If you’re brave enough to say goodbye…

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I finally figured out why I’ve changed the format, layout, and logo of this blog so many times in the last year. I finally understand why looking at a blank post fills me with anxiety. I finally understand why this has to be my last blog post on My Pen, My Voice (for real this time).

I have outgrown my blog and the brand I created. 

I started blogging in 2010, as a shy twenty-one-year old searching desperately for her voice. My Pen, My Voice became a place to share my stories, document my life, and hone in on my writing style. As the years went on, my confidence as a writer grew ten-fold and the sentiment behind My Pen, My Voice no longer reigned true. Try as I might, there was no change great enough to turn this blog into something that represented me while still staying true to the brand I created.

Although I am proud of this blog and cherish every person it allowed me to meet and every door it has swung open for me, I feel ready to move on and leave it behind for good. It will remain an active website so that I can always look back, but that is all. My Pen, My Voice is all about the clumsy, crazy, scary things that come with trying to find yourself, trying to become who you are. Now that I am who I am, it is time for us to part ways.

Why now? I am ready to leave this younger version of myself behind and focus on my career. I hope to find more challenging forums and outlets to submit my work to. I hope to write more risky and opinionated pieces that I didn’t feel comfortable writing about on here. I hope to finally sit down and write the novel that’s been in my head for years. No, I will do all these things and more.

Why now? Because sometimes decisions are already made in the subconscious of your heart and it takes a little time for you realize it. This decision involves an intense amount of growth and change. This decision allows me to stop hiding behind my blog and try something new.

So it is time to say goodbye to an old friend and hello to a new adventure; thanks for following along.

Xoxo,

Vanessa 

 

They keep tellin’ me I’m doing it wrong…

Lifestyle/Personal, Uncategorized

The title of this blog post comes from a song written by one of my friends.  It’s about being confident in your choices, being proud of the life you’re living, and not caring about what ANYONE thinks about you.

Only two weeks into 2016 and I’m already learning loads about what I want from life. I’m learning about what makes me happy and who I love spending my time with. I’m understanding the importance of personal growth and change. I’m accepting that trust is earned, judgement is unnecessary, and happiness is a state of mind.

I’m fine with being on a different wavelength and I’m okay with letting go of situations I have no control over.

“I’m not scared of being a little bit different. I’m feeling good just the way I am.”

-The Simple Things by Out of the Blue

Xoxo,
Vanessa 

Conversations for Two [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

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These are pieces of my story. We carve out our world in sections of memory. Some things take root.

I finished reading Conversations for Two by Jacqueline Markowitz almost a week ago and it’s still haunting me (in the best kind of way).  When someone close to you passes there is a period of time where you are flooded with memories you shared with them. A period where you try to understand who they were, what they loved, and what they could have become.

When one woman comes across her brother’s writing twenty-five years after his death, she is transported through fragments of memories that piece together who he really was and what he loved most. As someone who diligently keeps a notebook at arms length, who writes down everything, I was completely enthralled by this concept. What would people learn about me from those notebooks? What kinds of emotions would it evoke?

Conversations for Two is filled with unanswered questions, quaint memories, and heartwarming poems. Written with sincerity and literary tenacity, this novel is reminiscent of Michael Ondaatje’s work. It is a dark, deep, and transcendent read. I warn you that this novel demands your attention. It requires your focus and your heart. It’s the perfect novel for those few days between Christmas and New Year’s when your heart is filled with joy and magic is around every corner.

Xoxo, 

Vanessa 

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of Conversations for Two in exchange for an honest review.

Turn Up the Good – Weekend Bliss

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal, Uncategorized

 
Instead of writing non-stop this weekend, I walked. I explored, drove, ate, and laughed. I went to Toronto and to Hamilton. I bustled around a Christmas Market and nearly peed myself at a comedy show (Jim Jefferies is one gifted storyteller). I took selfies and talked about politics. I visited my old bosses and reminisced my heart out. 

