June 17, 2018

What does it mean to be alive? That question seems to have popped up so many times lately in the wake of the suicides of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain. Strangely, around the same time this happened, there was a sense of a heavy pall around the world. Was there was a sudden shift in the earth’s magnetic poles? Or perhaps a change in the sun’s solar flares? Whatever the reason, there is a universal feeling that many of can sense that something is not right, deep down in our souls. 

We should be living our lives to the best of our abilities, embracing our uniqueness and accepting the blessings that we receive on a daily basis. Ironically, that is the hardest thing to do. Especially for me. Because of my hearing loss, I was abused, teased relentlessly, ostracized and bullied throughout my childhood. I can’t change that now. It’s in the past where it should stay. Unfortunately, it keeps creeping forward like a dark shadow trying to smother me.

What happened to me as a young child, nearly destroyed my self esteem and self worth. I lost my ability to trust people, particularly men. That exists now, it’s in my face everyday. It has been an ongoing battle for a long time. And there have been times when I nearly lost that battle. It’s an overwhelming fear that encompasses my inner core. I have anxiety and panic attacks. There are triggers present in my life that I’m trying very hard to control and overcome. It’s not easy. When it hits me, I tend to shut down, mentally and emotionally. That happened recently and it was at that moment that I desperately wanted to talk to my mother. But I couldn’t since she died a year ago. Not only was she my best friend and mother, she was also a gifted psychologist. She would’ve imparted valuable wisdom to help boost my morale and remind me that I’m still a normal person. 

Now, it’s up to me to figure out how to shake off that lingering doubt and horrible, creeping feeling of anxiety. I know that logically I need to get out, go for a walk in the sunshine, take photos of the flowers blooming nearby. To me, it’s a form of meditation. I don’t know why it works but it does. I seem to go into a zone where I’m completely immersed in the world of colourful plants. It's also a great opportunity to see life happening around me, hearing and seeing the pulse of the city. When I went for a walk the other day, a kindly elderly lady who reminded me of Mom, said to me "Hello sweetie" as I strolled past her. That lifted my spirits, even though she was a stranger. Being active helps immensely. Watching movies and tv shows, especially the ones that Mom and I used to enjoy, keeps me grounded. That’s when I begin to feel normal once again. Most of all, it’s about taking the initiative to take control of what’s happening to me. It’s my responsibility to figure out what works for me as an independent adult. I need to figure out how to be proud of my accomplishments and count my blessings. 

I need to remind myself to be grateful for the food, even if it means going to the food bank. I have a new apartment and my adorable fur babies to take care of. I love it when the sun streams through the gloriously tall windows late in the afternoon. There is something magical abut watching the shadows of the maple leaves shimmer on the wall, it’s as if they are dancing with joy. Every morning, I feel very lucky to be able to sit in Mom’s rocking chair, sip my coffee, and have a purring kitty lounge in my lap. I need those moments, even if it’s fleeting, lasting from a few minutes to an hour. It’s a reminder that I should feel blessed. And it helps me get through that horrible, tight feeling in my chest from the anxiety. 

Living in the dark, lying in bed in absolute fear, does not work for me. I have already lived through grief and depression and don’t want to experience that again. There was a time for that. I would prefer to keep moving forward, regardless of how difficult it may seem. I know that is what Mom would tell me to do. Deep down, I know there is a reason why I’m here. That there is something that I need to do. For the most part, I’m still trying to figure that out.

Interestingly, at the same time that I was struggling with my anxiety, actor Will Wheaton (Star Trek, Eureka, Big Bang Theory), posted a deeply personal and relevant article about his experience with it. I couldn’t believe the timing of it, it was exactly what I needed to read. His words really opened my eyes and it made me realize that I was not alone. That is saying something. Will is a gifted writer, not only is he funny, he literally paints a picture of what he goes through and makes it more real for us. He is right, that there are times when it feels like we are walking through a thick fog, wondering where we are going next on our journey. If you get a chance, I highly recommend reading Wil’s article about living with chronic depression, it’s very insightful:

Ironically, while all of this was happening, I kept seeing the word, “Alive”. It was the weirdest thing, it kept popping up in the Bruce Springsteen song that I just downloaded (We Are Alive) to the movie “The Mountain Between Us”. Near the end of that film, Kate Winslet’s character, who survives a horrendous ordeal after a plane crash, simply says “I’m Alive” - that really struck a chord with me. 

Soon afterwards, several more famous people posted their thoughts about the recent suicides. Prison Break and Legends of Tomorrow actor, Dominic Purcell, revealed in his Instagram account, that he suffers from mental illness. This was not an easy subject for him to talk about nor reveal to the public. But he decided to come forward, to some degree, since he lost two of his friends to suicide as well. He knew that it was time to say something and share his thoughts about it, in hopes of helping others.

