With DJ Colette doing a sound check, I sat with DJ Heather instead: Instead, Heather and I had a REAL good chat.We talked about soooo much- from coming of age,to transitioning into motherhood and remaining artistically inspired. I’m glad the interview was split,we had more of a ‘let’s meet for drinks’ kinda chat.She took control of the energy and convo as I’d expected from a DJ and we journeyed through each topic pretty much like her set later on that night at Second City Sessions. Her energy and style are undeniable.
At 20 years in-she’s reflective and is now finally feeling that she is progressing,thriving,comfortable and starting to feel good….she said ‘as an artist you do have moments where you ebb and flow continuously’ So where does this endless motivation come from? ‘There’s an engine inside of you that continues to drive and regardless of what people think about age,gender-all those social mores fall to the wayside’
On coming of age and being a DJ she says one of her greatest moves forward is when she started focusing on herself and all the other chatter just disappeared- it didn’t matter anymore. The people who usually bring up the age or gender thing are those wondering how long its gonna take to achieve a certain status OR they feel that you’re not inspiring as much as you think you are. But along with that-there’s a clichéd phrase that ‘if you’re not inspired you should retire…..’I don’t really feel like I’m at that stage now to do that and there’s been many times through my life as I’ve DJ ‘ed and I remembered that making music hadn’t really been a thing that I grew up with-I never said I’m going to be a DJ, it kinda just happened’
What role has music played for you? Music was always been something that ran parallel with what I was doing with my life. Working for record labels, I was still always in the music industry but not truly focused on the art of DJ’ing. And over time I really enjoyed the element of DJ’ing because of the ability to TRAVEL. There were numerous friends I met and even still today I continue to meet more people and still enjoy what I do. It can be a struggle at times now because I have an added family element to it (just ask Colette) but it still gives me life, it still gives me enjoyment-the literal act of playing music for people is so satisfying but it becomes more of a difficult thing trying to make a living from your art…and I think that doesn’t matter what age you are-whether in your 20s,30s,40s,50s,60s-whatever 70; but in my personal experience I’m a big fan of artists regardless of the medium they choose.
I admire the fact that she has continued with what she does cause you know, it ain’t a regular job. She explains as an artist that ‘the ones who continue to create probably do it because it’s an ever-present thing like a scratch’ and in this case she has to itch……..lol
We are very aware that in accordance to society, even with modernization and some changing values-regardless of what they do,women often take pause from their paths,careers or jobs. Heather re-iterates ‘we do struggle with stuff and even I took time off after he (her son) was born. I was off for five months give or take, maybe three months?…..And my first gig was New Years Eve the following year!’
About how IT (pregnancy) went: I played up until my seventh month- so yeah, I was at the club and my husband was leading me through the venue and I was playing and literally he helped me up onto this stool. But it was a part of my life that I wanted to experience. Being in a relationship with a person (knowing this is the person I’d love to have a child with) and with this addition it made me change the way I operate in terms of the flexibility of working when I wanted to (that was gone.) Being regimented,being scheduled and disciplined came back-it was like being in college again. (In a strange way.) You still have all this time but you have to learn again how to make that time work for you because you don’t have a lot of it- and between trying to compartmentalize the childcare with everything else, it kind of dampened. I’ve come out of that little ‘baby-ness’ stage. He’s got his own schedule now-he’s got his own feet. He’s in school so that gives me the opportunity to drop him off and I can work as much as I can during the time that he’s at school.
Do you travel with your son yet? He’s yet to come with me on a trip but he’s seen me play at street festivals and stuff. So he feels at home.
Have you noticed his musicality? I see it- but it translates into the fact that he thinks the DJ stuff is cool and he likes to dance. He’s still kind of figuring out what he likes. He’ll pretend to play…We’re just letting him pursue what he wants to pursue and just kinda find his feet. He’s in the studio sometimes, other times he doesn’t want to be in there. Yesterday he came on his own and gave her a sticker installation with labels to be there for her in the room and she put it on a speaker. He left a piece of himself there with her.
How important is it to have a partner that understands what it takes? Has it been easy? It’s been helpful for sure-I wouldn’t say ideal; but it’s great. We’re in total opposite worlds. He’s in corporate construction and I’m in art and music so we’re not really perpetually talking about the same thing. We appreciate each other and we appreciate what we can offer. He’s more in the tactile side of corporate design so he works with colour and fabrics.He’s more on the art side of his business as well. So we still appreciate art in very different ways.
Mind if I ask how you met? He met me as a DJ, he arrived at my show early and met at the booth. And here we are quite a few years later….. 😉
DJ Heather on relationships: As any relationship goes whether it’s a friendship,marriage or partnership (it is work) but if you both know that your end goal is the same and you don’t want to bail and you’re ready to work through it- that’s half the battle and that’s what’s kept us going and it’s just that awareness. It’s difficult when you’re polar opposites.I wanna be able to do my thing and express myself but I’m also a Mommy and if I weren’t doing this I wouldn’t be the mother I am.Being myself means that I won’t ever have a sense of animosity-so there is a lot of freedom I’m given for sure- and I’m very lucky…..
It’s a powerful conversation to have at this time when women are making bold movements to balance work,purpose,entrepreneurship and identity-This had to have been the highlight of our discussion as the theme running globally is women’s empowerment. There’s no direct path…..I explained my level of concern at this juncture in my own life. She admits ‘I never thought I’d be married, I never thought I’d have a child. And both have happened and I’m still maintaining some sort of career that I’m happy with. I’m still always trying to find out methods that feel organic and natural and very honest. And I’m still trying to maintain that honesty, its very difficult to do. She still feels very fortunate to have people that she can still play records for and can share music with them for this long! And I said surprisingly WHY NOT! Fabric 21 and the House of OM Mix CD were stellar projects-Her insightful breaks from my questions had me looking at her role from many angles.
She explained this to me: As a DJ you know that the number of DJs-per-capita has grown. There’s the myth about what a DJ does and what a DJ actually does. Many of those who are discovering the art now are finding that there is no way to kind of ‘break in’ to the scene-unless you have a big record or a ‘team’ or unless you have ‘followers’. Now there are all these other things that you don’t have the luxury of cultivating over time. It’s more instantaneous (Where’s the lie? It’s true-this is one of the industry’s biggest changes!)
Let’s humanize DJ Heather for a moment: She’s grateful for the opportunity to learn a lot of stuff through trial and error. Hopefully she says,’I’ve built a reputation of being a solid DJ but all the other stuff comes with it. The music stuff is great but hopefully being known as a decent human being and the other stuff falls in line. And of course your relationships should be great. I’ve always tried to make life ‘normal’ and not take it as seriously but only take things as serious because its important to me-this is where I’ve found more balance. It’s about balance. Balance is a good thing.’
It’s about the music: I asked her about new Apollo Records track ‘The Acid’ with Berlin based Detroit producer Lauren Flax (June 8). She’s a great producer,Lauren is one of her fave persons and can produce her butt off. It dropped June 8th and this ‘Acid’ track Heather describes as raw, to the point and machine based. They collaborated on this track and there are remixes out on her label. (partnered with Dann X and Little Mark) At the time, (May 2018) teasers and promo packs had gone out-the single is now available on Traxsource and the acidity is fresh!
Is there a revival of the Acid sound? There’s a kind of revival but just like Nu Jazz it comes in waves. When people say Deep House is back or Acid Jazz is back-it doesn’t really leave. IT sort of appears in waves of consciousness and you hear these records and they’re kind of throwback but they are also sounds that people really love to hear. There’s warmth,grit and depth.
About Blackcherry Recordings, it says House and Downtempo…….is that something you prefer? Do you like that sound? Yeah, as it pertains to Black Cherry I try to have it perpetuate the Chicago sound-It’s more trackier (polished) stuff as well as Downtempo stuff so it’s a kind of homage to Classic House sounds-let’s say upfront tracky stuff (that’s what I tend to focus on with Blackcherry so I was happy to bring it back with that J-Fader EP and I’ve got something coming out with another artist she’s from Chicago T Mixwell….She’s fantastic and she produces lovely music……the track is currently untitled but its’ coming out before the end of the Summer/early Fall.
