Remember When

I made a super-quick trip home to Canada this past weekend for my nephew’s wedding, and let me tell you I made the absolute most of my 56 hours in the country! I slept less than 15 of those hours (apparently sleeping is for wimps when I’m home), leaving me with about 41 hours to enjoy my peeps! I spent time with my spirit animal Soupsie, I saw my other BFFs (EJ, G-NA, etc), caught up with my favorite cousins, and was reunited with my Wee One for the weekend. Yaa! Of course I got to see my brother and his fam jam – I really love the family that he has made, and I absolutely envy what they’ve got going on there. They are a lovely family – I’m glad that he has that.

The most interesting thing that I noticed this weekend was that I become a completely different person when I am at home – this was the first time that I REALLY noticed it, even though I’m sure it has always been that way. I become the very best me that I think I have inside, and I wish that I could keep that up all the time. Maybe the thing is that I don’t feel like I have to try as hard as I do when I’m here, as I will be surrounded by unconditional love regardless. As well, I love the collective sense of humor up there – these folks get my jokes without requiring an explanation complete with hand gestures and interpretive dance moves. I love that.

I managed to catch a few snippets of the news whilst at home, which delighted my soul. Watching the American television coverage of the disaster that has become the government in this country is pretty much guaranteed to ruin your day. However, the impartial eyes of the North bring a lot of clarity to the insanity down here – I’m going to continue to try to stream my beloved CBC (and BBC) online. It’s time to Susan Powter this shit and stop the insanity.

Here’s a quick look at some of the things that I saw:

Overall, it was such a good weekend, and I absolutely sobbed when the plane pulled away from the terminal on Monday morning. I love being home, and I so miss the people and the – actually, I miss the everything. I will just leave it at that. 🙂

Before I go, here’s Ed Sheeran singing about his home – he gets it. 🙂

Have a good day, friends!

Xxx

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Sing

My friend Soupsie sent me this video yesterday, and I could not wait to share it with you:

It’s fantastic, eh??! LOVE it!!! I am thrilled that Canadians can always be counted on to pitch in when needed (and do it rather joyfully, might I add!)…I wonder how many Americans would be able to sing the Canadian national anthem were the situation reversed? Hmmmm….

Happy Tuesday, friends!

xxx

Hold On

I read this article on MindBodyGreen the other day, and found it to be DEEPLY profound for me – please give it a look:

Why You Should Never Date An “Avoidant” + What That Actually Means
by Annice Star
Undoubtedly you’ve heard of attachment styles by now. They explain many common patterns experienced in relationships. The attachment approach to coupling says that people fall into one of three attachment styles: secure, anxious, or avoidant. These labels pretty well describe the characteristics of each one.

Putting it simply, secure attachers enjoy connecting intimately and tend to stay bonded. Anxious attachers are capable of attachment but often feel insecure, so they need comforting and reassurance. Avoidants try to avoid attachment altogether.

The dating pool is always plentifully stocked with avoidants who seldom deeply attach to any partner. Without attachment, it’s easy for them to either boot their significant others or get dumped themselves, so they just keep recirculating.

If you are dating and looking for a mate who will last, it’s your job to spot the avoidants before you get entangled with a person who is unlikely to ever make you feel safe or loved. As always, the best way to judge whether a person is right for you is to stay in close touch with how you feel when you are together. Here are some avoidant tendencies along with feelings you are likely to experience as a result of each one.

1. Refusal or inability to acknowledge your feelings.

Has anyone ever said to you “I’m not responsible for your feelings”? While we are all responsible for our own feelings, people in healthy relationships share responsibility for the one another’s emotional well-being.

How it feels:

You feel ignored and alone. Expressing your feelings is a no-no – that’s the avoidant’s rule. They call all the shots or else they bolt, so you’re sunk if you are looking for loving support.

2. Secrecy.

Avoidant types often think someone is out to get them, including you. So, they hide aspects of their lives that make them feel vulnerable. They create an invisible web of hidden people, facts, and histories, along with little white lies that often seem ridiculous or unnecessary. They are especially intent on hiding information from you because your attempts to get closer to them makes you feel threatening to them.

How it feels:

lt feels disconcerting. Why won’t they tell you about X, Y or Z? If there’s nothing to hide, they should be open and enjoy sharing. But that’s the last thing an avoidant wants to do.

