What’s your chocolate?

Ain’t it funny what triggers your creativity. What makes you write. What makes you ache to express what’s stuck inside. What makes you write about what’s stuck inside to let it go when you don’t even know you need to let it go.

Today Gene Wilder passed away at 83 years old. As a kid (and until this day) my favourite movie was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the one that was made in 1971. Everyone I told as a kid would give me that look of ‘really, that’s your favourite movie?’ but now it all makes sense. It was about dreams coming true, fantasy, the unknown and escaping reality all while showcasing the quirkiness in people with warmth. Little did I know that these things would fuel my ride in life. Young Charlie was a regular boy who poured his heart into the little things in life, like getting that golden ticket. It was just a piece of paper but as a boy that grew up with family love as his biggest abundance, to experience a world that was only seen through a tiny, fuzzy TV screen was a dream come true. Little did he know that family love was a huge blessing. (He even took his Grandpa with him on the adventure). Charlie poured out passion, curiousity and vulnerability in every step he took. To me these are attributes that lead to success. That lead to conquering this so-called thing called life.

Oh, and I was totally Veruca Salt for two Halloweens in my Mom’s fur coat from the 70’s, british accent and all.

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. You can change the world there’s nothing to it.” -GW

Life can be hard. Find those things that let you escape for a moment or two. Regroup, tap into your true being and continue conquering what makes you tick. I’m going to be honest, I focused a lot on myself this past month. It’s a healthy type of selfish to give your mind and body some extra love.

“There is no life I know to compare to pure imagination. Living there you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.” -GW

It made me feel like those crazy dreams, hopes and wishes were within arms grasp. I mean, boating down a chocolate river? Dude, that’s dope.

Sometimes it’s just the simple things in life but they all add up. Be in the moment completely. Take a bite of your chocolate, that thing that makes you go Mmmm.. on the inside, to fuel your drive to where you want to get. -k

But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted… he lived happily ever after.

 

 

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How I Dream Big…

Hear me out.. have you ever been told that you wouldn’t succeed? Ya, me too. Because the so called ‘career path’ I wanted to follow at a young age was one with a small number of success stories. And as much as I walked backwards with self doubt, I walked forwards because I knew how I felt when I performed. At that point it was on a live stage as a dancer. And I knew I wanted to make people happy and that is what I saw as the curtain closed. I am just as grateful for the people that told me I would fail as I am for the people that that had my back through the ride; the tears made me want to fight harder and the support kept me sane. So after NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto it only made sense that #GiantsofAfrica asked me to share my story on how I dream big. I believe that everyone has that something that makes their heart full and that is what you should be doing for the rest of your life. Job, shmob.. it’s called passion. Someone said to me, “What you do while you’re procrastinating is what you should be doing for the rest of your life.” Yesterday it was impersonations of SNL characters. Hey, roll with it… you have my support. -k

Tell your story of how you dream big over at giantsofafrica.org/dreambig … I’d love to hear it!

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The Path of Unpredictability.

Quotes or wise words that my eyes touch and my mind swallows or spits out through the day often lead to brain purges on this page.

It’s a mucky Monday. As I tucked my phone in my pocket to protect it from the rain, the following word song repeated in my head. I had just read it.

I admire people who choose to shine even through all the storms they’ve been through.

And then I looked up.

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And what I saw was a physical formation of those words; the tower representing a person and that it still stood tall and unaffected by the hits it had taken through rain and thunder and snow and sleet. Through hurtful words, losses, road blocks and unpredictability. It was still notable. It was still shining.

Last night I got kicked in the gut by the unpredictable. And I can say that this is the first time that I didn’t wither by it’s blow. The path of unpredictability is equally frightening and exciting in my eyes. But this has come to be my outlook after many meetings with the harsh realities of unpredictability. And surviving those meetings. In fact, triumphing from them. (Even if it took a day or week or months to realize this.) I always believed in the saying, ‘If you think it, it will come.’ Positive thinking. It has finally become not just a thought but a tattoo. I live it. And knowing what is next is no fun. Saying you fought the war and won? That’s a high.

It’s a mucky Monday but I’m okay with it. -k

And there it was, everything she ever wanted. She could see heaven, it was real.
But it was only a second later that she realized she would have to walk through hell to get there. – j.s. uili

Signs.

photo-16What if I fall? Oh, my darling, what if you fly?

I do believe in signs from the universe as guidance in verifying that you are in the right place. Mom always said they’re out there, you just have to ask for them. She also said white feathers mean that your angels are with you. So white feathers are kind of a comfort thing. -k

Gnarly in Pink.

I was talking to a friend about ‘creating’ and being an artist and the wrongs and rights of the craft and that there is no such thing as either wrong or right when it comes to art. (Sidenote: my freestyle spit factory is working overtime today and my sentences are longer than usual. I blog because I’m not a good rapper.) A good piece of art makes you emotional. It could ripple out goosebumps down your skin or tighten your throat. Or make you smile. And every piece of art won’t do the same for everyone.

This mini doc got me. So much that I’ve watched it about six times. Scenes or sounds or songs that trigger childhood memories of when things were simple get me. And this piece is just seven minutes of simple moments. It took me back to when I was their age, running between the dance floor and baseball diamond and fighting my mother about wearing dresses to school. Tomboy tendencies in little girls are adorable. These three girls are adorable. -k

#UseYourLife

Sitting on my balcony, avoiding life for a wee bit.

One of the side effects of my work ways is that every week is a different story. And I am thankful for this. It makes the freebird in me happy. Making your own schedule is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for the obvious reasons. A curse on those days when life is hard and you don’t want to get out of bed. Or those days when life is busy and you want to hide in bed. Or those days when life is slow and you need to find a reason to get out of bed.

And then I saw this hashtag on a lovely souls instagram this morning. –> #UseYourLife

And that was my motivation. Cause she’s damn right.

Back to rehearsal for me. It’s been a few months but stage life is calling this week. This week life is busy. And Porcelain Headquarters is busy, aka AmberKat’s apartment. A little clip from post midnight rehearsal last night.

Time to face the music. -k

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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