For artists on the label are you looking for something specific (sound?feel?) When you receive submissions?You know if I feel something, again-its an honesty thing. It’s like this is right..someone’ll send me a track and a few pieces. I might play it out to see or get a sense of where it could go, if it’s perfect or if I think it’s super hot. I play it and get a response and see the initial feeling about it. That helps me verify in that moment. Its like oh yeah…this is pretty dope. I decide if I’ll make some changes and that kinda thing-I kinda like to test run stuff. I do the same with Apollo Records music as well. I test it out at the club and how a room responds to it spatially. It’s not always in the spirit of House Music. For example Derek Dunbar submitted some stuff and I gave it the nod. It’s nice for people to have it (new stuff) so they can put it out because there’s a market for it.
Do you ever have people approach to ask you to help them out or hook them up? (a leg into the industry) Sometimes,but it’s not that blatant, the help now people are looking for are things like ‘could you say something about my track or could you chart it? could you tweet about it?..but again I do share stuff that I feel connected to. So if someone asks me and its kinda weird, I’m not sure but if I kinda know them and they need a little push I’ll do it, its no problem as I’d want anyone to do the same for me. In the past I would usually reach out to people and tell them their track was awesome and because they were so enthused, they would literally help me out and PUT ME ON tour and let me open-but there’s plenty of that stuff that clubs don’t wanna do anymore.
She explains the way being PUT ON works today: They’ll have these tours where the headlining DJ picks their supporting cast…..unless you have a camp like Dirty Bird they’ve created a culture where everyone’s in-house and literally everyone who’s with the label throws their own events and showcases their own artists, that’s a formula that has worked for them.So from top to bottom all night,you’re gonna see people who’ve put music on the label or down with their crew and it’s worked! And when they’ve put their people on they’ve added a particular flavour. People are trying to replicate that formula-sometimes it works other times it doesn’t. Or you’ve had stages that are set up at one event or big festival….and let’s say for example you have Green Velvet, he’ll have a stage with people he really likes and it works.
I tried to do that at my Smartbar residency by kinda mixing it up with people who haven’t played at the club before. I want to get them in the rotation-so they can get used to the club setting…..(it helps them build confidence too!) Sometimes the club sees the new DJ’s potential and they might want to put that person on. By doing that-new people bring a network of friends OR FAMILY, that’s what it should be about! She’s passing the torch in a sense…..Having friends & family who come out to her events gave Heather confidence back in the day. In an encouraging way she says ‘they can put these on their resumes,get other gigs or put that flyer aside as part of their archival information’ It’s almost like passing the torch……
Imagine what kind of advice she’s going to offer which such an in-depth interview…..Must read.
Don’t be limited with what you think you should be doing versus what you truly want to do. Take risks when you feel like you should. Even now- She still feels nervous before a show and (the fear factor is good.)
Never assume what’s going to happen at a venue-even with a sound check (you may have an idea of what to expect but you never know…..all those things are nice to know, but you won’t always know)
Make sure you have all your tools (part of your arsenal) to rock the crowd. There might be people at a club, festival or rave who have no clue who you are….its a reality. Don’t forget that you’re there to entertain, to bait and switch…. sometimes it’s okay to give people something that’s relatable. That’s where the balance is.(Starting out as a primarily HipHop DJ gave her another tool to use-because Hip Hop audiences usually only dance to shit they know (truth lol) and that’s the commercial aspect of it. But she was able to squeeze in stuff during sets back then- she really understood the art of DJ’ing, whether it was with Downtempo or Hip Hop
What about the way women connect on an emotional level with what they do musically and artistically (Production/DJ’ing/Music?) I shared with Heather recording artist Kelela’s Opinion piece from earlier this year at Resident Advisor and it then spurred a whole conversation on how to proceed beyond that context. She clearly has had different experiences but the future is here. She says, ‘All Women, Women of colour,Transwomen and LGBTQ groups- these are the voices in vogue now…how long will this platform be in place? Will it stay a trend? Being in the industry for as long as she has been-she doesn’t really feel that it’s no longer about the ‘shine’ on music or artists that has changed-it’s just something people are used to now. After all IT IS entertainment. But women have always been behind the scenes and contributing for a long time. From management, to artists, to DJ’ing, to production and just now we’re seeing women as par for the course. Her advice with these changes is to take advantage of this platform, the visibility, the people paying attention and to not be afraid to ask questions and speak out-especially within a learning capacity. If people think you’re being ridiculous it’s okay….don’t worry about the boys club. There are plenty of women,spaces and places where you can find help, get questions answered, obtain resources from blogs, online and printed media outlets and even platforms like YouTube tutorials for example to learn production, DJ’ing techniques and still maintain anonymity. Feel free to learn your craft the way you’d like.
Just like any other city in the world Toronto’s tempo has changed and what people enjoy has changed as well. DJ Heather from sister city Chicago is excited to still be able to play from a fresh spectrum and it sounds like that! Second City Sessions is a collaborative project that was born from their (DJ Colette and DJ Heather’s) House of OM CD release back in 2006 when they toured and traveled with Fred Everything and Andy Caldwell. Fans love to hear Colette and Heather spin together and they deliver the synergy that works between them whenever they play. DJ Heather will be playing alongside Gene Farris, Jason Hodges,Teeloo and Mike Gleeson on Saturday July 27, 2018 after the lunar eclipse at Toronto’s CODA-it’s gonna be an electric one!!!
A full week of non-stop music, panel discussions and mentorship all here in the T-Dot! This has to be one of the largest Music Week’s held in Canada this year! The official program guide was jam-packed with dozens of events hourly (Held at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and all over the city.)
Jointly presented by San Rafael and Amsterdam Brewery-I don’t even know WHERE to begin-this Canadian Music Week was PACKED with current information; From the Mentors’ Cafe to the panels, to industry organization exhibitors (SOCAN, MROC,FACTOR)
It was refreshing to see all the various organizations that work behind the scenes to assist artists in bringing forth new-ish ways of tackling the good ole industry…..
Their app was quite good! I loved the high touch accessibility of the app and it was much easier to navigate than look through the program and section it off with post-its like I did in the past…..or maybe I like apps. My favourite was the scheduling tool! You know where to be and at what time……
With the app I found Blockchain Music:Set It and Forget It,You’re Getting Paid it’s been a hot topic for a minute and this was a conversation circulation at ADE2017! Panelists (Dino Celotti,Jason Robert,Jesse Grushack,Ritesh Patel and Steven Masur) all part of the Music Production and Indie Label industries,collectively explained Blockchain and how it benefits the artists and the cascading industry as a whole. It’s great to see that many panels across the board had a heavy focus on the future of the industry with all the new talent and new technology. It’s interesting to see how they’ll connect and grow to make things a little more efficient (especially for the artist.)
My takeaway from this presentation: Blockchain could work if implemented correctly by making sure who gets paid at what point in the process of the file sharing process-and that this is a huge task and a bit of a lengthy process.
Lemme re-iterate here: The idea of being able to move assets between artists or from business to business in a seamless process, can make distribution simpler. With Blockchain promotion is still primary and editing and recordings can’t be remixed or altered. Blockchain is great for tracking transactions and artists still maintains rights to their music.
I ventured over to the SOCAN,!eDDS and travel booths-What’s travel got to do with it? Hundreds of people came through all week (May 7-13, 2018) especially very specific cities all over the U.S. and Canada. What makes this so important is that the cities closest to us all play a role in boosting the travel,tourism and music industries!
Part of the infrastructure built around the music industry depends not only on the talent, businesses and establishments but it may partially coincide on the neighbouring cities closest to us.
