole time, we got going and 45 minutes from walking in the door it was done. I actually didn't believe him. I was shocked. It was so fast! And Gord was amazing. Super light hand (anyone with tattoos knows how important that is). So... $10 later I had my newest tattoo. I love it. I can't wait to have my bird added to it! This is one of my favorite songs, as well as my motto for my anxiety. I just need to Let It Be.

While I'm sitting in the tattoo chair, I was checking my email and there it was. An email from the casting director for an unnamed documentary on the Oprah Winfrey Network asking me to be in Toronto tomorrow. Me. Oprah Network. Me. I was lucky enough to have met Andrea Syrtash, the host, at last weeks #140NYC conference meet-up in Toronto and she passed my info on to casting. The episode is about triumphs and failures (both of which I have many of lol). So in the morning i'll be off to shoot. HOLY CRAP!

Driving home on my tattoo/Oprah high I'm listening to our local radio radio station, about 30 seconds from my house they did a "ticket ambush". A ticket ambush is where you show up somewhere in town where the DJ is and they give you concert tickets. It happens that they were at their radio station about 4 minutes from my house. I figured, what the hell and off I went to the radio station to see if I could maybe get lucky, again. I did. I hit the station first and not only got to see my buddy Sylvan, I won 2 tickets to see JLo and Enrique Iglasias in Toronto. Again... HOLY CRAP! (I'm taking my friend Kinga who was more excited then me winning at me asking her to go. It was awesome :D)

Ok, so I've now gotten lucky 3 times in one day and thought half jokingly, I should buy a lotto ticket. Well I had to stop at the corner store anyway so I did buy a scratch ticket... and won $10! Uh hello? My luck just made my tattoo essentially free. 

Yes... I'm feeling stunned and amazed right now. And blessed, so so blessed.  Coming up I have the documentary shoot tomorrow, and events leading up to #140confNYC State Of Now conference, Latitudes festival, JLo concert and so much more. My friend Jacki said to me "it feels like it could be a shift" and I agree. I am going to grab these opportunities and hang on tight. I'm ready. 

All the work I've been doing myself, in therapy, in group... I am ready. There will still be days that my anxiety takes over. There will still be days when I'm depressed. Mental illness doesn't just go away because life gets better, but I will hold on to the feelings I'm having right now to try and keep myself grounded and moving forward. Perhaps now is my time. 

Now Is My Time.


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

What a whirl wind couple of weeks. HO-LY Shit. Up, down, up, down.

The Good:

The generosity of virtual strangers saved my home. 48 hours of support from twitter followers and I had the money I needed to pay off my landlord. I dont know how I'm ever going to thank those people enough. How do you thank people for miracles? I cried. It took me hours to process the fact that it happened. Ok, more than hours, days. I'm still in shock. My faith in humanity is being restored. Its an amazing feeling.

With my house saved and working my ass off on my house (along side some amazing friends), CAS is closing my file. I found out today. I'm thrilled. Less than 2 weeks and they're already closing the file. Hard work, therapy and honesty brought me so so far. I'm thrilled. My baby is going to be with me, where she belongs. I really have no idea how to thank the universe for sending me the people, the strength, the right situations to make all of this happen.

The Bad:

I've learned who my friends are. There were a few people that got their back up over my situation and how I chose to deal with it. However I wasn't going to leave people working on my behalf without putting some effort in myself. Was all of this my own fault? Yes. Is my baby with me? Yes. Do we have a home? Yes. Do I regret how any of this happened? Hell no. I needed a sign that life was worth being a part of, that people were good at the core, that I wasn't just treading water but never moving forward.

The Ugly:

I never realised how much jealousy and hatred sits just under the surface. Disguised as "tough love" or "reality" sometimes people just come across mean. We shouldn't be kicking people when they're down for any reason. No matter how much you know or don't know about a person, their struggles are as hard as the next persons. Am I perfect? No. Am I trying? Yes. If you don't like how I'm living my life, you don't need to be involved. No one forces friendship, friendship is the most amazing thing that allows us to choose our extended family. Bringing other people down is never necessary.


This whole experience has changed the way I look at the world. I'm amazed by people and the world again. I faced my worst nightmare and felt less alone at that moment then I have in months. There is nothing that can't be accomplished with a little love and support.


The Fight

So I screwed up... Going to make a long story short but here it is...

Awhile back there was a paperwork kerfuffle with my housing. Could have been me, could have been them, doesn't matter now, but it caused me to lose my subsidy for 3 months. This upped my rent to 7x more then I normally pay. Obviously I didn't have that kind of money.

We went to the housing tribunal and I managed to make arrangements to make up the back rent and get my subsidy back. However it was not retroactive so I still owed $2000+ to be paid back in monthly payments.

Last month I missed my payment. Things were hectic, my anxiety was insane and I didn't have it by the time I remembered it.

My landlord filed to have me evicted.


Unless I came up with the full back rent by first thing Friday morning. 3 days to come up with $1900 or the sheriff is at my door.

On top of that, the landlord called CAS and told them I was being evicted and not a safe parent. After speaking to CAS and having them in my home, my parenting is not in question however the looming eviction still makes it a possibility that they will take my Monkey from me.

My beautiful, sweet Monkey.

I am fighting. Calls are being made and I'm working my ass off to get this fixed.

This is my fault. I don't blame anyone else. I fucked up. Now I have to fix it.

I hit twitter and cried and fell apart. Realizing I needed help people joined together and are trying to help me. It took a lot from me to admit I needed help. I want to help people, not have people help me. That's in my blood, it's hard to become the helpee when you're the helper. I'm still working through the emotions of it all.

I'm scared.

Absolutely terrified. Being homeless again would be awful but losing my baby would end me. She is everything to me.

So I need good vibes right now. All the positive thoughts and love you can muster. A few of my friends have started a grassroots campaign via twitter to raise the money I need. I don't even know how I'm going to thank them. I would be so lost without them.

If you can/want to help, people are sending e-transfers to pillowmonkey@gmail.com because it's the fastest way to transfer money.

Donations are great, I appreciate them so much but your love is just as if not more important. You all read my blog and hold my hand through my ups and downs. My desperate attempts to keep my head in one piece. I can't even fathom my life without this space of healing and love. Even when I'm at my lowest I know I'm safe in this space. I thank you from the bottom of everything I have.

Now... Back to the fight.

**Update** I am actually almost half way to what I need. I am stunned. I will never be able to thank anyone enough.


A Letter From A Broken Heart

I want to preface this by saying this is not a bash or hate mail. This isn't begging and pleading. It's just my head space. Sometimes people, events, life impacts you hard and fast and there's no escaping your feelings and thoughts. Until you find yourself in a position you never know how you're going to react, and this... this is how I am reacting right now. Press play and read.

What did I do?!

What didn't I do?!

What is wrong with me?!

What the FUCK is wrong with me?!

I... I don't even know. Maybe if I had the words to express how I'm feeling, why I'm feeling it, I wouldn't feel so lost. So empty. So broken.

My heart was broken, I needed a friend, I needed to feel like I wasn't useless, worthless and unattractive. I needed something.

Suddenly there it was in front of me. 

Something amazing, beautiful and incredibly new. I felt like a princess. I felt important. I felt understood. I didn't feel like the freak I normally feel like. I don't even know how to explain it. All the fairy tale moments you picture in your head were happening. So fast I fell. Fast and hard. I was more myself then I ever had been before in front of another person. I was passionate, emotional, completely real. I felt normal. Normal... how I've craved normalcy in my life. 

It wasn't just about me. I had met someone I felt like I meshed with so well. Passion, dreams, emotions. Someone I wanted to watch grow and succeed. I wanted to do anything in my power to make them feel as amazing as they made me feel. 

I opened myself up completely. Things I had never told anyone else. Things I had never shown anyone else. I decided to throw away my habits formed by a history of broken trust and pain. I stood naked, completely vulnerable. We were like kids. Laughing, giggling, making plans like teenagers that had never known heartbreak. We were passionate about our lives, maybe too passionate. We were two sticks of dynamite in a shoebox, occasionally hit by a discarded match.  But we held fire extinguishers at the ready. 

... and then it was done.

I was so upset I was sick. In bed for days. I tried so hard. I wanted it so badly. I wanted you so badly.

I adored you.

Your passion.

Your intelligence. 

Your dreams.


Maybe that was my downfall. 

I certainly didn't think you were perfect, but I thought you were amazing. I thought we were amazing.

So ridiculous that I have been so affected in such a short time. 

To feel so much pain.

To feel so broken.