I felt blissfully light and optimistic while I dreamed about the future. I’ve been trying to picture, as well as, plan my next step. A tiny piece of me wants to go back to school – I miss learning and expanding my brain creatively.  Some days being twenty-six makes me feel old and stuck, other days  I feel young and my gut knows that change is imminent.

“Change is the end result of all true learning.”  – Leo Buscaglia

  
  
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Xoxo,

Vanessa

Everything I Never told You [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

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This weekend I read Everything I Never told You by Celeste Ng and subsequently had my heart broken in a million different pieces. Although my family is the type who says what they feel, I’m fairly certain that we’ve all held on tight to our own thoughts and feelings at least once. I often kept my thoughts to myself, letting emotions build until I couldn’t hold it in anymore.

The Lee family does that over and over again without realizing it. The unravelling of their relationships begins slowly and intensifies as time goes on. Dreams and pressures are transferred from mother and father straight to their children, depositing unrealistic goals and expectations. It is not until Lydia’s body is found that the Lee’s are forced to take a look at the state of their fragile family.

Going back and forth through time, the reader is transported into the mind of each character. Reading their innermost thoughts leaves you with a guilty knot in your stomach, as if you’ve stumbled on pages of their dairy. You find yourself aching to shake them while screaming “SAY SOMETHING, SAY ANYTHING!” But I guess that’s kind of the point…

“Before that she hadn’t realized how fragile happiness was, how if you were careless, you could knock it over and shatter it.”

― Celeste NgEverything I Never Told You

Everything I Never told You will delight, sadden, and entertain its readers. It will force them to remember all of those things they wish they said to someone. It begs its reader to not only be true to themselves but to be honest to those that love them.

 

Xoxo,

Vanessa 

Disclosure: I requested this novel from Penguin Random House Canada and was sent a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Without Writing I am…

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Whether you’ve noticed or not, it’s been 10 days since I’ve posted anything new on my blog. It’s not that I haven’t been writing (because without writing I am not myself) it’s that I haven’t felt like sharing. Every blogger I knew goes through this, moments of self-doubt or fear that they’re sharing too much. Moments where they feel as though they’d rather be doing something else. Moments where they contemplate the point of their blog’s existence.

Recently I’ve been having trouble relating to my blog and the person who created it. I’ve wondered whether or not my last post really should have been on December 31st, 2014, but then I realized that my lack of blog posts has nothing to do with who I am as a person or writer, and everything to do with the fact that I have more going on in my life now than I once did. I’m currently learning loads in my new role as Customer Service Coordinator at Serrano Imports, I’m taking a social media marketing course at George Brown, I’m trying to stay fit and healthy, and…this past weekend I got engaged!!

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So if my posts come few and far between for the next little while, you know why.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Live your Best Life

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Thinking a lot about taking risks and making the most out of life. Enjoyed all the best parts of life this weekend: food, books, friends, love, flowers, and family. Looking forward to changing weather, a new job, a few goodbyes, and moving forward. Hoping for the best, working hard, and staying positive. Also hoping for deeper thoughts and a few pages filled with magical wondrous words.

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To live, to TRULY live, we must be willing to RISK. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look.
Mandy Hale

Love Always,
Vanessa Xo

*Posted from my Moto X

 

Laptop on Rice/ Blue Monday Indeed

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal, Uncategorized

Yesterday was not a good day. I woke up feeling less than impressed with myself. I woke up feeling sweaty, ugly, and fat. Yes, it was one of THOSE Mondays. I tried to push those thoughts aside and get to the regularly scheduled programming of my brain — How much money will we need at closing? How much can I save this month? How much will we need for furniture or a wedding? Will we ever be able to afford a wedding? How is my job search going? Why haven’t I heard from anyone? So on and so forth.