Discover America located in Mississauga,Ontario in conjunction with city states nearby- ‘promotes U.S. Travel and Tourism to Canadians in Canada. They offer ‘a variety of initiatives that connect travel and tourism stakeholders on both sides of the border’
Hotels, travel agents and Motor Coach Airlines are members of this organization.
I spoke to Dream America Canadian representative and Montreal native Pedro Barbosa who delved a little more into the topic of music festival tourism and the mandate in place for the cities involved in boosting their travel and tourism initiatives for any of the music festival seasons. Barbosa mentioned that ‘most of these places present today have routes covered by Air Canada or Porter Airlines-so there’s the routes that bring Canadians and Americans from all over the country, it gets the word out across the country and it’s kind of like a trade and exchange…..some of the places exhibiting here at #CMW2018 are even closer to Montreal than Toronto is’.
We talked about the benefits of visiting cities that have broad musical varieties. He’s big into Jazz and Metal but some city scenes he feels ‘are much smaller and there appears to be less of a fan base even when the scene is popular in that city.’
Barbosa did mention though that ‘when it comes to niche [music] markets, it’s the markets themselves that don’t always reach tourist outlets. Tourism boards tend to focus on specific genres and in order for Tourism Boards to present music venues,events and seasonal programs in their plans and more liaisons can be formed in the future to promote all music across the board.
All representatives for each city/state were highly informative and provided tons of info on the vibrant nightlife for each of these cities. Surprisingly,Portland has a very vibrant Underground House scene and Choose Chicago (sister city to Toronto,) representative spoke in detail about Chicago’s House and Underground scenes…..it’s looks like a coincidence that just a few days ago it was announced that there would be a lunch hour dance party at Daley Plaza! (Yaassss Chicago!)
Portland – The cities represented at this year’s CMW all had one thing in common: thousands of Canadians commute from all over Canada to all these places-each booth was set to highlight their musical influences,entertainment and nightlife. I spoke to Director of Content Strategy Karen Martwick about Portland’s offerings and was presented with information about Craft Beer, Independent Design both Interior and Graphic by Independent Artists. The other booths held tons of information for Canadians on: Myrtle Beach, NC (undergoing major reconstruction), Georgia (Explore Georgia-Macon/Decatur and other historic sites.) And finally Austin,Texas. I look forward to delving into their Underground scenes in the future!
!Earshot for Indie Artists !Earshot Digital Distribution (!eDDS) really stood out among all the booths because of its slant on music distribution.Partially funded by the NCRA (National Campus & Community Radio Association) It’s an online platform that is designed to get music from the Canadian music industry to the Canadian College campus and community radio sector.) With so many platforms internationally available in 2018 it’s easy to overlook a distribution system like this. Canadian College and University radio is still a powerful method to chart Canadian music and with Canadian Pride at it’s all time high over the last few years, I think this is an essential resource alongside all other local and global platforms. Over 90 stations are on this roster in May 2018.
NCRA – Ottawa
Independent artists will be able to fully access this database this September. The cost is $7 per song and $50 per album! College Campus radio is still one of the most powerful outlets for pushing new and local music. The list will grow by September especially after Canadian Music Week-check out the details here: I highly recommend any new or existing artists getting their feet wet and/or would like to do a little more national radio promo…..Tap into this resource as a starter or accompanying promotional tool.This is exciting!
Late Night Delights
What I missed: the Drake Underground with Amber Mark (her vocals possess Rihanna’s abruptness and Sade’s familiar sounding velvety Contralto. Live Nation artist tickets were sold out right away-no luck in May, I’m sure she’ll be visiting Toronto again!
What was recommended: Taiwan Beats (ABAO) Aljenljeng, JADE EYES and Dizparity
What I enjoyed: Ottawa MC @draemusic. He closed out for two of T.O.s hottest crooners: Tika and Sophia Danai! That night was electrifying (TIKA, HMLT,Sophia Danai and BAYLA.) Drae laid some strong lyrics with a very. live. band. I’m lovin’ the live band and MC sound all over again!
25 years in the making and it shows! I was looking at where to visit and I chose the Netherlands (Amsterdam Dance Event) mostly because of their emphasis on technology. Amsterdam has been known to be forward thinking and many steps ahead in the way they run their society among other things…….Amsterdam Dance Event describes itself as ‘the leading electronic music platform and the biggest club festival in the world for the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres’.
I absolutely admired ADE’s strong support for all genres. They welcome all sorts of DJ culture-regardless of colour, gender and preference.What I loved the most is the way the city embraced #ADE2017 & all the artists,press,delegates that were participating! There were posters,stickers and promo EVERYWHERE!
I personally loved this scene so much and in several days I took in some DNB, Classic,Deep, Tech and Afro House-it was all-inclusive. It was crazy fun! I met all kinds of people-all music enthusiasts from all over the world in town for ONE thing: music! I met some of the same people at many events. Some enthusiasts from Belgium asked me where I was headed because they were so used to checking out the same artists everywhere.
I truly wished I had gone a few years prior. I can’t wait until they expand even more. Jokes aside with memes depicting festival burnout, after the 6 hour flight from Toronto to Schipol Airport it was not tiring at first…… but after 48 hours………with all the excitement and party line-up-I crashed!
I was floored by the holistic/health and wellness shops on every corner-shops all over the city carrying products I still have to order online lol! From sprinkles on buttered toast and fresh fruit and smoothies on Albert Cuyp Straat……the contrast was so refreshing. Everything was within walking distance-once you get the subway/streetcar line down pat-you can get anywhere within minutes. A sleek UBER from Schipol Airport takes you to the main city in a 15 min car ride!
The drivers, airport staff and city all expectedly ask you if you’re there for ADE and they have tons of information at their fingertips to help you navigate the city! (LOVE IT!) October is a bit chilly so bundle up with layers and your favourite walking shoes!
DRUGS and ADE! Everyone is aware ADE exists here and speak highly of the event. All drugs are tested before they are brought into venues to avoid injury and/or death! I highly respect this approach because Dance is often intertwined with hard drugs and this is a primary method to eradicate the misconception behind it.Total props!!!!!
They push for body positive health awareness. I praise their drug education and push for ‘healthier’ usage instead of the ‘war on drugs’.
As drugs are often synonymous with club culture they do encourage safe usage and responsibility for fellow party-goers. It’s impressive.
All aspects of the scene are considered, and openly discussed. Room is made available to talk about the future of the industry. Panel discussions covering technology from equipment- to vinyl’s revival all had a space to showcase,teach and exchange ideas. ADE University teamed up with labels to discuss how they can improve websites, apps and ticket sales to boost revenue and allocate funds in an organized fashion.
I’m not sure if it’s organization is a Dutch thing or that it’s 25 years in the making, but whatever they are doing is beyond music for music’s sake.
I did find their app a little complicated to maneuver and also found it hard to navigate some of the workshops and networking locations around the city. However, all the flags and physical landmarks labelled everywhere made up for the app. I really wanted to attend more events but there are so many programs happening at the same time and back to back that by week’s end-I knew I’d be coming back! All these years I’d only stopped over at Schipol Airport and was finally able to visit and was so grateful for!
The highlights of the week were the Detroit Love Party (Mirko Loko,Waajeed,Carl Craig,Kenny Larkin,Stacey Pullen,Kevin Saunderson and Moodyman) EPIC partay.
One of the final night parties at Paradiso (Louie Vega, Joey Negro, Francois K,Space Dimension Controller,Prins Thomas,Amine K,Beesmunt Soundsystem,Jan van Kampen) was memorable!
Honourable mentions go to the guys over at Cuisine 020 (Bar Karakter)-DJ Migosy (Offering Recordings), DJ Andrew Foley (Deep Rooted Soul), and AMW Gill Charleston-it was a tight-knit LIVE joint! Had a great time! I’m sure by October this year………
Go to the Amsterdam Dance Event, check out as many genres as you can……
Take naps in between events-you’ll wake up refreshed for your next workshop
Go to the artist panels/talks (they are so informative and inspirational)
Check out the good eats (so many amazing restaurants-if the locals are in it- it’s the shit!)