Even so far as to question myself as a parent. A parent who listens to her baby ask when were going to see you. To play with her friend. To curl up in her first normal family moment and listen to stories. Did I hurt her? Did I make her sad? Did I just give her two more people to miss?

Watching you walk away, it felt like I lost a piece of my soul. The reaction was unexpected and debilitating. I don't know how not to feel with everything I have. My heart is fragile. My soul is sensitive. 

I feel so stupid. 

I feel so naive.

I feel so so broken.

"But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough"
                                          Somebody I Used To Know - Gotye


Just When You Thought You Knew Everything

So there isn't much I shy away from talking about in the relative safety of my internet bubble. Homelessness, depression, anxiety, suicide, heartbreak, love, family... I'm what can be defined as an open book. But we all have our secrets.

My secret is embarrassing, shameful and not even my closest friends know. My therapist however, after hearing my stories of love and support thinks that being open about my issues will help me. She likes you people.

I have a 5 seater car, until last week it sat 2, me and one other person. And not comfortably.

I have a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. Only one bathroom is used and really neither bedroom should be.

Part of my anxiety disorder has caused a hoarding compulsion.

I am a hoarder.

Now, to be straight, I am not like those people on A&E who live in a house filled to the rafters, have dead animals buried under newspaper and are "collecting" jars or dolls or books or old medical specimens. I have floor and know what it looks like in most rooms (all but mine actually). I am however, chronically disorganized and have a very hard time getting rid of things.

My house is stacked full of stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, stuff I have forgotten exists, Stuff.

I am paranoid when it comes to getting rid of things. After being homeless and losing everything, letting go of things feels near impossible. I worry what would happen if I needed something I got rid of and couldn't replace it again. Even ridiculous things like clothes my daughter has outgrown, dollar store items that are broken or of no use anymore, things that i'm not sure where they came from or what they were for but I must have gotten for a reason so I can't let go.

What I didn't realize entirely until the last month or so is how much this impacts every aspect of my life. I don't use my kitchen. This is an expensive and inconvenient problem. Monkey isn't home 2 meals a day during the week, so during the day I just don't eat. After I pick her up we go to the grocery store or a restaurant and get what we need for the night. Constantly buying small amounts of food is so expensive, sometimes I just buy for her and I skip dinner too. Weekends and some evenings were not home as much as possible, we eat at my mums or friends or eat out. I spend a lot of my time planning how not to be home.

Until this week, no one but myself and the Monkey had been in my house in over a year. I'd just say our house was too small, or point out that it was out of the way for people to come to our place out of town, or just flat out say no. I would tell people my house looked as if a tornado came through and they would laugh and say "Oh mine too" and I would laugh along because they had no idea.

This week I got notices from my building that it was inspection time of year and that they would be coming to do inspections for damages and to check safety equipment. I panicked. I have spent most of the week having full blown anxiety attacks and throwing up and twitching from stress. (Did I mention my doc changed my meds last week? I'm sure that isn't helping.) Completely incapable of even starting to correct the situation.

My amazing boyfriend cleaned out my car last week and I had admitted to him that my house and my car were pretty much the same. I tried to get through to him the severity of the issue without causing him to run screaming for the hills. Somehow I was convinced (still not sure how, part of me thinks voodoo was involved) to let him help me. Armed with garbage bags, cleaning supplies and more paper towel then you can shake a stick at, I took him to my house. He took a look around and said "Let's get started". No shame, no badgering, no attempt at therapy, just let's get started. It was exactly what I needed. Someone to tell me what to do and when to do it. It's not that i'm incapable of doing the work, its that I have become so overwhelmed by it that I have no idea what to do. I needed someone to take charge and I needed to not be alone doing it.

In two hours of work we filled 7 garbage bags of junk, 4 bags of donations and did a rough sort of the things I planned on keeping. All this was solely in the front hall and kitchen. There were clothes I forgot I owned, things I didn't remember buying and garbage, just hoards and hoards of garbage. Garbage and shame. Every time we would uncover another bag I forgot about, there was more shame. I had become so accustomed to not being able to find things that I just would replace them, which just added more and more stuff to the already unmanageable amount of stuff I owned.

Hoarding is a vicious circle.

