The Girl and The Golden Key

Wednesdays are always great because I have my toastmasters meeting at SickKids. Like meditation at the Shambhala centre, it was something I picked up years ago, and then I stopped going. At the time I was really really frightened of public speaking, and even more so scared of not appearing put together, letting my insecurities show. I could barely even introduce myself! This time around things are a little better. I’m more comfortable with myself and more willing to look foolish. What a relief it is to allow yourself to be vulnerable! Rejection is never fun (I say this as I await the response to a question I just asked a friend), but once you get used to it, a lot of doors open for you. Because the worst that can happen is the person says no, or you don’t get the job, or you fail. And for me it feels deadly. Like it actually sears my heart. But I’m getting stronger and I think I’ve just had a lot of practice in getting rejected!

The theme of today’s meeting was ‘striving’, and the word of the day was ‘optimal’. The table topics are the best part, where the table topics master prepares a list of fun and interesting topics that relate to the theme, and people go up and choose one and deliver an impromptu speech between 1-2 minutes. The topic I chose was: “Many movies describe strivers and their journey towards achieving their challenging goals and dreams. What is your favourite striver movie?”.  I chose to talk about Wild, a movie about Cheryl Strayed’s solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese Witherspoon was amazing in this movie and really portrayed the emotional journey with rawness. I related a lot to this movie because sometimes I feel as though my struggles with depression and anxiety are never-ending, but each step along the way, there has been wisdom gained and also heart-breaking beauty. I can’t say that it’s been worth it but I know that it has opened my heart. One of the topics that was presented beautifully by Lynna (who wants to start her own statistical analysis consulting business) was: “You have turned your hobby or passion into a thriving business. Describe the process and the challenges along the way.”  I loved this topic because I am planning to start my own consulting business! It’s actually really exciting and unbelievable. I never thought I was the entrepreneurial type, but turns out I don’t like being told what to do and I like to do things my own way!

After the toastmasters meeting, I sat in the Sick Kids cafeteria and edited my friend Daniela’s beautiful children’s book (the picture above is one of her illustrations). It is a story about a girl who is given a magical golden key and eventually finds that it is the key to eternal happiness and laughter. She experiences loss, adventure, and encounters many wise souls along the way. I loved editing this! It reminds me of my Mom’s dream of publishing a children’s book. Hers was called Tom Makes A Difference, and it is a wonderful story about a boy who is always nice to everyone and willing to help, and through his example inspires others to change. I hope to help Mom publish this book one day!

Went to Freshii and had my favourite tex mex burrito, and read the newspaper. I came across an awesome commentary on Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau’s bizarre singing of “Smile Back at Me” that she wrote for her daughter. I love how she is unafraid to bare her soul and be herself no matter what anyone thinks! I have faith in our prime minister simply because he is married to her! Great line from the article:

Yes, Gregoire-Trudeau’s performance was painfully awkward, ill-timed and in some places not quite in tune. But can you really dis a woman who bares her soul in such a weird and spectacular way? Even if she chose to do so at a profoundly inappropriate moment, are we not all richer for it?

Yes, yes, and yes!! So inspiring and makes me feel better about my ill-timed baring of the soul. :p



The Bandit Queen

This morning I met my friend Melinda at Lavazza near my place and we talked about boys (our favourite topic of conversation). There is a thing with women that no matter what situation they find themselves in, whether in poverty or in a refugee camp (or sitting in a café on Queens Quay), the conversation always tends to gravitate towards love. Does he like me? Does he think about me? Sigh. Age old questions that are so simple yet seem so torturous and cause never-ending speculation.

Following our chat, I started my 10 KM walk. It was -40 or somewhere around there, and I had to stop every few minutes to warm up in a pharmacy or coffee shop. I stopped at SickKids for a bit and talked to my Mom on the phone about fears and remembering past lives. She said that she didn’t think it was useful to remember because it just distracts you from your purpose and causes you pain. I thought that it is actually a blessing if you are lucky enough to be given insight into your karmic path, to know that there is something beyond this physical existence. There is a quote by Rumi that I love: “Know then that the body is merely a garment. Go seek the wearer, not the cloak.”

I got to the reference library and almost gave up and took the subway home, but something told me to keep going so I did. I went to Balzac’s and finished reading Count Me In by Emily White. She goes on a quest to understand human connection, our need to belong and live a fulfilling life. She is extremely sensitive to rejection, as am I, even though I throw myself in the fire over and over again. Perhaps one day I’ll throw myself in and won’t feel so burned. There was a scale at the back of the book that assesses your sensitivity level and I scored pretty high! Perhaps it’s like a muscle and you get better at it. Or perhaps no one is really rejecting you and it’s all in your head.

It was funny that I had considered going home and ended up having a very serendipitous meeting. I ran into Gillian, a woman who I’d met through my friend Gosia. She is making a documentary about the life of Phoolan Devi. I went to an auction last year where the director spoke about Phoolan’s story. She is almost mythical figure in India – a woman who was brutalized by life yet managed to find the light. I can’t actualy believe this story is real. This woman lived nine lives in her one short life. Gillian wants me to be more involved with the documentary, and perhaps reach out to women’s rights organizations in India to form partnerships.

Then I walked to Chapters where I felt bored with my life in general, thinking that this blog is the most exciting thing I have going for me right now. Lately I’ve been scared to come home because it reminds me of how I almost lost my place, and triggers a lot of anxiety. It will take time for me to trust again, to release this knot in my stomach that doesn’t seem to go away. I walked home through Victoria College, and then onto Nathan Philips square, watching the skaters and listening to Neyo’s Miss Independent playing in the background. Finally came home to my messy place!