Shifting Point.

In an eclectic store with a coffee shop in the front and barbershop in the back, in my city, in the west end yesterday morning..
Somewhere between crossfit challenges and catching up with the good ol’ crew for Canada Day..
While people in my city were sleeping off hangovers..
While people in my city were planning afternoon bbq menus..
While the city was my favourite type of quiet due to the midweek holiday..

I sipped my post workout coffee and had a conversation about the slight shifts of priorities and life stuff with a couple of other people who have also hit the shifting point. Some may call it a ‘get your sh*t together’ point. I know the approximate time it happened in my life but I think life experiences influence the shifting point more than age does. It didn’t come in a box with a bow on top after I blew out my birthday candles.

Change is inevitable. Progression is a choice.

Some of the discussion in that store bled into my current practices:
– For years my friends have been going out on Saturday nights while I stay home to write scripts or learn lines and meet deadlines. I’m used to it. Now that my weekends are a little bit lighter I join friends but choose to see my pillow at a decent hour too. Going to bed early and getting up early makes me feel good. It’s good to have those ‘when your latest nights are your greatest nights’ moments too. I secretly like doing the opposite of what the world is doing.
– Working out used to be for vanity purposes years back. Yes, I chose a career where looks influence opportunity so this is still amid the mix, but now it’s more for piece of mind and lengthening life. I would be even crazier than I am now without the outlet of hot yoga and long distance runs. And it becomes incredibly addicting when a physical challenge seems unreachable and then your body conquers fear. Yesterday I carried a human on my back while running a mile for crossfit. Since my mindset has shifted from vanity to quality of life, I have never been this strong, both physically and mentally.
– I have always had to eat fairly ‘clean’ due to the way my body has chosen to befriend food. But it has been pretty cool watching the people around me be influenced by it. I also commend my European upbringing. If you wanted cookies you didn’t buy them you made them. I believe in balance. I believe in eating a good piece of pizza and a beer. I’m far from perfect but I strive for real food to trump processed food because there are so many positives. My fella would nod to it after spending some time with me and shifting his outlook as a foodie. Do people give me a hard time when I pass on a burger and fries? Absolutely. At first it was difficult understanding why I was judged for choices out of my control and what seemed like smart ones. It was a health choice I had to live by that in the end has led me down a good path. There are some pretty crazy additives out there. I prefer to keep that stuff in the soles of my shoes and not my burger bun.
– Sleep more. This is coming from an insomniac that gets her creative peak at 2am. Naps save lives.
Surround yourself with people that provide fuel to being your ultimate self. There’s healthy competitive and destructive competitive amoung friends. I’ve experienced both and it’s mind-blowing that the latter exists. Say yes to social time with new people. They can you bring you things that you’ve been missing or unconsciously looking for.
–  Read books and take notes that help make you a better human. There is guidance everywhere.
– Do things for others without the need for thank yous. Pretend there has been an apology where there wasn’t one to help close chapters.
– Figure out where you want to put your energy. It’s precious. So is time. Fill it well.

The less you give a damn about what others think, the happier you will be. 

These are just a few shifts that have helped open doors and bring a little more happy around me that I talked about with good people yesterday morning. It’s like when friends start getting married and having kids and you have crossed that line or you haven’t. And you meet people who are on the same side of the line as you.

The other day while I was swearing under my breath about the humidity during my hills workout my motivation showed up. A  man asked me what I was doing out there on such a hot day. I told him I like challenges but it’s hard today. He told me he’s 68 years old and loves a nice, hot day for running. He runs regular 5K and 10K races. Then he asked me if I want to race up the hill for a few rounds. He kept pace the entire time. I want to be like him when I grow up. But the only way that it’s going to happen is if I keep bringing more good things over the line onto this new side of my shifting point. -k

That’s the best revenge of all; happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good f’ing life. – Chuck Palahniuk

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Monday Mumblesauce.

Yesterday…

So, this following puzzle of words was pieced together in my head while on the treadmill this morning. I’m still missing a few pieces because sometimes my mind runs in fifty-two different directions and I’m always chasing the point so this is where I figure life out.

