Friday, August 24, 2018

Clover's Eulogy

August 20, 2018

Clover, I knew you before you were born, you came from a lineage of quality pedigree that takes you back to the Isle of Skye.  The breeder’s house in Lindsay, Ontario had a yellow brick road that lead to her house, where you chose us and nestled in my lap with whispy puppy hair and warmth.


I named you Clover, after the lucky four-leaf shamrock, as at the time I was still in the process of healing and recovering from a very dark illness and you were such pure light and hope.  It was meant to be.  A few weeks after bringing you home, my boyfriend of 7 years told me he no longer loved me and left both of us in a cold Toronto winter during Christmas and New Years as he went on a cruise in Hawaii.  Remember those cold concrete floors in the loft?  It wasn’t an easy start, but you were there to fill my heart with laughter, pure unconditional love, and joy.


We started puppy training, you were apprehensive at first, especially those older rough-housing puppies in class, but you always held your own and never lost character.  You moved all the way up to agility and loved the fun challenges.


The first of many moves was living at home for a few months learning the ropes from Maple (the family Golden Retriever), while I was deciding on the next course of action post-relationship.  I received an emergency phone call one day from the concierge when you and Maple broke out of the unit (she learned how to open the front door) and both of you ended up frolicking the hallways and entering the elevator, they caught you on surveillance, you were too an accomplice!  

We moved to a condo at College and Bay where you ended up peeing on an Englishman neighbor’s brand-new suede shoes.  The apology card that I had to write, on your behalf, began a soulful relationship of 6 or so years.  

You made friends with everyone and whoever came in contact with you fell in love with your coquettish adorable charm, personality, and wonderful manners.


We wanted to give you more space to explore so we decided on renting a house at Lawrence and Yonge.  That was a total flop, as the place flooded the day before we were to move in, with all of our belongings in boxes that had already been transferred previously, floating in the water, getting completely drenched.  Followed with a dick-head of a landlord who got greedy and started stealing our mail when we said we would take this to small claims court; subsequently, changing the locks without telling us, with all of our belongings still in the house!  Those were my full-time artist days, and many of my paintings were destroyed.  I was in shock from the flood, the landlord’s immoral actions, legal case, losing many of my art pieces, and ending up having to take refuge at my parent’s place.  My little brother was also going through the fight of his life, and I was always so afraid for his well-being and worried, but you solidly heeled next to me through the journey, licking my tears away and greeting me with a waggie tail and furry cuddles.

Then the shock of losing Maple, at 9, when her heart filled with fluid and died at home surrounded by family.  You kept your respectful distance but checked in often to see that everyone was alright.  We said our goodbyes to Maple.


We found a house!  We moved in and chased rodents living under the deck, greeting masked bandit raccoons and exploring the area for a few years on Hillsdale Ave.  

My family moved to Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, and needed us to look after their condo in Toronto when they were away, and you became close friends with literally everyone in the condo.  They always brought you treats, and you couldn’t get enough of those tummy rubs - you big suck!

I was offered a lucrative job and an amazing opportunity in Tokyo and I had to ask the boyfriend to look after you while he stayed behind in Toronto.  I came to visit you, but I felt like such a bad mommy for having to leave you behind, but it was for your well-being as you would’ve been too overwhelmed in Tokyo. The distance and difference in the trajectory of our life paths ended the relationship between him and me, and he moved back to the UK, but coincidentally my family moved back from L.A. to Toronto, so you transitioned again to live with them.  Was I selfish to leave you behind while I was working in Tokyo?  The guilt is one I’ve dealt with and come to terms with but still, I apologize for not being by your side.  

Then the family moved to the suburbs of Detroit, MI, initially in a posh too large estate where you helped Mom with her back problems by taking her on walks and keeping her active, finally settling into a more manageable house with a beautiful backyard overlooking a lake, golf course, and lush green forests.  You were happy there.


I moved back from Tokyo to Toronto after some difficult and significant life decisions, but the condo that I could find at the time was in the thick of downtown Toronto, and the landlord didn’t allow your four-legged kind.  By now you’ve already been through so many transitions that I felt it best to let you settle in and live out your senior years surrounded by quiet, nature, and space in Michigan, although you had to share the spotlight with my brother’s big ol’ cat Ty.  Even being stateside, you were still there to lick up my sad and happy tears through life’s difficulties and happenings, three career transitions, the dating disappointments, and heartbreaks.


