Friday, 6 April 2012

The Beginning of Something Amazing...

Have you ever stumbled upon something in your life that completely changed your previous ideas of how you thought your life would go? Something that makes almost too much sense for you? That leaves you with an eerie sense of synchronicity that pretty well spans your entire life? Something that tells you you’re on the right path?

Ok yes, that is a lot to digest. (Don’t feel discouraged if not, because you’re certainly not alone, and hey I support you in your search)

But, I’m being serious. In the last 6 months, I’ve totally changed my way of looking at my potential career, my life really and have taken the first steps down the path to starting my own company. Why you may ask?

Well ever since I was little, I’ve had a love affair with makeup. This sometimes reared its ugly head in me putting lipstick on my little boy cousin because he would let me, but mostly it was me just trying to cajole my mom into letting me wear lipstick to church at 5 and as I got older, sneaking eye liner, and then eventually pimping out my own collection aided by my sister’s and various gift cards to MAC. I’ve loved it because it’s real living art, something I naturally like doing for myself and somehow I got lucky enough in this life to be born the youngest of 4 gorgeous sisters, who, for all their far reaching intelligence lack a certain flair when it comes to a makeup brush.

I have so many great memories of times where I’d get ready with girlfriends to go out clubbing, help my sisters for events or early on in my relationship, the painstaking lengths I’d go to, to appear perfectly made up (and wouldn’t you know it, even still to this day he tells me that I should go without because practical to his nature, it’s good for my skin and I look just as pretty without)

Well, here’s the crux of this argument.

I spent years at York working towards a Bachelors Degree of Environment, where I learned all about harmful toxic substances, chemical preservatives and the laws and regulations that keep them in use today. With that constant barrage of scary rhetoric constantly being thrown my way, I learned that there are always alternatives to the way we live right now. So for all intents and purposes, I intend to do my part for this world, in the smartest way I know how.

I want to create a line of Mineral Makeup for women of all colours, that eliminates harsh chemical preservatives and makes a point of staying natural and organic.

I think all women are beautiful, but somehow, not all women are being catered to, especially women who fall on either ends of the colour spectrum out there, and to be really real, that angers me and gives me growing concern as a woman of colour (although, aren’t we all women of colour?). If we are ever to eliminate issues of accessibility, than things like this need to change. I won’t go into details about toxic body burden yet and how much crap is out there, but I will say that I believe that tides can, and will turn.

Someone wise once told me that Passion + Commitment (and a good dose of Realism) = Success. This is why I want to deliberately create my own future. This endeavour is somehow right for me, and I guess I’m the girl who, once she gets an idea in her head, or the idea won’t freakin’ leave her alone, goes for it.

I have fears just like you too, because I am only 24 years old and obviously have never taken on something this gutsy before, but this scared exhilaration drives me to become successful in something I want to do.

So yes, take this as the first of many PSA’s on the happenings of my mineral makeup adventure, and by all means throw me a line on what you think. (I legit need the input and want some outside perspective)

And always remember that you can do anything you put your mind to. This is made especially true, because the Law of Attraction deems it so (i.e. Like attracts like, and what you put your positive or negative energy into will attract the same from the benevolent universe)

So with that in mind, DO THE DAMN THANG!

When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly. - Barbara J. Winter

According to the laws of aerodynamics, the bumblebee can't fly either, but the bumblebee doesn't know anything about the laws of aerodynamics, so it goes ahead and flies anyway. - Igor Sikorsky

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

So you've seen a miracle...?

Over the last few weeks I’ve really started to find an appreciation for miracles.  Why or how isn’t something I can describe, but nevertheless the idea remains tangible.  A miracle in my eyes is not some grand stroke of cosmic or divine intervention; however I can give you an example that may throw your assumptions.  One such example is a rather personal story that I can now only look back on with a sense of wonder and incredulity (mixed even still with a hint of scepticism). 