Thursday they are supposed to be coming to do the inspection, tonight I'm making an incredibly hard call to see if I can postpone a week so that I have a chance to make changes and hopefully clear out some things, make space and find the home amongst the mess. Tonight I am also formulating a plan. Last night I tried just diving in and ended up a puking, crying mess on the floor who accomplished nothing but upsetting myself into a massive panic attack. I am making check lists for every room, breaking the tasks down to their simplest, smallest element. I am preparing myself to walk in and work.

I know this is a problem, I don't enjoy living this way and I know the Monkey deserves better. This sets me apart from most hoarders. I want to change. I just need help. So tomorrow I'm going to try. I can't make promises I can't keep, especially to myself, but I can try.


Porn On The Radio - *UPDATE*

I heard from Scot Turner the Program Manager at 91.5 The Beat;

Hi, Jodi? I believe it is? This is Scot Turner - Program Director for 91.5 The Beat. I have been in Toronto since yesterday and only heard of this issue late this morning when it was brought to my attention. I can assure you that I am now looking into the issues you speak of in your blog and will address and comment on them when I have had the time to properly assess all points and views of these matters. Thank you. Scot Turner If you wish you can contact me directly at Scot.turner@corusent.com

I have to say I am so impressed with Scots willingness to address this situation in the public eye of my blog. I look forward to having the matter addressed. Thank you to Elle Dee for bringing my post to his attention.

Mistakes happen, its how you deal with them that matters. I really hope that they re-think some of their advertising and are careful about what makes it on the air.


Also, apparently my last post got a few people hot under the collar, though I received a lot of positive comments, I did get one rather grumpy message I'd like to respond to.

"you need to get a life. If you don't want your 3 yr old to listen then shut
off the radio and play with him instead. I enjoy listening to the beat on my
drive home every day."

- Barb (barbf1975@hotmail.com)

Well Barb, thanks for your email. Just a few things I wanted to address.

1. With sponsors and advertisers such as Offspring Baby and The Baby Depot, one would expect that they could allow their children to listen to the radio.

2. I have yet to master the art of playing with my DAUGHTER while driving the car. If you have any tips I would love to hear them.

3. The Beat plays locally in MANY restaurants, offices and retail stores. If I had been at work and my employer had heard that on the radio my job would be at risk, not to mention my customers.

4. I'm glad you enjoy listening to The Beat, I also enjoy listening to The Beat or I wouldn't have been listening when the offensive clip came on.

Thanks Again Barb, Have a great day!

To those who are now trolling my blog, please note, any comments left anonymously in a negative manner will probably be deleted. Not because your opinion doesn't matter, not even because you're being nasty, but because I don't believe in hiding inside the internet. If you want to be an ass, grow a pair and put your name on your words.


Porn On The Radio

I'm no prude, anyone who knows me would probably laugh if I tried to tell them I was. Today however, I was flat out shocked by my local radio station, shocked and then pissed right off.

Listening to Mike Devine on 91.5 the Beat this afternoon I was flabbergasted to suddenly be hearing what I can only assume was an adult joke recording, being played. The "joke", which ran about a minute or two, was basically a telephone directory menu for sex tips. "If you like anal sex, bend over and press the pound key" - a quote from the clip, and actually one of the better quotes that I could be posting.

Numerous inquiries were made by numerous people via Facebook and twitter and 91.5 the Beat ignored them. Not only did they ignore them but they deleted the posts from their Facebook page instead of addressing the concerns of their listeners. Mistakes are made, why are they being hidden? A better question might be how does that even happen but I digress.

91.5 The Beat played a overly sexual inappropriate clip live on air during the 5 o'clock hour on a Friday afternoon and then ignored the concerns of their listeners.

This is just the straw that broke the camels back for the non-music portions of 91.5 the Beats airings lately. Currently they are running an ad spot for Fusion Fitness that is basically telling people it's better to be stupid than fat. Those are words straight from the ad. Another ad they have running a man exclaims "Crap" very distinctly, guess what my three year old does now too?

I'm not sure who is in charge of their ads, their air time or their content but they are failing their job miserably in my opinion by not thinking about who their listeners are lately. Then to completely dismiss and delete listener comments about something that was found to be offensive is just disrespectful.

It's bad business practice, 91.5 The Beat. I'm saddened by how they are choosing to deal with this situation. When your customers are asking questions and concerned, making them disappear is not they way to handle it. This could have been an easy pr fix by admitting a mistake and apologizing. Now it's created a situation where people are talking and telling their friends about how they mishandled the concerns of their listeners.