We thought you had allergies, so we took you in for a check-up, and they did a scan, which came back showing a large and aggressive cancerous metastatic tumor in your nasal cavity.  They gave you weeks, but you gave us months.  Early this morning, around 5am, you came to my bedroom and you let me know that it is time.  I knew looking into your eyes, listening to your breathing, and intuition.  I laid next to you and cried; sadness, pure gratitude, appreciation, deep compassion, and love.  I’ll be celebrating you, Clover, as you gave me hope and light when times were dark, and when I needed you most.  You were one of my only constants in our 14 years, thank you for your devotion and commitment.  My four-leaf Clover.  We journeyed, fought, overcame life’s obstacles and you lived an epic full life. 

We’re going to take you in tonight, and you’ll gently fall asleep, for the last time, surrounded by love and warmth in my arms.


Love and Hugs Clover my girl,
Marie       

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another Milestone to Celebrate Facing Fears

I DID IT!!! Another milestone to celebrate. As I finish my first semester back at University; truth - I never thought it was possible until I actually did it. To be averaging 85-90 on a full course load, whilst working in the contemporary arts, is a cherry on top, as to me, the grades are just that, alphabets and numbers.  
Many don't know and would hardly be able to imagine this, but, in my early years I suffered from debilitating anxiety; where, I wasn't able to step out the door, and face the world outside for days on end. I don't know how many times I begged my mom to drive me back home in the morning, after sitting on the curb for god knows how long, due to my extreme phobia of school in the states, and in Tokyo, I used to faint in the subway on my way to school, etc (mainly discrimination, bullying, and abuse from those who were supposed to support and foster a child's growth in the education systems, mostly ignorance on behalf of some of the teachers and parents, the silent microagressions that also added up) it was a physical terror, and I avoided it for over ten years, until now. Don't talk about me being back at school in front of my mom, as she'll burst out in tears; she's just happy I'm 1. alive and 2. can't believe I'm back at school.  
Anxiety takes on many forms, many of which I had the delight of experiencing first hand (along with other diagnoses) and took high doses of medications for over 15 years, all of which I came off of last year (although surprisingly never experienced panic attacks or stage fright before ballet performances).  
An excellent and heartfelt poetry session, on anxiety, by Jae Nichelle that a friend of mine recently shared with me.  
"So, my anxiety and I have what some people might call a friends-with-benefits relationship. We have no love for each other, but she still just like fucks with me sometimes." - Jae Nichelle
A pursuit of a dream, and an undeniable calling that I decided to embark, in the form of Social Work, in the face of fear, to make a difference, one life at a time. I wanted to share my joy and celebrate with you on this journey.
To lead a life free of debilitating anxiety is possible, with healthy coping strategies and management, through self-awareness, and perseverance.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

UNIVERSAL AUTHENTICITY: The Value We Bring Into the World

What a life!  We lead such amazing lives irrespective of location, race, class, or circumstance.  I am constantly awestruck by our uniqueness and gifts.  

As I was working and studying, I had this video streaming in the background, and Oprah couldn't have described my sentiments more accurately:




I left Tokyo two years ago with solid goals and promises in mind, and I recently realized I have done exactly what I set out to do and then some.  I wanted to update you on the adventure:

  • I have returned to University to pursue a calling and dream of mine and I will be completing my first course next week.  I have been accepted into the Social Work program at Ryerson University in Toronto, and my first summer course ends next week.
  • I am currently working with the Detroit Institute of Arts on behalf of The Japan Business Association of Detroit on a new venture to promote and increase exposure of Japanese contemporary artists in the North American/International art arena.  We've recently sent out a call to contemporary artists, and of the proposals submitted, the DIA/JBAD executive committee will be jurying and accepting a Japanese contemporary artist and their work to be exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts along with the launch of their new permanent Japan Gallery installation.  I am working remotely, often taking business trips across the border.
  • There are many opportunities to work with arts organizations locally and internationally to help those struggling with life's challenges, and/or mental illnesses through the medium of (contemporary) art and creativity, which I have been contacted and plan to get involved.  
  • Quietly, but consistently gaining inspiration, structure, and momentum on a project I hold dear to my heart; the next steps in making a greater difference in the world.  Watch this space, it will evolve and grow with us all.  I will begin pursuing my efforts and goals in business as a student of social work.  I may not be able to practice officially, yet, but I can still make a difference in other creative ways.  A little peek below.




Back to what Oprah was saying, and the value that each one of us brings to the universe.  I firmly believe there is a reason that I am still alive today and there is a greater purpose in my existence.  There is no explanation, but I hand that over to the powers of God, the Universe, in spirituality.  These life experiences only make us stronger and better for it.  It's not about me, it is a responsibility to the world, and part of a promise I made to myself when I chose life.  I'm always figuring ways to influence and make a difference for the better. As difficult and as challenging the road has been, and I'm sure with many more obstacles to overcome, and being a total work in progress... This is my purpose, and I am living my dreams.

We each bring a unique value to the world and other people's lives.  The fact that we are, MATTERS.  Be with your "authentic power", the rest (power, money, looks) passes and will fade.  None of that matters except being true to yourself, and who we are BEING in the world.      

I am so grateful!
-M
    
-Late night studying, always a student of life.   



              

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A post long forgotten: A Life Unscripted

*I put my blog on ice for long enough I think... There have been many changes and developments since I last posted.  I've decided to unprivatize my blog in the hopes that my life and our vulnerabilities can be met with courage and openness.

A post I didn't publish:

Every time I revisit J.K. Rowling's commencement speech video, I am moved, but more recently:

"Some failure in life is inevitable, it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all and in which case you've failed by default."

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from set backs mean that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive.  You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.  Such knowledge is a true gift for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I've earned."

"Human empathy saves lives."
  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHGqp8lz36c

Last year, I did not know that choosing to put a pause on my career to focus on getting off pharmaceuticals would mean financial and societal castration; from an external perspective I have failed, and a part of me feels much like a failure.  I am smart enough to know that I am in no way a failure from a personal stance where the breadth of my life is concerned, but I can not deny my experience.

Yes, we have all been put through the wringer in our lives at one time or rather; my physical, psychological, and emotional capacities have been pushed to its limits, and I've been tested by life lessons this year (*2015~16).  

I find myself pondering about fate, and destiny.  I believe we create our own destinies, but there are those 'out of left field' instances too.


Piles of drawing journals and written materials for a future book.
Years of my life in my late teens and early 20's were vacant due to severe illness.


The beauty and gift of life is in our ability to persevere, evaluate, get back up, and rebuild.  The learning process never ends!  

Thank you truly, for being through thick and thin,
M  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How to Not Die

A statement really hit deep today:

"Marie you're not dead today because of your refusal to ever stop trying or give up.  Its directly connected to your resilience, tenacity, determination, work ethic, strength, and spirit."

The depth and wisdom that comes with life's trials and tribulations.  The constant learning never stops.  Recently learning to muster the strength and courage to move on and let go of those, despite love respect and being amazing individuals and a best friend, will hinder your journey to what you want and need in your life.  That loss is tragic, one which hurts beyond belief and need to grieve accordingly.

An inner strength and knowing, a commitment to your own life and integrity to step up for your personal growth.  Tough lessons, and many tears, but a gumption in believing in your own inner self and being.  You forge forwards, exploring the unknown, with support but ultimately on your own; it can be lonely, but your strong on your drive and intuition.  

My need for living completely and wholly; the full experience without fillers, distractions or inconsistencies. Recently coming back from a 2 week visit to Tokyo, I began to paint again.  Returning to that pure authentic space within is no easy task; being awash with all of my emotions, and psychological states, to face the truth on the canvas is intimate and vulnerable, uncomfortable. The best work can arise from the depths of reflection, and time off, we'll see.

I realise that becoming pharmaceutical free is only another challenge amongst the many I've had to face and overcome, and every day I am surprised and delighted to be here, in existence.  It's not easy, but you become better for it and that heart space within, and depths of wisdom never ceases to expand and empower.  

My recent out of the ordinary read has introduced me to a new brand of shapeshifting super intelligent blue colour; Hooloovoo, I imagine something magical in my favourite colour.  And the number 42, from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, eye opening and fascinating.

How life unfolds, what a journey.  

w/Love and Hugs,
M    


           

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016

Starting off the new year, the epilogue of Jenny Lawson's book FURIOUSLY HAPPY can't be any more true to me:

"Deep in the Trenches 
(bits and pieces of the whole epilogue)

To all who walk the dark path, and to those who walk in the sunshine but hold out a hand in the darkness to travel beside us:
Brighter days are coming.
Clearer sight will arrive.
And you will arrive too.
... The bright moments might be for a few days at a time, but hold on for those days.  Those days are worth the dark.

In the dark you find yourself, all bones and exhaustion and helplessness. In the dark you find your basest self... You will see things that no normal person will ever see... fearsome monsters, you know they aren't real but when you're in that black watery hole with them they are the realest thing there is.  And they want us dead.

And sometimes they succeed.
But not always.  And not with you.  You are alive.  You have fought and battled them,  You are scarred and worn and sometimes exhausted and were perhaps even close to giving up, but you did not.

You have won many battles... you learn how to fight.

And in the deepest, night-blind fathoms you're certain that you're alone. You aren't.  I'm there with you.  And I'm not alone... Painfully stretching their souls so that they can learn to breathe underwater... so that they can do what the monsters say is impossible.  So that they can live... So that they can dry themselves in the warm light that shines so brightly and easily for those above the surface.  So that they can walk with others in the sunlight but with different eyes.

Ground zero is where the normal people live their lives, but not us... Life when the sun shines should be lived full throttle, soaring.  The invisible tether that binds the normal people on their steady course doesn't hold us in the same way.  Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else. Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow.

And sometimes... sometimes we fly."

It rarely feels like it, and I probably need to acknowledge it more often, but I am flying exuberantly.  For that I am infinitely grateful.  I shall keep on living, loving, caring, and believing in the possibilities.  2016 biiitches!

Love and Hugs,
M       

Monday, October 5, 2015

NOMADIC CONTEMPORARIES


Lives today are as mobile as they have ever been, in a flux of activity wether on our phones or lifestyles, more and more of us will lead transient lives that span countries and oceans, making the world a smaller place.

I've been on the move since I could remember; my first move was at 1 from Tokyo to Nagoya, I only have recollection of vague memories, and familiar sensations. I have lived a nomadic life, where all appears so seamless and borderless, where international moves are done in less than a month; reality feels a bit warped and there are those pangs in space and time where I so long for stable ground to call home.  Home for me has never been a destination or place, but wherever I am within, and the safe space I temporarily create for myself.

Life is constantly ebbing and flowing, but it would be nice to be able to snuggle up to a reliable significant other, a doggie companion, preferably in a place that is not a rental, to feel safe and to belong.  Is this even possible or a figment of my imagination?  I wonder what life is like to live in one place for longer than a few years without chunks of life missing to illness or other life lessons that are now distant memories.  

These moves have brought our family closer together (although this too was a turbulent path to get to where we are today), as who else would have our backs? Teaching us (my brother and I) the value of complete trust and loyalty to the death, with an honesty and openness that is uncommon; something I treasure and have infinite gratitude.  Maybe home will be wherever I end up creating my own family?  It makes me wonder of the adventures to come, although I am getting very tired of doing international moves, not to mention cost and stamina required.  The only thing that could possibly move me at this point in my life is for love/to support someone I love.


Sometimes I think that having moved so much, has kept me extremely pure at heart, uncluttered, and truly appreciating the simple things in life; actually, that's probably not travel related but a host of life experiences, values, and character?  Who knows~ I'm just thinking aloud...         

Where is the future of modern society going with such nomadic contemporaries?  How will individuals and people adapt and learn to transition, or will there be an influx of instability and some sort of transition/transient/displacement disorder?  Will families look after one another and get closer or disintegrate? I don't know of the trends to come but curious to see how we evolve with the times.

For the time being, focusing on the task at hand; an anchor for when I float off into the stratosphere is an irreplaceable lifeline.  I'm steadily getting there, 300 (originally 475 at my highest) to 187.5 is remarkable progress:)