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Later on that morning, I returned home from a Doctor’s appointment and spilled about half of my perfectly semi-sweet and creamy dark roast coffee all over my MacBook Air. It immediately shut off and wouldn’t turn back on. Please don’t ask me how I managed it. I am always anal when it comes to food or beverages coming in close contact with my laptop. I cleaned what I could and threw my laptop into a container with rice and although I started off hopeful, I think it is fair to say that my laptop is fried and I cannot afford a new one. The worst part of all this is that I have EVERYTHING I’ve written in the last five years is on that laptop. Every photo I’ve taken was stored on that laptop. Everything I’ve been working on lately is ON that laptop. AND I DO NOT HAVE A BACKUP! I have a USB with some of my work on it but not all of it. I always assumed I could do it eventually and eventually never came. (Also, I didn’t back up anything to iCloud – doh!).

What I care most about are my photos. I can always write more words, better words, but if my computer-genius cousin can’t get my photos back I’ll be devastated (I have photos on there from 2008 that I never developed, some from my sister’s wedding, and every photo I’ve ever taken of my niece or with my boyfriend). I don’t know how to end this post or if there’s a point in divulging the tears that I shed or the words that I screamed, so I’ll end it with this: ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE. Also, let’s hope that by some miracle my laptop starts working and all of my photos reappear.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Snowfall Brings out the Best/Worst in People

Bursting the Bubble, Uncategorized
From Pinterest

From Pinterest

On the way home from work, my dad was rescued by four  firefighters. He’d gotten his car good and stuck. A few seconds later four men jumped out of the car behind him and pushed him on his way. My neighbour, sister, and mother were less fortunate, as they pushed my sister’s car up our court, several on-lookers just stood there and on-looked. Pretending not to notice.

I truly believe that snowstorms and natural disasters of the like bring out the best and worst in people. Yesterday as I tried desperately to drive to work (which is a five-minute drive at most) I found myself stuck in the middle of my court. With my wheels turning beyond control and my steering wheel giving out on me, I was just about ready to give up. Thankfully my neighbour came to the rescue. He not only cleaned off my entire car but somehow got my car loose and pushed me on my way.

My five-minute drive turned into a 15-minute drive complete with getting stuck at the end of my court and sliding every time I turned. Getting into a parking spot in a lot that had not been plowed was no easy feat. Luckily for me there was a young guy getting Chinese food next door to my work. After watching me reverse and go forward, reverse and go forward, and still not make it properly into a spot, he graciously pushed my car into said spot. I guess he could see the panic-stricken look on my face and decided to help a sister out.

Thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to help someone who was in need during the storm yesterday. Your selflessness will not be forgotten and is much appreciated. Snowstorms can be a mix of beautiful, scary, and ugly, but your help made it mostly beautiful. So thanks, from all of us.

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
― Mary Oliver

– Vanessa

the life you have is completely yours

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Uncategorized

“But your task is to become something much more unique and surprising than anyone your parents could ever imagine you to be. You have to know that the life you have is completely yours.”  — THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT

I like to think that many years ago on a cold, snowy day as my dad watched T.V. and my mum crocheted a blanket, I sat on the floor with my sister and picked up a book. As I flipped through the pages and made up my own stories, both of my parents smiled and said “Yep, she’s going to be a great writer some day — or at very least, an avid reader”. That didn’t happen and I’m unsure if my parents ever stood over my crib and took a guess at who or what I was going to become.

I think the hardest part of growing up and becoming an adult isn’t getting my career started or getting out of the pizza place, it’s being Me. It’s forgetting about all of those outside factors, the opinions of others, the welcome and unwelcome advice, the negative comments or generalizations and simply being myself. I’m indecisive and I struggle with making decisions because I let so many other outside factors effect them. I’m always concerned about how any decision effects everyone else around me, I wonder and wonder if I can do certain things, and I second guess myself a lot. Maybe that’s why I am where I am right now.

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This life is completely and totally mine and I have to start acting like it. I’m going to start doing what I want to do, I am going to speak up and air my thoughts.

I am not going to let my fear stop me, I’m not going remain in unhappy atmospheres surrounded by unhappy people.

I’m going to take risks and make mistakes, but they’re mine.

And it’s okay because nothing is permanent, not even pain.

 

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo