New Things This Week!

  1. Article Published
  2. New Video

3. Etsy Listing

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I was on the radio today!

A dream came true of mine. I was on the radio on my favourite network, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). I met Gloria Macarenko and she was so lovely! I am a HUGE CBC fan and I couldn’t believe I got to go in the part of the building where they broadcast the news, both television and radio.

The radio program was all about a Youth with Autism conference taking place tomorrow and I will be running an Art workshop. This will be the first of it’s kind for me and hopefully not the last.

If you’re interested in hearing me on the radio, the link is here.

If you happen to be outside of Canada, you can always download a free VPN like ProtonVPN and set your location to Canada to be able to listen!

Anxiety, take the wheel.

Do I start this off with a content warning? Candid, mental health & anxiety sweat ahead.

With that out of the way, I want to talk about a few things that i’ve been thinking about lately. You know those perfect photos you see online? It’s all smoke and mirrors. All of it. I’m completely guilty of this. I am really struggling with my mental and physical health. I have been sleeping a lot, crying a lot and just overall not being terribly productive. I am basically a fleshy paperweight.

You see this here? This is what excruciating, emotional pain looks like. This is what a half hour of makeup application and meticulously placing my bobby pins in my hair looks like. I don’t even think I even am able to effectively fake a smile.

I know, i’ve gone around and around and around and posted about stuff like this (mental illness) before, but it’s such a large part of who I am and I wish it wasn’t.

Today tested me. It put everything I have been struggling with in to one hellish mess. Firstly, I had a big emotional meltdown yesterday — that started it all. Crying and saying a lot of things I didn’t mean to someone I care about are actions I severely regret. I have a hard time regulating my emotions. I’m not medicated–and the medication I tried did not work for me. (I had a very dismissive psychiatrist.) Our mental health system is very broken and I am having a hard time accessing suitable assistance.

Back to what happened today: I went to Superstore and tested my blood pressure at the “Wellness station” in the pharmacy. My reading was 149 / 100. Not good. Not good at all.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

We walked around a bunch because my health is not the greatest, so it was an attempt at physical activity. I was on board for this. I got a nice magenta top and then we walked over to H&M and I got a black tank top to wear under. This was an attempt at doing something nice for myself. We continued on and made a few more stops before we went in to Winners, which is owned by TJ Maxx — it’s essentially a Canadian version. I looked at some stuff. I went to go check out the Women’s clearance, and at this time I was feeling really concerned about my blood pressure reading. The thoughts were very persistent and added to the anxiety that is gnawing at my brain and tightening it’s grip on me. That induces sweat–the worst kind of sweat imaginable. I tried wedging my way in to the aisle where the clearance was and there was another customer looking at clothes. I tried to get by her and she kept looking at me. I couldn’t figure out why. Was I being rude? Was I bumping in to her and taking up too much room? What was going on? Well, I learned what it was quickly. Her eyes locked with mine, she gave me the filthiest, most disgusted look I have seen. My heart sank. She persisted to walk by me and wave her hand in the air, fanning it. I realized something: she was disgusted by the way I smelled.

I didn’t even realize it. No matter how much deodorant or anti-perspirant I put on, I still could not cover up my extreme anxiety. I was so embarrassed. Everything I wanted to see in the store, she happened to end up in that department. When I went to check out with the two items I picked up — a rust coloured top and some Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant (yes, I picked it up after this happened), GUESS WHO WAS IN FRONT OF ME IN THE LINE? Oh my god. I almost had a panic attack. On the one hand, I already felt like trash but then apparently I smelled like it too? Awful. I couldn’t even look her in the eye. I tried to maintain my distance but lines make it so that there’s a person in front of you and a person behind you. If it wasn’t for the purchases I wanted to make, I would have left right away and went back to being a hermit.

I still feel ashamed and disgusted. I obviously learned a valuable lesson today and I realize that I have to really put more effort in to the way I present myself and carry some kind of spray or something with me, even if i’m irritated by artificial smells, just to maintain some level of decency and consideration for those around me. The last thing I want is to be looked down upon by people I don’t even know because the emotional pain that it brings me just adds to the depressed and anxious feelings I already have.

Oh, and on top of that, I spent nearly 5 hours at the Emergency room in regards to my blood pressure, I had various tests done and will be following up with an outpatient clinic. I want answers or at least medication to help get it more regulated.

I definitely want today to be over.

Acceptance, please?

I’m laying in bed right now, trying to desperately turn off my active mind. It’s nearly impossible to do.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As April 1st comes to a close, i’m already struggling to come to terms with this month and the ignorance i’ve already encountered. Twitter is the place to go when you desire controversy and i’m no stranger to that.

I reside in British Columbia and we are synonymous with the NHL team, The Vancouver Canucks. Many people find them to be a source of pride and optimism, even to go so far as to say they represent Vancouver. I believed that for a long time until I became aware of the Canucks Autism Network.

It’s a great thing to want to support Autistic people but it’s another thing to utilize the puzzle piece and incorporate material sourced from Autism Speaks. They also use strange language like “families with autism” in their marketing materials. I feel like the #1 resource for those who organize these events and create the foundation for these networks and charities should be an Autistic person or even a group of Autistic people. To me, that simply is common sense.

The way these events are structured, there is a strong emphasis on family and children. A lot of the time Autistic adults are left out and not even considered. It’s as if they believe Autistic adults don’t exist. Hello! We’re here. We exist. We have opinions, thoughts, feelings that we would love to share with you. We’re human too!

I also saw that they are working with Microsoft’s Vancouver Office. For a while, I wanted to reach out and collaborate with Microsoft and I couldn’t even find a viable way to contact the right department. I was given a telephone number, I tried to exhaust internal contacts and I couldn’t get to the right person. I wonder if it’s purposely inaccessible? Microsoft has a program to hire Autistic people and yet the company is virtually unreachable.

Between Canucks Autism Network, Autism Support BC and Surf’s Up For Autism, amongst many others, we continue to be coloured blue and puzzled. I feel as though they don’t know the negative connotations or simply don’t care. If you want to help us, ask us. Put it out there on twitter. Have a focus group with Autistic people of different ages. ASK US FIRST. If you’re running a contest with a colouring page for Autism, hire an Autistic artist.

Align Entertainment Presents Annie

(I received complementary tickets in exchange for my review)

Annie has always been one of my favourite musicals. I watched both versions on VHS religiously as a child, had a chance to be in a production in school and saw it at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre many moons ago.

Photo taken by Emily Cooper

This version seemed different to me and I learned that it’s not uncommon for the scripts to change and get rewritten. There were songs I didn’t remember and scenes that seemed off to me. I also didn’t know why they said “always” instead of “only” during Tomorrow. It’s actually because the movie version changed it. Who knew?

Camryn McDonald plays Annie and brings a very unique approach to her performance. She’s incredibly animated, professional and focused, much like all the seasoned professionals around her! I see a bright and successful future for Camryn.

The whole ensemble had great chemistry and I really enjoyed the choreography. A Hard Knock Life was a great display of the talent of the young ladies playing the orphans. It was really mesmerizing and one of my favourite songs.

The sets were beautiful but it was hard for me to not pick out pieces that didn’t fit the depression-era that the musical is set in. I don’t blame them, it’s not easy (or cheap) to completely retrofit the set to be 100% accurate. Same thing can be said for some of the costumes. There’s a scene where President Roosevelt is seated at a table with his staff and two of the ladies look like they came right off the set of Laverne & Shirley, but again, there’s only so much you can do with budget restraints. I also can’t help that I have an innate attention to detail.

Photo taken by Emily Cooper

This is the second Align Entertainment production i’ve seen, the first one being Legally Blonde which I was SO excited to review.

Align has an incredibly dedicated team, committed to providing experiences you and your family will enjoy. It’s so important for the soul to immerse yourself in some arts and culture. Clearly i’m a big proponent of this!

Align Entertainment presents:

Annie: The Musical
Dates: February 1–16, 2019
Preview: February 1, 8pm
Family Matinee: February 2, 2pm
Opening Night: February 2, 8pm

Ticket Prices: Regular: $29–$42

Special Preview Pricing: $20
Thrifty Thursdays: $25
Family Matinee: $15
Address: Michael J. Fox Theatre
7373 Macpherson Ave
Burnaby, BC V5J 2B7

Tickets: http://alignentertainment.ca/tickets or vtixonline.com
Website: alignentertainment.ca

The Hustle, The Grind

My latest piece!

I never created art with the intention of sale. I create art because of the natural process and the welcome distraction it brings. Although, the more interest I get, the more i’ve felt like it would be the perfect opportunity to put some pieces up for purchase. I am a terrible closer. I actually have sold some pieces through instagram, but I am having a difficult time getting any finalized sales through my Etsy store. I will fully admit that pricing my work is a difficult feat. I want it to be accessible for people but I also don’t want to undervalue the work and materials i’ve put in to each and every one. With that being said, i’m completely willing to work with any budget if someone truly desires to acquire some of my art.

