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 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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Instagram my Life. 11.

 

 

Work. Play. Boogie. A combo of all of that and more. Host. Dance. Blog. As I sat in the corner booth last night between show sets in my dance heels, surrounded by so much support and the people I adore the most, sipping on a vodka water and laughing at my frisky friends, I thought, damn, I’m a very lucky lass. I am thankful everyday for my blessings. The people, the passion, the predictable and unpredictable. The support. All topped with a little love. -k

WDYDWYD.

Do you remember that moment that probably fell somewhere between walking out the doors of the place that sucked up your soul for three or four years with textbooks and sleepless nights and the daily search for a critically acclaimed perfection… and walking into your place exhausted after a month or two or a year now immersed in the reality of your diploma? That moment where a loud question flies high above your head dragged by a plane. Destination: Your future. Question: Why do you do what you do?

I sat in a planning meeting yesterday, brainstorming ideas for the new basketball season which in reality will be here in no time. I was both stoked and inspired to bring fans that much closer to their team. And previous to the meeting I was in the studio shooting links for a TV feature reminiscing on the team community highlights from last season. Remembering the moments that answered the above question. Why do you do what you do?

The following is a ramble I wrote sometime last fall and it reminded me of my answer…

I am so tired it hurts. I missed out on the average 20 somethings friday and saturday night out because I had a late night work date with my laptop. It’s 7:30 pm after a 10 hour day and I’m in bed with a headache and a beer…doing more work…

And it doesn’t bother me one bit because…

Making people even an ounce happier voids all the assumed negatives. And this is why I’m more than thankful to do this daily in my ‘job’. I don’t like the term job. Living your passion is something I wish everyone would chase. Because it’s possible.

Yesterday morning when I was up before the average 20 something on a weekend, sipping my endless coffee and cursing the speed of my internet, a friend messaged me saying that he ran into a couple and their son in the city. They spent ten minutes thanking us for making their son happy by bringing him closer to the sport and team he loves through what we do. 

Today a grown man the size of the average hockey player hugged me at center ice and cried. It was his sons fifth birthday and he had been raising him for 4.5 years alone. I had just taken him to meet one of the players and he signed the jersey off of his back for the birthday boy. And I’ll never forget it.

I’m unsure and unsettled about a lot of things in life; the direction my career is going, the instability of my bank account and where my heart lies. But for years one thing I have known is that when you’re happy, I’m happy. And that’s what keeps me ticking. -k

I googled “WDYDWYD” and these photos came up. They’re dope…
WDYDWYD