Kat’s Closet: Game Mode

It’s been a minute due to an insanely busy month on home turf for the Raptors. I should just sleep at the arena. I’m obsessed with the feeling in the city and the support behind the team right now. The #WeTheNorth movement is stronger than ever and I’ve had so much fun with the fans at the games. Attacking my ninth season with the organization, I’ve never experienced the highs that are filling the arena walls like this before. A big thanks to Real Sports Toronto for keeping me geared up to rep the Raps all season long. Tomboy Chic-ing all November in red lips and kicks. -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

Alter Ego Explanations.

For those few moments when the lights go up and the music is humming I get to play pretend. It’s my wild high. The game doesn’t really go away from those six year old days where you were both the talent and director and the scene wrapped and Mom had milk and cookies waiting in the kitchen for you. Now it’s a vodka water cheers to a great show waiting at the bar. Now I get handed my costumes and choreography and I call on my alter ego to hang out with for the evening. I’ve always said that as an actor you have to be a little crazy to do what you do. To expose your insides to your peers and strangers. And want to show everybody your flaws. As much as you take on a so called ‘alter ego’ or character or ‘method act’ your way from script to stage or screen, there is always going to be a part of you up there. It could be your mannerisms. It could be your side smile or the way your hand grabs at your necklace when you’re nervous. But most likely there is a word or sentence or scene that triggers a memory. You’ve been here before. You’ve felt what this character is feeling in this moment. It kind of overwhelms you. And your competitive actor self wants to tackle those goosebumps once again. Because it’s that wild high. Because it’s a secret. Because it’s a safe place because no one knows the truth… … …

I’m lucky to call on my alter ego every week for Porcelain. I get to dance my guts out. Here are some quick scenes from our recent show. -k

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Lost in Espanola. Day 3.

On a day where the clouds cry over my city and it’s streets, I crave writing pen and paper tales. It’s raining on a Wednesday. I’m back to my regularly scheduled program. And somewhere between voice over work and the gym and script writing and dance rehearsal, I’m happily going to close the tale from this past weekends escape north.

Running into fellow friends who made the trip, there is a repetitive text from their tongues about coming back refreshed and absorbing just as much from the three days as they hope were left on the communities we visited.

It was simple. Just like this picture I took of the infamous net at Whitefish River First Nation where the story began.

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I was asked what the one moment from the entire experience that stood out to me was. It was one of the final moments of the trip.

Think of a busy city street in the heart of a downtown core, patterning people along it’s bricks almost in fast forward. Think of the thousands of assorted people that share the same footprint of pavement within the same delicate hours of the day. Think of pausing on a corner within the swirl, waiting for the light to change, where the only thing touching you is the wind. It’s the little things.

Now think of that person that passes you as you cross the street that makes you look twice. I’ve always felt that some people radiate a warmth that you can completely feel as they walk by. You tell them your secrets and trust them with your state of mind and don’t realize that you’ve flooded them with your inner script until you walk away.

Chief Shining Turtle is a person like this. After an interview which he filled with the most wholesome words of appreciation, the camera turned off, and I stood with him in the newly renovated dressing room, beside the rink holding the infamous hockey net.

He told me he lived right behind the rink and that one of his favourite sounds while he stirs at home is hearing the puck hit the boards. To him this meant that there’s a place for those kids to be and that their minds in the moment are wrapped around their dreams.

He told me he likes being on the rink late at night when everyone is sleeping, under the unbelievable stars up there and just soaking it in.

I said, it’s the little things, eh? He said, you’re exactly right. They all add up.

And my favourite moment of the trip was just a little thing that I can’t really purge properly into letter formations just yet as to why. It was just a moment. But they all add up. -k

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When you are older you will understand how precious little things, seemingly of no value in themselves, can be loved and prized above all price when they convey the love and thoughtfulness of a good heart. – Edwin Booth

Lost in Espanola. Day 2.