I’ve e-mailed different venues and now i’m waiting to hear back. Not only physical venues, but print as well. There’s no “one size fits all resource” that can tell me of places to submit my art or local cafes’ that display it, i’m completely reliant on google at this point and some kind people on reddit who have given me some great suggestions. I’m very thankful.

I want to mention I have seen the call to artists on Opus’ website and Alliance for Arts, but a lot of those are juried shows and/or require a fee and that’s not something that I am financially able to do. I just paid Etsy six dollars and change in fees – with no sale to recoup those funds. (Fingers crossed)

If you have any ideas for me-I would absolutely love to hear them!

I did hear a suggestion to have prints for sale but it’s kind of hard to scan my art. If you see the image in this post, that’s what a 9×12 looks like scanned. You can see all the bumps from the canvas board and it’s not attractive. If I take a physical photo, there’s always lighting problems and issues with the dimensions or taking a perfectly straight photo, where the canvas isn’t warped.

I would love a mentor or an artistic partner but right now I am pretty self-reliant. I wouldn’t even know how to go about that.

Kim’s Convenience is BACK!

I’m so excited to announce that Kim’s Convenience is BACK for Season 3!

I think as a collective whole, we can agree that the wait has been long but good things come to those who wait and I can assure you it’s good, really good.

I want to thank CBC for giving me the chance to watch the first episode, aptly titled “New Appa-liance”. I honestly don’t want to give too much of the plot away. What I can tell you is it starts with a fart and ends with a dishwasher.

Janet’s has her struggles in her photography program and grapples with her name. There are some wonderful moments with Jung and Appa. Umma is a bit more emotional in this episode, but I find she has good reason. If you haven’t watched the show and you’re looking for laughs, you can catch up on previous episodes on CBC Gem & Netflix.

Premieres on CBC January 8th at 8/8:30NT.

Read my previous article about the play & meeting Paul Sun-Hyung Lee here.

Sensory Matters PODCAST & Going VIRAL!

Happy New Years Eve everybody. I’ve had a pretty eventful past few days. Firstly, I submitted a WINNING ENTRY to No Frills – which is a budget friendly grocery chain here in Canada owned by Loblaws (Galen Weston). I came up with a catchy, tongue-in-cheek melodic jingle and it’s going viral. It’s nearing 100,000 views. Check it out right here!

Also, Sensory Matters was kind enough to interview me for their podcast and it went live today.

I hope you have an amazing 2019!

Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory

I want to thank the Vancouver Park Board for giving me the chance to attend this beautiful event.

The Bloedel Floral Conservatory first opened it’s doors in 1969 and has been delighting families ever since. It had been an especially long time since I had been – probably over 15 years! I was in awe of the plants and the birds! The gorgeous lights that have been added to make holiday heights come to life. 

We were warmly greeted and asked if we wanted to participate in the scavenger hunt. OF COURSE. No hesitation. Find all the GNOMES?! YES! In case you didn’t know, I love garden gnomes. I think it has to do with my fascination of all things kitsch. 

The birds are stunning and wonderful to see. For me, it evokes memories of my past. I grew up in a house full of pets. One of them was Arthur. Arthur was a blue and gold macaw who absolutely loved my mom. They were inseparable. 

Arthur now lives at the conservatory and I stopped by and talked to him. I could tell that he remembered me. He was family, after all. 

We approached a photo wall, complete with hashtag and beautiful flowers. Couldn’t help but snap some shots! Insta-worthy moment.

I noticed that some of the trees had very eclectic decorations. Shells and other kinds of natural wonder adorning them. Things like this please me because they give me artistic ideas and I love the fact that they are so unique.  

If you want to visit this glowing, tropical attraction that is sure to awe you, all the lovely details can be found here! https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/holiday-heights.aspx

Thanks for reading and have the happiest of holidays! 

Sippin’ hot drinks!

I have been enjoying a lot of hot chocolate and teas while frantically entering Christmas contests. It’s that time of year again and it happens to be one of my most enjoyable hobbies. Seriously. I do this…!

I did some more background work on film where I was dressed up all 80s and it was WILD. I didn’t realize my hair could get that big.

I also was featured on GEEK CLUB BOOKS and they’ve been so kind to post me on their social channels. I would love if you could read the article here: https://geekclubbooks.com/2018/11/impactful-blogs-navigating-life/

Lastly, I actually drew something that conveys my hyper-awareness & anxiety all at the very same time: 

I have been thinking of some articles i would like to write so i’m just kind of waiting for that BURST of creativity to hit me so I can get it done. I haven’t neglected my blog. I always fear people are going to think i’ve abandoned it. That’s just not the case.