I'm not normally one to make a fuss about a mistake, but the unwillingness to admit to the mistake and the backhanded slap to the face deletion of questions about what happened bothers me.

To file a complaint to the CBSC (Canadian Broadcast Standards Counsel) about today's incident on CKBT-FM 91.5 The Beat you can fill out a two minute form here:


I really hope The Beat chooses to address this issue and apologize to its listeners.


Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

I am.

I realized today I fear many things.

These fears have caused me to do things and not do other things that have made me miss out on a big chunk of what I think life is about, happiness.

I'm finding myself at a loss for words to describe this. I know, shocking and no I don't have a fever. Its just such an overwhelming feeling right now.

I'm used to being a fuck up. Or in more polite terms, I'm used to living at the short end of the stick. Being at the bottom is safe. You know whats going to happen. There is no chance of failure if you can't get down any farther.

I came home from therapy today with this giant epiphany. That I needed to stop fucking myself over, that I have so much I can do, that I need to stop focusing on the things that might happen and just go for it. As I'm blurting out this huge moment I had, my partner looks at me and says "Well you have been working at sabotaging this.".

OMFG He was right and I didn't even realise. Sabotage. Its what I do best. Relationships, finances, acceptance, success, I have in some way sabotaged all of them subconsciously. I have let my fear take my opportunities and find a way to destroy them right in front of me and I didn't even notice. I didn't just fear other peoples judgements or thoughts, I feared my own. Instead of facing those fears and saying "Hey! I'm willing to work past this" I would find the easiest way to escape the situation, whatever it may be.

For the simple fact that it's right in front of me, lets use my current relationship as an example.

3 weeks ago-ish my boyfriend broke up with me. I was devastated. Sweat pants, chick flicks, bottom of the wine bottle devastated. I was surrounded luckily by some of the greatest friends a girl could ask for. One of those friends was new, and god love him, he got to know broken down doll Jodi at the peak of sobbing snot season as his first real in depth look.

You know when you start checking your phone for messages you HOPE are there? Ever had those messages be there Every. Single. Time? Well there they were there. I convinced myself I was reading into that. "He's chatty, he knows I need a shoulder. He's humouring the heartbreak kid." - SABOTAGE

Several giggle filled coffees later, I get a vibe like some things up. So I poke the bear. "What's wrong? Something seems off. Everything ok?" - I'm not good at letting sleeping dogs lie. So finally he says, "I want to take you out, on a date.". Stutter, blush... DOUBT. BOOM I fly into "rebound" mode. People can smell the vulnerability from a mile away right? And all men interested in a girl who has just had her heart broken are only after one thing... I thought. My brain starts screaming "RUN! There is no way a person actually likes you right now Snoterella McRandomSob.". - SABOTAGE

Well praying on my vulnerability or not, I liked our time together and had a hollow ache that wasn't so painful when I was distracted so I agreed. Well to make what could be a long story short, what I thought he was probably interested in was not even close to the truth. I started watching his interactions with other people, (including his neighbour friend who "nonchalantly" wandered past his apartment window to try and get a glimpse of the girl he wouldn't shut up about). Listening to him talk about what he was passionate about. Asking questions. I was dissecting him. Trying to find that flaw, that moment that would tell me what I had already assumed, that he was looking to screw around and TADA there I was. - SABOTAGE

I didn't find the flaw. Now don't get me wrong, the man is in no way flawless. I don't have my rose coloured glasses of perfection on. He just isn't an asshole. If anything I would say I was kept at arms length physically because he knew I was hurting. He got that I was going to need my time and space, but that when I was ready he was here. Well fuck, now he's too perfect. I must have the rose coloured glasses on. I'm obviously seeing things that arn't there and ignoring things deliberately at this point. Yup, I'm crazy and so desperate to be appreciated and feel loved and not alone that I have now turned him into a walking, cooking Ken doll in my head. - SABOTAGE


Are there people out there that sniff out and use people who are at their worst? Yup
Is everyone one of those people? Nope

Do a lot of relationships that start during the "rebound" phase fail? Yup
Does every single one? Nope

Am I a "relationship hopper" going from one relationship, to another quickly? Not usually
Does it mean it can't happen AND end well? Nope

Does the "R" word scare the shit out of me? Yup
Does it need to? Nope

So as I'm sitting in therapy today dissecting and being neurotic about the boy and what I want my therapist asks me "So, what would happen if you told him you needed a few more weeks to grieve and heal?". Possibly the first thing I have said with complete surety about the whole thing fell out of my mouth - "He would say, call me when you're ready. Take the time you need."