The summer of 2010 found me unhappily plugging away the daily grind at a large bookstore, for which I am dubiously ingratiated and grateful for.   This particular store (which shall remain unnamed for matters of discretion) was located in the Yonge and Eglinton area of Toronto.  I, myself, would (stupidly at the time) take 2 hours out of my day to commute there – one way!  The process involved 3 highways, a subway ride AND a bus ride.  (No, the miracle is not the fact that I kept my sanity…)  

On a particularly humid night, I was just getting off the subway around 11:30pm and was walking out to the parking garage of Yorkdale mall.  If you know the mall at all, then you will know that the entrance from the subway, into the mall is located right next to the security office, which on that night in particular was being manned by 3 mall security guards.  I had gotten into a fight with my lovely boyfriend that night for some reason or another (those details evade me now…but let’s just say that I wasn’t in the most rational of mind frames) and had told him repeatedly that NO, I didn’t want to see him and NO I didn’t want him to meet me at Yorkdale, and YES I am a big girl and I can take care of myself THANK YOU VERY MUCH…(yikes, even in hindsight, I sound like a bitch).  So fuelled with some malice and irrational anger, I rode the TTC in a huff and got off at the mall.  

I walked past the security desk, and as I’m walking towards the overpass that will take me into the parking structure, I notice two teenage boys walking towards me, the kind that for whatever reason, you know are not there to help you out.  I hear them talking to each other, nonchalantly at first, and then once they noticed me, a bit more quietly, and a bit more secretively.  It’s 11:30 at night, I’m alone, and I’m pissed off, so I think to myself, “Oh what the hell, I’m fine, nothing’s gonna happen….”  So stupidly I walk into the overpass and take myself up the stairs.  And then it hits me right in the gut.  Every woman out there knows that moment, that very instant where your internal alarm bells go off and intuition kicks in and you know that something’s wrong.  For me, this was the second I heard them follow me into the overpass and go quiet.  I think to myself, “shit, I’m about to get robbed”.   But yet, like an idiot, I keep walking, thinking it’s too late to turn around and go back to the security desk.  (PS it’s NEVER too late to turn around!)  I form an immediate plan, and my hand goes into my pocket, individual keys go between each of my fingers, and my adrenaline starts bumping.  I realize that there are more than two guys behind me now, that one held back and somehow materialized two more friends.  So I walk as decisively as I can across the overpass, and out into the parking garage.  “Why” I think to myself, “did I have to be such an asshole to him” is going through my mind at the same time as “where the fuck did I park my car!?”  I’m literally out the door and into the wide open, deserted parking lot and then I see him, across the garage, standing next to his car, looking at me.  I can hardly describe what I was feeling at that moment.  We connected eyes, and it was instant understanding, where he realized what was happening.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I pretty much ran to him.  The grimy thugs threw us dirty looks as they kept walking, and I hugged him so hard, while nearly on the verge of tears.  Never in my life had I had such an overwhelming sense of foreboding as in that moment…

I don’t really want to imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t shown up.  I would like to believe that I would have gone all Guyanese on their asses and beaten the shit out of them or at least shamed them into thinking better of it, but more likely than not I would have been over powered and mugged.  Or worse.   (I can’t really say that Yorkdale is as nice as it claims to be)

The miracle of course is that he showed up.  That for whatever reason, he decided to get out of bed at 11 at night, drive 10 minutes to the mall, and wait for me to get there.  A stranger sequence of events does not exist, especially considering the fact that I had just yelled at him on the phone and told him NOT to come.  The miracle is that I am one lucky idiot, and that somehow god, or whoever was looking out for me, and thankfully no one got hurt.  

So what is it that fuels these miraculous moments?  To be honest, I don’t know.  If you want, you could buy into the idea of the divine, the idea of karma or just the idea of dumb luck.  Or instead you could go to the source and ask my boyfriend yourself.  He would tell you that he was just raised properly, and that he was just looking out for my best interest and miracles are kind of moot because he should get credit where credit is due...  Damnit! I am an asshole!

Maybe the miracle is the fact that I never thought I would find someone as amazing as him, who would love me even in my highly irrational moments.  *Sigh* For me, there is no explanation justified enough that definitively answers my disbelief.  I just don’t get it.  And maybe I’m not supposed to…

So for now, I will continue to keep my eyes open and on the lookout for more miracles.  This particular incident only reinforced my belief that good can happen especially when your least expecting it, and isn't that the real kernel of truth found at the center of any miracle story?

(Oh and PS another miracle appeared before me when I found a WAY better, and WAY easier route to maps is a miracle :) )

Friday, 20 January 2012

A New Year, a new take on life...