Buy some records, take in new music say hello to your fave and upcoming DJs (the environment is so chill out there!)
Club Hop, there are so MANY amazing events, all on the same night, check out all of them!
Purchase tickets in advance from home (they sell out FAST-months in advance), make sure you can actually attend all the events once you arrive!
Check out the Heineken Museum
Go to a local Coffee House and meet some interesting people, try out the green (if you feel like it!) It feels fabulous to be at a place where there are no issues with green treats-you’ll find many,many,many strains and flavoured paper 🙂
Don’t forget to browse in as many weed shops as you can-Many of the shops get most of their best strains from Canada (betcha didn’t know that!) *wink,wink
Link up with people who you’ll be able to work with later on-you just never know!!!!
Even though corporations have vast collaborations with food banks to donate food on a grand scale and they are in every position to do what we can’t do financially; it’s people like you and I that add a personal touch to giving.
There are many things you can do as an individual to stay grounded. Staying grounded is something you should do regularly to remind yourself who you are, where you could be and what you want life look like internally. A great way to live your life is one where you’re giving of your time, efforts and hands to those in need-especially those that will appreciate it!
As a high school student I volunteered at the Y and loved teaching kids sports! I designed simplified Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball activities for really young kids. I loved watching kids progress with their motor skills and confidence over a year’s time-it was so rewarding! At the local hospital I’d be helping operating room patients fill out their paperwork when they could not understand the information or did not have next-of-kin with them when they checked in!
Those moments I’ll always remember. For the last few Christmases-I would call around and sign up with different organizations to help out for soup kitchens and/or food banks and the waiting lists are so long because so many want to help out this time of year. Early last Fall, I called the Daily Bread Food Bank and asked if they needed any people and they did!
I reached out before Canadian Thanksgiving and glad I checked in a lot earlier. Just like food donations and hands, it’s better to start early. Did you know #DailyBreadTO supplies other food banks in Toronto with food/supplies/preserves? This insures that all neighbourhoods get an equal measure of what’s needed instead of running out-especially this time of year!
Apart from feeling good about helping others, the most rewarding part was seeing some of the same families every week who feed their children and are truly grateful for what’s available. Some of the other volunteers were so kind, dedicated and gracious. Once I got to know everyone, I got to hear their stories. Many people in the city are making ends meet and a few extra things make a huge difference.
The Food Bank is set up to look and feel like an actual grocery store to remove the ‘ration’ style of the Food Bank process and each customer can shop like they should. Volunteers are waiting to help bag the groceries and customers know how much they are permitted to receive!
I lived in Etobicoke for almost 7 years and had no idea that Daily Bread Food Bank was on Islington Ave! I’m writing this not to promote volunteerism or helping out during the holidays but mostly to encourage food donation all year round. Once the holidays are over-shelves are bare. Many items running out quickly are things like diapers, wipes, ensure, milk, eggs, produce, laundry detergent, toilet paper and toiletries. Anything that is used daily or weekly is so needed. After talking to so many people, when the holidays have passed, it’s tougher to retain enough stock to go round.
There are so many corporations who bring their employers in for food sorting and packaging marathons to raise money for the Food Bank and those events are always high energy with good music and live DJs! (That’s my favourite part.)
One thing I found touching was seeing patrons check labels for calories, sodium, ingredients and expiration dates. They are just as conscious about what they are eating as the next person! Give what you can of course BUT think about the health of your fellow human beings.
For me personally, food donation and donation in general has now taken on a whole new meaning. I give outside of the common holiday gift giving times, I give whether or not there’s a dire need or disaster and I try to give what’s necessary besides the usual donation items.
It was an incredible experience. Have a Happy Holiday! Have a wikked 2018!
It’s with the utmost pride that I can say Toronto’s got an organization devoted to Urban Arts & Culture. Something I’ve always supported and it’s where my musical roots came from. Artists like Maestro,Kardi,Julli Black,Ghetto Concept and Dream Warriors is what I knew. I’ll always love Hip-Hop no doubt but I turned away when outlets remained bare.
I was so frustrated that I even started a talent showcase with fellow York U Undergrad (Dj Nana) we hoped to provide a platform for unsigned hype from Singers to Battle Rappers to Poets and it ran for a minute. We even tried to start an Urban Media Arts Association-but the work and support back then was bleak.
As I took stock of the many years learning about the music scene in Toronto, I started with my first internship at what was Flow 93.5 and from there I became a NXNE and Honey Jam volunteer to promoting parties and events over at CHRY college radio station. Manifesto is the evolved and growing version of what I’ve always hoped for.
An organization like @Manifesto_TOis something to be incredibly proud of. To see artists,acts and personalities rally around an incredible festival that’s put Toronto on the map (permanently) is quite amazing. With Canadian exports like the Biebs,Drake,Tory,Party Next Door,Weekend,Tika,Slakah,Majid Jordan and the list gets longer….. we’ve got so many more to put on display!
If you haven’t purchased tickets to anything; look for something and become a part of Toronto’s rich ‘Urban Culture’ landscape. Find an art installation, find a concert.Hit up the Opening/Closing Party and Artists Panel. If Urban isn’t your thing check it out, you’ll be blown away. Here’s the website: http://mnfsto.com/
This weekend the #theSHINEprjct is pretty excited to be stationed over at Echo Beach not just as a volunteer,intern or avid concert goer but a part of the festival reppin’ Toronto at Manifesto 11. Here’s to another groundbreaking decade!
I’m proud of these ladies because from a vision they had they created a very savvy business for fashionistas wanting to spruce up their look for multiple occasions. Looking for a few dresses but don’t wanna spend more money? You get to spend more money on makeup, shoes, a handbag and hair! Not just any kind of dress-but very high quality, high fashion on trend pieces. I walked in there and it looked beautiful. Right away I saw Carrie Bradshaw’s closet. Racks and racks of beautiful dresses.Flowers,velvet,chiffon,silk. Absolutely, Amazing!
Studio Fitzroy’s assistant asked me where I was going, when I was going and what my size was. She pulled together two racks of items and offered me some Champagne. On a lazy Sunday afternoon-why not? There were dresses in the pile she gave me that I felt right away I didn’t wanna try AT ALL-but she urged me to try. I tried the ones I didn’t like first. Surprisingly they all looked amazing.The assistance is great! The two dresses I chose: For Love and Lemons Ornate Velvet Mini Dress 100.00 CAD for (4 days) and retailing at $800 and Glamourous UK’s Dynasty Dress at 60.00 CAD for (4 days) retailing at $150! Excellent choices for the holidays!
When was Fitzroy established exactly and why a dress rental biz?
Fitzroy is 5 years old, but we’ve only been a rental business for less than a year. We were previously just a regular clothing boutique selling clothing online and at seasonal Pop-Ups several times a year. Our first one was in Yorkville back in September 2011, and since then we’ve been hovering around the Queen West and Ossington area where we’ve established a good following. Over the years as social media’s influence grew, we noticed women didn’t want to wear the same thing twice anymore, and that they were sick of spending a ton of money on dresses that would just sit in their closet taking up space. So we decided to test out the rental concept and it turned out there was a huge demand. It’s more fun,more affordable,better for the environment ; just makes more sense for so many reasons, so making the switch seemed like a no-brainer!
How is Fitzroy different from the others in Toronto? (i.e. Rent, Frock, Repeat, Rent The Runway)
We definitely have our own unique style, we call it boho-glam. There are certain brands we carry that have that edgy, cool-girl bohemian vibe for sure, a very Californian / Australian look. We’re also different in that you don’t need an appointment to come in and try on the dresses, just pop in anytime during store hours!
I visited the shop while it was a pop up located on Ossington. Why go from a Pop-Up to a full-fledged shop? (the new shop is beautiful by the way!!!!!!)