Her reply? "So, where's the problem?"

Where's the problem.

Like a ton of bricks.

Where's the problem?

It all hit me in that moment. I'm so busy dissecting every aspect of my life that I create problems to sabotage myself. I am so scared of what might happen that I'm not letting anything happen. I'm not letting myself enjoy moments and opportunities. I have gotten so caught up in my own head that I'm not letting myself be happy.

Some things are too good to be true. There's no Nigerian prince who wants to give me his fortune. I didn't win an iPad being the 8943652 person on a website. Some things though deserve a chance to exist and create happiness.

So I have made a decision.

For today, I'm just going to be happy.

I'm not going to create issues where no issues exist.

I am going to take the energy I spent fearing the "what ifs" and use it to create "why nots".

Because... Why not?


Sadness, Being Depressed and Depression - Do you know the difference?

Yesterday my boyfriend broke up with me. I am sad. Horribly, painfully, heart wrenchingly sad. I feel like I've been punched in the gut. No he is not an evil monster or an asshole, he is still the incredible man I fell in love with. Brilliant, beautiful and passionate. This in itself makes me more sad. I am hurting and even the thought of Adele songs is making me weepy and increasing that horribly empty feeling in my chest. This is sadness. I am sad.

In the states a young man was shot and killed by a neighbour. The only thing the boy did wrong? He wore a hoodie to the store, was black, and walked in front of a over zealous neighbourhood watch persons house who happened to be racist. Trayvon was shot for wearing clothes while black. This depresses me. It is depressing that we live in a world where that kind of hate still exists. Being the mother of a biracial baby it also scares me. Terrifies me in fact. Trayvon could easily have been a relative, a friend, a mentor, a colleague or my beautiful girl. I am depressed about how Trayvons death is being handled and I am depressed that Trayvon lost his life. This is being depressed. I am depressed.

Last night I came home and took my medication cocktail. Anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. I have a mental illness, more then one actually. My brain misfires and the chemicals often are imbalanced like a grade 7 science project gone wrong. I have depression. It is a medical condition. I can't "snap out of it". My highs and lows are intensified. I often feel overwhelmed by emotion for no reason. I have vivid nightmares and confusing thoughts. I twitch, I have both racing and slow motion thoughts. I will be medicated for the rest of my life and I am ok with that. I will have good days and bad days that I do not control. This is depression. I have depression.


Oh The Irony...

I've been uber reluctant to talk about this. I know, me, reluctant to talk about something, seems strange right? Yeah well... sometimes even I have things I don't talk about. Many people know the surface of my life, not many people know past that.

Most people know I spend a lot of time talking about homelessness and over coming it and supporting the homeless. With 50 teens 4 Christmas, speaking engagements and now my work with the Human Services Advisory Committee, I spend a lot of my time trying to end homelessness through awareness. Awareness of mental health issues, poverty issues, family issues and housing issues.

I don't know if you would call it irony or hypocrisy or dumbassery but I am back on the edge of homelessness and I'm ready to fall apart. Define edge you say? A lot of us are one cheque from homelessness. Me? 80 hours. In 80 hours I will have a date and time to be out of my home.

I've been living in subsidised housing for a little over 3 years now. Missing paperwork has resulted in me losing my subsidy. I don't know if I lost them or my superintendent lost them but all of that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that my rent is now 6X more then I'm used to. I don't even bring in enough now to pay rent and hydro/water/phone.

So I've spent the last month-ish talking to community organizations, selling things, looking to find a loan, trying to find a job... anything to try and fix this. Nothing has worked. Calls gone unanswered, emails unreturned and "no"s at every turn. Monday is a last ditch meeting with my landlord to try and work something out, my hopes are not high.

Nothing right now is high.

I feel about the size of an ant.

I've failed my baby. When we left the shelter in Ottawa I swore I would do whatever it took to never be that far down again. That she would always have a home and food and feel safe. I have failed her so much. I feel like I don't deserve the beautiful, sweet little girl who is sleeping less then 20 feet from me. Sleeping innocently, completely unaware of what is about to happen.

