January Blogathon!

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Announcement time!

house

I’m a few days late in boarding this train, but it’s decided. I am going to blog every day for the remainder of January. Writing is my craft of choice and the only real way to improve is to practice and practice a whole lot.

Each day there will be an alternating post on this, my main blog, and my health blog.

Daily blogging seems daunting. You may get tired of me by the end of the month. But gosh darnit I will blog on.

Moving my fingers over the keyboard as if in a trance at two in the morning when I can’t sleep, it’s natural to me. Pounding the words out into some shape and form that is relatable to other humans who stumble across this place is cathartic. Processing the unending ideas and stories that circulate in my brain brings me peace. Blogging for me is about sharing and learning and teaching and growing through writing. It’s a community, it’s a soapbox, it’s a journal.

On this blog, I have shared my life. Ups and downs, my passions and pet peeves. On my health blog, I gained an awesome community of support and inspiration when I began my journey in 2012 to train for and run a marathon and change my health for the better. When I share my dreams and goals, I hope I inspire others to dream big also. When I tell my invisible audience I’m going to do something, it makes me want to follow through. Beyond reading, blogging gives the chance to connect and gain feedback.

That being said, I challenge you to come back each day for the new post and to chime in on the questions I ask on the post, or tell me what you liked or didn’t like. Give me suggestions. Tell me about your day. Anything! I want to connect with you, as I share this crazy ol’ life with you. Don’t be shy!

Are you doing a January blogathon? Let me know and I’ll link to your blog and maybe you can link to mine so we can share in this journey. 

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When I Grow Up

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The plan was always to become a writer and an artist. 

I am reminded of this as my nephew who I nanny tells me his dreams for the future. The NHL, an olympic speed skater, American ninja warrior (even though we’re Canucks), NBA… and finally, an artist who sells his work.

chalkAs a nanny, my job description is diverse and ever-changing. My sister did a back to school photo shoot with her boys last week and I got to be the chalk artist for her.

So, technically, I got paid to make art. I didn’t sell anything but my time and talents were valued enough for her to ask me to do it for her. It was an a-ha! moment for me.

I want to keep doing the things I love always. Whether I am paid to do them or not. I must create; I must absorb and learn from other people’s creations; I must keep asking questions.

Now that I am working two jobs, my time to create is somewhat limited. But I try to play some music, do some drawing or writing and some reading every day. It keeps me sane and feeds my soul.

Today, I was off nanny duty, so I started my #radicalselflovebible.  It was great to just curl up in bed, put on an audio book (Harry Potter again, of course, what else?) and create something of importance to me.

I hope you hold on to the dreams of your youth and pursue them with gusto. And if you are having trouble finding what you want in life, hit the rewind button and look at what you spent time doing as a child. What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Choosing Love

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One of the biggest questions people try to answer is this: How can I be happy? 

My answer is this: do what excites you. Pursue your passions. Choose self-love and make time and space in your life for the things you love. 

Place yourself in the situations where you will get to practice your art (whatever it may be), spend time with the people you cherish, and surround yourself with individuals you admire and who make you better. 

Here are some of the things I love to do. 

I love to be behind the camera to capture every moment around me, so that in the future I can look back on happy times and places I have explored. 

camera

 

I love to make art. Drawing mainly, but any form is fun for me. 

drawing

I love to eat healthfully and make my food aesthetically pleasing and Instagram it all. (@jessihannahjay

food collage blog

 

I love to make music. Piano, guitar, singing, writing… This was on Main St. in Vancouver. 

Main Street Piano Collage

 

What would you do more of if you had the time? What activity or group of people makes you feel alive? What can you cut out to make room for what you love? 

The more you envision the life you desire, the more you practice things you like in every small choice throughout the day, the closer you will get to a life you love. 

 

Enjoy the Weird

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Dear One in a Billions, 

Tyrion from Game of Thrones said, 

“I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.” 

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One of the most powerful realizations one can make (in my humble opinion), is that the unusual things in life are the most interesting and beautiful. The “path not taken” as Frost puts it, can lead you to experience unexpected adventure. The people who look, sound, smell, and live differently than you could open your eyes to ideas and possibilities you may never encounter by remaining among your circle of comfort and normalcy. It is the stuff of memories and laughs and intrigue when we encounter something different from our norm. 

I, too, have a special place in my heart for these things. The people strong enough to carry on in overwhelming adversity. Old people and things. The things that are strange and seemingly useless to others.

I hold the assumption that everything has a purpose, and is beautiful in some way, and my days are always interesting because of this. 

At a bridal shower I attended this past weekend, one of the gifts was a basket of wines/brews with tags on each of the bottle necks indicating the occasion they were meant to be consumed on (First anniversary, first fight, etc.). As the bride-to-be pulled out the bottles to examine them, she noted her favourites. 

This got me to thinking about taste (somewhat in continuation from my last post about doing what you like). About liking things. About liking them because you like them, not because they are well-known or heavily advertised. Basically, I was thinking about the fact that she had, over the course of whatever amount of time, tried a variety of new things and found out what suited her taste. I didn’t recognize even one of the bottles. 