It is a measurable part of our being that dictates to us who we are, what we can be and how widely we can dream.  This part right now is telling me to focus!  To spread my wings!  To strive for success!  However whether that is an essential part of my character really doesn’t matter because I’m still doin’ what I been doin’... 
I’m having issues lately.  Tearing my eyes away from Jersey Shore, keeping myself from uploading pictures on Facebook or just the general loafting for hours on end on the internet has been further distracting me from the task at hand.  (Although learning random, sometimes useful factoids, like did you know that Chinese New Year is on Monday January 23rd, 2012, and we are entering the year of the black water Dragon? Where the Chinese New Year is dictated by a 5 pronged stem system that allocates yin/yang and 5 essential elements – metal, water, wood, fire and earth – to better understand the effects that are to be observed for that year?...see now you know!)  All of this just helps my blog writing related anxiety worsen... (god damn my own impertinence for thinking that my self-indulgent time wasting (read: PROCRASTINATION) is more important than my own focused efforts at success!!)
So here I am, back at the grindstone and already thinking why did I stay away so long?  It’s a miracle that I have the kind of access and privilege (however limited) that I do, and that I spend so much of my time wasting it... or at least frivolously letting it slip away. 
No I am not a masochist nor can I say that I have a type A personality (although within that pop psychology reference you could argue that we all exhibit certain traits that align us with either personality type.  Where type A personalities can be controlling, competitive and impatient and type B personalities are relaxed, patient and lacking a sense of urgency in some know who you are...thank you mindless web surfing ;)  But I do have a certain anxiety ridden laissez-faire attitude.  Let’s just say it’s a problem.  Because like so many generation Y’ers I also have the need to make something of myself.  Maybe not like the Generation X’ers before me with their rage against the machine or the Baby Boomers before them with their groovy hippy love and copious amounts of Ecstasy... I just want to make something of myself. 
But as a good friend of mine keeps reminding me, it’s the journey that matters.   And like another good friend of mine adds, remember high school? And that god-awful identity crisis?  It’s gonna be kinda like that but hopefully better.  And a bit more grounded in hands-on knowledge of how the world works. 
So for now I’m gonna give myself a controlled break.  Not so much that I lose it all and give up but just enough so that I keep toe-ing the line of sanity and satisfaction.  Let’s call it a kit-kat break.  Ya that’s what I’m doing...
Oh ya and by the way,  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  In my celebration of the holidays with family and friends I neglected to wish you a safe and happy time with yours!  Hopefully what my last post was talking about hasn’t happened to you, and all is well in this first month of 2012!

Xoxo - the Urban Hippie

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

How to be a Bad Ass Girl Guide...

So back in the day I was a Girl Guide for a lonnnng time. We're talking 10 years here. Which is no laughing matter. (Ok its a lil funny) I used to feel embarrassed when I told people about this particular part of me. I mean c'mon. How many people do you know who went to Spark camp, Brownies, Girl Guides, Pathfinders annnd Rangers? It seems like a lifetime ago, but yes, I collected badges, sold cookies and wore the most ridiculous (and might I add 80's looking colour combo'd) outfits on a regular basis.

And what can I say that its done for me?

Actually a hellluva lot. While most kids were hanging out at home on random Wednesday nights, I was at Girl Guides, going outside, learning how to sew, making christmas tree ornaments, playing circle games, singing camp songs, telling ghost stories and planning ahead for camping trips. It sounds super chipper, and it was for the most part. But do you know what this armed me with? A serious understanding and practical knowledge of the outdoor world. Ok fine maybe not the ornaments, ghost stories or circle games, but the other stuff definitely. At 6 years old I could go to the bathroom in the woods; at 7 years old, I knew how to forage for appropriate kindling and construct a teepee fire; by 8 I was steering a canoe; and by the time I was 16 I could create a meal plan for a 3 day trip, pack an overnight sack, hang my own food out of the reach of bears and tell you the best strategy for manhunt. I was basically a highly trained espionage agent...

On the real, I am so thankful that I was handed these amazing experiences. Girl Guides helped to ground me. It gave me a strong platform to build on and helped me earn a degree in Environmental studies that I can say I am proud of. Every day this understanding aids me in thinking critically about the issues affecting the natural world in a socially thoughtful and politically motivated way. Also, if shit goes down, I know how to handle business.

I know everyone these days is kinda freaked out about where the world is headed and moreover the whole 2012 thing. But if your like me, and you believe that things happen for a reason, than I have to share something with you.