3. Pining for an ex.

Avoidants can’t experience intimacy because they’re afraid of it. The only time they can really appreciate it is after a relationship is over. Then they tend to idealize an ex’s qualities. Though they may not realize it, this is often a subconscious defense mechanism giving them a reason to avoid connecting with a new partner. This pattern can also take the form of waiting for “The One,” whom they fantasize will make relating effortlessly perfect. No one measures up to their ideals, including you.

How it feels:

You feel inadequate. You will never be as captivating as the ex or the hypothetical, mystical “One” who has been enshrined on a pedestal in their mind. Ultimately you just don’t measure up. And no one can.


4. Emotional stinginess.

This type avoids the “L word” at all costs. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they’re afraid an expression of love will mean they are attached. That’s not the only expression they keep in check; they’re also hesitant to share praise, acknowledgement, or appreciation. Over time, this wears on the partner who’s left to shoulder all of the emotional labor while the avoidant remains passive.

How it feels:

You’re emotionally starved. Like a hungry person, you’re constantly looking to your partner in the hopes that they will offer you some emotional nourishment, but it never comes.

5. Constant emotional highs and lows.

People with avoidant behaviors are actually very conflicted individuals. Like all humans, they crave attachment and do better when they have it. So, the avoidant, on occasion, will let their guard down and step a little closer to their partner. But as soon as they feel a bit more capable, the fear of intimacy flares up again and the rollercoaster continues its bumpy ride.

How it feels:

You feel exhausted. You get your hopes up only to be let down again. Push and pull isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s all an avoidant can manage.

 

Think you might be dating an avoidant? Here’s what you can do:

The obvious answer is to get out while you can. But if you’re in something long-term, or there’s a compelling reason to keep trying, take heart. Research shows that attachment styles can be changed. The caveat here is that, just like with any relationship endeavor, you both have to be fully on board. Unfortunately, that is a tall order for an avoidant.


If you do manage to get your avoidant partner on board, find a therapist who can help you evolve your attachment styles and perspectives to a more secure framework. Attachment theory suggests we all do better when we have a secure base from which to operate, which explains why so many of us desire a significant other who makes us feel safe and loved. From there, we can venture out in the world to become our best selves.

 

I’ve never noticed this before, but upon reflecting on my (rather checkered) relationship history, I have definitely had a tendency to be drawn towards ‘avoidants’…except I didn’t know what they were called. I fall into the anxious category – I am a person who needs a metric shit-ton of reassurance at all times…something that avoidants are incapable of, so is it any wonder that my relationships have often left me feeling so completely unfulfilled? It all becomes clear now. Grr. I’m sure Freud would have had a field day figuring out why I am so drawn to avoidants (my father worked away from home most of my life – daddy issues abound) — isn’t it amazing how the circle of life goes? How everything that you are can be traced back to events that happened when you were younger? Grr again. I prefer this circle of life:

 

Hakuna Matata, friends – have a good day. 🙂

xxx

O Canada

I received the daily email from Jezebel at lunch today, while on duty in the cafeteria, living the dream. I opened it and saw that one of the stories had a Canadian angle, so I clicked on it to give ‘er a read. Imagine my surprise when I ended up having to stare at the ceiling as moisture began leaking from my eyes:

After ‘O Canada,’ An Unexpected Letter Taught Me a Valuable Lesson About Xenophobia

By Nelly Furtado

Last year, when I was invited to sing “O Canada” at the NBA All-Star Game, I was happy for the opportunity to represent the city I live in, Toronto, as it hosted the world’s largest celebration of one of my favorite sports.

It wasn’t my first time. I had sung the anthem at the 2004 All-Star Game in LA, and hadn’t been happy with my performance. I attempted to sing some of the words in French but flubbed them; luckily this was pre-social media so any critique was limited to a few morning radio chuckles.

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I vowed to myself that this time I would sing the anthem in English, and that I would make it memorable. I talked with the NBA about performing with a First Nations artist. Ultimately, I ended up booking Tony Duncan, a Native American hoop dancer and flute player with whom I’ve been collaborating since 2012. I began studying past anthems and created a rendition that felt authentic to my own patriotism, rather than a display of vocal histrionics or an impotent, beer-can-singalong version.

During camera rehearsals at The Air Canada Centre, I made sure that Tony and I were both visible at center stage. We were a team delivering an anthem that had recently been in the news because of a potential lyric change, from the line “in all our sons command” to the gender-neutral “in all of us command.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had just appointed a gender-equal cabinet. Change was in the air.

As I stood courtside, my performance minutes away, female dancers gyrated beside each All-Star on the makeshift stage. My face burned at the old-school display of misogyny, and I had the sudden urge to expedite the gender-neutral “O Canada.” Instead, I steadied my mind for my performance. In my pantsuit and shorn hair, I walked out calmly and sang “O Canada” from the bottom of my Canadian Portuguese heart. The arena erupted as Tony and I left the court, and we were showered with praise from peers and friends. After the game, I ended up at a friend’s 40th birthday party and stayed past 3 a.m.

On my way home, I checked Twitter and noticed my name was trending. Tens of thousands of tweets from strangers poured into my feed: words of hostility, praise, ignorance, kindness, and nothing in between. Annoyed and tired, I went home to bed, but woke up the next morning trying to make sense of the frenzy. I noticed that a semi-famous male sportscaster had sent out a sexist and mental-health marginalizing tweet which started the windfall. In his tweet, he wondered if I was having a “breakdown” and said that it was the “worst anthem he had ever heard.” I was mortified and angry—until it got worse. As I read the feed, I realized that my performance had become some kind of lightning rod. This was not just about melodies and vocals. The real buttons of hate that I had pushed seemed to stem from a veiled xenophobia in my country and beyond. As a first-generation Portuguese Canadian female, I was officially “the other,” and not entitled to express my “O Canada” with artistic nuance or intimacy:

@NellyFurtado GO BACK TO PORTUGAL
The words stung like salt.

When I read this hateful tweet, I realized that my “Child of Immigrants Citizenship” was somehow less Canadian.

I relied on grace, resisted the urge for rebuttal, and posted a simple note thanking the NBA and Tony Duncan for helping me represent our home “on native land.” Deep down, I felt a sadness and fear about the dark and hateful hidden corners of my country, and confusion about where I belonged in it.

A few months later, I was at Canadian Music Week, minutes away from receiving the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award. My manager Rose handed me an envelope, and my eyes froze on the sender’s address: Kiwetin School, Timiskaming First Nation, Notre Dame du Nord, Quebec.

Inside was a letter from a Grade 6 teacher named Craig Parry. He had played a recording of my version of “O Canada” for the students who had not watched the game or had not heard about the controversy. They discussed some of the tweets and comments and they thought it was very unfair. They reflected on the comments and found them particularly “mean spirited, rude, and disrespectful.” They had made Tony and I beautiful, handmade cards to let us know that they liked our version, and to remind us not to listen to the “bullies” and the “mean” people.

Dear Nelly and Tony,

Some people are not kind and some people are kind! I hope you feel better!

-Jersey Chaput

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I broke into tears of relief and promised myself and my daughter that I would visit those students and thank them in person. My manager discreetly contacted the school principal to set aside a date. At the crack of dawn on a beautiful day in May, I picked up Tony, Sean and Karl, and we shared the eight-hour drive up to Timiskaming First Nation. The principal quietly ushered us in as we prepared to surprise a gym full of students and teachers. I burst out of the gym closet singing my song “Powerless” with Tony hoop dancing to my right. It was one of the best days of my life. I told those children how much their kindness meant to us, and how their act of compassion had erased the sting of hate from thousands of strangers. We passed out the cards so that their peers could read them too, and I called the Grade 6 students to their feet individually so that we could all applaud and celebrate them.

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I sang a few of my songs while Tony danced and played flute, and Sean played guitar. Tony shared some stories and songs and got us all dancing a traditional friendship dance together, hand in hand. We took questions and played a game of basketball. We shared a warmth and joy that cannot be found behind the coldness of a screen or hardness of a keypad. We connected.

The greatest moment was when a student put her hand up and asked, “Can you please perform ‘O Canada?’” Tony and I looked at each other with hesitation—We had not brought the correctly-tuned flute. All of a sudden the room got on their feet and we sang it together, fumbling through it the Canadian way—with acceptance and goodwill.

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Today, one year later, I thank the people who used their social media megaphones to send vitriol my way. Thanks to them, I made some new friends IRL at Timiskaming First Nation, who reminded me that IRL connections are the only ones that matter.

Xenophobia, which is rooted in ignorance, has an enemy called love, which is truly intelligent. This experience galvanized my belief that compassion lives inside each and every one of us. “GO BACK TO PORTUGAL” hit me where it hurt. It spiraled me right back to my kindergarten playground where I was the only ethnic minority in my entire class. I never thought that a few wise, beautiful children at another playground some 30 years later would end up healing that wound completely.

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This is a lovely story to end an otherwise crappy week. I love to hear about people rising against the misery that social media can (and does) pour down upon us all…and I love to hear about people reaching out to others with a hand of kindness. There needs to be more of that – everyday, and not just on a day like today (which happens to be Random Act of Kindness Day).

I love this. 🙂

xxx

All Star

The best and the brightest from the National Hockey League got together over the weekend for their annual All-Star festivities – and some fool decided to let Justin Bieber come. Thankfully Chris Pronger took care of the Beebs – look at this hit he laid on him:

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It’s a toss up which is better: the look of agony on Bieber’s face in his helmet, or the sheer delight on Pronger’s…I believe some may call this divine retribution. 😉

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Another funny thing happened at the NHL All-Star Weekend, when my beloved Snoop Dogg DJ’d and played an uncensored song – oops. Only Snoop could get away with something like this and not have it turn into an international incident…check out the news story here.

Hope your Monday is off to a good start, and that you are finding some stuff to smile about – in these troubled times, we need to take the laughs where we can get them.

xxx

To Make You Feel My Love

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and love is (hopefully) in your air – here are some ideas of goodies to give to your lady love, your BFF, or even yourself. Happy shopping! 🙂

I want one of these! LOVE!
Parisian Love Lock & Key — I want one of these! LOVE! Available from Olive and Cocoa
I'm so taken with the simplicity of this necklace :-)
I’m so taken with the simplicity of this necklace 🙂 Available from Olive and Cocoa
Amethyst Air Plant - I'm crazy for these and want to get a couple for mi casa...maybe I can actually keep these babies alive! ;-)
Amethyst Air Plant – I’m crazy for these and want to get a couple for mi casa…maybe I can actually keep these babies alive! 😉 Available from Etsy

 

I will never get over my love for magnetic poetry
I will never get over my love for magnetic poetry. Available from Amazon

 

You can never go wrong with perfume - this is one of my all-time favorites!
You can never go wrong with perfume – this is one of my all-time favorites! Available wherever fine fragrances are sold

 

Another great perfume!
Another great perfume! Available wherever fine fragrances are sold

 

You will never go wrong with a Kate Spade purse - this lovely is on sale at Zappos for $209...or check out the sales at your local Kate Spade Outlet store!
You will never go wrong with a Kate Spade purse – this lovely is on sale at Zappos for $209…or check out the sales at your local Kate Spade Outlet store!

 

If jewelry is something you’re thinking is in the cards for you and your Valentine this year, how about giving a moonstone ring some thought?? I am WILD about moonstone – check out these stunning options (all available on Etsy):

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So. Beautiful.

Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas for the lady in your life (or yourself!) — check back again soon to see my roundup of suggestions for the men you know and love! 🙂

xxx

Start Me Up

Happy 2017, friends! I’ve taken a bit of a break over the past week and a half – it was much needed, and it has been lovely. As well as needing a hot minute to recharge, I was struggling to find the words to say as 2016 managed to end with more depressing news (Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, my very beloved George Michael…I could go on) – I saw this on Twitter, and think there may be something to it:

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It seems that 2016 was a strange year for pretty much everyone – not everything was bad, of course (thank God), but there were some moments….anyway, onward and upward! Bring on 2017!!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Here’s my list:

Learn to paint – with watercolors and acrylics
Continue to study Italian
Continue to study coding – finish the Code Camp program
Make some progress with finances
Spend more time with the Wee One and the other peeps I love
Get a new job!

I avoided all of the cliche items – join a gym, weight loss, become a better person, blah blah blah…. there’s nothing wrong with the person I am, I have no time for a gym, I’m already working on the weight loss, so – I think I like my list. It focuses on the things that matter to me: more time with my friends and family, positive career changes, improving the quality of my life, and learning new stuff. I will keep you posted on how this list turns out – cross your fingers for me! 🙂

I’ve collected a bunch of stuff during my time off that I want to share with you – I will start posting these articles and fun things this week, just to get our year together started off right. Happy New Year to you, my friends….let’s make 2017 much better than 2016 (it won’t take much!)!!! 🙂

xxx