We’ve been a Pop-Up for 5 years as I mentioned, trying to figure out what we wanted to do with the brand. Once we landed on the idea of rentals we knew we needed to find a permanent home for the collection and create a welcoming, intimate space where women would feel comfortable coming in to try on the dresses. We wanted to make it feel like you’re at your best friend’s house trying on dresses, and that’s the feedback we get about the space most often – it makes us so happy!
What brands do you carry and how do you choose? Do designers approach you or vice versa?
It works both ways but we are very picky and selective about what brands we carry.They all have to fit in with our unique style/vibe, and each piece needs to be something special and unique, that you wouldn’t necessarily see everywhere.
Who’s your target market? Who did you anticipate that would become your target market-any surprises with the types of customers you’ve attracted?
Our target market is largely the same as when we were a clothing store; 20 and 30 something young professional women with a packed calendar and social schedule and a great sense of style.The Queen West girl essentially. However we’ve also had lots of dresses rented by younger and older women – which we love! Fitzroy is for everyone, and we’ve had clients in their teens up to their 70s!
What kind of events do people rent dresses for?
All kinds! Weddings are the most popular in the summer when everyone has at least a few on the horizon, then there are Birthdays, Bridal Showers, Bachelorette Parties, Engagement Parties, Photo Shoots, Trips, Awards shows, Film Premieres (we were slammed for TIFF), Charity Balls, Galas or just something as simple as an anniversary dinner or date night.
Who are your fave local designers?
We love Marika Brose, we have a ton of her pieces, lots of super fun details like feathers and sequins! Also Narces has some beautiful feminine pieces and Jordan de Reuiter makes the most beautiful tulle dresses – we have a few different styles.
What are your fave fashion pieces? Dresses and fashion accessories? (A must have for you.)
My personal go to is a 70s Kaftan! I have quite the collection that i wear in summer with sneakers and big sunglasses. In terms of the shop, we love really flowy, easy to wear pieces in fun colourful prints. The racks are a rainbow of colour when you walk in, and that’s just how we like it.
What’s in store for Studio Fitzroy for 2017?
We’re working on getting in some new styles, definitely more gowns and dressier pieces and a lot more options for our large and plus size ladies. Stay tuned!
Biggie said it best. He had quite a few musical gems that he dropped before before he passed. For those that don’t know him enough in the ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ he outlines strict rules to follow…..
So let’s talk about Narc Abuse: What is that? Would you be able to recognize if it was happening to you? Ultimately it’s about supply and demand. You supply time, supply concern, supply support and are demanded always-one way,one direction.Your time is never appreciated.Your willingness to be helpful,supportive and even caring is disrespected. Attention is always granted in one way.
You feel like you’re running on empty eventually…….the situation forms itself like a kind of heavy reliance “on drugs to boost self-esteem at the expense of the people around them.” Doesn’t make sense does it? It’s a substance/dependency issue, it could be a psychological issue, it’s a trauma issue, it’s a spiritual issue. For some people this is their reality for most if not all of their lives. For others they have a chance to change. It comes with a HUGE realization and a whole lot of reflection to create this kind of awareness.
This is probably one of the most pervasive articles I will ever write on this blog. My Stepmom didn’t want me to write this. She actually wanted me to focus on more ‘positive things’. This is a positive story, I promise! I wish I understood this in the past the way that I understand this now. But by sharing this story-I hope it helps the right people. Everyone has a story. This is mine. By sharing this story I intend to make this blog a little more personal. This is what ‘The Shine Project’ stands for………to inspire with passion.
When you are not able to recognize narcissistic abuse for what it is-unhealthy,dark,covert,twisted,confusing and destructive you may go on the rest of your life not understanding why you are served this dish repeatedly. You start to see that you are victimized unknowingly. Recognizing this pattern of abuse has helped me in many ways and has played a part in my life over and over.You won’t see visible scars but the damage is there. The abuse can often continue well after the public has moved on but the abuse replicates over and over again. To the general public this abuse is not apparent but when the abuser finds ways to direct the abuse towards you- they’ll use ways that most people won’t know or fully understand.When the victim reacts is what people see. IT has not only made me stronger but has had me recognizing what it is when I see it NOW and I get it. And I’m not here for it anymore……Sooooo how do you know you’re being abused or you’re in an abusive situation?
-when progress in areas of your life is thwarted by people around you with distractions,interruptions,diversions:family can do this to you (surprise! that’s abuse)
-using money,backhanded flattery,favours to sway your opinion when you begin to realize that the situation isn’t healthy, safe or real. (Family can and will do this-it’s deep covert abuse)
-when recent situations trigger memories of abuse in your past-abandonment,physical,emotional,verbal (all together they cause anxiety you may not be used to (you’ve been abused or have been in abusive environments.)
-when those around you dislike you and say they want to help but they don’t (it’s abusive)
-when you second guess people and their intentions towards you (you’ve been abused)
-when friends and family members cover the abuser’s actions and mishaps towards you “enabling”(that abuse)
-when you are subversively compared to another person or family members to show how much better or worse you are (it’s manipulative abuse)
-when the things that make you unique and damn amazing are projected as weaknesses….Are you mocked,mimicked or copied? Often times the abuser hates the good things about you and may twist those things to make those qualities look bad. (deep covert abuse)
-when you’re told to forgive, let it go, don’t take it personal, you’re too sensitive or you’re imagining things (sorry, it’s abuse-yo, don’t second guess your intuition.) #gaslighting
-if you find this article online, see some key phrases or words that make you continue to read this article……chances are (you are in an abusive relationship or have been abused.)
-when the abuser has others around them whom they share techniques on how to abuse you if you notice the same situations happening repeatedly (you’re being abused)
-when the same cycle repeats over and over again….most narcissistic situations aren’t unique. The pattern is the SAME with no resolution. They seem to all behave the same,we all have narcissistic traits. This is different though. (It’s abuse at the DEEPEST level-it’s probably gone on for waaay to long!)
Growing up in a narcissistic home is quite interesting because as you grow, you know something isn’t right.Surrounding yourself in narcissistic environments though?….. You look at other families and see that something is off BUT you can’t quite put your finger on it. (Every family is different.) As a child I was VERY observant and I wondered why my home environment was off. Everything looked great but the dynamic was strange. By learning to observe/feel people in their fear, anger, happiness or emotional detachment-I knew so much. Why didn’t I do anything to guard myself?
Where does ‘narcissism’ come from?
This word’s been thrown around lately when talking about the newly inaugurated president of the U.S. You’ve read about the Greek Myth…. a handsome Greek youth Narcissus who falls in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Although the story talks about ‘vanity’;narcissism runs much deeper than self-admiration. It’s more a maligned sense of self-worth thriving off of the addiction or supply of (admiration,reverence) from others. The supply can be material, physical,emotional or other. A narcissist needs very specific types of others to make sure his/her whole self can function. Without the supply there is no individual. Without that constant supply……..things get ugly. It’s just the world we live in. Once you’ve made peace with this. It’ll be okay.Narcissists are ‘created’. Depending on one’s early upbringing (the most crucial time in a child’s life) there is not much that can be done to change unless they understand that they have a challenge and WANT to change. Did you know that a narcissistic personality disorder is a personality type? It is often developed as a coping mechanism in children by age 12 who may have had a traumatic life or an entitled childhood. Sometimes parents are too busy, too unaware, too wrapped up in their own issues to make sure kids are taught healthy boundaries and either the child becomes a victim who doesn’t set boundaries with people or a predator who plows through the boundaries of ‘nice’ or ‘kind’ people. When the two dynamics cross paths it’s not a great combination. Usually the end is the worst when the victim realizes what has happened. On the other spectrum…..a child that is victimized while growing up can uncover an ’empathic’ or ‘hypersensitive’ side to them. They can sense environments,vibes and nuances. These nuances actually protect you from saying more than you should about yourself or doing more than you should for your own personal safety. (and privacy is absolutely okay.)
