hazy drives

Lifestyle/Personal

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I love driving before cars spill onto the road from every direction. Before you become a sardine on that so-called highway. I love morning drives, sticky sweaty morning drives when the streets and trees are covered in a light fog, a mist. When the world is hazy — like waking from a dream. Your eyes are half-open but you can hear and feel everything all at once. The beads of perspiration forming on your back make you feel alive. The quiet roads allow you to think and make you feel like you’re the only one awake in this crazy world.

It’s drives like these that allow me to think, to breathe a little slower, and take an inventory of all my recent decisions. I may not have been the only one on the road yesterday but I still felt like it and I let myself get lost in a trance-like state. I thought about my last day at work (next Friday) and all of the people out there who have told me to follow my dreams, who believe in me. Their support makes me believe that I will land on my feet, regardless of the risks I take.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”  ― C. JoyBell C.

Love Always and Forever,

Vanessa

the weight of Insecurities

Bursting the Bubble, Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

Perhaps you saw my sulky tweet about going for a physical. The one where I gained 6 pounds since the last time I visited the doctor two years ago. I don’t usually tweet things like that, I highly doubt you care how much I weigh or how much I’ve gained, but I do. In 10th grade I got fed up with being the only girl who wasn’t naturally thin, so I made it my goal to become skinny. I wanted to be pretty, thin, and get noticed by the hot guys in my grade. I wanted desperately to have a boyfriend. I went on a strict NO JUNK FOOD diet and worked out with Billy Blanks tapes every day. Eventually I lost the weight but it didn’t get me a boyfriend, nor did it rid of my insecurities.

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Feeling beautiful is all that matters. Thin, thick, whatever. Beauty is on the inside. Oh and CHOCOLATE TASTES AS GOOD AS ANYTHING FEELS!

The thing is that I will never be thin — maybe subtly toned and thick but never thin. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that or be okay with it. Even nine years later, I don’t feel confident most days. I try on clothes and even though I’m “tiny”, it doesn’t make me enjoy shopping any more than someone who isn’t. In fact, trying on clothes isn’t the only thing that irks me, I hate seeing myself naked. I despise bathing suits and refuse to look at myself before heading into the shower. In the mirror all I see are the same imperfections I’d notice when I was sixteen years old. I see extra skin or flab that wasn’t there before, I see cellulite from my bum to my upper back thighs and I grimace. How can a 25-year-old woman not love her body? Not love the skin that’s treated her well her entire life? It baffles me and sickens me that hearing that I am now 129lbs instead of 123lbs is something that could ruin my day but it does.

So what now? Is this vanity or a simple case of I don’t look like the women I see in magazines or movies? Or is it something even worse than that? Have I made being “thin” “skinny” or “tiny” my main characteristic? Am I vain enough to think that that’s how people remember me or am I silly enough to hope that that’s how they remember me? The more important question is why, why would I want that to be the way people remember me? Wouldn’t I rather have people say “Vanessa? You mean the writer from My Pen, My Voice?” or “Vanessa? That sweet girl with a weird but fun sense of humour?”  or “Oh Vanessa? Ya I remember her! She’s awesome.”  There are all kinds of beautiful out there and they don’t start with a number on the scale.

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This is me. Today. I’m a writer, traveller, and reader. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, niece, girlfriend, cousin, and friend. I have brown eyes, big thighs, and a small waist. I have big feet and love having my toenails painted. I like my lips, they’re exactly like my moms. I love to laugh, especially if it’s over a Lavazza latte. I like working out and I am healthy but I love my mom’s muffins and cookies too much to give them up. I love Italian food and penne alla vodka is my favourite dish. I weigh 129lbs and I am beautiful, not in spite of or because of that number. It’s just one little piece of who I am and if I can have so many people love me for all of these things, then I can learn to love myself too. It’s a journey, a process, and I’m on the right track.

Love Always and Forever,

Vanessa Xo

but i’ve got a dream worth protectin’

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures

62847759b0c2ef40b245e69d63a2635fI don’t know if the YES PROJECT made me do it or if it was my need for change, for a new chapter but I made a decision to start fresh. To let go of the places and circumstances that are holding me back and just be free. I’ve been bowling with bumper guards for too long (metaphorically speaking) and it’s about time to put them down. I know I talk about it a lot about doing this but now I have no choice. It’s a new chapter whether I’m terrified or not. It all ends August 1st, one final goodbye and I’m off to something new. I don’t know where I’m headed but it starts with a pen and a dream, and it’s worth protecting.

Talk soon,

Vanessa

you’re not the only one

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

If you think you’re the only one working a job that you hate or at the very least that you didn’t go to school for, you’re not the only one.

If you feel like you deserve a better job or you’re looking to change the world but can’t find a way out of your current situation, don’t despair because you’re not the only one.

If you feel small and insignificant at work or like you’re being taken advantage of but don’t want to make waves because in Ontario you’re lucky just to have a job, don’t get upset because you’re not the only one.

If you feel like the educational system has failed you or that you’ve been dealt an unfair hand, don’t worry because you’re not the only one.

Even though knowing that there are other people going through the same things that you are might not make you feel better, just knowing that it isn’t your fault, should. You’re living in a circumstance created by a failed system but sooner or later something’s gotta give. For now, follow this checklist every day of the week and you might feel a little bit better.

