The surreal life.

In May 2014 I took a massive leap of faith and applied for school at Concordia University. My end goal being a diploma in professional photography and a second one in Digital Photographic Imaging. I was tired of the culinary industry and had developed such a hatred for it, I wanted to move on. I was slated to begin towards the end of June.

On June 11th 2014 (about 2 weeks after making such a huge decision) I got word that my father was dying. On June 12th 2014 I had an amazing birthday and on June 13th 2014 I lost my job.

Funny how things can change so damn fast.  

You hear about stories like this all the time, they might fascinate you, appall you, inspire you or perhaps scare you. Which is all fine and well…

Until it actually happens to you.  

My first thought was to immediately drop out of school (before I had even started) and run home. Home being Ontario. I didn’t, I internally rationalized it by telling myself that my dad’s death sentence was quite new and he might have years to live. So why waste it, just in case. Either way, I was loosing my dad, it was really just a question of when. I figured that I would get myself a new job right away and just keep going to school part time and that would be that.

Except life never works out quite like you planned.

I never did get another job. No one wants to hire someone who’s been in my position and I can’t say I blame them. We (future husband and I) were broke, but we figured it out. I ended up going to school full time and completed my final course for digital photographic imaging (Photoshop) in October 2015. While I had technically graduated university, it hadn’t sunk in yet because I didn’t have my grades yet. So it was a fair assumption that I would pass, at the very least. I checked my final grades today and I almost fell out of my chair when I seen my final grade. It was/is the highest grade I have ever gotten in my entire life. Which was a surprise to me because that last class was a struggle. Once I got over the shock, I sat there and cried, so hard.

It was finally over and I had made it. Not unscathed by any means…

I’m pretty humble overall as a person. It’s one of my better qualities and no one likes that jerk who brags (sorry). This diploma represents so much more than my education overall. It’s a accumulation of:

  • Debt. So much debt. Which we have most paid off (YAY).
  • Grief. I lost my dad on February 28th 2015 and it hit me hard.
  • Battling through class when you’re waiting for ‘that call’.
  • It’s getting that call and hiding in an empty classroom bawling because you know that you’re going to loose your dad sooner rather than later and you’re helpless against it.
  • It’s having your mom text you and knowing that the following phone call most likely won’t be happy news.
  • It’s focusing every ounce of who you are and pouring your heart into final projects that can take up to 60+ hours.
  • It’s referencing your notes and realizing you missed something important.
  • Watching countless videos on YouTube because you can’t figure out how to do that thing.
  • It’s missing meals and quiet time with the man you love because you’re staring at a computer screen.
  • It’s trying to quiet the voice in your head because depression is an asshole that lies.
  • It’s trying to quell your anxiety because your deadlines are looming and why can’t you find inspiration already.
  • It’s late nights and early mornings.
  • It’s missing weddings and other occasions because you have to hand in your final(s).
  • Tension headaches and sore backs. Awful eating habits and so much more.

That’s not all though.

  • It’s the professors who rally around you and let you leave class so that you can text/call your family.
  • Those same professors also give you deadline extensions and/or present for you so that you can go home and bury your father.
  • It’s your boyfriend turned fiancee who never stops encouraging you, even when he resents that you spend more time with your computer than with him.
  • It’s the friends and the family who rally around you during your darkest time and encourage you to not give up and remind you why you started on this journey in the first place.
  • It’s all the really cool things you learned to do with images that you never even dreamed of.
  • It’s all the amazing and talented people you meet who become your friends.
  • It’s discovering a talent that you didn’t know you even had.
  • It’s being inspired by the guy who delivers your parcels in the afternoon.

It’s all that and more. I can’t wait to get my diploma so I can hang it in my home with so much pride. It’s been one hell of a journey and it still doesn’t feel real, but at the same time, it feels pretty amazing just the same.

So if you ever think that you can’t…

Trust me. You can.


The Naked truth…

I did an interview with a friend for my other pet project NAYOP.  He does freelance journalism and occasionally takes pictures.  Some of them are of moi.  The article has gotten some amazing feedback (thank you all for that!) I thought I would share the behind the scenes view of what it’s like to do an interview with me. 😉  Dominic is a trooper I have to say!  When he showed up I was in the middle of making some lunch, wearing my jammies, hadn’t bother to brush my hair (just my teeth) and to hell with make-up!  This was about as naked as naked could get.