I am terrified. I can't sleep. I am having anxiety attacks daily.

I don't know what I am going to do.

I will do whatever is best for Monkey. Whatever that is.

Hug your kids. Thank your higher power for the roof over your head. Appreciate everything.



I've been thinking about this a lot. Watching the news there seems to be a young person committing suicide every other week because of some kind of bullying. These are just the ones that we hear about, I'm sure the numbers are much higher.

We hear people saying "It gets better" or "hang in there" and I have to put in my two cents on why telling people it will get better simply is not enough.

I have attempted suicide.

I have harmed myself.

I have been deeply impacted by bullying.

From the time I was young I was bullied. I was never the popular kid. I was loud and dramatic and sang all the time. I was also "the fat girl". Funny enough I wasn't that big in school but thats another story. Kids have an uncanny ability to feel out insecurities and play on them. Being the biggest girl in the class as a kid made me different and insecure. I knew it, my classmates knew it, my bullies knew it.

I had numerous people that were unkind or mean. Baby bullies, they wern't as direct or harsh but they had words that cut me none the less. My bullys name was David, I can still hear his voice and picture his face 20 years later. A time I should have been playing and having fun, I was begging to spend recesses indoors or walking around with the teacher on recess duty.

"You're fat"

"You're ugly"

"No one likes you"

I was terrified to sit on the school benches, I had been convinced I would break them.

I hated gym class, I swore I could feel eyes watching me jiggle.

I refused to eat at school, afraid I was being watched and judged.

As the years passed I lost friends, I avoided the usual life lessons of young love and friendship. Group projects were done solo and I spent all my spare time hiding in my basement.

The Basement. My personal prison.

During junior high I gave up. I lived in my basement, coming up for food and very little else. My mother tried to push me to go to school and I would leave the house and then return as soon as everyone was gone. The thought of going to school made me physically ill. I slowly retreated more and more until full fledged agoraphobia kicked in. I would hide in the dark basement away from people and sunlight and the world and scrape at my skin. I would get an itch and scratch it until it bled. My arms and legs held scars hidden by long sleeves and pants. My family tried everything to get me out of the house. Threats, demands, the police were at our house numerous times as we fought tooth and nail.

All because I didn't want to go to school.

Because I hated myself.

Because I was being bullied.

I tried everything I could to stop the bullying. I told my teachers, I stood up for myself, I stole from family and stores so I would have the coolest new thing or so I would have money to buy things for other people and look popular. It didn't work. Nothing worked. The insults would continue to fly and I would lash out verbally at my bullies and end up in trouble myself. This just aggravated the problems. No one was on my side. In trouble at home, in trouble at school and hated on the playground. I had no where to turn.

The more depressed I got the more I ate my emotions. The insecurity I was fighting so hard against was my one comfort. Food. I was ashamed. I would hide food, empty packages, dishes so no one would know I was eating. I wasn't fooling anyone. I was hiding in baggy clothes and behind long bushy hair. The weight I continued to put on did not go un-noticed. I was disgusted with myself, so I would stop eating for days and then binge. Cartons of ice cream, full packages of lunch meat, cookies, cheese, crackers, chips, hot dogs, kraft dinner... anything I could get my hands on. And then the shame, the self hatred, the hiding evidence and myself.

The emotions and mental distress of bullying was clearly visible in every aspect of my life.

The self hatred, the shame, the feeling that I had no one to turn to... I gave up.

Pills were my method of choice.

No one was home.

I didn't care what it was as long as there was a lot of them.

I swallowed handfuls of pills until there were none left.

Then I laid down and waited to die.

I'm fairly sure I left a note apologizing for being a horrible person but everything is a blur for awhile. I know someone found me. I know I ended up at the hospital. I know I was forced to drink charcoal until I threw up. I know I had my stomach pumped.

I know I didn't die.

I know nothing changed.

I know I tried again.

and again.

and again.

Until at 14 I was admitted to a juvenile psychiatric facility for suicidal tendencies. Such a nice way to say I wanted to be dead and wouldn't give up. Most people chase their dreams, I think I was chasing my mothers nightmare. I spent 6 months locked away. Group therapy, one on one therapy, art therapy, music therapy, medical tests, medications. I came home numb. Heavily medicated and numb. I no longer knew how to feel. I couldn't sing, I couldn't write and I couldn't think.

