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

My New Year.

My sweet summer is gone. It doesn’t feel like summer is signed, sealed and sent away on Toronto streets due to some last minute heat from the sun but this is the time of year where shifts happen. More Raptors news on my social feeds and planning for upcoming events means the countdown to my new year is on. I’m so ready to dig in.

But I’m so happy thinking about the summer that was. Snapshots of summer have been slapping me in the face all day. I saw a lot. A lot of things I’ve never seen. And I am so thankful for the days on opposite coasts. Someone said to me on a Sunday morning in a city that wasn’t mine (when we were absorbing wordy memories of yesteryears while staring at a new day warming up in front of us over java) to store these moments in your mind for yourself and the people you are with instead of capturing them to share on social platforms like the ways of the world. The two of us, we had changed since our last meeting, but what hadn’t changed was me cringing at the fact that my camera was still sleeping at home. But then I just let it be. (It was NOT easy, trust me, I crave my creative outlets and the excitement of creative visions.) To be places and see the seconds in moments that no one will absorb but you is kind of awesome. Especially when you’ve got someone to talk about it to down the road. And pictures just never live up to the moment that was. It has stuck with me, for me (and you) to see.

And now? With grace and guts I’m tackling new endeavours. That’s the only way to do it. You know that saying, ‘act like duck; keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like hell underwater’? Uh huh, honey. I’ll be quacking all month until some of these visions that keep slapping me in the face become reality.

And when the nights are darker than most because my thoughts cloud the moon,
the thought of your face, two breaths between us, makes me sleep;
the blurred dream of a someday soon.

But the pics I did grab? Uh huh, honey. Next trip? Vancouver for Raptors training camp. Back to the west coast which will always have a piece of my heart. -k

I was always an unusual girl. My mother told me I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing due north.
No fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and wavering as the ocean. – Lana Del Rey

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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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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