Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Get Ready

I can't believe it's basically July already. All of you high school graduates must be excited to soon start the next chapter of your life! When I was in your shoes, I had the next ten years of my life planned and I was confident that I knew exactly how everything was going to play out. If you would've told me then that I would be in Toronto doing an artist residency now, I would've laughed really hard.

I think it's important when you're young to have many dreams and aspirations. You shouldn't be so close minded to options like I once was. I think when we're younger, we're a little stubborn and oblivious to the fact that what we want in life will change as the years go by because we, ourselves, inevitably change.

Four years ago, just after graduating from Glace Bay High School, I was in a relationship with a guy I had been dating throughout high school. I would've bet my life on us being together for the rest of our lives. He was my first love and it was evident that I didn't have a life outside of him... I was perfectly content with that. We were so in love that anything outside of our relationship didn't matter and I know, without a doubt, that I never would've gone anywhere without his side (including an artist residency in Toronto). We went to university together and our plan was to finish school, become teachers, get married, move to Antigonish and start a family.

That plan lasted a whole two years post-graduation before university acted as a barricade, tearing us apart. You will change more than you could anticipate in university and it will truly be self revolutionary. My first love and I grew up and grew apart, but it was probably the best thing that ever could've happened (at least this was the case for me, I'm not sure how he turned out because we've never talked since). I was devastated and crushed as all my dreams and plans were dramatically destroyed before my eyes. But it was when the pages of my pre-written book of life were erased that I truly became a writer. I held the pen and was in complete control. For years with my first love, I knew exactly who I was but now that he wasn't in the picture anymore I had to do some major soul searching and self re-evaluating. I had to find out who I was without him. It was during this period that I started doing things I never would've imagined doing if I were still with him - especially traveling (something I couldn't IMAGINE living life without doing now)

So, you're starting to pack up your life in preparation for the big move to university and I'm telling you... to let go of all your plans. I want you to fully embrace the change that you're about to go through and get ready to face dramatic hardships that will really shape who you are. I'm not saying to let go of your dreams and aspirations, I'm telling you to come to the realization that as you change, so will your dreams. So be prepared to be disappointed, but be prepared to learn and grow from those disappointments.

Monday, June 28, 2010

G20 Zoo

I couldn't believe the chaotic mess that Toronto was the past weekend during the G20 summit. I was on a leisurely stroll through Dundas Square when I accidentally walked into a riot. I actually witnessed the transition from humans to animals as I watched crowds of people throw bricks through store windows and spray paint protests over building walls. I was appalled to see how boisterous and disgusting people were acting. I'd never seen so many police in my life as hundreds lined the streets, equipped with face masks and protective shields. There were police men and women in buses, vans, trucks, bicycles, public transportation and on horses.

It felt like I was in the midst of a war while crowds of people trumped the streets. These streets that I normally walked where I once felt safe, I found myself swallowing lumps of nervousnesses while I kept my arms tucked close to my body. I was tripping over abandoned protest signs, clothes, shoes, garbage, and broken glass. I walked down Yonge Street where every second store's window was smashed. Stores and malls were on lockdown; Their shoppers pressed their hands against the store windows, mouths open in surprise and disgust while they watched the horrific event.

Remember the movie Jumanji? Remember when the animals took over the city and stampeded through the streets destroying everything? That's exactly what it felt like while I walked through the stampede of people.

So, maybe you're questioning my previous statement about witnessing humans transitioning into animals but perhaps this will clear it up if what I've said already hasn't. Above you see an elephant destroying a car, without remorse. And below you see what protestors had done - lit a police car on fire. What normal human beings would do this without remorse? -- only the ones corrupted with the instincts of an animal.