I was recently at a host workshop and one of the points that was stressed about being successful in the entertainment business as a talent is the ability to create your brand. It’s all up to you on how you appear to the everyday Joe who while drinking his morning Joe clicks on your twitter/facebook/blog profile. It’s all in your powerful hands to twist and turn the tapestry that holds together the words and images associated with your name. With the way we live our days in the digital and social realms, I believe that this applies to every person whether lawyer, server, cashier, mailman, taxi driver or construction worker. I dabbled in this conversation over dinner with friends this past weekend and everyone seemed to nod in agreement. A friend even admitted to googling a girl before the first date and also the girl that his friend started dating. First impressions from a google search. A sign of the times. What would you want to pop up first by googling your name? And what wouldn’t you want there?

Eight months of the year I’m completely engulfed in the basketball world. Four months of the year I still get excited when I hear a ball hit the hardwood and read the latest NBA headlines with my morning routine (LBJ, eh?). But the collective within my days shifts a bit. I’m so passionate about the basketball culture. I’m also so passionate about well written words, creating stories through dance and fashion, capturing those split seconds of ‘wow’ through photography, socializing until the sun comes up, fabulous food, sports and fitness, music, peoples stories and where the blacktop ends. These are the things I think about when I create my brand and decide what I share with you. It’s an interesting ‘figuring it out’ kind of journey. And while creating your brand some peoples hearts get funny when they wake up and they have five less followers on instagram or twitter. Do you? I’ve heard it from friends and acquaintances many a time. And why do you feel that way?

Being famous on instagram is basically the same as being rich in monopoly.

Back to my treadmill run. As I looked out onto the cityscape from the top floor gym there were a couple of construction workers on the roof across from my building. They put down their tools for a moment and took out their phones, snapping pictures of each other with the skyline in the background. It’s an impressive view. And I thought about what their instagram accounts could be like, what they share for their ‘brands’ and how cool the places they see are; feeling crazy winds above cities or dropping underground where the average Joe doesn’t go. I believe that everyone has a story that someone else is waiting or needing to hear whether they know it or not. Think about that as you build your brand. Don’t hesitate to be all of you. Because ‘brand’ is just another name for ‘you’ that you expose. Someone can’t wait to read about it or see it. I use the word ‘expose’ because I believe in keeping many things to oneself but that is a personal choice because I am a private person. The question that I struggle with is, ‘What do others want to read and/or see?’ And does it even matter? There are a billion-trillion-zillion of us sitting at our computers right now crossing digital paths. Why would someone want to read this? And does it even matter? Who is it benefitting? The author or the observer… Or both…

From my observations people are attracted to rawness. They’re attracted to a persons ability to show their true colours and the bravery that it takes to do so. They’re attracted to the confidence it takes to lay it on the line and sometimes, maybe even envious, and sometimes, maybe it’s their inspiration to wander the same way. They’re attracted to you admitting that you’re perfectly imperfect. I’m attracted to all of this. I’m attracted to someone being able to admit that they’re still growing. When do we stop growing?

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?

And then the construction workers saw me. One threw his arms out like “you caught me” and waved. I waved back and then I came here to share it with you. And maybe I’ll gain a follower or lose five but I hope that someone needed to come across this today. Puzzle temporarily complete. -k

If you’re always trying to be ‘normal’, you’ll never know how amazing you can be.

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Reminders.

9:32am: The autopilot morning routine of coffee making, checking the twitter newspaper and making friends with my to-do list. But a piece of paper fell out this AM and this is what I wrote just about two years ago today…

I believe in signs from the universe. I believe you know when you know. I believe it takes life experiences to trust the intuitive pangs in your tummy. I believe in giving thanks and being thankful. I believe in dancing your worries away on a messy Friday night. I believe that no word, action, feeling or choice is wrong when it comes from your heart. I believe in forever, ever and the forever that it takes to get there. In dropping below control before soaring the highest that you’ve ever been. In a look that says a million words. In fairy tales and dreams that are wishes your heart makes when you’re fast asleep. I believe in not being ready, timing and patience. I believe in the present and the necessity of past experiences in order to make the future exactly how you want it to be. I believe everyone knows deep down how they want it to be. I believe in finding the happy in your days and in the ability to feel happiness forever. Even when coated with muck for a moment or a murky mile. Alone. Together. I believe in the finding of a purpose. Cause when you do your feet will do the thinking and you’ll roll on along. Go with the flow. Just like a song. Just like dancing. 

Cool.

Have a happy Tuesday, y’all. -k

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The Seasonal Shift in Scenery and How I Feel About It

The truth? I don’t have to write a Raptors script or blog anymore on a Monday night so I’m filling the time slot with some personal prose. Hi. It’s good to be back.

