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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But First, Coffee.

In the summer I’m always on the hunt for new ‘coffices’; spots in the city with really good coffee and an atmosphere that stirs my creative side. I found a gem this morning. Jimmy’s Coffee in Kensington Market. I’m sitting on the back patio in the sun. I feel like I’m still up north at the cottage.

So while I’m super happy about the ‘little bit of north’ discovery in the city, I’ve been scanning through some pictures from this past weekend north of the city. (While listening to Chromeo’s new album because it was on repeat this past weekend and I kinda maybe sorta can’t stop listening to it.)

The kind guy behind the counter that poured my coffee just a few minutes ago asked what I’m up to today while I handed him a couple of toonies. It’s kind of silly but it threw me off guard. Routine behaviour is always interesting to observe. (And this coffee spot is great for people watching.) It’s also refreshing when someone breaks that tunnel vision pace like the kind guy behind the counter. How many times in your morning madness have you flipped the focus to someone else? Or in your general everyday hustle? It was nice to be asked about my day when the coffee house was stirring with people who had places to go and people to see. Just a couple of selfless extra seconds from someone else put me in the right place for the day. I asked him the same and he said that after work he’ll see what the sun says.. but first, coffee... -k

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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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