In both situations,children must find ways to adapt and cope. In one situation a false self is created to separate from their reality. In another case the child finds ways to ‘get along’ with everyone so that they can co-exist with other people (and eventually walk on eggshells-especially when the situation isn’t healthy.) Empaths always see the good in people and tend to see the world in a VERY positive way. (Cue rose-coloured glasses) They often notice things; but still want to hope for the best. If a situation isn’t going so well they try to sort it out or the biggest thing they don’t vocalize the problem because they don’t want to create chaos. Narcissists tend to see the positive point of view as stupidity,weakness or absolute lack of knowledge.This is where the covert or overt abuse comes in. A narcissistic individual creates a self and needs tools to make sure that this self exists in the real world but within that world there is trauma,anger,darkness,hatred, shame and deep pain from their past.
How do the two mix together? Let me discuss. We’ll start with family-usually this is where the first situations related to abuse start. My father felt he had a VERY tough childhood. He felt abandoned as a child. He was the last of 8 kids and again felt he was not ‘tended to’.He has always said he was treated like the Black Sheep of the family. The other siblings within the same family unit didn’t see it that way. They all felt that he was loved and given the care he needed and spoiled even- being one of the youngest-they thought he was lucky because he was permitted to do whatever he wanted.With so many older siblings, parents don’t have to really do anything with that child right? Either way-a narcissistic child is created by either being treated as entitled (The Golden Child) and given everything they want or by being given very little and neglected. (Either way the outcome is no good.)
Fast forward to the very near present. He tried to cover his feelings of inadequacy by getting married, having a child (children), getting the material goods (the house, the degrees, the luxury cars-everything to keep up with the Joneses’). All of which just made things look ‘normal’ but those were all surface bandages to temporarily patch up a soul that really didn’t know where it belonged and never healed from the lack, pain and suffering he says he experienced. The problem with a person like this is that they damage things, relationships and situations around them. Everyone around them is altered because either their family members walk on eggshells and enable their demands OR they abandon the abusive family member to save themselves.Children usually fall into the ‘eggshell’ category because underage children can’t always walk away from parents and parents are supposed to build strong foundations and teach healthy boundaries. But if one parent is trying to keep the peace or protect themselves the privacy/boundaries of children become completely eroded.
I was altered in a few ways-I went more into myself and became driven to succeed (especially when the abuse directed at you is designed to hold you back.) at whatever I did. I became very, very self-sufficient and even now have a hard time relying on others and even if I do it means I REALLY need the help. Sometimes I’d rely on others not knowing they were abusive and I trusted way more than I should have. The downside….I give more than I should-even when I’m given VERY little. I always hope by giving more to to others-that a rough situation will change.When my intuition kicks in to alert me to something that doesn’t seem right-I used to tell myself I’m being too critical.This comes from the dynamic of giving to make things ‘smooth’ and to ‘go along to get along’. This dynamic with a manipulative person starts with me and ends in shambles. Once I decided to make the change and put myself first-I started to see soooo many things. Things you wish to un-see or un-feel. It is always a tornado. Narcissists RAGE once they are met with a boundary setting action. I’ve understood for the last time and it will NEVER happen again.As a child of narcissists its a mixed bag because it makes you tough,sensitive,ambitious and a ‘go along to get along kind of person’. The downside is that throughout your life you are targeted (or put yourself around people) who dislike those things about you-and eventually you think the relationship you have with anyone can be fixed with patience or sacrifice or hope or mediation or attention or communication. Over time, people around you ‘take advantage’ of that sensitive side. By even speaking up and voicing your opinion you become a target. If they give something big or small to you-you are a target. This is the portion of the friendship or family dynamic where boundaries are eroded. What you give may never be of value to them the way it is to you. And when you enforce your position it’s a loss.
For the past decade or so I’ve had so many friendships that just died or that I’ve walked away from and for months even years I wonder what I’ve done….and I realize that I don’t see the signs early enough and that I’m reliving the dynamic of my childhood over and over again. The last 3 years have been trying for me because I’ve wanted to tackle this situation for so long. And as this identical dynamic had been playing out in 5 or more directions, I finally understood that I was constantly walking into VERY poor situations. You see ‘red flags’ but you subtly ignore them. In most of these situations I’d been discarded and in a portion of them I’ve had to walk away.Once this happens you take apart the scenarios so you can see why….once you see why you don’t need to alter your point of view and walk on eggshells. The information comes to you and just realize it.
With a manipulative or narcissistic person you could start out being yourself-kind, warm,giving,sympathetic,genuine,open,helpful and outspoken but by the end of it……..all the things that attracted the person to you is used against you. During my childhood I was called all kinds of names by my father to control my actions and thoughts. I was ‘labelled’ selfish for thinking of myself. I was stalked often to and from school or at jobs (up until VERY recently) but it was what I thought was a ‘strict upbringing’. And the number one thing that really hit home was that I was silenced for being outgoing,chatty,talkative,creative. I was told ‘writing will get you no job,stop writing’. Fast forward to the future the same thing happened again. When you live under those circumstances you become ‘agreeable’ or ‘independent’. It always feels like two extremes. When this happens it’s time to move away from that.I’m fiercely independent but raised to be an agreeable individual.I’ll work with you. But when boundaries get eroded. This is when the truth shows up. My father hated when I talked to people. He hated when I took care of my own financial needs. He hated me doing for myself. He wanted to silence my ability to share with people. It was hard to handle because I don’t look for the attention-I just speak my mind and talk about what I love and until this day….I’m still like that. Imagine when you do for you and your called ‘selfish’ but then when you’re forced to be completely dependent you’re given terms and conditions to have ‘nothing’. It’s a twisted dynamic. But for some you become STRONGER for it. And this is what narcissists don’t understand.
For others i’ll even offer up information,advice, a helping hand, an ear, a shoulder, a platform,direction,pointers to help others. But what I get are crumbs. The crumbs from the manipulation. Within the family the crumbs you’re given are not because they can’t give. They want to control how much they give, when they give and to some extent how far they think you can go successfully if they give or take from you. It’s about power and control. If you have a parent like this-you learn to find your way. Parents can physically be present but offer so little emotionally.How could you want to continue giving to someone like that? HOW? I’m learning to not do so much anymore and re-direct it in a way that’ll be beneficial to me. But what happens when you’ve got to spread your wings? I ended up having to provide him (My Dad) with supply (admiration,attention,constant agreement,zero point of view) and at the same time (fend for myself because there’s so much I wanted to do for me.) It’s hard to be self-reliant when your family member is thwarting your ambition…….Some of this shit was way beyond my years. I understand it now BUT growing up I did not understand how to articulate this dynamic to anyone. It made me grow up fast. He would try to make it up to me in other ways (Money?) terrible bait. Compliments? Terrible bait. And most importantly erase the things he did. (You can’t erase the abuse that happened.) Either way it’s still all about MANIPULATION and CONTROL and by adulthood you’re so used to doing for yourself and you wise up about what it means to be manipulated.
By 12 years old I became ‘shy’ and ‘reserved’ but the one thing that remained with me was my ‘intuition and ambition’. As a young adult when friendships would reach the ‘discard’ stage which is unheard of in my world (as I cherish friendship). I’d panic trying to figure out why and how and to provide solutions and find out what I could do to ‘fix’ things…..but when you’re dealing with a narcissistic situation you can’t fix anything. You were meant to be discarded once you ‘think for yourself’ and ‘choose for yourself’ or ‘voice your own opinion’ or ‘don’t do as I say’. I did well in school, did all chores, got a job, paid for my own tuition to not have to depend on my family; but it just wasn’t enough. To a narcissist you are not your own entity-you’re a part of the hand, you’re a finger controlled by the hand. Remember: You ARE not someone’s hand. You have your own hands right? When you try to work together and ‘get along’ it only works when you follow the rules as laid out to you. As this ‘formula’ expired, I’ve had to walk away. I used to give it time and re-visit to fix things over and over again and each time the covert abuse was worse. And I had to learn how to do it with personal relationships also. As soon as you begin to expand or your self-identify shines through with a narcissist or in a narcissistic situation you’re doomed. And that ain’t right. No one deserve abuse.