I won’t rant too long on the mechanical and thoughtless state of society. But usually, we buy what we know the most about (the most memorable ads stick in our mind when we get to the store), and we are exposed to the music, movies and news media that the people at the top want us to be exposed to. Many of us are running on automatic; we are conforming, robotic, controlled… we allow others to make the decisions about the content and pace of our lives. 

I am certainly not immune to this, but have recently become more mindful of it. 

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But what if we appreciated the underdogs? 

What if we noticed the bottom shelf? 

What if we decided for ourselves what we like? 

What if we followed our hearts, and not the crowd? 

What if we saw the beauty in the broken, and the strange? 

What if we set out to try new things and had an opinion to offer that wasn’t off Rotten Tomatoes or a YouTube comment? 

What if we decided what was important to us, rather than assuming the values of the surrounding cultural influences? 

What if you pursued your unconventional passion?

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Our quirks, interests and individual collections of knowledge and experiences make us who we are. I guess the point of all these words is to challenge you(and myself of course) to find out what you like. 

Are you a foodie? Try a new food or recipe every week. Keep a journal or recipe book of your observations/what you liked and didn’t like about each. 

Bookworm? Get a highlighter or pen when you read, and make note of words/sentences/thoughts that stand out to you, or make you think. If there are books you start but never finish, ask yourself why. 

Fitness enthusiast? If you’re a runner, try kickboxing or swimming. Go and try on a bunch of different running shoes. Come up with the best running playlist of all time.

Those are just some examples, but the idea is to pursue your main area(s) of interest with the intention of self-knowledge. Have you every noticed how people light up and can talk for ages once you hit a subject they know a lot about, that they are passionate about?  

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So enjoy the foreign movies, the abstract art, the novel you bought from the dollar store, and the beer that no one else has tried. 

Today, I baked an artichoke and drank a Salzburger Stiegel Radler Grapefuit (wat). It was an interesting experience, and I still have no idea how you would go about making a dip out of those pointy leaves, or how an artichoke is actually supposed to be consumed. I resigned to scraping my teeth along the fleshy part of the leaves once I discovered (after much chewing) that they were indestructible. And all I know about stiegel radler is that it gives me heart burn. See? Discoveries made through trying new and weird things. 

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It’s okay if you like normal things, too. We can still be friends.

Just take a minute to think about what you like and why you do. Find your passion and pursue it, even if it means standing out, or swimming against the current. Explore in your areas of interest and learn to appreciate things you may have previously regarded as strange. Learn more, try more, fail and try again. Enjoy every bit of the process of finding out what you like, and what you don’t, what you care about and what you shouldn’t bother with. 

Enjoy the “weird” things about yourself and others. Celebrate them. Be yourself always. 

 

Peace & love kids, thanks for reading!

-jessi hannah jay.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @jessihannahjay

Passion Vomit

Thoughts

Dear Internet Roamers, 

I’m a joyful critic.

I am passionate about a lot of things: film, music, art, style and love. Within these categories, there are so many subcategories. And within those subcategories, there are sub-subcategories. Let’s just say that passions are like rabbit holes. Once you get in there, you realize that’s it’s a whole lot deeper than you first anticipated. It’s one thing to like to doodle while you listen to your answering machine drone, it’s another to have a passion for drawing- your exploration of technique, style, tools and artists will carry you through many hours which will feel like seconds. When you explore a passion it opens doors, and it opens you.

All that being said, I would say I’m on Level 1 of all of these interests.

I have a DSLR that I can get some good shots with, and I know what bokeh is. I’m no where near starting a photography business, or having people ask me to shoot their weddings.

I have taken art classes throughout my life, and have a good eye and a cooperative hand, but I’ve restricted my skills to personalized birthday cards.

I have a crazy addiction to all things fashionable, but I’ve picked up some bad shopping habits (it looks mediocre– who cares?! it’s on sale!), and have been lazy in my wardrobe choices (but it’s so comfortable!).

I have a desire to truly connect with people. I love meeting new people, and getting to know what their passions are. Especially ambitious people who are just going for it, no matter what field they happen to be in and in spite of the obstacles they face.

I’ve been a die-hard Blogger user for 5+ years, but decided I needed a change. Much must change in 2013. But I don’t want a diet life. Diet life doesn’t taste as good as real life. Things will change slowly, with each choice I make to pursue what I love, and to express myself and to spend time with people. This is no fad, homies.

So back to the critic thing. I have very high standards for myself, and for those around me. I get frustrated when people don’t do their best, or when I can’t achieve what I want to. This is why I’m here. To share with you all the triumphs and failures as I pursue my passions. To get feedback to improve, to inspire and to challenge you to get your butt in gear this year and do what you love. It’s difficult to assign time to all the things you love, and to focus on consistent improvement. But that is that plan, that is the goal.

While I may be critical, I don’t hold on to criticism tightly. I hear it, take it for what it is, and learn from it. That’s the only way to improve and move forward.

I take joy in the process.

Would you join me?

-jessi hannah jay.

ps. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @jessihannahjay