I knew one thing. School was where I was hated and ridiculed and terrorized. I knew I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't give my bullies more ammunition by having them find out that they broke me. That they had won.

I muddled through in independent learning until I was 16 and I dropped out. I was done. I felt exactly the same in independent learning that I did at school, I was an outcast. I was different and people were watching me and waiting for me to fail. I took a minimum wage job and moved out. My mother and I were at each others throats and I hated everyone and everything.

The years since then have been hard. I'm not going to lie, suicide has been an option many times. Luckily I have learned better coping, kind of. I've had problems with drugs, problems with alcohol, I am a hoarder, I have horrible anxiety, and some days, I still hate myself.

I have done a lot of work over the years to slowly improve and better my life. I still have to work very hard every day not to swirl into a black pit and just say "To Hell With It" to everyone and everything. I am a work in progress. I am bent but not broken.

Bullying did this to me.

Bullying destroyed my mental health.

If I close my eyes I can still see and hear my bully as clear as if they were standing beside me. The words they spewed still cut me inside. Their hatred so thick in front of me still that I can taste it.

If your child is being bullied or suddenly has a major personality change, please, I'm begging you, get them help. Be on their side. It will be the hardest thing you may ever do in your life, but it can save their life. Give them hugs. Give them understanding. Give them time. Give them love.

No one should ever grow up to be me. It is preventable. We can't change other peoples kids. We can't fix bullies. They will always exist in some form, what we can do is save our own children through educating them, empowering them and being open to giving them any help they may need. Therapy is not bad. Medications are not bad. Reaching out is not bad. We seem to think that we need to be super human and capable of dealing with everything on our own as parents. That to ask for help is a sign of weakness and a failure of parenting.

Asking for help will save your childs life.


Shit... I did it again

So after the fail of my last, like all relationships, I did what all well meaning girls do. I swore off men, seriously considered venturing back to the other team and figured (and whined) that I would be alone forever and ever and ever and well... yeah...

Rolling on... September 9th, 2011 I met someone who has since become one of my best friends. We spent many nights sitting in my car until the sun came up talking life.

Each one of those nights I got butterflies.
Each one of those nights I denied and suppressed and avoided the butterflies.
Each morning that followed my friends got messages about my butterflies.

Shit... It was happening.

Problem being, I couldn't read him.

Not a damn bit.

So I assembled a crack team of "subtle" investigative friends to try and get me some intel. Yes, I had a team. My team tried, some less subtly then others (I believe some advice I received was "Just grab his balls, then you'll know how he feels"). Even his mother tried ("That girl likes you" - Mother "Oh yeah" - Him).

Most people would see this as complete disinterest on his part. Maybe I saw past it, maybe I'm not so bright, maybe I knew he was worth sticking around for, either way... I stuck around. I was having too much fun in the moment. I was finally thinking again. I was feeling again.

Unfortunately part of what I was feeling at the time was also back pain. It was not a good time for my physical body. Seems though, it was all part of the plan when my back seized up as I was getting ready to leave from another late night chatter session.

I insisted I was fine.

He insisted I wasn't.

He was right, I spent the night, he held me, I forgot the pain.

I probably moved from crush to falling in love that night.

That was November 27th, 2011.

Two months later I'm still feeling. I'm still thinking. I still get butterflies.

Every single day I get butterflies.

Why am I telling you all this?

Sometimes we don't realise our own worth. We subconsciously push people away. We are so busy waiting for the other shoe to drop that we miss the amazing moments happening in the meantime.

I came to a realisation recently that I was so worried about losing what I had that I wasn't enjoying it either. It was an awful realisation. This amazing man loves me and instead of living in the fantastic moment of butterflies and security, I was worrying what I was going to do wrong, what I needed to hide, what was going to end it all.

What an awful way to love. It wasn't fair to me and it certainly wasn't fair to him. I said to him one day "I'm just waiting for you to realize how much better you can do then me" and he replied with "That seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy.". He was right. If I'm waiting for the end, the end will come.

I had to make a choice.

Do I love him enough to be myself? To wake up knowing that today is not the end, unless I make it the end. To not expect the worst but to live in the moments bad or good no matter what they are.

I love him more then that.

For the first time, I love some one more then I am damaged, or ashamed, or scared.

And he loves me back.

I am a very fortunate woman, and every day the butterflies remind me.