Things you would have likely over heard:

“Steph, what’s with the sun glasses?”  “I don’t want to bother with make-up, what is this Cosmo?”

“Are you seriously not wearing a bra?” “I’m not wearing any panties either, what’s it to you?  Please, call the crew from what not to wear”

And yet, I still look like a rock star!

And so we talked… Over a plate of my bad ass nachos, which are insanely messy but freaking awesome to chow down on!  While we traded insults back and forth about how much of a slob I appeared to be (It was SUNDAY) and how maybe, just maybe I may have taken the whole thing a little more seriously had the interview been with someone else.  OK maybe not, I might have showered but to hell with the rest.  After all, the article was to be titled the naked truth.

Essentially an article debunking the myths on how not all tattooed people are bad asses (even though I AM, with or without my tattoos ;)) How one person can make a difference and I finally publicly speak out about how I felt to loosing one of my closest friends 2 years after the fact.  It’s not something I openly speak about and while lately I’ve been taking up with talking smack about some really bad dates I’ve had (Oh come on, you all know you LOVE the fodder for le blog!) and political non sense, this is important to me.

And while the behind the scenes portion was fun and full of total non sense, the article itself speaks volumes.  This is why I posed naked and with no make up.  I bared a portion of my soul to the world and I didn’t feel that it was right to ‘cover up’ any portion of myself either with clothing, make up or props for the photo shoot.  It doesn’t get any more real then this.

The naked truth, UN encumbered.

You can read the whole article here.  Thanks for your support lovelies xoxo

2011-In Pictures

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives . . ., not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman

2011 had some major highs and really not so many soul sucking lows as previous years now that I think about it…  Awesome! 😀

Some of these moments I caught on camera, some I just hijacked from the internet because I agree with them.  Things I’ve seen, done, tasted, created, and experienced.  In any case, 2011 was pretty epic from start to finish!

Depression, a boy & his puppy, oh and art.

“Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” – Jean Kerr

Couldn’t have said it better myself.  Which is precisely the feeling I’ve had pretty much all of last week.  As in, I hope this goes away, you know like yesterday?  So its been

7 months  25 days ago

33 weeks  6 days ago

237 days ago

169 weekdays ago

0.65 years ago
Since Jason died, but hey, who’s keeping track?  Most days I’m pretty much OK.  Wed April 21st? Not such an OK day, nor were the days leading up to it either.  As a matter of fact, those (the days leading to) were the worst.  A few years ago Jason asked me what it was like to be 30.  I simply & honestly replied “Dude the first 6 months of being 30 were the best 6 months of my life” and they were.  On. So. Many. Levels.  He replied with something to the effect of:”I hope mine is just as good, gives me something to aim for/look forward to.  Except Jason didn’t make it to be thirty years old.  Wed April 21st 2010 was Jason’s 30th birthday.  That was a hard day.  A dark day if you will.  That whole week?  Hello depression!
I shut pretty much everyone out, I really didn’t bother to correspond with anyone if I could help it and it sucked balls.  I’m not going to lie.  You see, I had a conversation with someone not so long ago that sounded a little something like this:
Them:”I don’t ever say I’m depressed, just “sad”.
Me: “See, that pisses me off.”
Me: “Because I am SO sick of the stigma around depression!  Sometimes you get depressed briefly, usually after a period of grief, its very common.  Also depression is a disease that affects so many people and those people sometimes don’t get help because of statements like that!  Either they’re afraid of the “social stigma” or too embarrassed or something along those lines. “
Them: “Well since you put it that way, you have a point”
I at least like to think that I do…
Jason was a diagnosed manic depressive.  It made him suicidal.  Hence my burning desire to start Jason’s memorial foundation.  These people who are suffering either briefly, or for the long term need to know that we are NOT afraid of how they feel!  Its human instinct to try and “make someone feel better” however I now know that its impossible.  Support them? Yes!  Make them feel as if they’re less alone? Absolutely!  However “feeling better” in its truest form takes time, love, support and a whole lot of patience.  I hit an all time low last week that scared the shit out of me.  Not suicidal low, just OMG I haven’t ever felt this “dark” inside in my entire life and it freaked me out.  I sought immediate help.  After doing a quick Google search I found  GROWW: Grief recovery online while this site is a bit of a pain in the ass to navigate, it was well worth the effort.