(Before I lay it all out there, I want you to suspend your disbelief for 2 whole minutes and then you can do whatever you want with this information)

I strongly believe that what you put out there comes back to you. Specifically, if you put good vibes into anything, school or work for example, (and you work hard), you will see results. This isn't some BS I dreamt up to get you on side; I truly believe this works. It's called positive manifestation. Literally, if you think about it hard enough, put all of your positive energy into it, and give it your best, eventually it will manifest. (Obviously timeline is crucial to most of us and that's why this concept is lost on far too many, but alas I digress). Now let's flip the script. If you put out negative energy, or simply put your energy into negative actions, than the reverse is to be expected. Like for example, if your in a shitty mood, and your depressed or angry about something, what are the chances that you stub your toe. (It's happened to all of us, and yes maybe its just coincidence, but isn't all coincidence the outcome of some action heretofore unknown i.e. in your craptacular mood, you didn't feel like pushing in that chair all the way? Or rather a nudge from the universe to stop you in your tracks?) Sounds inane enough but when it happens it only adds insult to injury, spurring on your original depression or anger, and thus the negativity continues in a self-perpetuating cycle.

If we think about this logically, than what are the chances that all of the negative energy out there, propelled forward by mass poverty, greed, pollution and fear-mongering by the media, manifests in some catastrophic way?

Hold the phone! wait a minute you say! What about Y2K?! Everyone thought something bad was gonna happen, and nothing did! The worst that came out of that was some crazy people hoarding bottled water and canned food in their basements!

Fair enough. I'm only bringing this up for arguments sake. I believe that something is going to happen. Whether it be a continuation of all the earthquakes, tsunami's, volcanic eruptions, disease outbreaks and riots that have already arisen, a zombie apocalypse or just a mass paradigm shift of how we think about the world. (Paradigm shift meaning a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind - in this case a shift away from greed or rather a shift towards conscientious thought).

What I'm tryna tell ya, is that if shit goes down, you best bet that I'm using all of my Girl Guide knowledge to keep me alive. Like I said, I believe that things happen for a reason. Maybe there was no reason why my parents decided it was a good idea to send me, a scrawny lil brown girl, to Sparks way back in the early 90s. Or maybe the reason has yet to unfold. Who knows? All I know is that I'm educated, empowered and I have a plan. (No, I can't share it with you, but I can definitely help you, and maybe if we're close enough friends, than you can come along too). In the mean time I want to make sure all of you are well protected.

Maybe I sound a little hysterical or just plain ridiculous, but this is some free advice (take it or leave it) -- Think about how your actions might impact the lives of other and live your life (to the fullest) in a conscientious way. And for god's sake learn some survival skills a la Girl Guides.. there's nothing wrong with being prepared.

to be continued...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

It's all Good to be Good

So this past weekend, I celebrated my sisters birthday.  It was a really fun time, involving a group of lovely 30something ladies, copious amounts of alcohol and dirrrrty house music as she puts it. 

What can you possibly learn from a group of women such as this?  Other than some super fun (and retro) dance moves, various methods of how NOT to get on a streetcar, and how to score free spinach & cheese pies?... Well theres always life lessons. 

Which got me thinking...

Somewhere on this night of excitement and exuberance, I found that not only are women really cool to hang out with, but generally speaking, tend to be awesome people.  I look around me, being the only 20something in the room and realize that these people are speaking my language.  They get it.  So I perk up my ears, open my mind and just listen. (something a lot of people my age constantly neglect to do)  What I heard was so amazing.  

In the course of one evening I found that other people understand the value of being good to others.  Not earth shattering stuff, but real nevertheless.  This is something that I'm always on the lookout for and never seem to find (mostly because I work in retail)

In more than one setting, and in more than one way, I saw it first hand.  A respect and love for others that ultimately transcends race, religious affilition, status and so much more.  I saw and heard these women talk about their life experiences (and fine in the context of a party, it didn't go in depth), but they did in a real way. 

For example.  I had a conversation about homeless people.  What do you do when you see a homeless person on the street?  When your stopped at a red light and that bearded homeless guy is petitioning uncomfortable looking drivers for spare change while haphazardly waving around a squeegee?  When the crazy lady on the corner asks you again for a hand out?  While your just walking home after the club and see a lump under a jacket with just a scraggly mutt for company?