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

kisses and car rides all over ontario

Categories, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

Of the many things to love about summer, car rides are my absolute favourite. Sure, reading in the warm sunshine, hearing the beloved ice cream truck song outside my bedroom window, attending weddings and showers, and sitting on patios are amazing BUT I can’t get enough of car rides. The bf and I love driving to random places within Ontario. We love heading up to his aunt and uncle’s trailer or Googling “fun little towns in Ontario”. Last summer we spent an entire day roaming Niagara on the Lake, two years ago it was St.Jacobs. We fall in love with the various shops and enjoy sitting on the patio of a local pub eating the greatest greasiest fast food.

Last week we took an impromptu drive to Burlington and once again, I fell in love. We took a walk along the Lakeshore, the air was crisp and the sun was beaming. Then we had a bite to eat at The Queens Head (I ate delicious buttermilk chicken fingers the size of my head), spent a few minutes in their local bookstore (A Different Drummer Books), and ended off the day trying some vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, everything free desserts at Kelly’s XO Bake Shoppe.

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I don’t know exactly where our next car ride will take us but I have dreams of going to Viamede Resort in the Kawarthas and staying for the weekend, maybe to Montreal, and someday out east to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. I’d also love to head back west to Vancouver — I LOVED IT THERE, it’s a long car ride but it might be fun. All you need is good music, good conversation, and great company to make the best of any car ride.

Thankfully, I’ve got all three.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

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

 

i saw the sign

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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Sometimes things happen that you can’t explain. Moments occur that leave you curious, shocked, and with a perpetual look of confusion on your face. At work the other day I said something to a customer (an older George Clooney kind of man) about how women usually listen to their friend’s orders and follow their lead, not men. He replied with big eyes and lifted brows, “It’s 2014 — don’t get stuck thinking like that. This is Bolton, those people patterns don’t stick anywhere else. You need to get to the city, then maybe to London, see other places. Don’t get stuck in this kind of thinking — it’s just Bolton.”

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Am I THAT transparent? I served this man his pizza feeling utterly naked, completely stripped to the core with nowhere to run or hide. I have never felt so naive or narrow-minded in my life. Maybe I’m reading too much into this but when a first-time customer drops a mind-blowing bomb like that, you can’t help but take notice. Could this be a sign? A BIG RED STOP SIGN APPEARING OUT OF THIN AIR (OR AIR THAT SMELLS LIKE A COOKED PIZZA)? I THINK IT IS!

“You are doing all right. You are a good little soldier. You are feeling sad now because it is wartime. You are engaged in the greatest battle of them all: the battle to be yourself. It is the ugliest battle.”

— THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

a quote, a mantra, a whatchamacallit

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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The other day while I was working out, Jillian Michaels said something that really resonated with me. It put everything that I’m doing into perspective, it shed light on what I’m doing wrong at the moment.

“Add intention to your action and that is when change will happen.” 

Whether applying for jobs, or writing a blog post, or serving customers at work, there has been a lack of intention, of intensity, of passion behind my actions. Just adding a little bit of focus to my daily, albeit mundane, tasks has made them seem all the more interesting. Adding a little bit of heart to a blog post meant that I made a difference in the day of my readers. Paying more attention to the jobs I apply to and altering my cover letter and resume every single time, has given me more confidence that a change will happen soon.

Intention is its own form of magic.

It is cause for change and once the spark is lit, there is no stopping it.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

it's all about perspective

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

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You know what will put life into perspective? How about serving pizza to a man with a leg-and-a-half. I don’t mean for that to sound rude or insensitive — I’m simply stating facts. He limped on a wooden prosthetic leg, pain seemed to overcome his right leg as if all the pressure might cause an eruption. He was an older young man, with dark grey hair, crows feet around his eyes, and a boyish smile. He was polite and kind and my heart couldn’t bear  the pain in his eyes. I didn’t know his story and I dare not ask because something in his face, in his haunched shoulders, told me that his story isn’t an easy one. Perhaps one without a silver lining.

And there I was, dwelling on things that now seem so insignificant. It is astounding how narrow or self-centred our minds can become when we let our lives become the only life in existence that matters. When our tiny setbacks are nothing compared to someone else’s troubles. When we let a dark cloud come over us, weigh us down, and think negatively of our lives.

when really, it isn’t that bad at all.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

i've forgotten how to dream

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

QUoteI had an awfully sad thought the other day and I’ve placed it on a photo that I took during my mid-week staycation. 

Could this deep rooted sadness just be a phase? A side-effect of that disturbing mix of boredom and fear that has overcome me as of late? I despise the word bored. I detest feeling afraid. Afraid of what? Bored how? I don’t feel challenged or excited anymore. I don’t feel like I’m living so much as existing and I’ve created this cocoon of safety that makes me not want to try new things. That gives me a kind of anxiety that eats away at my heart, at my dreams,

Could it be all of the rejection I’ve received lately? Could it be that my insecurities are taking over? Could I just grow a pair already and make a change? Insanity is, after all, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

How to become sane (again):

WHEN IN DOUBT, OR BEING REJECTED, REMEMBER WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO.(you love to write and you do it for you)

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

MAKE A SCARY LEAP OF FAITH.

DON’T TURN BACK.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo