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Ask For Help and Be grateful

Never underestimate the power of gratitude.

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Not only does it make you a better person when you practice it, but it is a way of being mindful of your blessings when life seems unfair.

Recently, I went through a life experience that felt like “one of those days” every single day for months on end. I wasn’t happy, even though I was trying to be. It wasn’t something I could just shake off, it was a deep disruption to my emotional health, and by trying to deal with it without any help or support, I was doing myself more damage than good. It was like trying to get rid of an infection, without any antibiotics: Sure, it’s possible, but difficult considering the cut ran deeper than I realized.

I hit my bottom,  and I finally cried out for help. This was difficult for me to do, but it was the best thing I ever did. I began to unload some of the weight off my shoulders, and so many good people stepped up to help me. With less on my plate (metaphor overload, I know), I finally was able to do the work I needed to do to heal that emotional cut that refused to close.

Having said that, the work of healing never ends for the wounded, and part of the process demands gratitude. A small way of restoring balance, a simple act, gesture or word of gratitude goes a long way.

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And gratitude does not end with people, whatever you believe in, or don’t believe in, we all have positives in our lives to be grateful for even when the negatives seem to eclipse them. A way of pulling oneself out of that negative mind frame is to be thankful, because it reminds us of our strengths. Yes, the world is not perfect, but in it’s imperfections lies the beauty of living and taking risks for the sake of learning.

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For that reason, today I am going to be grateful for my family, my friends, and basically all the people in my circle who have shown me what true love and compassion feels like. Seriously. Thank you 🙂 That includes all you readers and followers who have encouraged me to not only continue on a healing path but have made me feel good about sharing parts of my story online. Thank you for encouraging me to continue writing… as writing has been my saving grace since I began to journal as a child.

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Honestly… I encourage everyone to try it and just observe the reactions you get. Because most of life and the relationships we create are about cause and effect. To every action, there is a reaction. If your actions towards others are positive…the self sustaining positive revolution amplifies. Think and thank.

#ThankfulThursdays. It should be a thing.

Happy Thursday friends.

 

 

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Preview: Military Pin-Up 2016

Hello Bloggies!!

This is just a preview of a photo shoot Miranda (model) and I worked on yesterday with the help of my stylist friend, Esmeralda, who worked on Miranda’s hair.

Miranda and I actually met over 15 years ago, more or less,  in Air Cadets. We both attended 44 Sarnia Imperial Air Cadet Squadron, and bonded in spite of minor age and rank differences.

Recently we both reconnected, and decided to go against your typical reunion date at a cafe, and actually reunite with a themed that both reflects our multifaceted personalities, and also our past.

Please stay tuned for more photos coming in June. These are just a preview of what is to come…

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Blog posts before I even had a blog…

Becaussssseeeeee revisiting Old Reflections is fun…

Originally published on Facebook on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 at 16:54

Titled: Lost & Found: Betrayal/Forgiveness/Strength of Character

Today, as I was dangerously sunken in my own thoughts; I reviewed my life.

The process involuntarily led me to think of the people who have been an important part of my life at some point, but no longer are now.  I also thought of the people I have recently met, and the people who have remained as characters in my life, despite drastic changes in the artistic direction on the stage of my life.

More importantly, my mind was fixated on memories of those who I was once acquainted to, and sadly am no longer even in contact with… sometimes it was because they moved away, and we lost touch, but other times admittedly it was a case of growing apart as people. These are the ones that remain more deeply entrenched in my thoughts.

Momentarily, I get flash-backs of the happy times I spent alongside this person, and then the happy memory is suddenly disturbed by a strike of ironic flashes of the post-happy era.  The hurt, the disappointment, the betrayal… they all come swarming out, angry, and toxic, like the wasps of a hornet’s nest that has been kicked so senselessly.

And after the rush of bitterness subsides, I wonder:  “what happened?”  … “What happened to us?”

It seems, that what is left of the bitterness  holds on to to dear life, sustained only by one of my most vicious flaws: my pride.  Moreover, it shakes my self-perception when I realize how wrong I was in my character-asessment of another person,  whether negatively or positively. In the case where I have over-estimated the character of a person, I feel most deeply hurt and betrayed. Though I do find comfort in reminding myself that whatever worth I affixed to that person, was my doing, and not theirs, therefore those of them who have been placed on a pedestal, well… can I blame them if they couldn’t live up to those high expectations?

I also find peace, when I remind myself of what I said at the beginning of this note: Sometimes you just GROW apart. Sometimes you OUT GROW people, sometimes they OUTGROW you… whichever it is, two people in conflict with each other’s CURRENT position in life rarely make good friends/partners… Nevertheless, because we are creatures of memory and tradition, we cling to what we find familiar, and our memories of times when we were once aligned distort the reality of a growing chiasm between two people.

 

I also like to think that… People may surprise you, though sometimes you feel like it’s necessary to cut them out 100% out of your life, it does not hurt to keep them at arm’s length, because you never know what you can salvage from the ashes. Even if your relationship will never be the same… but honestly… why would you want that? It fell apart at some point for a reason… there’s a book called: It’s called a break-up because it’s broken… That doesn’t mean it can never be rebuilt, only that it will have to be rebuilt with a new purpose, a new identity, and a new form…. perhaps very different than it was before, maybe better, maybe worse… but different.

 

It’s important to remember that Good people can go bad, and bad people can be good… We all have our light and dark sides….and with that I will finish this thought with three conclusions by which I can guide myself:

 

1. Do not judge a person by their past. Mistakes will often be made, but sometimes the retribution is harsher than the crime. Live your life according to your own gains, never mind the losses of others because it will not affect your own. Karma is NOT zero-sum.

 

2. If you cannot forgive for the sake of the person who has done you wrong, then you must forgive for your own sake… Living with even a mustard seed of hatred can tumourously grown into a flesh eating bitterness that will not even disturb those who have wronged you, but only your own mental state.

 

3. I have met some of the nicest people who have easily become some of the ugliest people I know… I also know some of the meanest people to become surprisingly the nicest people you’ll meet.

 

If you belong to the former (good->bad): At some point, you must have felt that you’ve done enough for humanity, and decided to rest on your laurels, perhaps you thought it was okay to be selfish once in a while… (And you are right) but let me paraphrase the wise words of Mother Theresa when I say… If we have no peace, it is because we forgot we belong to each other…. YOU forgot that your belong to the other you hurt… and you easily let this happen because your “Good” character was weaker than you realized… time to re-evaluate, because we should never end our quest to be good people.

And FINALLY: If you belong to the latter (Bad->good):  good for you. I hope others realize how far you’ve come, but more importantly, I hope you’ve learnt to forgive yourself.

Wishing you all inner-peace, and a happy Wednesday 🙂

 

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What I need from you…

I need you to trust me…

Help me when I ask for it.  I won’t often ask for it because I am fiercely independent. Often, because of this, my loneliness often flies under the radar. But trust me when you hear me cry for help that whatever I asked for is because I am overwhelmed and exhausted from carrying around the heavy barrel filled with the apples and lemons that life has passed on to me.

Sometimes I need to be called out respectfully, because I make decisions that even I quadruple guess, but if I say trust me… I need you to trust. Me.

Even if I’m wrong… I need to be allowed the freedom to make mistakes. Mistakes happen, and I’m humble enough to acknowledge I’ve made many already. It’s from these past mistakes that I’ve learnt everything I know about life. From my mistakes, and from my wins.

I love deeply and truly, and I need to know you love me too. In whatever way you love me, I need to feel it. The only way I’ll know is if you tell me honestly…Trust me when I say  I trust you… and with that you’ll lift a great deal of anxiety off my shoulders. With that you give me space to be who I am… with that you give me the strength to continue.

I just need to be trusted.

Yes. I’m a bit broken, who isn’t? But the labels I wear do not define me. I’ve always been who I am, I’ve always carried these issues in my heart, the only difference is that now you know.

Don’t leave me standing in a world that is so cold.. simply because you don’t know how to show me that you trust me. Love me for who I am, because I am every piece of the puzzle you’ve put together so far.

Trust me.

 

Xo,

Ayi

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In a field of bright yellow flowering weeds…

It was a bright sunny day…

Circa. 1993. Our small two level apartment in a low-income housing zone somewhere in  Missisauga was a haven. Many things could be said about my upbringing. Sometimes good things, other time bad things; regardless… One thing that could be said as a factual statement was: My parents had style. Always an eye for quality items on my father’s side, and always an eye for a great deal (whether by bartering or upcycling), my mother has always had a talent for securing the resources my father needed to allow him to be creative (while classy). Yes. That much can be said… To each their own, but my parents have style.

I have many fond memories from that short-lived period in that Missisauga apartment, of them, I fondly recall the picnics we shared with our neighbours. There was a young girl of my brother’s age, Simone, and our *vecinos, Eric, Marjorie, and Leslie. Together we would organize picnics, or build winter forts with the snow. In the Summer, we’d swim in puddles, in the Fall, we’d play with leaves.  In the early Spring, however, we’d collect flowers, and try to make crowns to wear, and in our own little kingdoms, pretend we were princesses from foreign lands, gathering together in this new country our other friends knew as Canada.