When the final buzzer echoed at the arena Sunday afternoon, the final buzzer of the season, I realized how invested I am in this team and all that comes with it. And that there were people around me that felt the same way. And that’s really cool. As game watchers trickled out of the arena sharing ‘have a good summer’ wishes and so long for nows, I wasn’t the only one who just silently stood there facing the court for a few moments too long. That buzzer wrapped up an incredible season for the Raptors that made the city and all involved glow. The city was full of remarkable pride and it was praised miles and cities and countries away by people who forgot that Canada had an NBA team. It was a victorious moment even though the game victory wasn’t the Raptors. And the arena stood up and applauded the magic that was. That buzzer also wrapped up my eighth year with the organization and in that moment I felt incredibly blessed. I dabble in a field where work isn’t necessarily stable and where us artists are known for our gypsy ways and I sometimes question whether it’s time to move camp. Then I realize that I’ve moved camp within and that I need to be more reflective of the journey. More confident in my growth. More impressed with myself and not just the escalations of those around me. I began as a dancer or cheerleader and even though that has changed, I’m still a cheerleader when it comes to pushing others to hit their highs. You need to cheer for yourself too sometimes. The only way you were able to advance is because you worked your freakin’ ass off. Dancer, choreographer, host, reporter, social personality and writer. And in this moment, I’ve erased and re-wrote the previous line four times because I hesitate expressing the moment where you yourself shines. I’m working on it. Someone who called me out on exactly that said to me, “You may be the only bible somebody else reads.” It’s a Mark Twain quote. And then they told me to tell my story because someone is listening and it’s exactly what they need to hear. I’ve been blessed to be able to share my passion for the game through more than one outlet that I’m passionate about. I’ve been blessed to be able to share my passion for the game with other people who share the same passion for the game. I’m blessed to have built sincere relationships with people that were once just a connection on a screen; a tweet or a timeline post. 

My sister sent me a beautiful message while I was sitting on set, anticipating ‘go time’ yesterday. She said, ‘Today through all of the stress, the pressure and the frustration, just take a moment, close your eyes and feel. Feel the energy around you and soak it in. Feel the love and support coming your way. Trust that you were meant for today. Have faith, enjoy and breathe.’ When someone sends me wonderful words I like to pass them along. Add it to your day just to see how it feels.

The end of the season is always bittersweet. I miss the passion, the play and the people. I am thankful for the people that have crossed my path and the opportunities that have both scared the shit out of me and changed my life. I also crave a few hours of extra sleep, sitting down with the family and my friends with a big glass of red and no cares and honestly, just a little more time for me. To cook and run and read and clean my unorganized room that has been seasoned by the NBA season. I also look forward to sharing the next few months of thoughts and tangos and thrills on this page. 

Hi. It’s nice to see you again. -kImage

Hello Stranger.

Hey, good lookin’. I haven’t visited you for a few months. I just took a glance from your head to your toes. Your pretty pages of you. Ran my tired eyes over the wild wordplay and soothing snapshots of your yesterdays. You’ve done good for yourself, kid. You trusted your feet to dance upon unsturdy beams of unknown pleasures and didn’t stop words that you believed in escape from your throat. It looks like you’re smiling, kid. Keep smiling, kid.

It’s been a minute. I just lit a candle and poured a late night glass of red. As the clock ticks towards Monday, I sit here with the intention of continuing for a moment the simple silent bliss of a nothing special but very special type of weekend. Diving into heartfelt nostalgia is hard to fight when the moon takes flight. Sometimes I sensor my sensitivity. As the days progress I’m more thankful for feeling things others may not. And thankful for pages to purge growing up observations on and having the guts to do so. I know we never stop growing up physically but what about internally? We are constantly rearranging our beliefs and values. The way we handle a negative conversation or disappointment. The way we treat people no matter their status or stigmas. The way we handle success.

It’s been a whirlwind of a month or so. I feel like those words settle on these pages often. It’s an exhausting and therapeutic kind of flow both mentally and physically. And if you ask about those advocates of “me time”, I’m standing front row nodding my head at it’s importance. I’m reflecting on the wonderful before I tuck it away under my pillow. A couple of so called ‘days off’ fell into my agenda this weekend and I filled them with things I needed for my soul. You know, fab friends and family phone calls, photography, french fries and fairy tales. We went for a walk in the park. We danced in front of the fireplace when 2 o’clock was the new 1 o’clock. We watched Sunday football and I instagrammed pictures of the simple places we had been. Damn those simple things are simply so good.

