You Know Who You Are.

We love big. We get offended easily—deal with it.

Today, in the shirt with the polar bears. (Assiniboine Park Exhibit).

This is my fourth and final time at the polar bear aquarium since we got here. I’m actually wearing my purple souvenir t-shirt that I got last time. So not only do I look like I work here, but I basically know all of the volunteers and employees by now.

Thankfully, they’ve stopped telling me all of the things that anyone with eyes would already know, like those are his ears, and those are his feet! 

We have an understanding, I think, at this point.

Anyways, these animals are healing for me, and I love it here. We can do these kinds of things. We can experience anything we want, pretty much. There are no limitations.

It’s not weird that I come here a lot because it’s too awesome to imagine otherwise. Why not do the things that you think, wow wouldn’t that be cool if I was able to….? Just do it!

Now, I’m sitting a coffee shop on Corydon Ave. writing on my laptop. I’m doing the things I always imagined would be cool to do, right now.

Today, I parked without fear, took photos without fear, and now, I got a vegan sandwich to-go, without fear, all in the big bad city of Winnipeg, MB. This is a good day, and it’s our last day here which always deserves reflection. I’ve come a long way since being afraid to cross Howell Mill Rd. with gloATL in 2014.

Cocobeans Bakeshop is an amazing cafe in Winnipeg. It’s vegan and gluten friendly delicious ❤ Click here to check out Cocobeans Bakeshop .

It took years and years, and years of running around asking other people what I was supposed to do for me to realize that the only thing they could ever really offer me was an experience completely unique to them.

Other people can only share what worked in their lives, and when you’ve listened to enough people tell you how it worked for them, how it should look for you, and why you’re not doing enough to grow correctly, you should really just stop, close your eyes, and take some time to digest how you actually feel about all of it. It’s okay to disagree.

It’s okay to agree. It’s okay to not care at all about some things, but you owe it to yourself to give yourself that time to decide. I found that not being able to do this was really damaging for me.

This brings me back to morning ballet classes with Carol Szkutek at Atlanta Ballet. I was so hypercritical of myself that sometimes I would overanalyze barre work to the point of insanity (imagine that).

One time, Carol got so fed up with watching me go around with this internal struggle that she stopped in the middle of teaching, walked over to me with her hands on her hips and said, “I know you.

Some people will tell you how to sit in a chair one way, other people will tell you how to sit in a chair another way, but at some point you just have to sit down. At some point you have to take what you know and use it.

You know what is best for you because no one else can tell you how to be you. There is nothing wrong with you, so sit down. You’re one of us!”, and that was one of the absolute best moments in my life.

Dallas Museum of Art | February 2017

Embracing years of wisdom is getting more appealing to me than keeping my youth. I am  ready for my 30’s, I think. I used to be terrified of getting older, but now, I feel like the world has enough overgrown teenagers walking around it without me contributing to the mix. I’m 28, and I am exactly ready to coast into a new decade in 2 years. I don’t want to be this young, lost thing anymore.

I don’t enjoy getting away with all the things anymore. That’s not to say that I don’t act like a 16 year old sometimes, but at the end of the day, I enjoy owning my life. Yeah, like an adult. That’s a good thing.

Perspective is key. Being the middle child means that you get a lot of default Charlie Brown situations handed to you because you’re not the oldest, and you’re not the baby of the family.

You’re just there sometimes, and everyone expects you to know that they really do mean to get to you, eventually. You are the peace maker until you are the trouble maker, from my experience.

We get a lot more practice at life, I think, pretending to kick the football, so no, I don’t feel weak about what I’ve been through.

I’m proud of myself for handling challenges that would be hard for anyone in this life, let alone for someone as sensitive as I am. It is a miracle to be able to stand here today owning my life.

The best part about all of this is that we don’t know what it’s going to look like. This used to terrify me like What if I miss it? What about me? How will I know if I’m doing it right?

Trust. And enjoy the responsibility of yourself.

Mentors will help guide you on your path, but they can’t do it for you.

They might not know exactly what your story will look like, but they know that it will be beyond your wildest dreams. My old sponsor used to tell me to trust that she knew it would be okay, even if I didn’t know that it would be okay.

That’s the connection.

It is possible to find healthy connections again. It takes work, taking care of yourself, sure, but it is the best kind of work because everything else in your life starts to fall into place. Once I stopped looking at myself as a burden and started embracing myself as a part of the universe,  I felt compassion for the person that I am. She’s awesome. I love that more and more. ❤

Osborne Village Neighborhood | Winnipeg, Manitoba

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