Over the years as I matured I started talking to older family members who knew my Dad from the early days and I realized that they hid so much from us children. They even covered a lot of information from my Stepmother when she married my Father. My biological Mom and Dad had such an aggressively intense and veneered relationship. A union with two disordered Narcissistic people may look good on the outside but that marriage was filled with issues and didn’t last.My Dad never wanted anyone to find out about the way he REALLY treated others. The reason for this is because they all knew my Dad had extreme challenges and they didn’t want to ruin his chances of getting remarried so that he would no longer be their problem. It’s so tough dealing with someone who can only survive off of ‘supply’.In some ways I thank my extended family today for their decision to hide the info because my Stepmother came into my life when I was really young and that she stayed. On the flip side family willing to step forward directly would create a feeling of trust and perhaps less damage. Our family is TIGHT. My siblings who I love so much-we’re like three peas in a pod. The downside to covering up for someone this way is that the victim is made to feel like they did something wrong or that something isn’t right with them. And it (my hunch) was always absolutely right. Sometimes in a manipulative situation it doesn’t matter what you do. My Stepmom happens to be a tenured Psyche Nurse and because we’ve been through this as a family unit-we all understand how this has each affected us. We still talk about it now. She endured so much to keep our family together. She endured tons of emotional and physical abuse that she probably doesn’t talk about today but she’s healed and she’s made our family stronger because of it.
Without darkness especially with a person who writes,like myself-your writing material doesn’t have any depth. You must have a good measured amount of experiences you can share to touch lives in different ways. I started a section on my old blog (Health/Wellness) in hopes of writing about health regimes,protein powders,shakes,foods and all that but GOTDAMN……2016 had me understanding that I will be writing about way more than that!When something like this happens to anyone…life is seen so differently and the most amazing thing does occur out of some bad/uncertain times:you come out of the fog and and see things as they are not as you hope for them to be. Not only do you see things as they are-you become reflective and gain absolute clarity with work,family and friendships among many things. Along with absolute clarity you realize your intuition is STRONG. And not only that-you realize how much your story,your path,your destiny,your ideas and experiences can create an effect that changes your life forever. Bad or good. If you look at what’s happening in the U.S.-people who would never align themselves with certain groups of society are coming together to speak up about Human Rights, Immigration, Health Care and even how they can improve society. That would not have happened if they weren’t shown the new direction their country is going in. Trump’s pending absolute control (self-centred nature) is forcing people to see the reality of what they’re about to face. It’s ironic.
An empathic and highly sensitive person with a bold personality and ambition is not a bad person but can be targeted for ‘destruction’. To be ‘destroyed’ means that you have a chance to grow and expand. Your true qualities-things that make you good; are a bittersweet combination in a Narcissistic World.Narcissism is deeper than posting selfies on Social Media. Being abused when you are strong is hard to see on the exterior but it’s there. As a survivor of abuse one becomes more reflective, more introspective, more aware-hobbies, dreams and wishes now become even more REAL. I don’t wish this on anyone but when you do experience something like this as frequently as I have- you become a changed person,a stronger person and a more EMPOWERED individual. Knowing yourself and re-asserting your identity forces you to truly seek very little validation from anyone. Self-care becomes more important than any other priority. And to prioritize oneself is not selfish.
I write this not to be further victimized OR not to be given sympathy but for those who have not yet understood what they’re going through and needs that stepping stone to open the door and understand what it is to be set free. So many unanswered questions may even swirl around in your mind about what this/that was……Narcissistic emotional abuse is more common than you know. Know that you’ve been groomed for awhile before all THIS happened.Sadly, Social Media is a breeding ground for abuse BUT if it wasn’t for the many online communities-I wouldn’t know or understand this.So Each One, Teach One right? Just read up after this blog post and you’ll see what I’m saying.
I’ll leave some of the excellent sites and Youtube channels by those from the online Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Community so you can discover more.I can’t explain all of this but the more you look up key phrases you’ll see that plenty of people have been searching for answers…just like you! Tons of Youtubers (regular Joes and Janes share their experiences and experts within the industry share a lot of useful and eye-opening information.)
Some would say that being open on the world wide web means you expose your weaknesses or blah, blah, blah BUT by putting it out there in writing you can understand who is reading your material and what it’s being used for.There are many perspectives to this subject but I’m simply speaking MY truth. With that being said: this article serves as a milestone for a closing chapter in my life and a new ass BEGINNING! Imagine being able to manifest what you DO want in life. Imagine being stuck at the same level and knowing you can be your better self year by year. Imagine being able to compete with you and only YOU and where you were 3-4 years ago and top that. You can! Sometimes abusive situations and low vibrational thinking hold you back. There reaches a point also where all that negativity and bullshit can just push you forward. It’s only until I looked back the last 15 years that I was the common denominator in all the abusive situations I’ve encountered. Being nice isn’t always nice.Being nice can even cost you your life. Sooooo through growing pains, I’ve come to understand that it’s been due time to change.
Going through repeated abusive situations (during my childhood up until recently) often slowed me down and I would fearfully choose not to reach outside of constraints or limited perceived boundaries within toxic situations and people…..Thankfully, I understand it and I’m even stronger now.A lot of the narc abuse stories tend to fall in a few categories:
‘Narc’ family units (this is how it all begins-where children can and do become victims or much later on abusers),‘Friendships’,’Peer Groups’,‘Dating’,‘Married Couples’,‘Romantic Interests’,‘Workplace Bullying’,’Bullying’,’Partners’, ‘Neighbours’, ‘Co-Workers’, ‘Roommates’,’Bosses’, ‘Landlords’,’Hospitals’,’Schools’Nursing Homes’,’Employers’,’Business Partnerships’. (I put quotes around everything because these roles are sometimes fluid in an abusive situation and most of these bonds aren’t real. They are not so defined they can shift around sometimes you don’t even know…..this is how the abuse works.)
Since I’m all about the Social Media….how I discovered this phenomenon is by Google searching for these words. Have a look at the hashtags below for a minute-look at them anywhere…on Twitter,Instagram,Tumblr,Facebook and watch the amount of stuff that pops up. For something I’ve never formally heard of-there’s mass amounts of info out there. For something I thought I never heard of-I know this damn too well. To see that much info was jarring BUT to know that our world’s societies are being run and affected by this epidemic makes me wonder how many scenarios are triggered by this.(cue:recent elections in the U.S.) Stats say that 6.2% of the world’s population suffers from this PD. It’s much higher. That’s 1 in 6 people around you and I. So how many people do you think suffers at the hands of this? I am no researcher but that’s a hell of a lot.
A victim (scapegoat) in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesn’t know what’s being said about them during the relationship, most often they have no idea what’s going on but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after they’ve been discarded or when they walk away. Sometimes it’s revealed in earlier conversations ‘when things are good’.And you still don’t even understand what’s happening because you don’t live life to manipulate people. Other times people around the victim may suggest or imply to see if the victim recognizes what’s happening. They (enablers) often refuse to speak up for fear of becoming a target like the victim OR they want to watch and see a victim ‘become unraveled’ OR they don’t see how bad the abuser really is.It’s like free entertainment. The truth is:If this is happening around you with family, you now understand what you are dealing with and its hard but straightforward to remove yourself from the situation completely.
Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with them. Once they feel or see that you are beginning to notice that you’re being manipulated and it’s not successful anymore-they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired or pretended to admire about you in the first place. This occurs when you no longer want to join in on the game created when you didn’t know what was going on. This is when the smear campaign begins, or (at least when you become aware of it.)
Advice to get through this type of situation:
Hunker down and let it rip. You spend months or weeks, years even-trying to prove to those around you that you are not guilty or innocent or not at fault or have not done anything that the rumours suggest. Oftentimes it takes awhile to understand and realize that it’s a waste of energy. Listening to the rumours can allow you to understand what is really going on and where it’s coming from. Can’t be hurt and offended by something that isn’t true right?