As the calendar flips to a new month here are the things I’m working on:
Not worrying so much about what other people think.
Trusting that my talent and beliefs are enough.
That it’s okay to disconnect for a moment or two.
A new chicken recipe.
Getting back to my running pace. Damn you, injuries.
Remembering that worrying is silly because in the end it’s going to be the same outcome.

And these are the things that I am thankful for:
Opportunity. Whether it’s comfortable or scares the shit out of me.
The eight Raptors seasons that I’ve been able to be a part of and the opportunities for growth and change over them all.
My family for attending all eight home openers with support and warmth. I think I waved at them like fourteen times.
Inner city vacations.
People coming into your life for reasons you don’t realize until the awesome aftermath.
The crazy way dance keeps coming into my life even when I swore I had retired from rond de jambes.
My mom giving me her banana bread recipe. (My boyfriend and roomie are thankful too.)
My friends, whether new or old, for their constant support during my crazy artistic endeavours.

It’s still hard for me to press publish sometimes. I’m still growing through the self doubt pains.
But when you get to do what makes you tick, life is good.
And I won’t be gone when the morning comes.
-k

I wrote this for those who are like me. -Tin Star

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It’s Not Just Physical.

As a professional dancer this article hit close to home. ——-> Cheerleader Called Too Chunky

To succeed in the industry requires physical strength. Your calves burn from hours on your toes, your core burns from yoga class in the attempt to perfect your lifts and you cringe through burning muscles and blisters for the love of it all. But your mind shouldn’t burn.

To succeed in the industry requires mental strength. This article is the unfortunate truth of the business. I speak from experience. Do I know people that have let go of their dream because the mind game was too painful? Yes. And it hurts my soul to accept that it will probably never change.

The dance scene knocks at your pride with a daily dose of judgement as you work towards perfection; not only in the steps and style but in the silhouette seen through the lens. The measurements and muscle. The inches fading up and out. Blunt? Absolutely. Reality? Like you wouldn’t believe. Here and there I get asked how I approach this glamour game. I first posted the following as the captain of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak on our blog three years ago but I’ve shared it many times since. And once again I feel it’s appropriate. -k

It’s all about the ABC’S…

February. The month of the groundhog and cupid. The cold nips at your heels and you hit snooze fourteen times before you run to the heat of the shower in the AM. You eat two out of three of your meals in the dark and they probably consist of comfort foods like Mom’s killer macaroni and cheese recipe from your childhood. It’s winter, folks! And the only ones smart enough to hide from the elements are the bears.

I won’t lie. I’ve been in hibernation mode for the past four days. I made it as far as loading new songs onto my iPod in hopes it would give me a motivational kick in the butt to boogie over to the gym. But the -25C windchill puffed out its chest and won. I drank my hot chocolate and marshmallows, ignored that tick of guilt and quietly hummed the winter blues.

Happily adding more marshmallows to my cup of cocoa, I clicked over to Facebook. Raptors lose unlucky 13, storm brews harder in the GTA and a message. Hey Katherine.

A blast from the past. A former student. Now taller than me, a fiercer dancer than me, pursuing that “I want to dance forever” dream she used to talk about in tap class. And getting hit hard by the reality of the business. After a certain point it’s the complete package that clears that next hurdle. It’s what they see when you walk into that audition room that counts.

“What’s your motivation? What’s your secret? What gets your body in the game when your mind says no and vice versa?”

My heart sinks a bit every time the ‘reality of the biz’ swims past me. But it is reality. An evil shark sized reality. And it’s something you need to accept when you decide to follow your dream. That was my first step. So I typed back ACCEPTANCE.

The night before two friends and I were having dinner and over our spinach dip and chips the same topic came up at the table. I’m not perfect. I drink too much coffee and don’t get my eight glasses of water everyday. I eat Doritos when I’m sad and ice cream when I’m happy. And I walk confidently onto that basketball court in a Raptors splashed half top because I now know the meaning of BALANCE. But it took me four years in the professional world, three years in theatre school and many ups and downs to figure it out. Listen to your body, don’t deprive yourself because life is too good for that and on those low days remember how great you feel in spirit when you take care of you.

I was cleaning out my closet and I found an old journal from my theatre school days and splashed across the first page was the saying “CONFIDENCE is beautiful”. It’s not something that is easy to find and hold on to tightly when you’re knocked down daily for your artistic imperfections. And it comes with growth. But when I started believing in myself (I’m at about 94.7% of the time) I started pursuing and conquering bigger hills.