We did what we had to shelter ourselves from either the overbearing empathy that good-willing **Canadienses had towards us, or the distancing xenophobia we sensed from others. If we’re going to be completely honest…sometimes even those who projected xenophobic behaviour were people of our own ***raza. Sadly, this is a phenomenon that still happens today (think about the tension that exists in London between Latin-Americans that hail from different nations). These tensions are easily picked up by children, and sometimes make-belief is the only way to shelter ones own spirit, to avoid falling into despair. Despair from losing one’s identity and destiny that could have been, had we stayed in our countries where our ***ombligos were buried.

One sunny Missisauga day in 1993, my mother took me to a field of dandylions that grew in a public space annexed to our ****vecindario.

“Ew mami!” I remember saying, disgusted at the smell of the weeds that tainted my beautiful dress. “Why here?”

Packed with nothing other than a disposable camera, my beautiful and strong mother looked at me and chuckled the kind of knowing chuckle a mother usually lets out when they know better…

“trust me *****hijita. These weeds are beautiful. They are strong, and they are resilient. Just like us.”

“Ok.” I said. I was young, but old enough to know when to trust my mother.

Together we spent hours in that field. We collected dandylions, and my mother braided them into crowns. This is where I finally perfected the art of flower crowns.

Dirty with the milky residue on my finger tips, and probably covered in dandy-pollen, my mother placed the crown on my little 6 year old head and photographed me as if I was her little child model.

This may be where my love for photography was born. Once upon a time… In a field of strong flowering yellow weeds.

***** TO BE CONTINUED*****

 

*vecinos: neighbours

**Canadienses: Canadians

***Raza: Race

**** Ombligos were buried: Latin American expression to mean where we were born / our roots.

***** Vecindario: Neighbourhood

******Hijita: Little daughter

 

 

Beautiful written piece by Robert Fulghum

This is not my original work.  Just something I read and wanted to share…

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
BY ROBERT FULGHUM

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All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain,  but there in the sand pile in Sunday school. These are the things I learned:

Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people.  Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life- learn more and think some and draw and play and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you get out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup– they all die. So do we.  And then remember the Dick-and-jane books and the first word you learned –the biggest word of all — LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any of those items abd extrapolate them into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and dear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all–the whole world– had cookies and milk around three o’ clock and then lay down with our blankie for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic a policy to always put things back where they found it and to clean up after their own mess.

And if it’s still true,  no matter how old you are — it is best to hold hands and stick together.

By Robert Fulghum

When grief becomes public

So if you’re following my life via my social media up until now, you’re probably aware that I recently disclosed something on my blog, that I warned my readers, would be very personal and sensitive.

Those of you who follow me as a writer probably understand the struggle that happens when your writing life intersects with your offline life.

Yes, again, I understand that what I disclosed is a very sensitive topic; but since we’re here now… I’d like to talk about why public disclosure was both the worst and best thing to ever happen to me.

I have tons going on in my offline life right now (let’s call it the aftermath/damage control or if you’re an optimist like me: LifeFlipping)…so I won’t explore the subject too deeply, but I’d like to say these three things:

1) As someone experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder… I was going through life severely misunderstood. If someone was able to understand me, and tried to reach out by giving me guidance the best way they knew how… I’d immediately retreat into defense mode- because I was too scared of everyone finding out what I had gone through.

I’ve had years of experience and done tons of research on the subject and fortunately had the tools to deal with this *public grief* and all of it’s aftermath, because deep down I knew that I wanted to be true to my self. Self disclosure is a choice and it is not what works for everyone. It worked for me because I wanted to do this, and I did it at a moment that felt safe. Having been donned with the gift of communication and introspection, I knew I would find the words to tell a story that would resonate with others if they chose to read it.

2) This public grief has given me the space to grieve properly because now those around me finally understand that I’m not broken… just a little bent out of shape for obvious reasons… and with a little help from my friends, I would ckme bounce back even stronger than before.

3) Public grief is something that happens sometines to victins without it being their choice. Both out if an act of self-care and an act of solidarity towards all my brothers and sisters of the world who suffered a similar experience, I wanted yi denonstrate that life goes on after a crazy heavy event like that abd that, yes. YOU CAN pick yourself back up and rise… like a phoenix in flight.

Xo,
Ayi

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