Know your square (not circle.) A square allows you to see all corners to know who really has your back and who never did.It can give you a slow but gradual fresh start in the right direction.
Expect a smear campaign, a ‘Hoover’ or possibly 4 of them. The smearing happens much earlier than you think. Often times when you start to understand what’s happening around you back track 6 months to year. (That’s when the devaluation started.) The Hoover (like the vacuum cleaner) is used to suck you back into the relationship (to fix things? not really). It gets worse. It’s just more and more abuse.
Tell your trusted family and your really close friends like family. Often times they might’ve been through it before so they’ll know exactly what’s happening.Sometimes family is aware of the abuser but no one speaks up. If you trust the family member enough to talk they will give you some insight about dealing with the person. And if they don’t understand at all….they love you, they’ll be your support system once all the shit flies. This is not something to discuss with just anyone. The person abusing you may not be the best person to talk to either.When they know how you feel and your general way of thinking which is more on the human side they’ll manipulate even more.It’s no use. Be discerning. Once you know you just know. As Narcissists get older they get worse. To my Step(MOM): thanks Mom, you’re a blessing! Crystal, thank you!
Don’t be alarmed if you are being watched at the places you frequent or your place of employment. Sometimes people within the family or circle want to see if you are balanced, crazy (like the rumours suggest) or healthy and take information back to your abuser. Also, they don’t want anyone to know that you’ve realized what they are. If you feel you are in danger; report it to the police. In the past I did.
Have a strong spiritual foundation. Believe in something (yoga, meditation, prayer,church,volunteerism,singing,writing,dancing) it helps you see past the smoke and mirrors and focus on what’s TRULY real and important. The world we live in is changing at a rapid pace. Don’t let anyone mock your willingness to embrace spirituality. This is a natural part of life and through spirituality, the best of your inner being comes alive and will propel you to heal and help others as well as yourself.
Curiosity doesn’t kill. Sometimes you need to find out more about what’s happening around you and it can’t happen by asking questions. Sometimes you wait to see who will tell you something so you can have a better understanding.Sit back and just observe.Don’t absorb.Truth shows itself without you having to do anything.
Anything you post online or say to your abuser will be used against you. You still have to live your life. As long as you understand this you won’t be as shocked when it does happen.Don’t allow yourself to be silenced by anyone. You’re not a bad person.
It takes time to heal and be who you were before this happened. You will get better, you will heal, you will laugh again. They say it takes about 18-24 months to heal.It really depends on who you surround yourself with.You’ll be stronger;trust me-this has nothing to do with being at the gym. But being at the gym will help you get through this stage in your life! Focus on you passions, what makes you happy, what makes you feel at peace, what you are good at, what feels good-those things will help you achieve success!You’ve been through stuff before this and you have much more to experience in life.
If you’ve got something going for you-your smile, your harmonica skills, your shoes,your blog, your voice,your attendance schedule,your eyeshadow,your clothes- whatever. You will be a target. Understand this and still be YOU. My biological mother hated my love of PR and communications stuff.She hated that I worked hard. She hated my ambitious nature. She pretended she was interested but secretly loathed it. She hated when people took a genuine interest in me. It used to happen all the time when I went out with her. I’m glad I got to know her much later on in life but I got to see what I would’ve gone through as a child. And more importantly she envied my life. (I love travelling,I work hard,I love the music scene,I love this blog,I love networking,I love knowing all types of people) Hobby type things may seem like a waste but if you want to build something it’s what must be done, build on those things. What she didn’t realize is how much I suffered growing up with a disordered parent and how hard it was to grow up under the same roof with one.Narcissists won’t ever admit or acknowledge how hard it is to live with them. They take you through one hell of a journey. Sometimes they are aware of what they do, and enjoy it,sometimes it’s habitual. Either way, YOU survived!
Have hope (they don’t want you to) have it anyway. It makes for a better environment.Once you recognize the repeated patterns you’ll have your many A-HA moments and the reality of the situation sets in. Place that hope in the right people and of course first and foremost in yourself. This abuse, if you survive it IS meant to strengthen you and help others. It’s not selfish it’s an act of self-love.
Know Yourself Don’t let anyone force any kind of circumstances,distractions,potential partners, ideologies on you.Don’t let anyone try to erode your privacy. Know how you feel, know who you are,know what you see, know what your purpose is and most importantly stay grounded. You become familiar with how this energy and attitude feels. This situation will pass-it’s rough when you start to understand things as they happen. In the end the only person you can be responsible for is you!
Being Discarded is A Blessing It forces you to face reality. You start to see all the ways you were treated and abused. It’s not a loss. You are being set free-the only thing left is to process the occurrences. You begin to set boundaries so you aren’t manipulated in the future. You develop a thicker skin and become EVEN more self aware. You learn to detach from the outcome of situations and stop holding on to people or things that can never change. You grow and become more expansive.You look at things with a discerning eye. Most importantly you see things you don’t want to be in and change direction. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to truly understand this dynamic and can move forward towards my future. Your intuition will show you what a discard and a manipulation looks and feels like. I want to have a family and partner of my own but I absolutely do not want to re-create the dynamic of my past again! Healing from deep-rooted emotional abuse ensures that another cycle of abuse doesn’t happen with another generation of adults. Kids don’t deserve that kinda life-it’s easier to raise a child than to change an adult. Parents: If you sense you need more assistance raising your kids- get help. Engage with your kids in a healthy way. Be mindful of who they hang around with. Make sure that they aren’t becoming abusive towards others also! Build experiences with them. Get healthy with your past. Children often subconsciously re-create the patterns they see with their parents. If you stay they think it’s okay to stay and work out that friendship, relationship or toxic situation. If your partner is on the abusive side-GET OUT! (This includes covert, physical,sexual and verbal abuse.)
Have you seen a trusted and highly sympathetic friend about your past and or current situation? Please know this:Highly sensitive persons (HSPs),Doers,Fixers,Helpers,People Pleasers-make excellent targets. We seem like push overs to many. People don’t understand that those are strengths. As a Highly Sensitive Person you can lose yourselves in a narcissistic world. They will project their negative feelings onto you. That’s what they do. Don’t be sad either. Understand that once you recognize the patterns you’re free. You can start a new life deeply rooted in truth and REALITY.Yours.
If you are newly discovering what has happened to you, I’m sure all of this is overwhelming. Start looking back. Reflect a little, reflect a lot…spend time on your own. Start a journal.Find a new shitload of hobbies. Revive healthy friendships. That dream you’ve always wanted to achieve and take the steps to make it happen. Once you find stuff to do you begin to grow and new opportunities, experiences and people come into your life! I’ve been bumping into super duper old friends from back in the day and re-connecting. Some of those old and new friends have helped me out sooo much!!! Shout out to ya’ll!
Here are some of the awesome expert abuse survivors and Youtube communities online.
I’m overjoyed nothing happened to me physically and that I’m GOOD-not many people overcome this type of situation because it can be dangerous. What this situation does is that it catapults you to the next level in life. I think what spurred this article was the shock of really making a strong effort to change the way I looked at things and I became more aware that I was actually IN a series of manipulative situations and choosing not to participate anymore. Am I narcissist HELL NO. I do like to share my knowledge and interests and do like to create exciting experiences to make life more amazing! I understand what makes me who I am and it’s absolutely okay to exist around people who would love for me to play small.
By the time this article goes live on this new blog design, January would’ve come and gone……..I wrote this last year (2016) Here’s to a more musically inspired and powerful 2017!
Read up on this,
Start From Scratch,
Explore New Things,
Get help from the right places and people,
If it don’t feel right it probably isn’t, (and if it’s right you’ll know)
Remember the Good Things about Yourself,
You’re not a Victim,
(Nobody Needs to Feel Sorry for You-not even You.)