Everybody does it differently. Acceptance, Balance and Confidence. I figured out my equation and I work on my ABC’S. The ‘S’ is for SUPPORT. I told her she has mine. -k

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Just because.

I’m just going to talk for a moment. Through text and type.

Ah. Mama told me to take a breath tonight. The final buzzer rang on the Raptors season last night. That’s the end of seven for me. I don’t know anything else since I received my diploma from post secondary. I think it’s only appropriate to insert ‘life flies when you’re having fun’ right about here. Someone instagrammed something about how incredible it is when passion and career collide. I sit here nodding my head as I type that.

You know, blogging is an interesting thing. Trusting that people want to read your tumbling late night thoughts is hard. Growing up is hard. Finding your place in the world is hard. Trusting that what you’ve become as you’ve grown up and found your place in the world is hard. Thankfully I’m a sucker for a good fight.

I feel a fight coming. And I’m okay with it. An artists life is a competitive venture. Trusting that you’ve got what it takes is hard. I’m one thousand percent that person that feels everything that breezes by them through looks and words and motions and sits on the couch or subway or office chair analyzing the shit out of it on days where I feel stuck. I don’t love those moments and I’m still figuring out how to give them the finger. It’s hard for me to type that. It’s scary for me to press publish.

I’m a private person which reminds me how whacky it is that I share my life tales through social media daily. What I wear, what I think, where I am, what I drink … cheers.

Every piece of text needs a purpose. So what was the purpose of this? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just a free falling expression of something that I needed to get out. Maybe it’s that I hope that I can connect with you. Like we’re standing side by side on the same level. That we feel the same. That makes me feel safe. Everybody’s got their something. It doesn’t matter what you do or drive or dare say. Your turn. -k

Lost in Espanola.

When I pick up a pen to mark up a journal with teetering thoughts and dimly lit dreams, I always begin the same way…
Date.
Time.
Location.
How I feel.
And I get an itty bitty buzz when I can ink a new place of purging into my journals skin.
I’m in Espanola. Population 5000.
As I sit in my pinewood lined hotel room, I try to place the dejavu feeling into the correct feature film. Charlize Theron? Eva Mendes? I’m the leading lady wrapped in plaid with a wild mind fueling nerves into her delicate veins. And it’s so damn awesome but that awesome that you can’t explain unless you get me because you’ve felt the same thing, ya know? I briefly peaked out of the ground floor window into a deserted parking lot of puddles. The Right To Play truck comforted my itch with it’s hood of the car slogan; “Look after yourself. Look after one another.” And scene.
Why am I here? Because on a monday morning I opened my email with my famous ‘one eye open’ glare and I was asked if I’d be available for a voiceover. Okay. It was something new which always blinks the word challenge as I debate the task at hand staring at me across the room. Oh, I see you. I hadn’t read the script before I laid my blonde roast and mug of water on the table in front of the mic; my hair in a ponytail, hoodie, kicks, only pinked up lips hiding the Mondays. Monday morning, ya know? But the minute I watched the footage I was attached. I was vulnerable. It was simple. So was my next thought: I had to go.
I’m happy to be up north. The minute the highway shoulder turned from gravel to sand I promised myself that I would spend more time this summer where the blacktop ends. The hours flew on the road trip up as I counted the number of inuksuk made by hands who hold stories that I’ll never get to hear. There were deer. Five. And trees wrapped in dried up flowers covering what you assume to be unfortunate scenes. Those happened here near Espanola too. And that is why I wanted to be part of the unbelievable team from the MLSE Foundation and Right To Play Canada that are giving their every beat of energy to keeping those flowers alive. To keeping life growing, ya know?
I’m excited to meet the people that I watched in those videos. The people whose names I spoke without shaking their hands first. I’m excited to meet the vulnerable children. I’m excited to do intense arts and crafts and watch people forget about the unfortunate for a moment or remarkable mile. The people that surrounded me on the bus and in the meeting and at dinner are incredible. I’m lucky to be amidst their energy.
It’s go time.
-k

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Lost in Espanola
(Polish subtitles available)

Sticky Words.

The enchanted mind is such a beautiful thing. It’s a misty winter day off in my world and as creativity nips at my heels post wet rainboots and I want my writing to flow easy today, these are words that stay sticky in my mind. When you read something and you’re like “damn, that’s incredible” or “are you reading my mind?” or “is that story about a girl about me?” … I call them sticky words. -k
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