I was always taught to be nice.  If you don't feel comfortable giving out your money, for whatever reason, you at least give that person the respect of direct eye contact, a smile and a wish for their day to get better, or some variation thereof.  I've never, ever, seen my dad for example be rude, snotty, or cold to someone who had less than him, because I honestly thought it never occurred to him to act as such.

And why should he have? 

So anyways, the night moved to Rasputin's Vodka Lounge, to more drinking and a hell of a lot more dancing.  I love to dance by the way.  It's definitely part of my roots, and it always succeeds in making me all kinds of happy.  We pretty much took over the dancefloor and made an awesome party and with these huge fans blowing warm, humid, club air on us, it felt like we were in another world.  It was good times and with all the good vibes floating around, there weren't any bad feelings when we all got on the streetcar at the end of the night, only to then rapidly exit cuz one of the ladies (who shall remain unnamed) didn't quite manage to stay with the pack.

But again, this only helped to strengthen the group.  And it had me reeling, when one of the ladies jumped off the streetcar, followed by my sis, followed by me, followed by everyone else (who had just paid).  May the record state that for the night in question, no one was left behind...amazing right?

I have had so many nights where people get lost, go off with randoms, go for food or just fuck off somewhere, and this was very different.  It was foreign to me almost, because the lady in the lead was so adamant about finding our dawdler that the whole group followed suit.

And why not?

It makes sense.  If you actually publicly call someone your friend, than why not actually act like a friend.  Far too often, we are caught up in the label of a friendship and actually forget to be GOOD to people.  Which is only kinda surprising.  But again, people in my generation don't often care to commit to their friendships, and aren't actually there for their friends.  I'm sure your guilty of it, and so am I at some point.  Regardless, this night really taught me something.

BE GOOD TO PEOPLE.  It doesn't matter if that person is your BFF (Best Fucking Friend) or a homeless stranger on the street.  Give them your respect.  Because only then can you expect it in return.  (Not that you should only give to receive).  It's called reciprocity.

And by the way, our move as a group to go back and find our lost companion will go on to be referred to here as a classic example of instant Karma.  Karma in the form of a gay man, who was locked out of his building at 3:30 in the morning at the exact time we were finally making our way back home, that felt the need in his heart, to buy us all spinach and cheese pies.  For no other reason than we were there, we were fabulous and we were hungry.

I love when it all makes sense.

- sending you urban hippie love and good vibes so that you too may find some good karma :)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A New Age: the Urban Hippie

As a young, innocent, recent grad from the Bachelors of Environment program (Environment & Culture: Philosophy, Arts, Technology and Culture) at York University, I’ve so far experienced a lot of heartache and melancholy.  Mostly because I haven’t found a great job.

So, here I am.  Starting this blog.  Because I want to do something meaningful in the meantime.

I realized over the summer, while the beautiful city of Toronto is crawling with hipsters and fashion forward people, that I lie somewhere in the indistinct middle.  At times I can appear very “hip”.  This regrettably only means that I take an extra hour to get ready in the morning.  Other times, I am what one would call my true self - I am comfortable.  The milieu is the interesting part.  I rationalize all of this by telling myself that I neither care (which sometimes is not true), or I am above all those people who take themselves too seriously (I’m not).

So with that in mind, I am starting this here blog.  So that I can actually quantify how all of this makes me truly feel deep down.

I would formally like to introduce to you (drum roll please…) the Urban Hippie.

I am what you would call an Urban Hippie.  I love being outside, going canoeing, camping and playing guitar.  I also love fashion and beauty products, doing my hair, clubbing till the wee hours of the morning and driving my car (for the most part).  So this is how I am reconciling my two alter-egos.  At some level I find it soothing because I know there are others like me.  People who went to Girl Guides for 10 years and who clubbed their asses off in their university days.  People who don’t scream at the sight of bugs and who (closeted) watch Jersey Shore.  People who know how to start a raging campfire and identify more than 5 species of plants that grow locally (garlic mustard, marigold, Jewel-weed otherwise known as “touch-me-not’s”, milkweed, American Ash, Sugar Maple) and who know how to navigate all of the majors in Toronto while texting (sorry dad) and wearing 4 inch pumps.

I am reaching out to you.  Because I think - quite shrewdly - that I’m not alone.  The only thing more closeted than Queen Latifah and Tom Cruise put together is the Urban Hippie.

Welcome :)