Reposted from Facebook:
Get ready for a long-winded post kids!
Landed back on Canadian soil! I'm currently sitting in a short layover in St. John's Newfoundland before catching my flight back to Pearson, and I'm taking this opportunity to reflect on a 22 day adventure that has definitely changed me.
Firstly, let me thank, Leslie Glen, Caitlin Arbour and my best friend J. Mallory Veney for housing a wayward showgirl! You all made my trip easy and delightful!!!
After getting accepted to the London Burlesque Festival, I decided to take the opportunity to do something I felt like everyone had done except me: run around Europe like a wind-blown vagabond. I have spent the better part of my life dedicated to my art and my career. My ambition and dedication, though they are traits I pride myself in, had, until the past three years, kept me from travelling and taking in certain experiences that I were told were staples of my young life. After taking a trip to Austrailia (holy shit!) 4 years ago, I made a promise to myself to make travel a bit more of a priority, and to begin creating opportunities to leave the country. This trip was a huge test for me. Thus far I've always had somewhere solid to land: friends, a gig, what have you, and this time, for a large chunk of my trip (and thanks to a bit of twisted fate) I didn't. My logic was, if 18-year-olds have been doing this after high school for the past 60 years, why would it be any more difficult for me?
Most of the challenges I cam across were expected (learning the hard way about exchange rates and making attempts not to overspend). Some were not (3 out of 4 broken wheels on my luggage too early in my trip). I had thoughts of warnings people gave me on my trip (I was going to thieved and abducted in Paris, which obviously didn't happen) and then had to face the realities unprepared (the culture shock that became Germany). But my good friend Rachel was right, you travel alone and you learn how truly clever and resourceful you can be. My biggest surprise truly has been how much this trip has changed me.
So let's start with the superficial crap: My bucket list, where I crossed off a bunch of items, including some I didn't know I had until they happened.
- take a ballet class in Paris (followed by a Graham class - bonus points)
- Climb the Eiffel Tower (only to the second floor by stairs, too expensive to go to the top)
- See Versailles (almost all of it in one day! Wicked sunburn because of it)
- Eat decadent French food
- Attend service in Notre Dame Cathedral (didn't know it was an item til it happened)
- See the Alps
- Get lost, then find my way (Geneva, Paris, Hamburg)
- watch a Shakespeare rehearsal in the Globe Theatre (Twelfth Night, if you must know)
- feel comfortable in another city
- Climb a mountain
- See a bunch of famous art
- feed parakeets in Hyde Park
Now for the harder stuff.
I mentioned it in my last video. I've always felt like I've never belonged. Since I was about 15, it's like, the second I attached myself to a group, or "found my tribe", or "hashtag family affair", something would happen that would isolate me or exile me; someone decides I'm not enough/too much of something, someone decides they have an issue with me and don't address it and leave me guessing, people try to "help" by pointing out my flaws, gossip, talking about ways to "fix the problem" (usually referring to the problem being me)... whatever it was it would begin to feel like a clique. I've never had a good association with cliques. The cliques I knew as a kid were the group of girls who would call me out to "play" and then taunt me and kick my ass (literally). They were the ones who would set up scenarios to embarrass or shame me publicly. They would gaslight me in saying "you're too sensitive!" You're too aggressive!" "Why are you freaking out, it was just a joke!" I was belittled for my intelligence, my passion, my creativity, and my general weirdness. I was used for whatever they needed from me. I've spend my life feeling like the bulk of my friendships were false moments, forged because I served as a symbol for these women, as an example of what not to be, or as a project to be fixed, not an individual to be loved and accepted unconditionally. I learned not to trust. I accepted that that no one sticks around for me. That every friendship ends, and that that is just the way it is, and maybe for me, the way it is meant to be.
And yet somehow, with each newly forged friendship, I loved harder than the last, gave every ounce of loyalty I could, devoted my time and my energy and treated it like we would be friends forever, naively believing each time, that my love would be returned to me. And I regret nothing. I will continue to love, even if that love is not returned or rewarded. I will employ my empathy in every situation, ESPECIALLY when I have been wronged. It took me years to realize my sensitivity and emotionality wasn't a weakness, but a super power. I fought that vulnerable aspect of my nature for years, until I realized, very recently, just how powerful it was. My empathic nature, my emotional demeanour has become my biggest strength.
I see my life as a lush garden, filled with a wide variety of trees, shrubs and the most beautiful flowers. You pull the weeds when they grow (they're easier and easier to spot with practise). You see a strange plant and see if it blossoms into something beautiful, keep it if you like it in your garden, compost if you don't. You trim trees, maintaining their beautiful shape. But sometimes flowers wilt, or die, or rot. Yes, they were beautiful once, but they have had their season. Maybe they'll grow back next year or in the future, maybe they won't, but you must clear the waste and make it useful. Compost. Remember the flower, enjoy it while it lasts, but there's not point in trying to save something that's already dead, even if it died before you were ready for it.
And this trip, this time alone, has really solidified my life as a garden. I have my favourite plants. I have my lush, solid trees that weather all seasons and the roughest storms. I am blessed that I have the trees I do. My shrubs blossom when the seasons are right, and I still love them even when not in bloom. But I can no longer worry about the longevity of flowers, and I have no patience for weeds.
I have come from this trip more self-assured. I'm not ashamed of what other's have weighed as "too this", "not enough that", or my favourite threat I've heard a LOT of in the past year "no one will like you/hire you/love you if you're this". I'm getting too old to humour that kind of projected insecurity. And maybe the traits you're criticizing, are the traits you're afraid to embody.
I have ambitions. I have goals. I have visions of how I want the world around me to unfold, and if you want to be with me on this ride, I welcome you! I'm happy to bring anyone who wants to join, support, witness, contribute to this world I see in my head.
But if you're not helping me, you're in my way. And I no longer have the time or patience to humour those who do not work, believe and love as I do.
To the next adventure!!! xoxo