Then I received a message in my email about Gabby Bernstein, who is an international speaker and NY Times best selling author of “The Universe has your Back”. She posted a series of inspirational videos how to make an impact in this world. I took a moment to watch them and was blown away by her words. She said that we are meant to use our gifts to serve others in a meaningful way. Her keywords were: You are needed. Your story matters.

That was powerful. And a really good reminder that I need to take heed of those words. The overall message that kept popping up this past week, was that we need to be kinder to ourselves. Even Russell Brand said this! 

We need to see everyday, mainly life, as a blessing. Being alive is what counts. I know it’s not easy, especially for me, where every single day can be a struggle. That is what I need to do today.  Be Alive. 

Need a little boost in your spirits? I've been listening to Enrique Iglesias lately, go check out his dance songs:

Move to Miami - 

No Me Diagas Que No -

Subeme la Radio - 

I like it - 


New beginnings

May 25, 2018
It's amazing how a new home can make a world of a difference in my life. I recently moved to a place that I'm familiar with and ironically the same city that my mother and I grew up in. For some reason, it felt right to go back home. It's a fresh start for me, a safe place where I already feel comfortable living. I really do feel blessed being here and grateful for everything. Within days of moving, I obtained a freelance job which was a wonderful surprise. Perfect timing too, I can use the f...
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Moving forward

April 9, 2018
As I move forward to new beginnings in my life, I've become more aware of how my daily experiences, particularly with a hearing loss, have become valuable lessons for me. 

Every single one of us goes through this every day, it's how we grow and evolve as human beings. It's how we discover our strengths and weaknesses, through the situations we face on a regular basis. Whether it's during our commute, at work, during sports or at home, there is always something for us to learn. 

It can be the sm...
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Making a difference

February 22, 2018

As I finalize the details of my upcoming trip, I’m going over every aspect of it to ensure that I receive the necessary assistance for a (mostly) smooth trip. Invariably, there will always be a hiccup along the way, such as delays or that someone forgot I had a disability. Yes, I do have a disability, I don’t sugarcoat it by saying things like “I’m more able than disabled”.  Even though my profound hearing loss is invisible, it’s very real and a huge obstacle for me to overcome on...

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Thank you Nyle

February 19, 2018

After a day of rain, the snow is finally melting. It’s a nice change to watch the fog rise in the air, and I can see the ground again, a sign that spring is on it’s way. I’ve grown tired of the huge mounds of snow on my driveway that were as tall as my small car. The amount of ice and snow we had this year was beyond ridiculous.

During a break this morning, I took a look at my social media feed and came across a trending, hot topic. Deaf model and dancer, Nyle DiMarco, tweeted about h...

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Symbol of Hope

February 11, 2018

As the snow continues to fall outside during another winter storm, I’ve been spending time on Pinterest looking for new Supergirl wallpapers to use on my tablet. Yes, I’ll admit that I love that show, for so many personal reasons. I think it’s because I can relate to her. As someone with a hearing loss, I’m always searching for inspiration, someone to look up to and I find  that she is a great choice. 

Even though Supergirl is incredibly strong, fearless and determined to help others, ...

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Matters of the heart

January 22, 2018

This past weekend has been unusually warm with temperatures hovering above 5C along with beautiful sunshine. It was a welcome reprieve to the bone chilling temperatures at minus 25C and a ridiculous amount of snow. Because of the warm weather, much of the deep snow has melted, I can now view the grass peeking through in the front field and actually see my driveway. Although that might not last very long, since there is another storm headed this way with freezing rain. To me, that's a fun phot...
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Renewed Hope

January 3, 2018

So far I'm not impressed with the beginning of 2018. It has already been a frustrating week and it's only the second day of January.  Mind you, it has nothing to do with going back to my regular routine after a week-long holiday break. My body was screaming at me to take time off, wanting to heal some old injuries that came back with a vengeance. I took that opportunity to have some quiet time, do some reading and photography which I enjoy. This was a necessity so that I didn’t lose my mind...

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New dawn

December 14, 2017

As I sit in the yellow chair, sipping on candy cane flavoured coffee, my eyes fall on to the large beam of sunlight on the lilac wall. It's projecting a shadow of a nearby tree. The branches shake and shimmer in the wind, dancing to a tune of it's own. It's moments like this that I cherish these days. Time seems to slow down momentarily, giving me a chance to catch my breath and watch the shadows stretch across the snowy landscape as the sun begins to set early in the afternoon. 

Luna, my late...
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November 16, 2017

After seeing the latest Jake Gyllenhaal movie, Stronger, I walked away with a profound sense of recognition. I immediately connected with him, particularly at the point when he realizes the impact that he is having on others, simply by being determined to stay strong. Like many of us in the theatre, I left with tears in my eyes and struggled to maintain my composure in such a public place.

Mind you, there were numerous moments throughout the movie where I disagreed with the...

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