I’m not going to lie; the minute the heaviness of the hotel room lock sank shut at the end of the day, I laid on the bed chilled on the outside by the negative degrees and warmed on the inside by pretty much everything else, and fell asleep. So this is a post day 3 rant as I read through my scribbled reflections on what was another wholesome day in the great white north.

Be warned of a spitting 2am mind:

I was in heaven because it was basketball day for the sports clinics. I don’t realize entirely how completely soaked into the basketball culture I am until moments like these. Kudos to the incredible team who ran the clinics. Like one of the community members said, “I’ve never seen the kids so excited to do burpees!”

On the bus ride to the reserve, I keyed the following into my phone: I’m listening to the piano line from piano man as the sun pushes through the trees like he’s a restless four year old who won’t take no for an answer. I’m fighting my eyes as they ask me kindly for more closing time because I don’t want to miss anything that rolls by my window. And then I think of Mom who would laugh because she says I’ve been like this since I was four. I didn’t want to go to bed, I didn’t want to be anywhere but in the moment. In the action. I didn’t want to miss a thing. She sat frustrated with a smile because I sat happy.

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When you remember something a child tells you the day before that you just met and ask them about it the next day, it makes them happy. I hope it makes them feel special.

Most of the people that I interviewed, I knew. I have fallen in love with trying to break into someone. I do believe that they need to feel that they can trust you. Tell you their secrets. When you see the wall fall it’s a bit of a high. I also like those moments when the camera turns off. They ask me if they did okay and I say they were wonderful and then they tend to crack into the hidden song story. One of the incredible chefs from our team said post script that one thing that stood out to him was that no one was picky. At home everyone requests no onions or dressing on the side and here he didn’t hear one person complain. One kid complain. He said it wasn’t fancy eating, it was fueling, but everything up to the apples and bananas were gone. And thanks. So, so much thanks. For one exercise they brought foods that the kids had never tried. They were spitting out avocado and making sour faces at the mango and coconut. It’s so close to home yet so far out.

The drum circle was a favourite moment of mine because it brought us into the traditions of the first nation people. I sat beside a friend and she read the following to me from her research:
In a circle no one is higher than anyone else. Everyone is equal. The drum is the first sound we remember. Our mother’s heartbeat mocks this. It’s comforting.
She then told me to think about meetings at work and other everyday moments. How do you sit? And how do you feel? … … …

I will now close my eyes to the sirens instead of surreal silence. Spitting complete. -k

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Lost in Espanola. Day 1.

It’s more of an emotional exhaustion. That’s never necessarily a terrible thing.
Day one.
During one of the interviews I did today, I asked the little lady what she’s feeling right now in her tummy. She said excitement. I asked her why the craft she made represented her and teamwork and she stated that it was strong. I asked her why she thinks teamwork is important and she said because you don’t feel alone. And that she never wants to feel alone.
Day one.
As one fish in a sea of such a big story this weekend, you don’t get to absorb everything. You jump at the feast when it gets tossed in the fishbowl but sometimes the good stuff is caught by the pretty finned patience waiting in the corner for the leftovers.
At dinner we shared those missed moments.
Like when a young boy told one of the dignitaries that he didn’t know if he wanted to stay in highschool. And after a wholesome chat, for the next little while the dignitary introduced him with, “This is my friend and he has three more years of highschool.”
And when the team couldn’t find Wendel Clark to start his coaching session and he had snuck over to the bench on his own to help the little lads tie their skates.
And just Jaxon. Who had this ongoing double dope handshake with me all day everytime we crossed paths.
It’s just day one.
I also had some time just driving around the island with the crew, digesting their artistic visions while I breathed in ‘that’ smell of the great white north and snapped behind the scenes shots of the behind the scenes dream team. It’s just so simple up here.
Insert my famous ‘small town girl at heart with big city dreams’ standard bio line right now. It’s rare that both worlds cross but sometimes they wildly do.
Just soaking in ‘them moments’. They’re kinda sorta maybe really beautiful. -k

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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)