Saturday, June 19, 2010


Never in my life, have I been so completely happy and satisfied. I feel as though this move to Toronto has helped me realize so much about myself. It has helped me redefine everything I've ever believed in. It has helped me challenge myself in ways I'd been long avoiding, but forever needing. I've only been here for 49 days, but I feel like I've finally changed the way I've been craving and needing to change. I feel like I've finally changed the way everybody hungers to change.

My mother often tells me a story about myself when I was younger. My cousin had always had difficulty in school and didn't do as well as I knew she could on tests. In grade four, I spent the whole day before our test helping my cousin study. I worked so hard on helping her memorize the material; I got so caught up in helping her study that I hadn't studied for myself. After she left my house, I was completely stressed and upset, worried that I didn't know the material for the test. My mother often uses this story as an example with how I'm always putting people before myself. She tells me it's my nature - and that, inevitably, I've always worried about other people and have always gone above and beyond to help others.

When I first got to Toronto, I went to a psychic. The very first thing she said to me was, "You always put other people first. You have to stop doing that. You have to put yourself first, and think about what you want and need. Everything else will fall into place."

The move to Toronto has, for the first time in my life, made me think of myself and what I want/need. Maybe that's why I feel so fulfilled and so satisfied. Everyday, before being in Toronto, I always felt the same anxiety and stress that I felt after my cousin left my house that day I helped her study. Now, that huge weight of stress has been lifted off my chest... and I just feel relieved. Now, I do the things I do and make the decisions I make because I want to... and for no other reason but for myself.

There were many reasons why I didn't want to go to Toronto in the first place. I was thinking about all of my friends and how much I'd miss them, I was worried about my relationship with my boyfriend, and I was thinking about my sister and her pregnancy. After plunging through the thoughts of everyone else, I settled on the thoughts of myself and realize that I needed to make this move. I think it's important for everyone to make a move like this in their life. Don't ever settle for the ordinary. It's better to regret what you've done rather than what you haven't. Life is way too short to stay in your comfort zone. Remember that you're creating your own autobiography. Don't write a crappy book... create a masterpiece. Don't create something just mediocre. You hold the pen... no one else.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Letters to a Young Artist

One of my favourite books is Letters to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron. I've read it a few times, but it's comparable to a favourite movie... one you can watch over and over again. Every time you flip through the familiar pages, you gain a little bit more out of it than the last time you read it. Like your favourite movie, there are quotes and jokes you didn't quite comprehend but watch it again in a few years, and they become much more clearer and you're better able to appreciate them. That's exactly how I feel about this book.

Have you ever stumbled across a quote that when as soon as you read it, it was as if you took a huge breath of fresh air? Finding quotes that relate to you can be self revolutionary and motivational. This book, for me, is filled with them. If you're into any sort of creative arts (writing, visual arts, etc.) then I suggest this book become a part of your library. But it's still a great read even if you're not creative or artistic. Many of its quotes can metaphorically relate to life in many many ways. Julia Cameron states a Picasso quote that "we are all born children" and that "the trick is remaining one." She says that children don't worry about masterpieces when they are playing. We, as artists, only want to make good art - masterpieces, but bad art is better than creating no art at all. We have to stop thinking and talking about making art and DO IT. The quote Cameron says is "art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite -- getting something down." She elaborates a lot on this, which helped me sort of break away from my theory of "well, I'm not FEELING motivated! I don't want to make art today... so I won't! There. It's rationalized." Bullshit!

"As you move towards a dream, the dream move towards you". This is such a great quote to keep in your mind because, when you think about it, it's so true. How will you ever reach your goals if you sit back, wondering how you're going to reach them? You have to move and work, and eventually your efforts will be rewarded and your goals will be in reach.

Everything is falling into place for me

Toronto is amazing. I can't believe, for a second, that I had doubts about coming here. This was absolutely 100% the best decision I could ever make. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm where I should be.

I feel like for the first time in my life, I really know who I am. As soon as I got here, everything sort of fell into place and I've never felt so great about myself. Toronto is so rich in art and culture and there's so much to get involved in. I was chosen to represent the Toronto School of Art in the annual Riverdale Art Walk and I sold the painting that I had submitted to exhibit. My creativity has flourished and, because I'm constantly being exposed to art and culture, I'm constantly motivated. I realize that making bad art is better than making no art at all; so, I'm constantly creating something.

(one of my recent portraits)

My independence was something I was slowly beginning to lose a grasp of over the years, but being here in Toronto has really helped me redefine who I am. I know now, without a doubt, that there is so much more out there for me. I'm so motivated to go as far as I can go to reach my dreams.

I realize that, to be in Toronto, you have to have money to live. There is so much going on all the time and so much to do, but everything costs money. I've been living life as a starving artist for the past month and a half and I realize that talent doesn't put food on the table. Even though I don't have a job (trust me, I've been looking), I'm smitten as a kitten. I got accepted into Mount Saint Vincent University for the Bachelor of Education Secondary Program which means in two years time, I'll be a high school art teacher. My family isn't exactly ecstatic about the idea because they see so much more for me and my talent.

However, I don't feel like it's the end of the road for me; I feel like it's the beginning. Having a BEd is something I can fall back on. Like I said, I realize that talent doesn't put food on the table. I have every intention on going to Europe when I'm finished at MSVU - and it's not an unattainable goal. I don't want to live life envying other peoples'.

I'm staying in a University of Toronto residence surrounded by people from all over the world. These people have become some of the best friends I'll ever have. The memories I'm making with these friends are memories that I'll keep with me for the rest of my life. It's such an unbelievable opportunity to be living with people from literally all over the world. My friends are from Holland, Ireland, France, England and Austria. It's great that we're all making connections from everywhere so if we ever want to travel, we can always stay with each other.