Interviews

Be true to yourself

August 11, 2019

I have to admit that I’ve been seeing a prominent theme lately which I find interesting. It keeps popping up in so many unexpected ways, through music, books, tv shows and even Instagram! Last week has been all about loving ourselves, this time it’s showing love, kindness and respect to others. I wholeheartedly agree with that and already do it on a daily basis. I’m constantly showering people I meet with compliments whether it’s face to face, through Facebook or Instagram. I enjoy doing it and know how much of an impact it can have on someone. It could potentially make their day or boost their self esteem. A smile and kind comment can go a long ways. 

I even tell my cats how cute or smart they are! That’s because I know they are listening and often react to my mood or body language. They are sensitive to how I behave or the way I use my voice, so I have to be mindful of my behaviour. 

I recently had my hair cut really short and have had a lot of comments on it. The other day, a complete stranger remarked how much he liked it which I didn’t expect. That kind comment lifted my spirits for the rest of the day. All it took was that spark of positivity. 

In the book, Queer Eye, Karamo encourages us to praise others, you never know how much of a difference it can make with them. I absolutely agree with that idea. I’m not entirely sure when I started dishing out compliments although it would’ve likely been around the time I went to Drama Camp at University of Guelph when I was just starting high school. Yes, it was a lot like Glee Club full of singing, dancing, performing and so many crazy antics.

At that time in my life, I was super shy and my self esteem had been completely destroyed by the relentless bullying I endured throughout school. When I first arrived at camp, I was very withdrawn and had a tendency to cast my eyes downwards. By the way, that pattern shows up whenever my confidence is low or shattered. I recognize it whenever it happens which means I have to take a break and step away from the situation that caused it. 

Then something happened at camp that changed my perspective. All it took was one person who came up to me, nudged me with their elbow and told me how much they like my long curly hair. Not only did it surprise me, it made me realize that these people were genuinely interested in learning more about me and being my friend. That was huge! My circle of friends quickly grew and I became more receptive and honest with myself. It meant delving into my personality to figure out the real me. I had to learn to let go of my former self in order to transition from elementary school into high school It was a transformative experience that forever changed my life. 

At camp, we all had to embrace different aspect of ourselves without any judgment through a series of exercises. It was about trusting each other on and off the stage. In essence, we became a family very quickly which is what I needed at that time. That experience made me realize that I had outgrown the old part of my life, it simply didn’t belong there. Soon afterwards, a lot of people commented on how much I changed. I seemed more grounded, confident and developed a sunnier deposition which I’ve carried with me since then. 

That’s exactly what Karamo was talking about, he encourages us to have a more positive outlook and share that optimism with others. It’s about being honest with ourselves and deciding who belongs in our lives. We need to learn to trust our instincts and really listen to our hearts. Once in awhile, do something nice for yourself whether it be reading a good book, sipping your favourite wine on the rooftop, doing Sudoku, or listening to music. 

For me, when I’m having a bad day or feel like I’m stuck in a rut, I’ll go for a walk outside with my camera and take pictures. It has a meditative quality that allows me to refocus my priorities. I find that it helps me clear my mind and let go of anything that bothers me by living in the present moment. Even taking the time to talk to a neighbour or friend can be extremely therapeutic, especially when you hit it off really well with a topic that jumpstarts a passionate conversation. So please be kind to yourselves and share that love with others. 

 

Fab Five - Love Yourself

August 6, 2019

I’m sitting on the rooftop on a hot summer day, battling a bad cold and reading a new book by the Fab Five called “Queer Eye - Love Yourself”. Funnily enough, I've been seeing a lot of endorsement about loving ourselves which is a big sign for me since it’s also in many of BTS’s songs and videos. That’s saying something.

If you get a chance to peruse the book, grab it! It’s a worthwhile read with lots of fabulous advice and features an introspective look into the live...


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Queer Eye

July 22, 2019



I recently saw the newest episode (season four) of Queer Eye on Netflix and it immediately captured my attention. It was by far, my favourite since it was focused on overcoming disabilities. The transformation was truly incredible to witness! 

This episode, featureing Wesley Hamilton, a cross fit trainer who founded his own non-profit organization called “Disabled But Not Really” to help other people with disabilities feel empowered. He became paralyzed from the waist down after ...


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Unforgettable books about people with disabilities

July 21, 2019


Hi everyone! I just got the news that my book Compass is being featured at "Unforgettable books about people who refuse to be defined by disabilities"! It's number 2 on their list of top picks. Isn't that amazing?

I love how they encourage others to embrace the world of people with disabilities. They are very aware how underrepresented the disabled population is in movies, TV, and books, and have created an incredible platform for everyone to learn more about real people living with disabili...


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Five Feet Apart

July 18, 2019



I recently saw the movie Five Feet Apart and was pleasantly surprised by the story. It featured talented actors, Cole Sprouse from Riverdale and Haley Lu  Richardson, as 17 year old Cystic Fibrosis patients. Stella has learned to take take control of her life despite spending most of her time in the hospital. She figured out how to cope with disease by setting goals, big and small, to give herself a purpose. Everyday she sets out to achieve those goals which gives her the strength to keep goi...

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You're my light

July 3, 2019

One of my favourite bands, BTS, just released a phenomenal new song entitled “Lights” and it could not have come at a better time. 

After ending up in the ER, again, I relied on listening to BTS as a distraction from the severe pain I was in. I couldn’t have gotten through that night without the support of my dojo family. They were by my side through the entire ordeal and that gave me the strength to pull through it. 

I’ll admit that it took me longer than usual to recover...


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Home

May 20, 2019

Recently, someone commented how much I’ve changed, that I seem to be more grounded. They are right. After an immensely difficult couple of months due to my severe chronic pain and physical illness, I finally emerged as a stronger person. 

Normally, I face a lot of obstacles every day from my profound hearing loss but having being diagnosed with five herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, spondylolysis, inactive C6 radiculopathy and Trigeminal Neuralgia, it tested my faith to the ext...


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Moments in life

March 24, 2019

I recently saw this quote, “Believe that life is worth living” by William James and it immediately resonated with me. After a disastrous two months of being extremely ill, enduring severe spinal pain and multiple visits to the ER, that horrible sense of despair is finally fading away. 

There were moments when I nearly succumbed to the emotional isolation and melancholy of being in so much distress. I just wanted to give up. It was simply too much for me to take anymore. 

Not only wa...


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Navigating the path to independence

November 5, 2018



Growing up with a severe hearing loss was filled with many challenges, both good and bad, and they served as hard lessons that stuck with me. I’ve learned that I’m the only one responsible for my life and that it’s entirely up to me to find creative solutions that work. 

One of the biggest issues that I’m faced with on a daily basis is that I’m not Deaf and I’m not Hearing, I’m in between those two worlds. I’m actually Hard of Hearing in one ear, deaf in the other and speak n...


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Leave a powerful impression

October 7, 2018




“Leave a powerful energy impression.”

Those are the words of Gabrielle Bernstein, from her book “Miracles Now”. The timing couldn’t be more perfect since it’s Thanksgiving weekend here and it would’ve been my mother’s birthday today. I think it’s fitting that I came across that phrase since it’s a time of reflection. 

We are in a transition phase, moving from a humid summer to a cool fall, where the leaves are changing into bright shades of crimson, gold and orange. It...


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